Indiana University Bloomington

Memories of a Former Student

By Sam Jacobs (IU class of 1965)

I was a freshman during Dr. Wells' final year as president, 1961-62.

At the end of orientation week, we had a sort of swearing-in ceremony outside the president's house on campus. Although I guess he was only about 60 at the time, to us 17- and 18-year-olds he must have looked like he was closer to 90 or 100. So when at the end of the ceremony he invited all of us to "come inside and meet me and my mother,'' almost everybody started laughing. They must have thought he was kidding. I was probably one of the few people there who knew he was a lifelong bachelor who still lived with his mother.

A couple of days later, we watched on TV as Dr. Well gave what was described as his "last charge to the freshman class.'' We all watched because we knew we would have to write an essay on it for the English composition classes we all had to take. I remember that he described the campus as "a cathedral of trees,'' which I have always thought was particularly apt.

Later, when I was on the staff of the Daily Student, there were two mortal sins -- misspelling name of the chairman of the Journalism Department, John Stempel (not Stemple) and putting a period after the B in Herman B Wells.