A couple of years ago, I got a notification from the FSU Alumni Association that I was eligible for membership in the Emeritus Society.
In recognition of my generous financial support of my alma mater? No way. FSU parking tickets were $5 when I was making 75 cents an hour as a student assistant in my freshman year in 1958. When I protested, I was told that the money went to scholarships, so I should cheerfully fork over more than six-and-a-half hours pay for overtime parking. Memories like that have an impact on lifetime giving.
No, Emeritus Society membership is conferred for free on any graduate who has managed to remain vertical for 50 years after graduation. For me, that milestone was reached in 2012 (and for Mary in 2013) and this past weekend, we attended our third Emeritus Alumni reunion in Tallahassee.
The biggest controversy since the Legislature demanded that Florida put FSU on its football schedule in the late 1950s occurred last week with the reveal of a revised logo of the fearsome Seminole whose visage appears on uniforms, school garments, mid-field paintings, and countless promotional items.
The big problem: the university did not announce the change; it became known when a mass market retailer (yeah, that’s the one) jumped the gun in putting some of the new merchandise on its shelves 10 days before the school planned to make the announcement.
In my impartial and non-judgmental opinion, the new logo looks like a guy whose picture should be on a sheriff’s office web site of serial moperers. (Mopery is a fictitious charge for an non-existent crime, a term I first came across as a police reporter some 55 years ago. It still has a nice, conspiratorial sound to it.)
Within hours, some 5,200 FSU fans had signed an on-line pledge not to buy any merchandise bearing the new logo.
At 5:30 Thursday afternoon, an hour and a half after we arrived in Tallahassee, the athletic department called the redesign “a refinement,” and said it was developed because the present logo “does not reproduce well in a number of mediums,” including embroidery and even paintings at the 50-yard line. And it has taken how many decades to discover this?
The announcement brought back the words of my city editor at The Tallahassee Democrat more than 50 years ago whenever I offered a particularly lame excuse for some shortcoming: “If I couldn’t come up with a better story than that, Frisbie, I’d just tell the truth!”
The logo gaffe not withstanding, it was a neat weekend.
The Emeritus Society now boasts 8,000 members among the 300,000 graduates of Florida State.
A group of student ambassadors, answering questions at a forum, said that there is no dress code at the university. That prompted memories of the days when the dean of women required that female students wear opaque raincoats if they ventured out on campus wearing those scandalous Bermuda shorts.
Asked if panty raids still occur, the four females on the panel said they were not familiar with the term. The one male pleaded the fifth.
The dean of the college of criminology said that 80 percent of his graduate students are female.
The dark-haired (with a small shock of gray) cashier at the Suwannee Dining Hall, where our group had lunch on Friday, greets every student with a sincere “I love you.”
There are signs posted at entrances to the campus that as of Jan. 1 of this year, FSU is a tobacco-free campus. I asked several students if the ban is being observed, and all said that it is. See what can be done when you let girls wear shorts on campus?
FSU has an artificial turf indoor football practice field. Our faculty guide said he hadn’t seen the need for one in Florida, but that six of the team’s first eight practices last year were moved inside because of inclement weather, and the team won the national championship. That made a believer out of him.
Words to the FSU Fight Song were written in 1950 by a reporter for the campus newspaper, the Flambeau. A young music department professor, Tommie Wright, took the words home and wrote a tune to go with them on his lunch hour.
As the final event for the reunion, Tommie played the fight song, with the condition that the alumni sing it.
Tommie isn’t exactly a youngster these days, but he still retains his skills at the keyboard. And we emeriti aren’t exactly kids any longer either.
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He and his friend Mary between them have a dozen or so FSU shirts, a pair of Bermuda shorts, two windbreakers, two afghans, several keychains, an assortment of neckties, three umbrellas, at least two ballpoint pens, several luggage tags, four valve stem covers, an assortment of car tags and license plate frames, various flags and banners, and a throw pillow. All depict the traditional Seminole logo, without “refinement.” They bought another shirt on Friday. It also has the traditional logo.)