By Elaine Krasniak Rice, ’79, and Timothy Rice, ’79
We fell in love as students at St Bonaventure University in 1978. Yesterday (Aug. 22), we came home for the first time in 40 years.
We are not reunion people or wealthy donors. But we always remained connected in our hearts to this special place in our lives. Whenever we talked about coming home over the years we paused, fearing that St. Bonaventure could never be the same as we had preserved it in our minds.
We were wrong. The campus is still a magical gem. And the people were welcoming and lovely.
We were Dev residents — 2d and 3d East. The building retains its medieval charm, at least on the exterior. The inside, however, has another feel: the blue-collar grittiness that made the Dev experience different and, in many ways, better than the more modern and airy dorms elsewhere on campus.
As we attempted to enter Dev, we encountered locked doors. Not surprising in this post-9/11 era. Fortunately, the cleaning staff was on break near the steps and seemed excited to hear that we had walked the halls 4 decades ago and had driven 3 hours to see the place again. A lovely woman named Judy, who has cleaned Dev for the past 17 years, offered to give us a quick tour during her break. She was delightful and so proud to be our escort, as we strolled down hallways and into dorm rooms nearly unchanged. How we slept on the top of a triple bunk, which thankfully seems to have disappeared, remains a mystery.
As we walked the campus, we marveled at its beauty and the new additions. Every person we met offered us assistance with a smile. Amazingly, the university has been able to blend historic places like Butler Hall and Plassmann Hall with modern structures like the Quick Center and the Swan Business Center, while maintaining the gorgeous architecture and grounds.
Even the Hickey Dining Hall, where Elaine worked as a student “bouncer,” has a new look. The food seemed better and the place was buzzing with activity on a mid- August afternoon.
The new President, Dr. DePerro, worked the tables greeting everyone — even us! The man seems genuinely happy to be here and is as enthusiastic and genuine in person and as he seems in his letters to alumni. We spotted Coach Mark Schmidt and several friars dining among the students who had arrived early to welcome the freshmen or to train for sports.
The Reilly Center brought back many memories; especially the 1977 NIT championship banner, and the student bleachers right behind the team benches, where we witnessed us beat top teams like Syracuse and Villanova. The place must have been rocking this year for the Rhode Island game on national television.
Courtney Stockard, who helped lead the Rhode Island upset, stopped to chat on his way to training. Like the other students, he was kind and polite, and thanked us for supporting the team last year. His kindness was matched by the new Franciscan Center for Social Concern director, Alice Miller Nation, who explained the student public service programs, and then escorted us through the new McGinley-Carney Center, where we used to attend Mass.
Our day ended at Doyle Hall, named after Fr. Mathias Doyle, who served as the president during our days here. We ended, as the Franciscans had taught us, with a prayer of thanks in the chapel. We thanked God for our blessings, especially for our years together, our three beautiful daughters, and for this special place that brought us together.
Application forms, procedures and additional information
There are many ways to experience
St. Bonaventure for yourself
Learn more about the programs that interest you