One event that was always fun was Greek Weekend. All the fraternities and sororities joined together for a weekend of competition. Chariot races, Friday night skits, and Sunday night songfests made for a full weekend of fun. Carl and his fraternity brothers and sorority sisters engaged in community service projects alongside their local neighbors while occasionally taking “social trips” to Florida.
“Our community service work created a nice back and forth among the town and the students.”
Carl says that during his stint at Athens College, “Athens was jumping.” There were well-attended basketball games in the gymnasium, dances in the student union, and concerts at the McCandless Auditorium. A large population lived in on-campus housing, Greek life was proliferating, and commuters were in abundance too.
“So much going on,” says Carl. “There must have been hundreds of people schlepping through the cafeteria and the student union on any given day. It was hard to find a booth.”
In the last half of the 60s, some Athens College students had a penchant for sidestepping the local prohibition laws and often found themselves detained for a spell behind bars.
“The locals looked after us,” Carl said. “Bartenders in Tennessee (notably from Rainey’s, a gas station converted into a bar) would call ahead and tell campus administrators we were on our way home.”
One of those bigwigs answering the calls from Rainey’s was the dean of student personnel at the time, Dr. Bert Hayes, a favorite on campus.
“Dr. Hayes came to one of our Geezerfests in 2010,” Carl remembers (Geezerfest is a reunion event Carl attends regularly). “He still remembered everybody!”
Often referred to as a Renaissance Man, Humanities professor Dr. Hayes had many interests including making pets out of his farm animals and piloting his own plane. He was also a world traveler and a participant in an archeological scholarship in Israel.
Scholastically, Athens College was also experiencing somewhat of a renaissance at the time. According to the 1970 edition of the Athens College yearbook COLUMNS, new courses and majors, and even new teaching techniques like applying education to surrounding life, were being employed. For instance, as the fledgling aerospace industry was intensifying, a gateway to Redstone Arsenal was established. The growing college scene included a flurry of building on campus, including an addition to the library and a new women’s dormitory complex. But Carl remembers interaction with instructors, professors, faculty, and staff was more like a “huge high school” than a highfalutin university.
A case in point according to Carl is the beloved Dr. Angeline Nazaretian, who dedicated 42 years to the Athens State campus as Chair of the Physical Education Department beginning in 1958 and later as Director of Alumni Affairs. ”Angie saw the best in all of us,” remembers Carl. “She is a true legend and was quite a feisty fireplug.”
Dr. Nazaretian lived in a cottage on the southwest corner of campus, and from her perch on the porch, she called out to newcomers by name, ensuring they all felt welcomed and cared about. “After a Geezerfest visit with Miss N, she told us, ‘There is a new jail in town, so y’all will be going to an unfamiliar place.’“