Oral Histories: Voices of Lebanon Valley College
The following oral history transcripts are preserved and accessible for research and viewing by members of the public. These interviews reflect the interviewees’ memories, points of view, and personal opinions regarding events in response to the interviewer’s questions. These interviews do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion.
We are indebted to Dr. Art Ford ’59, professor emeritus of English, for conducting the interviews in the collection, and to the interviewees for their participation in this project. We would like to acknowledge the work of the transcribers: Stacie Allison, Lori Kortright, Kate Miller, Jessica Oliveri ’15, and Jananne Ferrere ’15.
This collection is dedicated to the memory of Frank Mols, former director of the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library. His tireless support and dedication made this project a reality.
Dr. Bains was one of the earliest female physics majors at The Valley. She spent most of her career with NASA where she worked primarily with the Space Shuttle program. Dr. Baines received the Distinguished Alumna Award from LVC in 2015.
Dr. Philip Billings, Professor Emeritus of English
Dr. Billings taught at Lebanon Valley from 1970 until his retirement in 2015. He is a poet with several published volumes. Dr. Billings received the Hot Dog Frank Athletic Service Award for support of LVC athletics and the Vickroy Distinguished Teaching Award.
Born and raised in Annville, Rev. Bucher came to Lebanon Valley after serving in the U.S. Navy toward the end of WWII. After a distinguished career as a minister, Rev. Bucher retired from the United Church of Christ conference office in Harrisburg.
Buzgon began his law career in Lebanon after his graduation from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law School. As a founding partner of Buzgon Davis Law Offices, he continues practicing law and is an active supporter of the College.
Dellinger speaks fondly of his student days with the LVC Biology Department and of his family’s longtime connections to the College. The Dellinger Residence Hall on campus is named in their honor. He retired in 2003 from Johns Hopkins University as director of health services.
Grimm, son of legendary LVC professor Samuel “Soggy” O. Grimm ’12, H’42, grew up across the street from the LVC campus. He speaks of his contacts with Valley professors and administrators. He retired from Bell Telephone in 1987.
Grosky taught elementary and secondary school while her husband, Dr. Murray Grosky ’57, was in medical school. She describes life on campus as an economics major and particularly the restrictions placed on female students at the time.
Dr. Robert Hamilton, Vice President Emeritus of Administration
Dr. Hamilton, who arrived on campus in 1990, was responsible for the physical plant, security, auxiliary services, and athletics. Dr. Hamilton oversaw the dramatic physical growth of campus during the 1990s and 2000s.
A native of Yokohama, Japan, Howell arrived at The Valley in 1994 to major in psychology. As Meiko notes, being an international student at an American college is itself an experiment in psychology. She discusses at length her experiences as an international student on The Valley campus. Today, she is a school psychologist in the Washington, D.C., School District.
Mr. George King ’68, Board of Trustees
King describes life on campus during the turbulent 1960s. An economics and business administration double major, he worked through the years with a variety of companies and lived in cities from Houston to Hong Kong. He hired several LVC interns and alumni along the way. King served on the College’s Board of Trustees for a decade, beginning in 2005.
Dr. Robert Kline ’50, ’71, Athletic Department Physician Emeritus and College Physician Emeritus
A WWII veteran, Dr. Kline arrived with other vets to experience post-WWII life at The Valley. During private practice, Dr. Kline served as the College doctor and on-field physician at athletic events. He was one of the first honorees to receive the Hot Dog Frank Athletic Service Award.
Malcolm L. Lazin, Esq., ’65, Board of Trustees Emeritus
Lazin is the founder and executive director of Equality Forum, a national and international LGBT civil rights organization. He is a former federal prosecutor, law firm partner, and commissioner of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. In 2002, he established the Lazin Series in memory of his father, Dr. Norman Lazin ’37, and in 2006, Lazin received the College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
At LVC, Dr. Leach participated in various dramatic and musical events, eventually going on to a distinguished teaching, performing, and conducting career. He discusses his experience as a person of color at LVC and in Annville. In 2014, he received the June Herr Educator of the Year Award from LVC. Dr. Leach retired as professor of music and music education from Penn State University in 2015.
Mr. Philip Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Music
From 1969 when he joined the music staff at The Valley until his retirement in 2003, Morgan guided numerous vocal students to successful careers as performers and teachers. He has also delighted audiences with his recitals here and abroad.
Dr. Roger Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Physical Therapy
With a distinguished physical therapy teaching career, Dr. Nelson joined the LVC staff in 2002 as chair of the recently formed Department of Physical Therapy. He discusses in detail the challenges and rewards of establishing The Valley’s successful program. He retired in 2011.
Mr. George Reider Jr. ’68, Board of Trustees Emeritus
Following graduation from LVC with an economics degree, Reider entered the insurance industry, primarily with Aetna. In 1995, he was appointed insurance commissioner for Connecticut and later served a term as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Reider served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2013.
Mr. Harry Speece, Athletic Support Staff
Over the years, Speece has become an institution at The Valley with his endless support of the athletic teams and his meticulous research and record keeping of each team. He is the encyclopedia of LVC athletics. When asked what he does in the Arnold Sports Center, his reply is, “Whatever they ask me to do.”
As a 1939 graduate, Strickler lived through the Great Depression and WWII, events that shook and shaped the College profoundly. After earning a master’s degree in social work, she pursued a career in psychiatric social work and remained close to The Valley for the rest of her life.
Dr. Dennis Sweigart ’63, Professor Emeritus of Music
A graduate of the College, Dr. Sweigart taught at The Valley from 1972 to 2011. During that time, he mentored many piano students and was instrumental with their success in graduate school. Dr. Sweigart also became a well-known figure in performance, working as a soloist and accompanist.
Dr. Susan Verhoek, Professor Emerita of Biology, Former Faculty Trustee
Dr. Verhoek came to Lebanon Valley in 1974 and through the years was a dedicated teacher, especially in the area of botany, and she was an important contributor to the College at large. She served on numerous faculty committees, established the Faculty Club, and developed the College greenhouse. Dr. Verhoek also served on the Board of Trustees as a faculty representative.
Wallace spent most of his career working with the National Park Service in various capacities, becoming an expert in the history of American furniture. Dr. Wallace grew up with the LVC family as the son of Dr. Paul A. Wallace, late chair of the English Department and author of the College’s centennial history.
Albertine “Tina” Washington P’86, H’91, Board of Trustees Emerita
Honored as the Outstanding Teacher in Pennsylvania in 1995 as a fourth grade teacher in the Lebanon schools, Washington joined the LVC Board of Trustees in 2001. Until her retirement in 2013, she worked tirelessly on a variety of committees and helped guide the board on larger issues such as strategic planning. She received an honorary doctor of pedagogy degree from the College in 1991.
Rev. Dr. J. Dennis “Denny” Williams H’90, Board of Trustees Emeritus
During a lifetime of service to the United Methodist Church, Rev. Williams joined the College’s Board of Trustees in 1976, retiring in 2006. He recently wrote a history of Lebanon Valley College as part of the 150th commemoration of the founding of the College. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the College in 1990.
Dr. Stephen Williams, Professor Emeritus of Biology
From 1973 when he became a member of the faculty until his retirement, Dr. Williams experienced many changes in the Biology Department and College as a whole. In addition to his excellent record as a teacher, Dr. Williams became an international expert on the Venus flytrap and published extensively.
Dr. Paul Wolf, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Former Faculty Trustee
Dr. Wolf, a a long-time chair of the Biology Department, joined the faculty in 1966. He was instrumental in developing a department of increasing excellence. He also helped plan the construction of the Neidig-Garber Science Center, which was unveiled in 2008. Dr. Wolf took students to Sapelo Island, Georgia, to conduct research in marsh ecology for many years.