Forty years ago, Curry professors spent time over the winter break moving their offices from Peabody Hall into the brand new education building, later to be named Ruffner Hall. Over this year’s winter break I enjoyed some delightful moments listening to some faculty members as they remembered that early 70s winter. Much of what I learned is reported in the latest issue of the Curry alumni magazine [When Ruffner Was New].
I couldn’t fit in all the anecdotes, though—especially those told by Herb Richards, who seems to remember everything through the lens of his quirky sense of humor. Herb technically retired last year, but honestly, they gave him some office space in Bavaro Hall, and I see him around more often than ever.
Herb told me that in the summer of ’73 he and Harry Strang (Professor Emeritus of Education) were charged with hosting Carolyn Callahan when she came to interview at Curry. The two gentlemen had not dined often at the Colonnade Club, where they decided to take her for lunch, so they had trouble locating it. Once they finally arrived, Herb says, “It was clear that not many women had been in there. It was very awkward. We were awkward.”
“Not long after the move in, the times on the clocks began to diverge,” Herb says. “It was rumored that no two clocks told the same story.” He remembers one professor’s wry comment, “There would be no point having so many clocks if they all said the same thing.”
Herb often worked on the weekends. One autumn Sunday he entered the building on the Emmet Street side to find the nearest clock dangling from its wire and shattered glass on the floor underneath. The damaged clock just so happened to synchronize exactly with Herb’s watch—8:35—while the clock down the hall did not. Someone had put a sign on the broken clock that said, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” (For those of who aren’t old enough to remember, that used to be the slogan for Timex watches.)
Herb also remembers that eventually someone put up a poster with four different clock faces drawn, each showing a different time. Underneath, the caption read, “Ruffner Standard Time.”
He doesn’t remember when or why the clocks eventually disappeared. I wondered if any of you alumni remembered the clocks at all. I did find a Corks & Curls photo that shows one clock in a Ruffner corridor.
Please use the comments box to send us your memories of Ruffner when it was new!
Check out photos showing the progress of the Ruffner Renovation on the Curry School Facebook page.
Update 4/1/13 from Kay Buchanan, the Curry Librarian:
Here is a photo of the Education Library in 2009. Note the clock hanging from the ceiling (upper left). It was the last of the working back-to-back clocks that Dr. Richards mentioned. I am not sure if this is clock 29 or one of the 28 mentioned by Dr. Richards, but I do know it was the last of the clocks that worked. That said, only one side was working, so we put up a smiley face on the other side that read, “There’s still time!” I’m betting the clock was removed during the 2013 renovation of Ruffner Hall.