Quinnipiac to welcome classes of 1970 and 1971 for Alumni Weekend

Adam Durso July 27, 2021

Paul and Nancy Smith with Alan Lasch at York Hill Campus

When the classes of '70 and '71 attend their 50th reunions in October, they will return to a memory-filled Mount Carmel Campus that initiated a lifetime of activism, altruism, and, ultimately, great success. Their fondness for Quinnipiac still burns brightly, they say.

“I believe that these classes were two of the most important in the history of Quinnipiac,” said Mark Farber ’70. “We gave birth to the Mount Carmel Campus — and it gave birth to us.”

Although COVID-19 dashed last year’s reunion plans for the Class of 1970, hopes for a reunion were kept alive by Farber and a committee of alumni who understood the impact those years had on each other and the university.

Reunions for both classes will take place Oct. 29-30, each with its own schedule of events. Tentative plans include campus tours, a tailgate before the men’s ice hockey game, a formal dinner, a student-faculty art show and many other activities.

There will also be stories and reflections about the students who wrote the script for a new era.

By 1966, Quinnipiac College had outgrown its New Haven location and moved to the now iconic Mount Carmel Campus in Hamden. Farber and his classmates began their education amid a backdrop of social change and unrest defined by the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, student protests and growing opposition to the Vietnam War.

Over the years, Farber realized that he’d gotten much more than an English degree from his alma mater.

"I credit my experiences on that campus as much as my education with molding who I am today," said Farber, who runs an organization that remediates toxic mining sits around the world.

Mark Farber '70 is a former Quinnipiac class president.

As class president, Farber organized a student sit-in on the steps of the library during the 1969-70 academic year. The demands included larger class sizes and better pay for student jobs.

“We struck for many things, and we got them all,” Farber recalled. “It was a time when people really cared about things.”

Paul Smith ’71 was among those who took part in the sit-in. Smith recalls sweating out radio broadcasts of the military draft with his roommates and attending eye-opening speeches on campus delivered by Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, and political activist Angela Davis.

“Social change was so dynamic at that point,” Smith said. “We all came of age — us, the university and the country as a whole.”

As a junior, Smith met his wife, Nancy (Johnson) Smith ’73, who graduated from Quinnipiac’s allied health program. They both enjoyed successful careers — Paul Smith in banking and Nancy Smith in cytotechnology, the study of cells to detect cancer and other abnormalities. In 48 years together, they have traveled all over the world. When they’re not traveling, they split their time between homes in Clermont, Florida, and Southington, Connecticut.

The Smiths recently endowed a scholarship available to students in Quinnipiac’s graduate-level pathologists’ assistant program and its undergraduate finance program.

“Looking back,” Paul Smith said, “Quinnipiac gave us our start, and we wanted to help people become as successful as we were.”

Ruth Kummings ’70, another reunion committee member, also plans to support the university and its mission. As class secretary from 1966-70, she helped to create several student-based programs and events, including dances and the annual jazz festival. She worked with Farber to bring performers to campus for May Weekend.

“We worked really hard to make the college experience meaningful for everyone,” Kummings recalled.

Photo of Ruth Kummings when she was a student at QuinnipiacRuth Kummings '70, shown here during her time at Quinnipiac, was actively involved in campus activities as a student.

Kummings turned her psychology degree into a 40-year career teaching special education in the Prince George’s County School System in Maryland. In 2018, she returned to Quinnipiac for the first time in decades to attend the inauguration of President Judy Olian. She was awestruck by the facilities she saw on all three of the university’s campuses.

“It was such a pleasure to see that kind of growth, and it made me eager to come back again,” Kummings said.

Kummings, Farber and Smith credited director of gift planning Eve Forbes and development officer Amy Rosen for their keeping the two reunion committees engaged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thanks to Eve and Amy, we were always certain that a reunion would happen eventually,” Kummings said.

Smith can’t wait to reminisce with his Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity brothers. Kummings is eager to see and learn how Quinnipiac is preparing students for the global stage. Farber is beckoned by the role he and his peers played in shaping the university.

“That’s our legacy, part of our inheritance,” Farber said. “When you receive an inheritance, you have to decide what it was worth and how you want to pay homage to it.”

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