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Grateful Teachers Pass Along Oswego Education to Future Generations

Grateful Teachers Pass Along Oswego Education to Future Generations
For Donald '62 and Linda Mykland Blauvelt '61, SUNY Oswego is a special place. It's where they met and fell in love, prepared for a fulfilling career in education and met professors and friends they still remember fondly half a century later.

That's why the couple, this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of Linda's graduation and of their marriage, decided to leave Oswego a bequest in their will to establish the Blauvelt Scholarship Fund.

Sharing With Future Students

"We didn't come from a wealthy background by any means," says Don, who stressed how fortunate they felt to have attended Oswego at a time when there was no tuition.

Both became teachers and after decades in the classroom, are now retired. With their legacy gift to Oswego, the Blauvelts can fulfill their wish to pass on their great Oswego experience to future generations of students.

"We tried to give back so that other people might have the same opportunity," Don says.

The Blauvelts met during their freshman year at a Sigma Gamma fraternity party for Arethusa sorority sisters, which was the starting point for half a century of marriage.

"It was 1958 on a Sunday afternoon, and you would get dressed up and go over to the frat houses we were invited to and you would have punch and cookies, and the guys would wear a jacket and stand around," remembers Linda with a laugh. "That was the first time we talked."

Professors Really Cared

The couple has other fond memories of their time at Oswego, many revolving around the professors who nurtured them and set them on the path to a classroom career they loved.

For Don, it was the late Professor Richard Pfund, who saw a talent for drafting in the young man, and enlisted him to help draw up plans for a campus photo lab. Their friendly relationship extended beyond Don's graduation through involvement in Oswego's Maritime Museum. Also making a big impact on Don were George Radcliffe, an industrial arts professor, who supervised student teachers, and Earl Spar, who would have students over to his house at holiday time.

Dr. John Fisher taught Linda in freshman composition class and still remembers her when they attend Florida alumni events together.

"The teachers were always were there for you," says Linda, who has fond reminiscences of her first class in EEIA–elementary education industrial arts–with Dr. Robert Babcock '49.

Fond Memories Remain

"You were supposed to have a little shop in your classroom and have kids cut wood and make projects–wood projects, clay, leather," she says. "It was the Oswego way of learning by doing, the whole child experience."

Both remember classes in the "old wooden shacks" of Splinter Village. Don especially recalls a Saturday morning 8 o'clock phys ed class.

"It was freezing!" he says.

Beyond the classes, professors and Greek organizations, they fondly recall the City of Oswego and the many establishments–Nunzi's, Buckland's, McCarthy's– that students from the dry campus frequented.

They also had to abide by strict curfews.

"Even in the sorority house, we had to be in by 11 o'clock and if you didn't show up, you had to appear before a court of your peers and be grounded. You had to stay in and it was terrible," Linda says.

Now as they prepare for their 50th Reunion, the loyal alumni couple remembers how special their class felt, as the 100th class to graduate from Oswego, an event they celebrated outdoors on the steps of Sheldon Hall.

What better way to mark their special reunion–and Oswego's Sesquicentennial–than as the newest members of the Sheldon Legacy Society, the group of loyal donors who carry on Founder Edward Austin Sheldon's tradition by making an Oswego education possible for future generations through their estate gifts.

Join Us

To learn how you can leave your mark at SUNY Oswego by joining the Sheldon Legacy Society, click here.

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