emoment with carl

Why does college make such a difference in so many people’s lives? Certainly, the knowledge and professional experience we gain are hugely important. Friendships are just as valuable. Some of the friends that Gail and I made over 40 years ago in college have continued to accompany us through family illnesses, job changes, raising children, and the passing of our parents. Friends connect us to others who can give us hope. In 2008, a study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer found that women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. Frequently seeing friends or maintaining long-distance communication were less important than simply viewing each other as friends. Sometimes, even a small helping hand from friends makes a large difference. Researchers in Virginia gave students a heavy backpack at the base of a steep hill and asked them to estimate how steep the hill was. Some of the students had friends standing next to them, while others were alone. Those with friends did not estimate the hill to be as steep as those who stood alone. For almost 50 years, 17 women, all Elizabethtown College alumnae, have been having an annual reunion. Known as the Fairview Gang, they all resided together on the second or third floor of Fairview Hall, presently known to our community as Wenger Hall. “The highlight of our reunions,” says Rachel Spease ’58,” is catching up on everyone’s lives, children, grandchildren, travel experiences, etc. The most fun, by far, is reminiscing about our college days. Of course, each of us has made our own set of friends through work, church, neighborhood and daily living. However, I think my most precious friends, which are truly ‘lifetime friends,’ are the ones I made at Elizabethtown College. I consider these friends to be a ‘cherished fringe benefit’ of my college experience at Elizabethtown.” May we all make and nurture friendships like these throughout our lives.


P.S. I’d love to hear if you have stories like Rachel’s.



The Fairview Gang of Elizabethtown College, a standing reminder to us that life-long friendships give us hope.

 

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,
President


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