Joe and Pattie Pastore are one of the rare couples who experienced St. Bonaventure both as undergraduate students and as community members after graduation. Pattie, ’65, who was one of the first women to play basketball in the Brown and White, taught elementary school locally. Joe, ’63, a campus leader in his own right as a student, served on the School of Business faculty – eventually as dean – and also as University provost.
Like many St. Bonaventure couples, their relationship started as a simple conversation, something at the heart of the SBU experience.
“We talked on the steps of Butler Gym,” recalled Pattie. “We sat there for about an hour or more, and just talked and talked. It was not something I ordinarily did, which was striking.”
Joe took a moment to reflect on that meeting on Butler steps. “What we discovered during that first encounter was that we were comfortable with one another and we had the makings of a sincere friendship, which is probably at the heart of all lasting relationships. What I discovered upon meeting Pattie was that she is a bright and caring and beautiful person in the fullest sense of the word. After almost 50 years of marriage, my first impressions remain affirmed.
“That following fall I was a senior and Pattie was a sophomore, and we were at The Olean House for a social and chatted again,” continued Joe. “I was in ROTC at the time, and the Military Ball was coming up, so I said ‘Let me try a courageous thing.’ She was living at St. Elizabeth’s, the women’s dorm, and I called her, and she said yes. I thought, ‘Whoa!’ And we were launched.”
Pattie looked at it matter-of-factly: “I knew him, he was nice, and I had a dress.”
Joe went off to the military while Pattie finished her junior and senior years. They would see each other on vacations. The furthest he went was Indianapolis, and then he ended up stationed in New York City, where he got his masters, while Pattie lived at the edge of the City.
“Our situation is a little unique in that three months after I graduated, Joe and I were back on campus,” said Pattie. “We were there for a year and then we went to St. Louis where Joe got his Ph.D. We came back [to St. Bonaventure] from 1968 to 1976.”
Joe interjected, “Pattie was a member of the Class of 1965, and by the fall of ’65 she was a member of the ‘Faculty Wives Club’ as it was known then. Imagine going so quickly from being a student to a faculty wife.”
Looking back, St. Bonaventure in the early 1960s was certainly a different place than it is today. “When I came to Bonaventure a typical class had 20 women. That started to change with the Class of ’65, which had 60 women,” said Pattie. “The first women I met were my nine roommates – I was the 10th – in one gigantic room on the third floor of St. Elizabeth’s. We felt like pioneers. These friendships lasted; I’m still in touch with a bunch of those first women I met. All that closeness and bonding was a part of the Franciscan spirit. It was not just a part of who I was. It was a feeling we all had – a feeling of closeness and mutual respect among men and women with a common bond.”
Joe reflected, “Pattie and I based our friendship and marriage largely upon who we were when we arrived, and the formation we had with our family and friends. Bonaventure added to that. There is no question in my mind that there was, and still is, a tone at Bonaventure built upon the Franciscan tradition. Yes, the community was and is mostly Catholic, of course, but it is also very humanistic – a communal quality founded largely upon the life of Francis of Assisi. But let’s face it; there is also a practical side to all of this. When you arrived at Bona’s in the 1960s – and even today, I assume – you were there. If you didn’t get along on a human level, if you weren’t a part of that human existence, you were likely to transfer the next year.”
In that era, certain programs were in place to ensure students lived up to the humanistic values. “Up until the early ’60s the University had a program known as ‘Rules.’ It was a program that began at the close of orientation and, for some classes, lasted until Thanksgiving break,” said Pattie. “One of the basic rules, especially for freshmen, was an obligation to greet and say ‘hello’ to everyone you passed on campus. Nobody walked with their head down.”
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