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College Memories Vivid for 100-year-olds

She remembers climbing the tower in Davis Hall to ring the bell after a football victory. He remembers that “almost no one had a car, and so when you were dropped off in September, you didn’t get home until the holidays.”

What childhood sweethearts Elizabeth Rodger ’33 and J. Albert Newton Jr. ’35, who grew up in Pawtucket, remember most is the beauty and intimate feel of the Kingston Campus of Rhode Island State College in the 1930s.

Husband and wife are both 100 years old, yet memories of their alma mater have not faded. Both attended school while the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. It was a time when freshmen wore beanies and women students were required to be back in their residences by 7 p.m. or face sanctions. Students remained on campus until June, so they organized their schedules to make room for frequent runs to Narragansett beaches.

Elizabeth, who earned her bachelor’s in business education, was honored for scoring 150 points from 1929 through 1933 with the women’s basketball team. She also played field hockey at what the couple affectionately calls “state.”

Both have great memories of watching legendary coach Frank Keaney’s teams play their “firehorse” brand of basketball in Rodman Hall. Albert said the 1,500-seat arena was always full and noisy.

The couple’s great-granddaughters Lindsay Pare ‘08 and Lauren Pare ’10 helped keep URI a family tradition.

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