Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2016

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 31 of 67

30 PIERCE / SPRING 2016 "When we had time, we'd go deer shooting out behind the campus," recalls Savarese, one of the charter members of the Class of 1966, who in June will be commemorating the 50 th anniversary of the university's frst graduating class. "We'd keep our rifes in our dorm rooms. I'm not sure if you could get away with that today." Savarese arrived as a transfer from CW Post College in Long Island, New York. He had spent his freshman year going to school nights and working days at his father's construction company, a schedule he didn't particularly enjoy. So when he traveled with a friend to the now defunct Nathanial Hawthorne College in Antrim, he took time to check out the fedgling college. "I was an outdoors kind of kid—still am, actually— so I loved being on a campus that was so gorgeous," says Saverese, who now lives in St. Augustine, FL. "I knew it was where I needed to be." When Dr. Frank DiPietro, a businessman from Fitchburg, MA, and four partners purchased a 216-acre estate overlooking Pearly Pond in 1962, he envisioned a liberal arts college not for the elite student, but for those from modest means with the drive and determination to succeed. "The College seeks to take primarily students in the 'normal range' of high school graduates but who have not been able to shape up their own self-concepts as well as they would like," reads a selection from the introduction of the 1964-1965 Catalog. It continues: "It is interesting, too, in the students whose ori- entation to life is highly practical and who have rebelled against the more traditional academic curriculum." Charlie Berry '66 was one of those stu- dents. After graduating from Newtown High School in Queens, NY, in 1960, he spent a year at a midwest college but he dropped out. Returning to New York City, he worked for two years as a mailroom messenger for the New York Times while trying to decide what to do next with his life. Through word of mouth, he learned about the new college that was starting in Rindge, where, coinci- dently, his family had owned a vacation cot- tage on Lake Monomonac for several years. The First Class Arrives Berry and Savarese were among the 97 stu- dents who arrived in January 1963 for the start of the frst term. They were welcomed by six faculty and three administrators. Tu- ition was $980, while room and board was $1,220, for a total of $2,200—a little more than $17,000 in today's dollars. The operat- ing budget was about $300,000. "Everyone was aware they were at a new school, but we all welcomed it," recalls Diane (Copland) Albonizio '66. She grew up in Upper Saddle River, NJ, which at that time was mostly farmland, so moving to another rural area proved to be easy. Not so much for a lot of her classmates, more than half of whom hailed from the metro New York area. "The city kids, they had a hard time adjusting to such a rural area, especially when you had to go 20 miles into Keene to get a decent pizza. But I loved it—it felt like home to me." She was one of just a handful of women who were part of that frst cohort. They lived during the frst year in the Rice Building in downtown Rindge, a large white carriage house, over- seen by housemistress Mrs. Dow ("We only knew her by her last name," Albonizio laughs). The males lived in the Manor (renamed in 2004 as Peterson House), where as many as six stu- dents bunked in the same room above the school's original dining area and classrooms. Muriel (Finn) O'Neil '66 transferred to Franklin Pierce in 1964 after earning her associate degree from Westchester Community Ron Savarese CLASS OF THIS PAGE: ZACHARY THOMAS/MONARCH STUDIO. FACING PAGE: OLIVER PARINI.

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