Iowa State Memories


Iowa State Memories 

By Lanie Lass  (B.S. 1977, M.S. 1981)

Happy 150 years to Iowa State
Where life in the '70s was really great.
Come along for a poetic trip down memory lane
Around Lake LaVerne with swans Lancelot and Elaine.
Across campus to the bananas growing in Bessey Hall,
And the splendor of trees on central campus in the fall.

Baby boomers were crowded in temporary housing
With 8-track stereos booming during all night carousing.
We campaniled at midnight through the tolling of the bell,
Learned the Iowa State Fight Song and how to "Yell Like Hell".
Clyde Williams Field was replaced by a new stadium,
Yet the spirit of Jack Trice would beat on like a drum.

Earle Bruce led brown bag lunches in a 3-piece suit,
Fans went "Stormin' to Norman" in Migration to root
For the red and gold Cyclones who were bowl game bound
"Hit it hard every yard" was shouted loud all around.
We were saddened by the loss of hoops coach Maury John,
In later years, we welcomed a coach with the first name of John.

Runners, wrestlers and gymnasts led the NCAA
Orchesis modern dancers enthralled us in Barjche
Naiads, swimmers and divers were stars in the pool
Tennis, golf and volleyball teams represented our school.
Softball and baseball players scored runs at home plate,
While hockey club members inspired youth to ice skate.

With Title IX, women's athletics were on the rise
Departments were merged to comply and compromise.
Intramural sports were fun for blowing off steam
On a broomball, volleyball or flag football team.
Canoe races on Lake LaVerne were a lot of fun,
As were bike races and road races in which many would run.

A cheap date was going to the Free Friday Flicks,
Pennying doors and tossing water balloons were cheap pranks and tricks.
The all campus streak was the talk of the town,
Photos in the "Iowa State Daily" afterwards made some Regents frown.
We enjoyed Boyd's runs for ice cream and trips to the Ledges
Serenades by Alumni Hall members and fraternity pledges.

Through student organizations, we could find a loyal group
In majors clubs and associations resembling alphabet soup,
From UMC, RHA, TRA and UDA
To Panhellenic Council, GSB and SAA.
With Parent's Weekend in the fall and VEISHEA in the spring
There were open houses, tours and lectures on almost anything.

In the Milk Maid contest, we squirted and squeezed
Wearing bonnets and boots and aprons to our knees
We built lawn displays for Homecoming and VEISHEA floats
And wrote skits for Varieties to get the most votes.
We went to the Catacombs for coffee and the Octagon for art
And the Maintenance Shop for music that moved our heart.

Many campus celebrations ended in "Week",
New Student, Res. Hall, Greek, Women's, Engineering and Freak.
Concerts by James Taylor, Chicago, John Denver and more
Kept toes tapping all night on Hilton Coliseum's floor.
Pig roasts and exchanges were not to be missed,
It's a wonder how we ever did make the Dean's List.

During the energy crisis, our Christmas lights were banned
Students rode bikes to class to help save the land.
Through ISPIRG fees and Campus Chest, we helped out others,
In the Pal Program we volunteered as big sisters and brothers.
We walked around the zodiac in Gold Star Hall
And honored the memory of those who served and stood tall.

Residence halls went coed on Lommen and Greene
We did the bump and the hustle in the new disco scene.
Held "Dance for Those Who Can't" dance marathons
Watched "Happy Days" on TV and imitated "the Fonz".
Played foosball, euchre and spades for hours on end
And stayed up all night to study with a friend.

We knew the thrill of the first Pong game machine
BASIC, FORTRAN and PLATO on the small computer screen.
Kaleidoquiz contests by station KPGY
Kept us up listening for clues with many a red eye.
We stood in long lines to buy a new or used book,
And register or change classes - what patience that took.

We camped out at the Hub for tickets in line
IHOP and Aunt Maude's were good places to dine.
Madrigal dinners, symphonies and cultural events
Were popular things to do with our visiting parents.
Sing-a-longs at Shakey's and hayrides were a blast
With roommates and classmates - friends that would last.

House meetings were held on floors every week
The "Boob of the Week" award was not for the meek.
When someone became engaged, we had a candle passing
Singing songs with guitars to the love everlasting.
Would they hand out jelly beans or lemon drops?
If it was really someone special, we got Tootsie Pops.

In the winter, we went sledding down the hill by the Knoll
On cafeteria trays that were borrowed; no, we never stole
President and Mrs. Parks gave us hot cocoa for a treat,
What an honor it was for us to informally meet.
We climbed icy hills to classes in the early morning light
Turned up the heat at Pammell Court and apartments at night.

Dogtown was the place for a fun study break
Whether eating pizza at the Green Pepper or a thick DQ shake,
Shooting pool and playing the juke box at the Lucky Q
Going downstairs to the Cave Inn for an ice cold brew,
Sitting on pillows against carpeted walls at the Pizza Den,
And visiting Genuine John's or Jolly's long after ten.

Caring faculty and staff members gave much of their time,
Close classmates and friends would gladly lend us a dime.
We carried heavy books from the library in a backpack
No bottled water back then, just an apple for a snack.
Overalls, rugby shirts, and tight jeans were in style,
Plus bright polyester disco shirts atop the laundry pile.

There are many more memories so vivid and dear
From the PEB, now Forker Building, to the steps of Beardshear,
Christian Petersen statues adorning the lawn
Throwing pennies in the fountain with wishes at dawn.
Here's a toast to the Cyclones, the red and the gold
May the dreams of students then and now never grow old.

Iowa State Sesquicentennial

Time Line
Cyclone Facts and Trivia
Campus Buildings
Student Life
People of Distinction
Oral Histories


This is a historic exhibit and the information provided within it may be out of date. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives Department with questions about Iowa State history (