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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “50 years later, the class of ’56 remembers the UA”

    50 years later, the class of 56 remembers the UA

    In 1956, the worst thing UA students did was drink beer in a riverbed.

    It was a time when UA men were leaving for the Korean War, students could not vote until they were 21 and Greek houses would join residence halls in singing competitions.

    Members of the class of 1956 will return to campus this weekend to celebrate their 50th anniversary and reflect on a time when 5,000 students attended the UA.

    In 1953, Evelyn Kubis transferred from the University of Michigan to the UA.

    Kubis said she has fond memories from the UA, such as meeting her husband and marrying him during her junior year, and she holds the time she spent as a student at the UA dear to her heart.

    “”Back then, the UA was a small campus, everyone knew everyone,”” Kubis said. “”The professors I had were great, and my speech professor in particular gave me great advice.””

    Kubis, who earned her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and elementary education, said Homecoming would feature beautiful parades.

    Some Homecoming traditions Kubis said she remembers participating in as a student are still in practice today.

    “”Mostly, I was involved in helping my husband do the floats for the fraternity Delta Sigma Phi,”” Kubis said. “”A lot of work went into them, a lot of thought, not like they do now, where the students jump up and down on a truck. The tents on the Mall were also lot more downscaled than they are now.””

    Mona Bambauer Niehaus, also a 1956 UA graduate, said she remembers when her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, won first place in the traditional campus sing-off.

    “”On the women’s athletic field, we would have a competition called ‘the sings,'”” Niehaus said. “”All of the greek houses and dormitories would participate in a singing competition.””

    That year, Gamma Phi Beta sang Nat King Cole’s “”Sands in the Sea.”” The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity won first place in the men’s competition, and two weeks later, the sorority and fraternity cut a record together.

    “”It was fantastic,”” Niehaus said.

    Unlike the campus atmosphere today, Kubis said she does not have vivid memories of the UA being a very political campus during her time here.

    But Kubis said back then, the voting age was 21, and she said that is the reason the UA was not very politically active.

    Niehaus said the class of 1956 was in college during the Korean War, and a lot of men were leaving for Korea.

    “”I remember a group of students being very political, but it was not the parading that the younger generations do now,”” she said. “”My generation was very easygoing, our parents didn’t worry about us. It was before drugs, and the worst that happened was a beer bust in a riverbed. A beer bust is when a fraternity and sorority would illegally take beer and go out to the mountains and drink it – that’s the worst we did.””

    Both Niehaus and Kubis said they think college life is much more fast-paced than when they were in school.

    “”I think with computers, life is a lot faster. You have a lot more intense classes,”” Kubis said. “”Although, I have met a number of UA students through Swing Cats and have always found the students to be very friendly and very level-headed.””

    Niehaus said the students of today are bright and take better care of themselves in adverse situations.

    “”We were just so innocent back then,”” she said of students in 1956.

    Niehaus, who was a first-grade teacher, said her career is the result of graduating from the UA.

    “”As far as the UA is concerned, everything was positive,”” said Niehaus. “”I wanted to go to the UA since I was 9 years old. I loved the campus. I always felt that’s where I would be after high school.””

    With 38,000 students at the UA, Niehaus said she would feel overwhelmed if she were a student today.

    “”I remember how happy I was walking on the campus, though,”” she said. “”The essence of the campus is the still the same. Even though the student union is different, I love what has happened to the campus.””

    Niehaus and Kubis, who both live in Tucson, said they are looking forward to their 50-year reunion this weekend.

    “”I remember the 50-year reunion alumni coming out on the field during the Homecoming football game and thinking, ‘I wonder if I’m going to make it that long’ – and I did,”” Niehaus said.

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