In response to our recent article on alumni mementos,
graduates from around the country described their own UB treasures—
and why they still mean so much.
alumni share cherished memories and
possessions from their college years
what did you save?
photography by Frank Miller
do seemingly disposable items become lasting keepsakes? Do these
bits of the past remind us of a time in our lives when we seemed
most free, even a little rebellious? Or perhaps they constitute
the only remaining link to once valued friends and companions,
now lost through time, distance or neglect.
items pictured in these pages-along with stories and
spontaneous remarks that flowed into our office via e-mail from
across the country-came to us in response to a communique we posted
to several Alumni Association listservs. Getting the objects here
to photograph was a team effort involving the help and commitment
of numerous alumni, who cheerfully rummaged through attics, or
asked others to search their respective, often far-flung, holdings.
In short, we "hit a nerve," as one UB
Today advisory board member remarked when we apprised her of the
quality of the responses we were receiving-and the surprising
artifacts people had unearthed. Fraternity jackets and beanies,
to be sure; but a hotplate? Perkins coffee mugs? Unpacking these
various and sundry UB artifacts really "brought home to us" the
power of the bond our alumni feel with their common past.
Hot plate cuisine
Arthur M. Altman, B.A. ’74
San Carlos, CA
"Throughout my stay in the dorms (eight semesters), I used
a hot plate in my room to make my meals. I used an orange-colored
pot to cook frozen mixed vegetables, which were my staple, along
with fresh chicken and frozen fish. My brother inherited this
pot from me after I left Buffalo (he went to SUNY at Albany).
To this day, he and his two young sons use this pot to cook morning
oatmeal in his home in northern Westchester County."
Michael J. Worden, B.S. ’65
Honeoye Falls, NY
actually have two items of clothing that I can think of off the
top of my head: One is my fraternity jacket with the Sig Ep insignia/crest
on the left side, with "University Buffalo" written
at the bottom of the crest. The other, believe it or not, is a
phys-ed T-shirt from my freshman year-40 years ago! How or why
I still have it is a mystery, but I came across it cleaning out
my dresser last summer and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it
Little black book
Robert H. Cochran, B.S. ’77
North Tonawanda, NY
best item I saved from my days at UB was my little black book.
It contained names, phone numbers and brief notes about people
I met at UB. I kept my UB little black book to remind me of a
pretty girl I met in a UB judo class. I admired her for her physical
agility; she was petite, yet determined and strong. During judo
practice she could easily put me down on the mat-I loved that.
"I later admired her many contributions to the mental health
field. She is an empowerment educator and coordinates a program
for persons with mental health issues who were once institutionalized.
This enterprise, called the Empowerment Program, is held at UB.
She travels to Albany and Washington, advocating for better services
and treatment for the underserved mental health population. Somehow,
she was able to find time to have children, who are now all college
graduates. I'm glad I kept my UB little black book to remind me
about when I met this person. Keeping that little black book helped
me find her, get to know her and ask her to be my partner for
life. Our honeymoon continues after 28 years."
Gregory J. Schifferle, B.A. ’67
kept a beanie I was given as a freshman. The rest of the stuff
got worn out over the years.
"Let me throw in this little story:
I was only a 1.8 GPA at a time when the university had a 3.0 GPA
system. But math majors had to take a comp exam in the senior
year to graduate. I was really sweating that. Then I got an A
on the comp exam. The only other A was given to a guy named Jonathan
Swift. He had a 3.0 (or a 4.0 in today's terms). They thought
I cheated, but I certainly didn't. That was my claim to fame.
"Since then, I have worked for IBM
in Burlington, Vermont, except that I tried to avoid being drafted
and sent to Vietnam, so I enlisted in the Navy and they sent me
to Vietnam anyway. But I was running an air-conditioned data center
in Da Nang.
"I had a stroke (out of the blue)
in September 1998, and now I am on long-term disability from IBM,
as I had 32 years with them. I am doing fine now, but that is
why I am semiretired at age 52."
The love of his life
Scott M. Landress, B.A. ’86 & B.S. ’84
Mill Valley, CA
wife, Laura, was the greatest thing that happened to me at UB.
We've been together for 16+ wonderful years now, and it all started
one snowy Buffalo day in the Health Sciences Library on the Main
Street Campus. We have three children and live in Mill Valley,
California. Laura's a full-time mom. I'm founder and CEO of Spoovy.com,
a digital entertainment company."
UB shot glass
Sean P. Cunningham, B.S. ’89
have a UB shot glass from '85-I won it at the Governors' Casino
Night during my first orientation week. To win, pretty much everyone
I had met to that point gave me their "money," and I
qualified for the third-place prize shot glass. My friends thought
it ironic because I was the only nondrinker among my circle of
friends-I used my shot glass to store quarters for the laundry.
"I also still have my 'One Last Time'
button from the '88 UB-Buff State basketball game. As you might
remember, UB moved to Division II in the late '80s, and UB's rivalry
with the Bengals ended then. If I recall, there was one more contest-and
it was a UB rout over State."
Fraternity initiation book
Robert L. Sacks, B.A. ’69
South Orange, NJ
response to our request, New York City attorney Robert Sacks obligingly
packaged up and sent us many of his UB treasures, which include
his fraternity pledge book and "pledge paddle." Why
has he held on to these objects for so many years? "I attribute
it to two factors: I've lived in the same house for the past 25
years and I have a huge attic. And I guess I'm an archivist by
Michele T. Callaghan, B.A. ’80
College Park, MD
College and Morris dancing in the old student union evoke memories
of my days at UB from 1976-79. I transferred to UB in my sophomore
year, having spent my freshman year in Dublin, Ireland, at Trinity
College. I was introduced to Charlie Haynie, the head of Tolstoy
College, and David Conant, the founder of Willowood Morris, in
my junior year.
"Tolstoy was one of several small
colleges within UB in the seventies. Tolstoy represented a left-wing,
or alternative, approach to studies. I audited 'Radical Psychology,'
where I met my first fiancé and had a teacher who actually told
a student, 'My needs are not being met by this conversation,'
as the student described his treatment in a mental institution.
The last day of class we all told each other how we really felt
about each other. I cried.
dancing brings back other memories. We practiced in a small upper
room in the student union and performed in Buffalo, Niagara Falls,
Toronto and Saratoga Springs. My favorite memory was when we opened
the Folk Festival the year that John Hammond Jr., Jean Ritchie,
John McCutcheon and Boys of the Lough played. We also danced at
a De Danaan concert and I had the members of the band over to
a party at my apartment, where the lead singer gave me a button
to put on the hat of my costume."
Survival Guide to Finals Week booklet
Stephanie A. Weisman, M.A. ’84 & B.A. ’78
of my most wonderful experiences as a graduate student at UB was
developing and teaching a class in small-press publishing at Black
Mountain College II, the arts college. Each semester the class
would produce a publication-doing everything from selling ads
to the layout to printing it on an old press in one of my student's
"The Survival Guide was one of my favorite publications to
come from this class. My focus was that everyone could have a
'voice'-everyone could make a publication. How you did it was
dependent on how much money you had to spend, the point being
that the basic process is always the same, from Xeroxed publications
to four-color art books.
"These tenets are the ones I developed during my undergraduate
and graduate years at UB; they continue to be the basis for what
I do now, which is run a theater company in San Francisco called
The Marsh, a breeding ground for new performance."
Gary Steinkohl, B.S. ’81
New York, NY
cherish my two basic brown coffee mugs 'borrowed' from Perkins.
Perkins was where my collegiate friends and I spent many days
and nights ... studying 'til the late hours of the night ... over
coffee, midnight food gougings ... with coffee to perk us up for
more studying, and good, wholesome food ... washed down with coffee
... at all hours of the day and night. When it came time to leave,
a pair of these brown mugs found its way into my packings ...
and now sits on the coffee mug shelf in the kitchen, forever a
reminder of fond days at Buffalo and coffee."
IPPON Judo Club membership card
Claire A. Pallo, B.A. ’72
the following were kept to help me remember details. Of course,
there are a lot of details that cannot be linked to something
"College ring-I wish it still fit.
"Freshman beanie-I never had the opportunity to wear a beanie
before or since.
"Four years of student ID cards-each
with a picture and a lot of mileage on it (punch holes, etc.).
"Hockey puck-from the night I got
hit by one, watching the UB team play. I had a shiner for nearly
three weeks. I still enjoy watching hockey.
"IPPON Judo Club membership card-freshman
year. I was on a student budget and tried this out as long as
I could, until it was time to buy the clothing for it.
"Computer Center brochure-my part-time
job was at the data center, at the Ridge Lea Campus. This brochure
contains a photo of one of the remote sites on the Main Street
Campus, and someone I worked with. Computers were an oddity back
"Transcripts-I still have all eight
"Photographs-I had a little black-and-white
Polaroid back then. I have photos of roommates, a view from the
dorm, crazy things we did, the house we rented, etc. Also, a picture
of graduation day with my dad.
"My years at UB were a tremendous
growing time. When I travel through Buffalo now, I am washed in
memories of that time in my life."
M. Albert, Ph.D. ’89 & M.A. ’82
two items I keep are a No. 2-style pencil, except that it is wood
color, not painted yellow, and it says "Buffalo School District,"
and an orange ski-type hat (for the snow, you know) with a white
tassel on the top that says Buffalo News.
"I used to wear that orange hat when
I rode my bicycle around UB. Sometimes on a Saturday I'd ride
my bicycle to Anacone's, a bar on Bailey Avenue. I'd come back
at 2 a.m., when it was rare to see a car on the road in the residential
areas, and I'd be a wee bit drunk, and sometimes I'd fall off
my bicycle when making the turn into my driveway on Callodine
Avenue and then slide several feet on my stomach on the cool,
Victoria N. Sorvillo, B.S. ’97
Long Beach, NY
of my cherished college mementos is a small green bead on a safety
pin. In 1993, the local sorority GDG (Green Dot Group) had its
first group of pledges who distinguished themselves by wearing
a green bead pinned over their heart. The members of GDG went
on to found the UB chapter of the national sorority Alpha Gamma
Delta. That small green bead is a reminder of what we set out
to accomplish by starting a new and different sorority: 'Be what
you want, but always be you.'"
Beanie with frosh pin
Penny F. Zeplowitz, Ed.B. ’64
have kept this UB beanie with attached freshman pin all these
years because it reminds me of all the fun I had as a UB student
living away from home for the first time. It also reminds me of
the close friendships I made at UB, many of which I still have."
Father’s football helmet
Patrick J. Rao, B.A. ’91
have much football memorabilia from the 1950s. The memorabilia
belonged to my father, Peter R. Rao, Ed.M. ’63 & Ed.B. '56, who
died last year. It includes, among other things, his old leather
helmet (without face guard), uniform, letter sweater and letter
blanket. I believe that I also have some of his old game films.
As you may know, my dad still holds UB’s record for most interceptions
in one game, one of the team's longest-standing records. Also,
he not only played for UB, but also coached there, and the current
coach, Craig R. Cirbus, B.S. ’80, got his start under my dad."
Another dad’s memorabilia
Donald C. Roberts, B.A. ’93
Don Roberts, the UB Alumni Association's president, collecting
University at Buffalo memorabilia is a family affair. Not only
has he kept items from when he was pursuing an associate's degree
at UB in the 1960s (he completed his bachelor's degree in 1993),
but he also carefully maintains several UB items belonging to
his 96-year-old father, Myron A. Roberts, D.D.S. '30. They include
this wonderfully preserved sweater from his father's days as manager
of the UB basketball team in the late 1920s, and a ribbon pin
and ticket from a father-son outing to a UB football game in 1947.
Student government campaign poster
David S. McClure, B.A. ’86
have retained many items from my UB days (1982-86).They include
my student ID card, the campaign poster from when I ran for student
government, copies of various campus publications, Buffalo Evening
News articles about the woman who was murdered next door when
I lived off-campus, my graduation tassel, etc.
"The reason I kept all this stuff
is that I cherish the memories of my days at UB. It was an important
period of my life-the time I moved from childhood into adulthood.
Several times I have tried to purge these items, but each time
I could not go through with it. (I once had to retrieve some of
the items from a dumpster just ahead of the trash truck.) I have
now accepted that I will carry these items around for the rest
of my life."