La Verne Magazine
"The University of La Verne: A Day in the Life"
Making Morbid Mischief
by Martha I. Fernandez
Today, the University of La Verne is centered on academics. Most people
leave the boundaries of the University to go "hang out." But for
the La Verne College of 1966, on campus student activity was as rampant
as apathy is today.
Class of '66 graduate Gary Rudin says that being on campus "was
the thing to do." On his list was hazing, a practice that is prohibited
today. Ironically, hazing the freshmen was thought to be an act that promoted
class unity after freshmen camp.
"They were usually [awakened] in the middle of the night at some
precise time and loaded into cars. They [upperclass men] took them up to
the orange groves and let them all off," he says.
Another common practice was hazing the new freshmen football players
after the first scrimmage game of the season. Rudin remembers this prank
well. He played on the team his first two years at LVC. He was the perfect
candidate for the ritual his freshman year.
"I was walking to the locker room, and they dropped a net on me
from a pepper tree," he says. "I got all tangled up in that, and
they kicked me, hit me and jumped me. They'd stand me up, and somebody would
run across the parking lot and knock me down.
"They wrapped me up in the net, threw me in the back of a van and
drove me around for about an hour. They opened the door. I didn't know where
I was, but I knew I was in the mountains. They threw me out on this mountain
road, and, before they left, they painted my bare back with yellow paint
and put a stripe down the middle of my back and took my shoes. They took
Eventually, a passerby rescued Rudin and gave him a ride back to campus.
These kind of pranks, however, were not exclusive to freshmen at the beginning
of the year. Homecoming was a popular event for mischief to rear its ugly
Thirty years ago, there were four residence halls. Women lived at Stu-Han
and Miller Halls, while the men lived at Brandt and Woody. For homecoming,
every hall decorated the exterior of the building with a theme. In 1966,
the more morbid the theme the better. Brandt Hall took on the appearance
of a mortuary.
And as Rudin explains, the men were going to do their best to frighten
as many people as they could."They got a bunch of caskets. They put
a guy in a casket and ran over to Stu-Han's lobby. They said there was a
terrible accident and would someone join them for a prayer and memorial
service. They put the casket down, and the guy jumped out and screamed,"
says Rudin, illustrating by leaving his seat and crouching over growling.
He returns to his seat laughing, "Oh, it was a trip."
This was not the only activity where a casket was used. The 1966 Homecoming
game was against the Occidental College Tigers. The class of 1966 buried
"Oxy the Tiger" at La Verne Cemetery and held a pep rally on the
"Things are different because the things we did then, if someone
did that [now], they'd get arrested," he says.
The Class of 1966 created a lot of mischief but also emphasized education.
For the males of the class, doing well in college was their only option
to not being drafted to Vietnam. "Student responsibility was a lot
different for men. No guy wanted to flunk out of college because you had
student deferment. As soon as you flunked out, you were enlisted,"
Also on campus 30 years ago, was sophomore Stephen Morgan, known then
as "Closet Man" among his peers. "He always looked like he
stepped out of a closet and had a freshly pressed shirt and neat pants,"
says Rudin laughing. "I bet he doesn't know that."
Among the memories of the future University President was attending
the mandatory weekly Chapel service every Tuesday morning. "If it was
a good speaker, it wasn't a drag; if it was a bad speaker, it was a real
drag," Dr. Morgan says.
In August 1966, final construction of the University Chapel was completed.
As Rudin remembers, the building was not whole heartedly welcomed by students.
"There was someone who didn't want the Chapel because they took down
the trees. [Protesting students] took the palm tree and carried it and the
roots. They clumped it on the steps of Founders, so the tree was down the
stairs," he explains.
Along with the Chapel built in 1966 came the Rock that is now embedded
in the lawn of Founders Hall. The original rock was located in front of
the original Spot, which was housed in the basement level of Miller Hall,
along with the bookstore. "It was the first week of school, fall of
1962, and they got somebody who was in construction to haul that rock down
there during the middle of the night and take the other rock out."
The students set the new Rock and said they buried the other in the Miller
Hall lawn. Replacing the Rock was a prank meant to show up Dr. Dwight Hanawalt,
dean of men at the time. "Dwight used to tell students that his class
brought the rock, and we used to kid him, "That's no rock, that's a
The pranks and traditions practiced in the 1960s are now only memories
to alumni of that era. But to present ULV students, there is still the Rock
and the Chapel.
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