The World War II-era Alumni Reunion this past Saturday sought to recreate the feel of the ‘40s for the graduates of what was then Troy State Teachers College.
The Troy University jazz ensemble played hits such as “It Had to Be You,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” and “Georgia on My Mind” in between guest speakers and recollections of past times.
The alumni at the reunion were from the time when veterans from World War II came back from service and entered college, said Virginia Bush, TROY alumna and co-chair of the event.
“We girls just had our choice of all these terrific guys,” she said with a laugh.
Bush said her favorite memory from her time at TROY was meeting her husband.
“It was the day I registered,” she said. “It was in front of Bibb Graves, and he was waiting to meet me. Three years later I got my BA degree and my (master’s) degree.”
Francis Grouby, a former cheerleader, also met her husband at TROY.
“I had the room over the door in Shackelford Hall, and he saw me coming in one Sunday afternoon, so he asked me for a date,” she said. “I didn’t want to go. Virginia Bush said, ‘Go on with him, he looks like a nice guy,’ so we went to dinner downtown.”
While the dating scene at TROY may have remained virtually unchanged, the physical scene is vastly different from what students in the late ‘40s experienced.
“There’s so many more beautiful buildings,” Grouby said. “We only had Shackelford Hall and Bibb Graves (when I started), and Cowarts Hall was built the next year.”
What was once a clay pit covered in kudzu is now the football field, and the area in front of Bibb Graves with the commemorative concrete slabs used to be home to pecan trees that students would congregate under.
“Now that it’s done, I’m glad it’s done, and it’s really very, very nice, and I did buy a brick,” Bush said. “I appreciate the progress and everything that’s been done.”
The biggest difference to one attendee was the growth of the band.
Dr. Lacey Powell, co-chair of the event and a former member of the band, remembers when the band would play for high school dances, go on tours and when the first band day was held.
“The band is much larger now with more majors,” he said. “We had some very good majors and some of them were very successful.”
One thing these alumni agreed on was that TROY is a special place that has given them life-long friends and memories to look back on.
“What stuck with me the most are the friends that I made during that time and the fellowship that we enjoyed,” he said.