Three Members of Class of '62 Shared Alumni Title

May 16, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — As they celebrated their 50th class reunion, three members of the Mount Union Class of 1962 reflected on something else they had in common.

At different points in the last 50 years, Dodie Davis ‘62, Larry Horton ‘62 and William Banfield ‘62 each served as alumni directors at the University of Mount Union. The first to serve in this capacity was Banfield, who was hired to serve as alumni director by Dr. Carl Bracy from 1964 to 1970.

“Those six years launched me into a 35-year career in collegiate fundraising,” Banfield said. “If I majored in anything at Mount Union, it was socializing — so it was a natural fit for me.”

After leaving Mount Union, Banfield worked at a number of other universities in alumni and development capacities. He is now retired.

“It’s nice to be back,” Banfield said of being in Alliance for the 50th reunion. “I think there will be a lot of people who will forget that we had three alumni directors from this class.”

Larry Horton was the next member of the Class of 1962 to serve as Mount Union’s alumni director, running the office from 1970 to 1975. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Horton worked as a junior and senior high social studies teacher for several years. Horton learned from Banfield that there was an opening at Mount Union in admissions and after calling and talking to president Ronald Weber, he learned the alumni director position was open as well. Horton was interviewed for the alumni position and got the job.

“I loved working with the staff at Mount Union,” Horton said. “We had wonderful people. I have a lot of great memories of working with alumni around the country.”

Although he noted that many things have changed on Mount Union’s campus since he worked in the alumni office, Horton is still proud to be a Mount Union graduate.

“Mount Union was a great school and it still is today,” he said. “I’ve marveled over the years about how it has grown, physically, in enrollment, athletically and academically. It’s just a tremendous place.”

Though she was the last of the three to serve in the role of alumni director, Dodie Davis had the longest career at Mount Union, beginning as dean of women in 1968. As dean of women, Davis took care of all non-academic items involving students, including orientation, student organizations, Greek life and housing. She served in that role until 1987, when she became alumni director.

“It seemed like a natural move because I would then be working with a lot of former students and new alumni I had known as students,” Davis said.

During her time at Mount Union, Davis saw a number of changes and challenges stemming from current events.

“The 1969-1970 academic year was a really difficult year on many campuses because of the May 4 Kent State tragedy,” she said. “The Vietnam War was very intense and men were faced with the draft if they weren’t in college. Mount Union made it through that time with the help of lots of good people.”

Despite daily confrontations in the quad during that time period, Davis said members of the Mount Union staff kept things running smoothly between students and staff.

“Faculty members were close with students and helped us get through that period of time,” she said.

During the fall of 1970, Mount Union saw positive changes with the opening of the Timken Building, which gave students a place to recreate. Also during that time, Title IX came into play and curfews for women were done away with.

“We made a lot of social changes in that period of time,” Davis said.

Davis recalled traveling the country to organize alumni events, with stops including the west coast, Florida, New York City, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. She ran all class reunions and got to know a lot of people that way. During her time at Mount Union, Davis was a part of the early Schooler Lecture presentations, which started in 1989. Also as alumni director, Davis was active with Stagg Bowl festivities.

“In the early days (of the Stagg Bowl), people thought we might not be there again,” she said. “That was always a really special time. Football success made a big difference in that alumni who live all across the country have been able to follow along and feel good about that.”

Davis said she had an opportunity to interact closely with many students during her time as alumni director.

“It was a really fun job,” she said. “I really enjoyed working with college-aged students. One of the joys for me is to see how they’ve gone on to be very productive citizens in their communities.”

Davis, of Alliance, retired from the alumni director position in 2003. She now enjoys playing bridge and volunteering in her free time.

“It’s fun to be in charge of your own calendar,” she said. “I’m enjoying retirement a lot.”

Although each of the three served as alumni director at different points in their careers, all agreed on one thing — they couldn’t believe it has been 50 years since they graduated.

“I didn’t think we’d ever get that old,” Davis said. “It’s doesn’t seem like it’s been 50 years, that’s for sure.”

“It is a little unnerving because back in the 60s, when I would see the 50-year class come in, they looked incredibly old, and I sure don’t feel that way,” Banfield said.

“The amazing thing is that when I was alumni director and these classes would come back, to me as a young person those folks seemed ‘old.’ Now that I’m at that age, I don’t feel that old,” Horton said.

During the recent 50th reunion, the three alumni directors, dressed as the “Three Amigos,” made a presentation to Anne (Zimmer ’95) Graffice, director of alumni relations and university activities, and her staff.

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