Ivy Leaf - Spring 2009
Calling All Love Birds
By Shari R. Routch
In our second installment of Alumni Reflection, Ivy Leaf asked our readers to reminiscence about the romantic side of Ivyside Park—specifically how their days on campus not only filled their minds with knowledge, but their hearts with love. Here are some stories from alumni who met their significant others at Penn State Altoona.
Sue (Britcher) Lowther and Jim Lowther (Altoona 1971-73, both)
My husband Jim Lowther and I (then Sue Britcher) met in Ida Ficker’s German I class. I was an art major and Jim was an English major. My sister Nancy and I were staying in the "girls dorm" and Jim was housed at his Grandmother Beher’s home along Juniata Gap Road. It was love at first sight, you might say. After German class, we would often walk over to the Slep Student Center for a game of ping pong or pool. Many times we just would sit and talk over a can of soda.
I was from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Jim from Voluntown, Connecticut; both being transplants to Altoona, we often had to explore what was available for entertainment. Eating out at Penny’s restaurant or Alaskaland were two exciting things to do for a date. I remember calling the Mishler theatre to find out what movie was showing there, not knowing what kind of theatre it was!
We transferred to University Park our junior year, because at that time our majors required that we do so. Jim and I commuted to University Park our senior year after we were married, and graduated in May of 1975. We were married at the chapel at the Altoona campus during our junior year in August 1974.
I received my B.F.A. in Art (painting) and Jim his B.A. in English (writing option). Jim and I owned Instant Printing Center on Byron Avenue from 1980 until 2007. Jim is the President of ADEPT, Inc., a start-up printing green technology business, and I am employed as the Visual Arts Technologies teacher at the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center. I am back at Penn State seeking my Vocational II license after thirty years! We are the parents of five grown children, Timothy (wife Kristen; grandchildren Hanlon Grace and Finnegan James), Janessa (husband Harold Travis; both PSU alums), Jeremy (wife Angie), Amy, and Gregory.
Penn State Ivyside will always be dear us! So many wonderful memories stir our hearts as we walk around the campus grounds.
BY SUE (BRITCHER) LOWTHER
Theresa (Reigh) Martin (Class of 1997) and Bryan Martin (Altoona 1995-97)
Fall Semester 96 was coming to a close as I finished my final exams a week early at Penn State Schuylkill. My sister wanted me to meet a guy she befriended in her business classes at Altoona Campus, so I thought "What the heck, why not!" She decided to have us meet in the computer lab before her last test. She introduced me to Bryan Martin, a 27-year-old adult student with thinning hair and a full beard. Being only 20- years-old, my first impression of him was less than stellar. "Hi dad," I thought in the back of my mind. He checked his watch and noticed it was soon time to begin his shift at the Eiche Library, so I went with him to find out what he did there. I noticed his eyes sparkle with boyish charm as he showed me his favorite section of the library and talked about his favorite authors. At that moment I realized that he was a pretty nice guy and seemed like a lot of fun.
We hung out a couple of times at my sister’s house over the winter break and we both were really beginning to feel a connection. I decided to give him my number and we set our first date for January 9, 1997. I tingled with anticipation—what was it going to be like dating a guy that old? The doorbell rang at my parents’ Bellwood home and I knew it was him. I almost fainted when I opened the door and there he stood completely clean shaven. "Hi, WOW ... you’re HOT!" I blurted. He blushed and we both laughed. It was our first and last date for awhile because I had to return to Schuylkill Haven to start spring semester. Valentine’s Day came and Bryan rented a car and drove the five hour trek to visit me for a weekend. I told my roommates after that weekend that I was going to marry him. They rolled their eyes and called me crazy. How could I know he was "the one" after such a short period of time?
When the semester was over I decided to graduate at Penn State Altoona. I stuck out like a sore thumb at commencement because they only sold blue cap and gowns at the Schuylkill book store, but Bryan liked it because it matched my eyes. We’ve had our ups and downs like most college sweethearts, but we married on October 2, 1999. Our joy was magnified by the birth of our son, Noah, on May 10, 2006. We now reside near Penn State Altoona and when we get the chance, we walk to the campus and recall that fateful day we met.
BY THERESA (REIGH) MARTIN
Joan (Frey) Pore and