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Class of ’58 ready for laughter, fellowship, and memories

For the last 50 years at each of its Reunions, the Class of ’58 has gathered at the statue of the Leopard on the hillside leading down to Fisher Stadium and Oechsle Hall for a group photo.

In 1958, that statue didn’t even exist. Wishing to leave a unique, lasting contribution to the campus it called home for four years, the Class of ’58 undertook an ambitious fundraising campaign to come up with $6,000 – the average yearly salary of a graduating senior in 1958 – to commission the Leopard statue. Due to overwhelming campus support for the project, the Alumni Association contributed a grant that allowed the class to reach its fundraising goal.

Easton native Edgar Zell Steever IV worked with the class to design and create the statue that today continues to be a visible representation of the pride of generations of Lafayette undergraduates. Steever would go on to become an internationally known sculptor-engraver at the U.S. Mint.

This spring, “The Leopard Class” will return to College Hill June 5-8 for its 50th Reunion celebration. Its special gift is sponsoring a second leopard statue to be placed at the Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex in Forks Township. Like many members of the Reunion committee, Ed Alkire ’58 has helped plan each event since the class’ fifth Reunion in 1963.

“Event planning and party preparation are fun for me,” he says. “I take satisfaction in working behind the scenes to make Reunion enjoyable for my returning classmates.”

  • Online registration, a full schedule of events and other information, links to video and photo highlights from past Reunions, and more stories on this year’s Reunion classes are available on the Reunion webpage. More stories on Reunion classes will be posted in the coming weeks.

Highlights of this year’s events will include a barbecue at the new Leopard statue, a private tour of the Bourger Varsity Football House with head football coach Frank Tavani, dinner at Chateau Chavaniac with College archivist Diane Windham Shaw, and a presentation by Michiko Okaya, director of the Williams Center for the Arts gallery, on the creation of the new statue.

For Bill Harding ’58, this will be his first time attending Reunion.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience on the Hill,” says the president of the Florida Gulf Coast Alumni Chapter. “I’m looking forward to renewing old acquaintances, remembering the good times past, and feeling again the pride in what Lafayette has become and where we are going.”

Bob Harris ’58 and Spencer Manthorpe ’58 have been involved in the planning of most Reunions since their first. They both encourage classmates to attend, especially those who have never made the trip back for Reunion.

“Get here,” says Harris. “We’re running out of Reunions.”

“You have to come back and see us all,” adds Manthorpe. “This is the last formal Reunion, so it’s the last chance to see the guys. It is great to see all the old guys and tell the old stories.”

Alkire promises that the chance to catch up will be the most memorable Reunion experience.

“I have laughed so hard my sides hurt at the Saturday class dinners,” he says. “The good humor and fellowship have always been among my fondest memories. This is the big one. If you’ve missed any or all of the other nine, this is the one to attend. Some classmates are coming back for the first time in 50 years. Wait until you see the changes on our beautiful campus.”

Ed Brunswick ’58, a member of the class Reunion committee, wants classmates to make every effort to attend, but suggests that those who cannot come send a DVD or CD with pictures that can be played on a screen during Reunion festivities.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” he says. “No one is trying to get in your pocket. This is a time of love and camaraderie with your classmates. It can be expensive for some men, but we have a small ‘kitty’ to help people out and no one will know. See old friends, renew acquaintances, and find out where classmates are presently so you can contact them if they are in your city. Come to the party.”

And if anyone needs extra encouragement, “the dorm is air conditioned,” Alkire says.

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