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The Hofstra Family at 65

May 22 - August 25, 2000

David Filderman Gallery
9th floor, Axinn Library

Guest Curator: Geri Solomon, University Archivist


Kappa Omicron, 1939
Kappa Omicron, 1939

As Hofstra University celebrates its 65th anniversary, it is important to remember that many individuals make up this extended family. As in all families, the composite picture is complex, diverse and to be celebrated. Born of the Depression, growing up during a world war, and coming of age during a period that many still refer to as "happy days," Hofstra University has had to change and adapt many times during its history. Future generations of "Hofstronians" should remember that their family has wonderful roots.

The focus in each section of this exhibition is individual faces. The faces may be grouped together in play, at work, or in amusing situations. For some instances I have used a modern depiction of the theme selected; for others I have focused primarily on the early years of our history. I begin with photographs of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Hofstra and their life in Hempstead in 1903. We then view the early years of the campus with glimpses of the first Trustees of Hofstra College, the initial faculty and the first student body. The views of our "family" are most endearing when we glance back to our past.

Spring Day Float, 1952
Spring Day Float, 1952

Some will fondly remember the large back porch of Hofstra Hall where students gathered for pep rallies and pranks. Others will recall the airplanes overhead when the North Campus was the Mitchell Field Air Force Base. Many will recall the sense of pride when people such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr., and more recently, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and the Rt. Hon. the Baroness Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain visited our campus. In each case, an image of a face, or a group of faces, will tell the story more succinctly and with more emotion than a written history ever could. Each series of photographs and memorabilia highlights a theme. As a photo album or scrapbook might, these images tell a slice-of-life story. Here, then, are many of the familiar faces of Hofstra University.

Section I: The Hofstra Family Genealogy

Mr. and Mrs. William S. Hofstra purchased land in Hempstead in 1903. They built their retirement home, which they referred to as "The Netherlands," and moved in by 1904. William Hofstra was partners with Howard Brower in the Nassau Lumber Company and was the New York director of Price Brothers Company, a Canadian-based firm that dealt in lumber and pulp paper.

1. Mr. William S. Hofstra Photograph, c. 1903, 16 x 20 ins.

2. Mrs. Kate M. Williams Hofstra Photograph, c. 1904, 16 x 20 ins.

3. Hofstra estate aerial view, Hempstead, New York Photograph, c. 1932, 16 x 20 ins.

4. Mr. Hofstra loved cars; this is his Rolls Royce pictured with the chauffeur and garage on the Hofstra property Photograph, c. 1928, 16 x 20 ins.
Kate Hofstra was the first vice president of Bide-A-Wee of New York, an agency that protected and housed animals. She was also an equestrian, an opera enthusiast and philanthropist. Mr. Hofstra was a prominent businessman and a Freemason, and was known to be both charitable and charming.

5. Skin care jar, c. 1932; this item sat on Mrs. Hofstra's vanity, 2 x 4 ins.

6. Nassau Lumber Co. Inc. Stock certificate, 1935, 11 x 8 ins.

7. Nassau Lumber Co. Inc. Ledger book, 1906-1907, 10 x 5 ins.

Section II: Our First Descendants

Mr. Hofstra died in 1932, leaving the bulk of his estate to his wife. Mrs. Hofstra died shortly thereafter, in 1933. Her will made clear her intentions for the property and monetary estate. Her executors, Mr. Howard Brower and Mr. James Barnard, were to build a memorial to her husband. The first Trustees-local educators, financiers and businessmen-were brought together by Howard Brower and Truesdel Peck Calkins. The idea for an educational facility on Long Island had long been a dream of Calkins, and the Hofstra mansion and grounds presented the perfect opportunity to make this dream a reality. New York University, where Calkins was the director of the Bureau of Appointments, was eager to associate with the fledgling institution, and we were initially known as New York University's Nassau College Hofstra Memorial. The first faculty was drawn from NYU of New York City, and students commuted from Long Island and the surrounding boroughs. Those who were from "out of town" rented rooms with local residents.

8. First Board of Trustees - (l to r) Maure, Sprague, Phillips, Brower, Calkins, Dodd, Johnson, Estabrook Photograph, 1940, 16 x 20 ins.

9. First faculty, standing (l to r) Henkel, Welton, Truitt, Gottlieb, Free, Clarke, Swift, Brous, Haney, Smith, seated (l to r) Engleken (Bohl), Blodgett, Stroh, Whitman, Knapp, Olinger, Phyfe Photograph, 1935, 11 x 14 ins.

10. Class of 1941 Photograph 11 x 14 ins.

11. Hofstra students on back porch of Hofstra Hall for pep rally Photograph, c. 1952, 16 x 20 ins.

12. Kappa Omicron Photograph, 1939, 11 x 14 ins. 13. Freshman students during fraternity rush Photograph, 1941, 11 x 14 ins.

14. Greased Pole Climb Photograph, c. 1950s, 11 x 14 ins.

15. Epsilon Sigma Interfraternity Softball Team, front row starting third from left, Steve Backiel, Bernie Fixler, Bernie Rieser, Andy Flaherty. Back row, starting third from left, Ralph Clark, Bill Joseph, Dick Hobson Photograph, c. 1939, 11 x 14 ins.
Although the College was founded during an economic depression, students from local areas were eager to attend. Some, who might otherwise have attended out-of-state universities, needed to be close to home where they could work to help support their families. Our first students were fervently committed to their new alma mater and quickly formed clubs, honorary societies, student government organizations, fraternities and sororities. A student newspaper, yearbook and literary magazines appeared within the first few months of classes. Dances, teas and other social occasions were held on a regular basis.

16. Hofstra College sweater, c. 1940

17. Dance card, Crown & Lance Fraternity of Hofstra College Holiday Dance, 1941, 3 x 2 ¼ ins.

18. Promotional magazine of Hofstra College, 1941 Students pictured include, from left to right, Pat Chalfont, Harry Yale and Ruth Dynes, 12 x 9 ins.

19. Outstanding Women's Intramural Team trophy presented by Faculty Women's Club, Hofstra College. Won by Wreath & Foil, 1954, 10 x 8 ins.

Section III: How We Suffered Through the War

Hofstra College was only seven years old in 1942. Many of the enrolled students were eligible for service in the armed forces. As the war required so many of the country's young men to enlist, the educational institutions began to feel the impact. The classes of 1942 and 1943 at Hofstra College were primarily women. Brower Hall, then a brand-new building, had to be closed to conserve heat. The Blue Beetle bus lost its wheels due to the need to recycle rubber tires. Women students enlisted as well, becoming WACS and WAVES. In addition to students, many faculty members and administrators went to war. The College was in danger of closing its doors. The Chair of the Board of Trustees questioned the State Regents as to how the College might go about doing this, since the Chair's sanction was needed before such an action. The commissioner of education requested that the Board of Trustees consider waiting "a bit" longer before making such a drastic decision.

20. Wartime flag held by Hofstra students Hope Morehead (Brockway) and Mildred Beckman Photograph, 1945, 11 x 14 ins.

21. R.O.T.C. commissioning after Commencement in Calkins Hall Photograph, 1955, 11 x 14 ins.

22. R.O.T.C. Photograph, April 1, 1944, 11 x 14 ins.

23. R.O.T.C. on the back porch of Hofstra Hall Photograph, c. 1950s, 11 x 14 ins.

24. Students on stairs of Memorial Hall Photograph, c. 1949, 11 x 14 ins.
Although the financial picture was not pretty and the situation was near desperate in terms of enrollment, the Trustees were asked to consider putting Robert Moses on the Board of Trustees and then, persevere. The knowledge that life would return to "normal" and that veterans would seek educational institutions upon their return from overseas helped in this decision. In the meantime, the institution kept on with women college students who took over the positions that male students previously held.

25. Hofstra Chronicle, College newspaper, September 24, 1943, issue The headline depicts war news, including the need to curtail men's athletics, purchase of war bonds and the availability of course work in the Engineering Science and Management War Training Program. 15 ¼ x 11 ¼ ins.

26. Tri Beta Biology Club war correspondence from Camp Barkeley, Texas, January 11, 1943, 11 x 10 ins.

27. Tri Beta Biology Club war correspondence from U.S. Army San Francisco Port of Embarkation, c. 1943, 11 x 10 ins.

28. Hofstra College Roll of Honor naming those who lost their lives in World War II, c. 1945, 15 x 10 ins.

29. David Zurian (Class of 1956) R.O.T.C. jacket and cap, with Hofstra seal on sleeve and Hofstra button on cap, c. 1952

Section IV: Celebrating Happy Days

When World War II ended in 1945, the impact on the campus was not immediate. By the fall of 1946, however, all previous enrollment figures were broken. A student body of 1,824 (including an overwhelming number of veterans) swamped the campus. Several years later, a double shift of classroom and facilities use was the only way that the demand for space could be met. The time was at hand for building and expanding the college. Athletics were reinstated, spring queens were crowned, pep rallies and parades again graced the campus.

30. Spring Day Parade Photograph, 1957, 11 x 14 ins.

31. Spring Day Parade Photograph, 1952, 11 x 14 ins.

32. Spring Day Float with Marjorie Strunk (Shuart) in center Photograph, 1952, 11 x 14 ins.

33. Hofstra Mascots Photograph, c. 1990, 11 x 14 ins.
As Hofstra College prospered with the return of the GIs and classes were again full of determined students, the College continually looked to expand. In the late 1940s Quonset huts, or temporary military-style buildings, were used to handle the overflow of students. By 1948 a planned program for buildings began, which saw 13 permanent structures erected over the next 10 years. Enrollment reached new heights each successive year, graduate programs were attracting additional students, and the College became a University on March 1, 1963. These were the "happy days" about which songs were sung.

34. "March On Hofstra," Official Fight Song, copyright 1940, 9 x 12 ins.

35. Hofstra University Homecoming Festivities, Most Beautiful Float Wreath & Foil Trophy, 12 x 3 ¼ ins.

36. Freshman Beanie, Class of 1973, 6 x 8 ins.

37. Alumni Homecoming Day Game, Hofstra vs. St. Lawrence, Official Football Program, October 21, 1950, 10 x 7 ins.

38. Homecoming Day, Hofstra vs. Kings Point, Official Football Program, October 28, 1950, 10 x 7 ins.

Section V: Games Women Played

Through the course of Hofstra's history, women have been admitted, encouraged and have flourished. In the classroom, on the stage and in competition, Hofstra women have been successful. The athletic teams traveled to opponents' sites using the "Blue Beetle," and were cheered on by appreciative crowds. They have won varsity letters and accolades, and their ranks have included an Olympic fencer, Helena Mroczkowska (Dow). Currently, Hofstra sponsors eight women's sports: basketball, softball, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, soccer, field hockey and cross-country.

39. Women's Fencing team, (l. to r.) Mroczkowska, Wahl, Oliver, Speakman Photograph, 1936-1937, 16 x 20 ins.

40. Blue Beetle bus with Women's Athletic team Photograph, c. 1939, 11 x 14 ins.

41. Cheerleaders Photograph, 1955, 11 x 14 ins.

42. Women's Basketball played in Quonset Huts photograph, 1956, 11 x 14 ins.
In the yearbook of 1936, the Women's Athletic Director, Erma Stroh, had organized a basketball team and a hockey team. Student Adelaide Hamburger (Sternfeld) headed up a rifle club as well. Just three years later, the Women's Hockey players captured the Metropolitan Collegiate title, beating opponents such as NYU, Hunter and Rhode Island. All games were followed by "socials" in the cafeteria. Other competitions resulted in success, as well, and the women athletes, including Henrietta Rasweiler (Pfeiffer), Doris Biederman, Janet Runcie and many others have historically given the fans something to yell about!

43. Varsity letter, c. 1940, 6 x 6 ins.

44. Megaphone, c.1941, 3 x 6 ins.

45. Lacrosse stick Courtesy of the Hofstra Athletic Department, 2000

46. Fourth Annual East Coast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championship Hofstra Stadium, May 3-4, 1986 Program, 8 x 11 ins.

Section VI: Games Men Played

In Hofstra's first year, a Rugby team was organized, and although very few of the men had even played the sport before, they went on to have a 5-2 season. The Rugby players met Princeton in the final game of the year and won 13-5. From the beginning, Hofstra sports fans have come to expect their teams to give their all. Early Football contests featured names such as Lou Buffalino, Harry Yale, Arnie Weinberg, Joe Margiotta and Perry Hudson. Only one Football player has had his number retired, number 33 for Walt Kohanowich, Class of 1952. The Hofstra Football team has played in one Bowl Game, the Cement Bowl, in 1962.

For Basketball there are several standout names from the early years: Bob Benn, Bill Thieben, Steve Nisenson (the all-time scorer at Hofstra) and Rich Laurel, who led his team to the 1976 and 1977 NCAA games. Laurel went in the first round of the NBA draft to Portland. Thieben went on to play for the Detroit Pistons. Benn, class of 1940, lettered in four sports and was honored in 1971 when the University remodeled Calkins Gymnasium into Calkins Hall. Benn had taken the first shot in Calkins Gym and in a ceremony on February 24, 1970, took the ceremonial last shot, and made it!

47. Basketball team Photograph, 1941-1942, 11 x 14 ins.

48. Football seniors, James M. Shuart (President of Hofstra University, 1976 to present) in front on right side of "H" Photograph, 1952, 11 x 14 ins.

49. Wayne Chrebet, as a Hofstra wide receiver, now with the New York Jets Photograph, c. 1994, 8 x 10 ins.
There have been many Hofstra players who have gone from our campus to the teams of professional sports clubs. In Football, these include names John Schmitt, Mike D'Amato (currently Vice President for Development) and Don Gault. But there have been other reasons to cheer Hofstra athletic teams-hard-playing teams with nicknames like the "Tiny Twenty," the football team with only nine available substitute players in 1956, as well as an undefeated football team in 1959. There have also been Conference winning teams in Basketball in 1977 and 2000. Wrestling, Baseball, Lacrosse, Golf, Tennis, Soccer and Cross-Country round out the men's teams.

50. Cement Bowl program, December 8, 1962, 7 ¾ x 10 ¾ ins.

51. Cement Bowl button with ribbon, 1962, 1 x 1 in.

52. Hofstra Football helmet, 1988, 10 x 12 ins.

53. Hofstra Football 35th Reunion commemorating 1959 undefeated team, plaque, 1994, 10 x 13 ins.

54. Craig "Speedy" Claxton poster, 1999-2000 season, 16 x 20 ins.

Section VII: Honors and Awards

Hofstra has long attracted luminaries to the campus, whether in the field of the arts, sciences, the humanities, or simply people in the public eye. Hofstra has been visited by presidents, princesses and politicos. In many cases, the University has given these visitors recognition in the form of an honorary degree or through the award of Hofstra's Presidential Medal. The first honorary degrees were given in 1948 to Robert Moses and the Reverend Robert Gannon. The most recent recognition was given to The Rt. Hon. the Baroness Thatcher this past March. We choose to honor individuals who remain part of the Hofstra family long after their visit is over. The thank-you letters and notes attest to the fact that once people have stepped onto our campus, they are marked by the experience. People are proud to be part of the history of Hofstra University.

55. First honorary degrees given at Hofstra College, Rev. Robert Gannon and Robert Moses by President John Cranford Adams Photograph, May 1948 8 x 10 ins.

56. Letter from Rev. Gannon to President John C. Adams regarding the Commencement speech to be given, 1948 8 x 10 ins.

57. Letter from Robert Moses accepting position as Trustee of Hofstra College, December 1943 8 x 11 ins.

58. Dwight D. Eisenhower honorary degree Photograph, June 1950 5 ¾ x 7 ¾ ins.

59. Letter from Eisenhower to President John C. Adams accepting invitation for honorary degree, 1950 8 x 11 ins.

60. Martin Luther King, Jr. honorary degree at Hofstra photograph, June 13, 1965 8 x 10 ins.

61. Letter to Mrs. Coretta Scott King after her husband's assassination, from President Clifford L. Lord, June 3, 1968 8 x 11 ins.

62. Francis Ford Coppola honorary degree photograph, Dec. 1977 8 x 10 ins.

63. Program from the Spectrum Players performance of The Delicate Touch, which Coppola wrote while a Hofstra student, 1960 5 x 8 ins.

64. Neil Simon honorary degree Photograph, May 1981 8 x 10 ins.

65. Speech used to introduce Simon at honorary degree ceremony, 1981 8 x 11 ins.

66. President Gerald Ford honorary degree Photograph, May 1981 8 x 10 ins.

67. Mailgram sent to President Ronald Reagan asking for personal remarks on the occasion of the Presidential Conference honoring Gerald Ford, 1981 8 x 11 ins.

68. Barbara Walters honorary degree photograph, June 1986 8 x 10 ins.

69. Letter from Barbara Walters to President James M. Shuart thanking him for the honor of being part of the Hofstra family, June 1986 7 ¼ x 10 ¼ ins.

70. Helen Hayes honorary degree with President James M. Shuart Photograph, 1990 8 x 10 ins.

71. Program and letter dated 1991 from Helen Hayes to President James M. Shuart, after honorary degree ceremonies, 1990 5 ¾ x 7 ¾ ins. (letter), 7 x 8 ins. (program)

72. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands visit to Hofstra with President James M. Shuart photograph, November 1991 8 x 10 ins.

73. Letter from Princess Margriet to President James M. Shuart thanking him for the honor of the Hofstra Presidential Medal, November 1991 5 x 7 ins.

74. Billy Joel honorary degree photograph, May 1997 8 x 10 ins.

75. Commencement program with handwritten lyrics by Billy Joel, which he ad-libbed during Commencement ceremony, May 1997 8 x 11 ins.

76. The Rt. Hon. the Baroness Thatcher, L.G., O.M., F.R.S. Photograph, March 2000 8 x 10 ins.

77. Letter from Margaret Thatcher to President James M. Shuart after receiving an honorary degree, March 2000 8 x 11 ins.

Geri E. Solomon, University Archivist, Guest Curator


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