Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

GWEN DEW's RECOLLECTIONS OF ALBION COLLEGE

Morning Star, September 25, 2011, pg. 3

We note with sadness the passing of Catherine (Iocca) Stephenson on August 23, an Albion College graduate whose photo is on page 95 of my book "Albion in Review” as part of a group photo taken at Cascarelli’s. In other news, we wish our Albion Public Safety Chief Eric Miller best wishes in his upcoming new position in Georgia. No Segway jokes here.

This weekend Albion College has been holding its annual homecoming, and it’s always good to see the alumni back here in town. One of Albion’s more prominent alumna of years past of course was the famous writer and photographer Gwen Dew (1903-1993). In her memoirs, "My God, A Woman!,” Gwen spends the first couple of chapters writing about her hometown. This week I thought I’d feature some excerpts about Albion College. Copies of her two-part memoirs book are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce.

Pg. 1: "Let’s get factual. I was born in Albion, Michigan, a small college town. Albion College was, and is, an excellent place of learning. My grandmother went there to school and I remember that she had to climb over a fence to get onto the campus, as it was a girls’ school then and had to be protected from ardent males.”

Pg. 15: "I attended Albion College for three years and they were happy learning ones. It was important at that time to belong to a sorority. I chose Delta Gamma, which was the only chapter in the state…I went through the traditional rushing, pledging, hazing (now forbidden), initiation, and finally became a member. Among the ‘hazing’ things I was required to do was to go to the [Riverside] Cemetery alone, at midnight, and leave a note on a grave so the actives would know that I had really been there. They weren’t going themselves at that time of night to find out. I had never been out that late before since my parents required me to be home by 10 p.m., even if I was in my freshman year in college!”

Pg. 16: "Albion College was fortunate, even if it was a small college, to have professors who were very competent, even nationally famous in their fields. One was Dr. Chickering, who was well known for his work in biology. It has always been my habit to take an hour-long nap after lunch. I made no exception even if I was attending a class. That day Dr. Chickering was lecturing on ‘chronic behavior’ when I went to sleep as usual. I was suddenly awakened when a student next to me tapped my shoulder and I woke in time to hear Dr. Chickering say, ‘There are some things we do naturally, as witness Miss Dew.’ I was wide awake in a hurry, and had to listen to the whole class laughing at me.”

Pg. 18: "I made many good friends in college, but few of them have lived as long as I have. Among them was Stanley Kresge, son of the millionaire founder of Kresge’s five-and-ten-cent stores. Stan was a quiet young man who wanted to become a minister and went to the University of Michigan to study, but he was too shy to speak in public, so he gave it up to come to Albion. He didn’t want anyone to think of him as a rich person, he didn’t have a car, and had only two shirts with him. Later he gave Albion College a magnificent gymnasium, which has now been rebuilt into an even better one. Albion was lucky Stan found the education there was what he wanted, and treated him in the way he wanted.”

From our this week we present a photo of Gwen Dew as she was pictured in the 1923 Albionian yearbook, page 46. Be sure and obtain a copy of Gwen’s memoirs at the Chamber of Commerce; they are filled with a wealth of information.


1923 Albionian Yearbook Portrait of Gwen Dew

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - October 1911


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