College at Florham Turns 50  Part 2

Triples in Twombly Hall … The Amazing Kreskin … the Rock … Sorority pledging …

Diane Parson, BS'71 (M), and Leslie Parker, BS'71, MS'73 (M)

Diane Parson Nelms, BS’71 (M), and Leslie Parker, BA’71, MA’73 (M), returned to the College at Florham for Alumni and Family weekend. Over a barbecue lunch sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, they shared memories of their days at FDU’s campus in Madison, N.J., with FDU Magazine.

Leslie Parker’s first impression when she visited Fairleigh Dickinson University’s campus in Madison, N.J., was simple. “I fell in love with the campus. I had looked at quite a few other schools and been accepted. Actually my initial first choice school didn’t get around to accepting me until May, and by that time I had already been here and said, “It’s too late. You lose!”

"We were tripled in a double room and felt like "What did we get ourselves into?'" — Leslie Parker

In the fall of 1967, Parker moved into her new dormitory, Twombly Hall, and was met by roommate Diane Parson (now Nelms), from Wildwood, N.J. (In those days, rooms were assigned by alphabetical order.) “We were tripled in a double room and felt like ‘What did we get ourselves into?’” Parker recalls.

The two soon became fast friends and became involved in many campus activities. Parker played several sports, and even cajoled Nelms into playing intermural tennis. “I did actually get a tennis trophy,” laughs Nelms.

An avid athlete, Parker looks back fondly on physical education instructors Betty Feeley and Joan Desilets. “They hung around in what was called the Recreation Building,” she recalls. “I started playing every sport and ended up just managing the swim team. Then I was head [president] of intramurals, and I used to drag poor Diane to everything!”

The two girls even pledged Theta Pi sorority together. For pledge week, “They made us dress up like hillbillies and took us to Newark Airport, where we had to talk to the crowds,” says Nelms.

"They made us dress up like hillbillies and took us to Newark Airport, where we had to talk to the crowds. It seems very odd now.

Later, Parker would take her turn telling pledges what to do as president of Theta Pi. “One year we took the pledges to the Willowbrook Mall and we made them dress up as ladies of the evening. When I was president, one of the “new” [Village] dorms was a sorority building. In my suite, there was another sorority president, and a third lived across the hall. One of the assignments we had for class was to count the number of stairs in the Mansion. My suitemates were also in the class, and we just looked at each other and said, “PLEDGES!”

There were nights in the Recreation Center lounge and perfomances by the infamous psychic The Amazing Kreskin. Fraternity and sorority dances filled out a busy social schedule through the years.

Of course there was painting the Rock. “By headlight!” emphasizes Parker. “I spent a lot of time painting that rock!”

Nelms now lives in Texas and is assistant director of research and development for Alcon Labs. Parker, who resides in southern New Jersey, worked in personnel for two years, then became a corporate travel agent.

Share your memories of the College at Florham with FDU Magazine. Post to our blog at www.myfdu.net/blog/fdumazine or e-mail Rebecca Maxon, editor, at maxon@fdu.edu.

College at Florham Turns 50
Class Is in Session | Life on Campus | Coming of Age
Florham Today and Tomorrow

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For a print copy of FDU Magazine, featuring this and other stories, contact Rebecca Maxon, editor,
201-692-7024 or maxon@fdu.edu.

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