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When We Danced the Night Away

Alumni Survey

Formals. Sock Hops. The Greek Ball. Homecoming. Seems there was a different dance every week. Our last survey asked you to share stories of memorable dances. Some of you recalled favorite bands. Others focused on romances that began at a dance. Still others simply reminisced about how much fun everyone had. Here’s a sampling:

My girlfriend, who a year later became my wife, was coming down for the Winter Festival. Gladys Knight was coming to Steubenville to perform. Desperate for money, I “donated” blood. My humanitarian gesture netted me $15. I was now well funded. The Big Event arrived. Ms. Knight took the stage; we cheered! She sang one song and left! I guess it wasn’t her venue, but it’s a weekend I’ll never forget. 

—Gary A. Van Beneden ’71

Two dances come to mind. The first was Greek Ball 1977—our first date, the night we fell in love. Jimmy and I are married almost 27 years! The other memorable one was a Sigma Phi Cotillion my freshman year. Average White Band was playing that evening, and we were all “doing the bump.” What fun! 

—Luann (Zanke ’78) Gilliland

I remember the first KDE Dance marathon to raise money to fight cancer.  We were looking for a way to keep the dancers going throughout the night. Every two hours, I would dress up as “Rocky” in sweats and a stocking cap with towels bunched underneath to look more muscular. They’d play the Rocky theme song, and I would run all around. I also did one-arm pushups in the middle of the dance floor to get everyone fired up.  It was great to be part of that dance marathon. 

—Al Trefney ’80

What comes to mind is doing the “Tighten Up” dance to the song of the same name by Archie Bell & the Drells. Also, seeing the Allman Brothers live in the cafeteria and the Brooklyn Bridge playing live at a “formal” at the basketball arena. 

—Barbara (Cavanaugh ’72) VanDenBerg

My 1974 senior graduation dance. My date was Jan Wilson. Jan looked great in a pretty red-and-white dress she made herself. And I thought I looked terrific in my grey “baggie” pants, saddle shoe platforms, and red-grey sport coat with the BIG red bow tie. Remember—it was the ’70s—good taste was on vacation. We still looked great on the dance floor, especially Jan. 

—Michael F. Clark ’74 

My fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta, used to sponsor the “Icebreaker Hop.” It was the first dance of the new school year. I actually sang with John Orsini’s band at one of them. We were privileged to hear John play the meanest sax we had ever heard. A packed house; not because of my singing, but because of the friendships we had during those special years at Steubie U. 

—Tom Cannizzaro ’73

My most memorable dance while a student at the “College” was in the spring of 1970. I was finishing my sophomore year. It was a weekend evening in May, and I recall the mild spring weather, the moonlit night, and the sweet scent of the flowers and trees blossoming. That was the night I met my fiancé … that one spring evening, everything seemed to come together, the chemistry was just right, and all seemed right in the world. 

—Cortland Mehl ’72

My favorite dance memory for all time was in 1956 at the Fort Steuben Hotel ballroom after a basketball game. It was the first time I danced with my future wife, Joanne Sholtis. Many wonderful memories after that, we prepare to celebrate our 49th anniversary in August. 

—Tom Mc Donald ’61

There was a dance on a Friday night in March 1965. It was a Sock Hop in Antonian Hall basement. I danced with Sue Ann Feile to “In the Still of the Night” for the first time. She was wearing a green mohair sweater. We got married in June of 1969 and still dance to that song whenever it is played. 

—Ken Gaherty ’68

The dance I remember the most was held in late November 1965 on Sunday evening. It was my freshman year. At that time dances were held beneath the cafeteria. That evening changed my life forever. Just as the dance was drawing to an end, I found myself standing next to a very attractive young woman: Bunny (Theresa) Galownia, a “townie.” Bunny was attending the dance with a friend who worked at the College. We struck up a conversation, I asked her to dance, and four years later we were married. This year we will celebrate our 39th anniversary. God is good.

—Pete Warenski ’69

Originally published in the Spring 2008 Baronette newsletter. Since then, Tom McDonald and Cortland Mehl have passed away. May they rest in peace.