I read with interest Charlie Fountaine’s article titled ‘College Life Failed to Live Up to the Adults’ Hype” in last year’s final issue of the Campus Times. Fountaine concludes that, despite parents who say their college years were the best times of their lives, ‘most of college was either horrible or miserable” and ‘those wretched aspects of college life… couldn’t help but define our four years here.”

Like virtually all UR students, I was an academic overachiever senior class president, a fairly gifted athlete, etc., in high school. I had lots of options, but in 1968 I chose to attend UR. It is a decision I have never regretted, not once, not ever.

The University is where I learned what really goes on among other races and cultures, in Washington, in inner cities, in corporate America, in politics, in the military, in the drug culture and in academia. I learned how to think critically, to socialize, to play football for fun, to respect opposing viewpoints and how to make lifelong friends. In fact, at the height of the Vietnam War, being in an academic environment populated by incredibly talented professors (e.g., Regenstreif, Fenno, Niemi and Powell, all of whom are still at UR) and self-motivated scholar-athletes was a breathtaking experience I will never forget.

UR has blessed me in other ways as well. My oldest daughter graduated in 2007, and watching her grow and mature at UR was a grand experience. Mentors like Gerald Gamm, Celia Applegate, Kathleen Parthe and others taught her far more than I or her mother ever could, particularly since, unlike her father, she embraced everything from Boar’s Head dinners, to track parties, to suite living, to study abroad (in Russia). And in March, 2008, she married her classmate and best friend, himself now a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics and physics at Johns Hopkins University.

Did I wish the mailboxes back then were located somewhere other than Todd Union? Yes, indeed. But did that detract in the slightest from the quality, value and overall enjoyment of my undergraduate experience at UR? No way.

Michael Allen
Class of 1972

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