Ruth and I have never been treated so royally as at the 50th Reunion of the CNC Class of '65. Thank you and the wonderful staff of CNU for this unforgettable experience.
From Leslie DeYong Frank
I want to thank you for all your work on the '65 Reunion. My husband and I had a wonderful time. I live in Newport News but have never taken a tour of the campus. I am so proud and impressed with this university. Who would have ever thought that the school we attended at the Daniels Elementary school in downtown Newport News would have turned into this amazing university. I am so glad I attended the reunion. Best wishes, Leslie Frank
From Jean Regone Henry
What a mind-blowing experience this past weekend was! Seeing familiar faces, being wined and dined like royalty, touring the magnificent campus, being surrounded by attentive young people--all made for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Thank you for making this possible, Jane.
Regards, Jean Regone Henry
From Raoul Weinstein Jane,
Nancy and I were delighted with the outstanding treatment we were given at the reunion. The wining and dining were both awesome, attending the candle lighting at night and the graduation the next day were both great events, but most inspiring was seeing how the Christopher Newport campus has grown into a very impressive, beautiful, vibrant, and stunning university! Jane, it would almost seem that in comparison, you and I, back in the 60's, were just playing at having a college. Kudos to all involved in both the reunion and for bringing CNU to where it is today. It gave me much pride to have been a part of its early development.
From Curtiss Pittman
When I arrived at the parking lot on Friday, I asked 2 students where I should go,at which point they took me directly to the check in table. Everything about the experience was nothing short of FIRST CLASS; from the students, wait staff and faculty everyone treated me with courtesy and respect. Food and entertainment were excellent, and the campus was beautiful. Please tell their lawn service to come fix mine.There was only one thing that wasn't first class. I had a long conversation with a student in the student game room. You have a multimillion dollar campus and very cheap pool tables and cues. Long's Billiards is about 2 miles away. I'm sure Long's would like to make a deal. For any future First Decaders, I would highly recommend the trip.
From Ellen Wirt
I have been trying to determine how and what to say about THE class reunion. Simply stated it was a wonderful and beautiful experience. When I first climbed those stairs at the old school in downtown Newport News, I had no way of knowing that such an event was in my future. Nor could I have envisioned that an almost off-handed remark that suggested I should run for SGA treasurer since the office had unexpectedly been vacated would be a gateway to participation in such a beautiful and meaningful ceremony, the lighting and passage of the candle.
Seeing many of my classmates and professors was wonderful. The College really did grow up!! Lots of thoughts of those days still visit my memory, some good and some not so good. Having a "real" graduation was a thrilling time for both my husband and myself.
And Jane, thanks again for being a very large reason that it all happened for us.
See you in September.
Published June 12, 2015
Friday’s Golden Celebration:
Part 1of the
50th Reunion of CNC’s Class of 1965
By A. Jane Chambers
What a mind-blowing experience this past weekend was!
Seeing familiar faces, being wined and dined like royalty, touring the magnificent campus, being surrounded by attentive young people—
all made for a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Jean Regone Henry, Class of 1965
Jean Regone Henry’s words capture well the happy experiences felt by those who attended Christopher Newport’s third 50th Reunion, held on the campus on May 8& 9 of 2015, during commencement weekend. With a few exceptions (noted), the photos below were taken by members of CNU’s Alumni Relations Office, also responsible for many of those “attentive young people” who were eager to make this event memorable for all.
The group photos above and below the title were made on Friday evening, May 8, by one of CNU’s professional photographers. The first photo shows the class of 1965 members and their guests. The second (above) shows only the class members: on Row 1, L-R, Ed Mirmelstein, Ellen Cox Wirt, Curtiss Pittman (holding sign), Polly White Bevins, Gwen Seidler Stevens (in chair), Leslie DeYong Frank, Jean Regone Henry, and Wilma Dotson; on Row 2, L-R, Ray Pepe, Sally Krym Dafashy, former instructor and coach Raoul Weinstein, and former professor Jane Chambers.
When reunion members and their guests entered David Student Union, they were greeted by cheerful and helpful young people like Amber LoMele (above left), one of the interns in the Alumni Relations Office. Here the class members and guests were given their name tags. Class members also received “goodie bags” with assorted CNU items and alumni pins (above right) that would later be pinned on them in a brief ceremony.
Cocktail Hour was on the second floor of David Student Union (DSU), in a large area at the top of the Grand Stairs called the Pre-Function Area, the place where people gather before attending various events that occur in the rooms adjacent to this area, including the Board Room, where the 1965 Class’s Dinner Celebration would occur. The photo left above shows President Paul Trible chatting with (L-R) class member Ellen Wirt and former CNC math instructor and track coach Raoul Weinstein and his wife, Nancy. The other photo shows (L-R), Judge Robert Frank and his wife, class of 1965 member Leslie DeYong Frank, and (in chair) class member Tom Wessells and (on couch) his guest.
The photos below show (L) our webmaster and gifted musician Ron Lowder and his wife, Maureen, and (R) yours truly, Jane Chambers.
Strangely enough, no one took any photos of the wonderful horsd’oeuvres we enjoyed during the cocktail hour, but all of this food was absolutely delicious and included fresh fruits as well as meats (sausage balls and crabmeat balls) and other delightful treats. Below are photos of (L) my guest, Kay Rinfrette, and (R) Trible librarian Amy Boykin, standing behind the library display of 1965 memorabilia she provided for the reunion.
As the time drew near for moving into the Board Room for the Dinner and Program part of Friday evening’s celebration, the Weinsteins (former professional dancers) entertained us by dancing to Ron Lowder’s music (below L) and then President Trible (below R) addressed the gathering before having to leave for another on-campus engagement. He also introduced the small group of highly talented young singers who would entertain us at the beginning of the Dinner part of our Celebration.
The Board Room was beautifully decorated to welcome the group. The tables held fresh flowers and framed photographs recalling the Class of 1965’s time at CNC. The podium end of the room had a screen with the 1965 Reunion graphic, and a side wall featured a large golden 50 (below left). After all were seated, we enjoyed several songs by the a cappella group CNC Voices. (CNU Voices photo by Dave Henry.)
A sturdy and attractive Golden Celebration Program was in each chair. In addition to the 2 pages of the evening’s program and menu (shown below) the Program included all known names of members of the class (both Associate in Arts degree recipients and non-degree members), names of faculty at CNC in 1965, and the name of President Cunningham. Those deceased and those not located were also identified.
Before dining began, Scott Miller (see Program for his titles) led the distribution of Alumni Certificates and the Pinning Ceremony. Below are photos of (L) Leslie DeYong Frank holding her certificate as she walks back to her seat and (R) Jean Regone Henry being pinned by her husband, Dave Henry.
Happily posing below after receiving the CNU pins, attached by their spouses, are (L) new alumni Ray Pepe, with his wife, Ruth, and (R) Polly White Bevins, with her husband, Sam.
The splendid meal (see Dinner Program menu) was thoroughly enjoyed by all, along with the wonderful fellowship, as seen in these two photographs below.
The evening concluded with the Candlelight Ceremony on the Great Lawn. Our Class of 1965 shared the stage in front of the new Newport Hall with student leaders of the Class of 2015, facing an audience of several thousand seated below. After a short program, members of the Class of 2015 (over 1200) gathered in front of the stage, all holding unlit candles. Ellen Cox Wirt, our 1965 SGA Treasurer, initiated the lighting of the candles (photo above), assisted by Student Assembly President Conner Trebour (Class of 2015), in a ceremony signifying the change from students to alumni. (Candle lighting photos by CNUphotos.com.)
The candle lighting went from person to person on stage, and then to the students on the lawn below, creating a sea of flickering candles. Then the a cappella group the CNU Voices, standing on stage, led the singing of the Alma Mater.
After the flames were extinguished and Senior Class Council President Lindsey Lord delivered her final remarks, the event ended with unexpected loud booms as fireworks shot upward—a delightful surprise to most. So ended the perfect Friday Celebration of our Class of 1965.
Published May 22 & 29, 2015
Part 2of the
50th Reunion of CNC’s Class of 1965
By A. Jane Chambers
The above photo, by CNU photography staff, is a striking view of the eastern tip of the campus before Commencement 2015. The black stage before Newport Hall is almost ready for the podium and chairs. Facing the stage are black rows of empty chairs—9,000 in all—waiting to be filled by faculty, graduates, families and friends. To the right is Trible Library; in the distance left of it are Ferguson Center and Warwick Boulevard.
Early Saturday morning, May 9, while CNU’s faculty and over 1,200 members of the Class of 2015 gathered in Freeman Center, behind Newport Hall, to don their academic regalia, our 1965 Golden Reunion Class enjoyed a continental breakfast before robing in Luter Hall, left of Newport. Dave Henry, husband of 1965 AA degree recipient Jean Regone, took this photo inside Luter of (L-R) Sally Krym Dafashy, Ray Pepe, Ellen Cox Wirt, Wilma Dotson, Curtiss Pittman, Jean Regone Henry, and former CNC math instructor and first men’s track coach Raoul Weinstein.
Thousands soon filled the empty seats on the Great Lawn, except for those reserved for the faculty and graduating students (Photo R by Dave Henry). Shortly before 10:00 a.m., our small 50th Reunion group was ushered outside for a photo (below) taken by a CNU photographer. Standing before the north end of Newport Hall are (L-R) Sally Dafashy, retired professor Dr. Jane Chambers, Jean Henry, Curtiss Pittman, Ellen Wirt, Ray Pepe, Wilma Dotson and Raoul Weinstein.
Our view of Commencement was from a canopied tent in front of Luter Hall. The event began with the Processional, during which the audience stood while the CNU faculty members were led by a piper to their seats (below L). Then the students marched to theirs (below R), some of them wearing decorated mortarboards.
By now all 9,000 seats were filled, as seen in this bird’s-eye view below from the top of Newport Hall, and there was standing room only left at the back of the crowd (CNU photo).
Our canopied tent was right next to the entrance to Luter Hall and had seating for the Golden Reunion class plus guests, with the front row reserved for the honorees. Dave Henry took the four pictures below.
Although our view of Commencement was not the very best (see above L), we had what the 9000 did not have: shade from the sun, a tent-side table filled with bottled water, leftover Danish and fresh fruit from our breakfast, and napkins, plates, and plastic forks. We were only a few steps from air-conditioned Luter Hall, in case we needed to take a bathroom or stiff back break, or turn in our academic regalia and leave before Commencement ended. We also had several young CNU Interns hovering about us, eager to assist us in any way possible. Is it any wonder that Jean Regone Henry (above R) was very happy?
The CNU photographer could not resist taking one more photo of us, so here we are in our tent: (L-R) Ellen, Ray, Jane, Wilma, Curtis and behind Wilma and Curtiss, Raoul and Jean.
Although we did not have a front view of the stage, we could see one of the two huge screens left and right above the stage, visible in this CNU photo above, and the audio system was good, so we were able to see and hear the entire stage program, from President Trible’s opening remarks (below L) onward. The parents of the Commencement speaker, former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton and his wife (below R) were honored guests, and Governor Holton was awarded an honorary doctorate (CNU photo).
Other major events before the address of the speaker, Anne Holton, included recognition of the five inaugural winners of the Rosemary Trible Award for Leadership and Service (below L) and recognition of the student with the highest GPA in the Class of 2015, a perfect 4.0 (below R; CNU photos).
After all of the degree recipients received their diplomas from President Trible, who shook hands with each, and were hugged by Mrs. Trible after they left the stage, Commencement 2015 ended with a confetti shower, shown in this last CNU photo.
Published May 29, 2015
PLANNING TO ATTEND 50th Reunion:
Class of 1965
RAY PEPE in the 1965 TRIDENT (L) and at the First Decaders 2012 Picnic (R), with wife, Ruth.
Wilma Dotson in the 1965 TRIDENT (L) and in October of 2014 (R).
SALLY J. KRYM (now DAFASHY) in the 1965 TRIDENT and a recent photo.
Photo not yet available
JEAN M. REGONE (now HENRY)in the 1965 TRIDENT. NOW photo pending.
Gwen Seidler Stevens
Ellen Cox Wirt - On the right, Ellen (left) with Wilma Dotson at 2012 Picnic.
Leslie Deyong Frank
T. Pauline (Polly) White Bevins
FACULTY & OTHERS
DR. A. JANE CHAMBERS in the 1965 TRIDENT (L) and in 2013 (R), with a grand-nephew in Charlotte.
Math professor and track coach RAOUL WEINSTEIN in the 1966 TRIDENT (L) and in 2008 (R).