Brother Guy F. Roddy FIC
The First Day As I Remember It
Finally it was here, the first day, Thursday, November 17, 1960. It was cloudy and overcast, typical for November in Ohio, as I later learned. Young, nearly new, high school grads, began to mingle in the now unknown lobby at the east end of "college hall". All sixty-seven of us, some thirty-seven from Central Catholic High School alone, and a dozen or so of us student Brothers were there, eager and apprehensive to begin. They were in jackets and ties; we in black cassocks and crucifixes. The seven faculty Brothers, later to be known as the "Founders," passed among us introducing themselves. Brother Robert Francoeur, having diligently mastered our application photos, greeted each one of us by name.
At a signal from Brother Thomas Farrell there was a hush and the Brothers assembled on the steps of the stairway at the west end of the lobby. Br. Farrell, speaking from the landing, welcomed us and noted the importance of this historic moment. He even compared it to the founding of that other great Catholic University, just down the road west of us. Some of us, no doubt, thought that this was pretentious. Years later I saw that humble log cabin at Notre Dame and revised my opinion. Ours was a better start.
With another signal, Brother Thomas sent the class off to take placement tests that first day. We hadn't heard of ACT or SAT tests in those days. Several of us student Brothers, however, "upperclassmen" from La Mennais College who had saved our freshmen year for Walsh, headed back to the residence to help with the clean-up. Carpenters were still finishing doors and creating lots of dust. The actual first day of classes, as I try to remember, probably was not until Monday the 21st. That Friday before was needed to correct the tests and draw up the class lists. The first semester, however, was only twelve weeks, not the usual fifteen. Classes were held four rather than three days a week. There were no science classes that first year, the labs were not ready. Frankly, in no time, it all seemed pretty ordinary.