Five decades after graduation, members of the Class of 1968 look back
Homecoming is a special time for University of Arizona alumni to be immersed in nostalgic memories of their college life.
This year, the class of 1968 will hold a reunion to meet friends 50 years after graduation. The year 1968 was a time of social upheaval, but how were the students’ lives different?
Olden Lee and Steve Lynn, two co-chairs of the Class of 1968 Reunion Committee, spoke about their memories of their days as students.
Lee was a business student who attended the university with a football scholarship. He said that he experienced fulfilling days as both a student and football player.
“I didn’t have a lot of free time to participate in other than sports and studies,” Lee said.
He loves football, and college football has been significant to him.
“Seeing the band [form] the ‘A’ on the field for the first time was special,” Lee said.
According to Lee, one of the best UA football games for him was against the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1967. The game was held Sept. 30 in Columbus, Ohio. The Wildcats won the game, 14-7.
All Sports Tucson counted this game as one of top 50 games in Arizona football history.
All Sports Tucson said on tucson.com, “this was a benchmark game for the program in that it showed Arizona could compete on a national basis against a team from a power conference — the Big Ten … All indications pointed to a potential rout by the Buckeyes, even though Ohio State was coming off a 4-5 season in 1966. They entered the game as 13-point favorites over the Wildcats.”
“Defeating Ohio State in Columbus will always be a fond memory,” Lee said.
He still keeps in touch with some of his friends from the football team.
Currently, Lee is retired and living in Texas, but he has been involved in the UA through the Alumni Association and the Eller College of Management Board of Advisors.
“Because of my continued association with the [UA], I’ve had the opportunity to attend many of the events,” Lee said. “The student enthusiasm is always great, it’s a highlight to the football season until the first Rose Bowl.”
Another member of the Class of 1968, Steve Lynn, pursued political science for his bachelor’s degree. He said he remembered three memorable events as a political science student.
1968 was in the middle of the Vietnam War. College students all over the U.S. held protests against the war, and the UA was no exception.
Lynn attended the protest on campus with thousands of students. He said many students participated in the protest at that time.
He also met Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy visited Tucson while on the campaign trail.
Lynn briefly had conversation with him. “It was [a] great [honor] to talk,” he said.
Another one of Lynn’s strongest memories was when he helped with his friends’ presidential campaign for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona in their senior year. Lynn managed and supported his friend throughout the campaign.
They ran the election as an independent candidate. Lynn said they struggled because most of opponents were members of sororities or fraternities who had supports from other members.
“It was a difficult campaign,” Lynn said.
However, in spite of their lack of a Greek background, the friend of Lynn was elected.
“It was the first time in a while that an independent candidate was elected … It was our great victory,” Lynn said.
He stated being a Wildcat was a good experience.
After his graduation in 1968, he was active duty in the Army for a short time and entered graduate school for communications in the following year.
He has retired from his full-time work in 2011. Now he “serves as Chairman of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board (First Things First), the University of Arizona Health Network, and is the Past Chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission,” according to the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
As an alumnus, he has supported the university from different aspects like finance and volunteers for more than 20 years.
This year he raised money for the reunion class gift with other members, over half a million dollars.
“I just want to give back,” he said. He recommended that students to keep in touch with the university after graduation because they “need your help.”
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