|Alumna Erveen Serra - Photos by Rachel Kraft
|Alumnus Eugene Norlander|
The Class of 1951 was the first class to spend their first four years together under the name University of Minnesota Duluth. They met again for their 61st anniversary on Sunday, September 16, 2012, because they had so much fun at their 60th anniversary last year. Erveen Serra and Eugene Norlander were two of the people who graduated in this class and came to the festivities.
Serra is a retired dance instructor from Virginia, Minn. “I enjoy coming back to UMD, not only to see my friends, but also see how the school has changed over the years,” Serra said. Serra’s daughter graduated in 1977, and her granddaughter is a senior this year.
Serra had many fond memories of the university including when she lived in Torrance Hall with many friends. “Back then, we had a house mother,” Serra recalled “It’s not like today. Boys could only come during certain times, and they had to meet us in the lobby. During the week, it was eight o’clock at night and during the weekends, it was 10 o’clock.”
Serra also recalled some of her extracurricular activities. She was cast as Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, in the play The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus about a man who sold his soul to the devil for a few wealthy and “happy” years. Serra was in the Rangers Club, a club for people from certain dorms and apartments to gather and create community. She served as the club's secretary during her senior year of college.
Serra liked many of her classes and professors as well. Her favorite class at UMD was her modern dance class, because it was something new to her. “I had learned tap dancing and jazz dancing before, but modern was a totally different thing for me” Serra said. In June 2012, after 60 years of dancing she decided it was time to retire.
Serra graduated with a degree in English. Shr expressed that she had many wonderful times at UMD and remarked, “The University of Minnesota Duluth is one of the greatest universities, in my opinion. It has a small town atmosphere, but with anything and everything you could want.”
Eugene "Pug" Norlander enjoyed catching up with people during the anniversary. He has stayed in contact with some people throughout the years, but he was able to visit with others that he hadn’t seen in a long time.
Reflecting on the classes he took, Norlander recalled that his favorite classes were in science and history. “Many of the classes were pretty small. The school itself was small with only 2,500 students at the time. I graduated from high school with six of the people who were studying here,” Norlander said. "I went to visit the U of M Twins Cities, but it was too large."
One of his favorite pastimes was playing for the university’s basketball team. His fondest memory was as a starter when UMD beat St. Thomas, who was the best team at the time, by one point. “It was a great feeling to beat the best,” Norlander said. He graduated with a degree in physical education and went on to earn a Master’s in Education from UMD.
Written by Katarina Menze, September 2012