Campus is gearing up for a record-setting Orange Central. For the second straight year, more people than ever have signed up for Syracuse University’s annual homecoming and reunion weekend. Registration has grown by nearly 90 percent since 2016, with more…
Orange Alumni Return and Reminisce During Orange Central
Thousands of proud alumni returned to Syracuse University for Orange Central, SU’s annual homecoming and reunion celebration, Sept. 15-18. It was a weekend of reminiscing and reconnecting with classmates, professors and old friends.
Alumni from across generations gathered to celebrate milestone reunions, check out how the campus has changed since their last visit and cheer on the football team while making new memories at their alma mater.
Among the alumni who returned to campus were Lawrence Nusbaum Jr. ’51 and David Koplowitz ’51. Their story of lifelong friendship and school pride stood out as a great example of the impact that Syracuse University has had on its more than 250,000 alumni across the globe.
Nusbaum and Koplowitz were close friends, political science majors and fraternity brothers in Zeta Beta Tau who graduated from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1951. The day they earned their diplomas was also the last time the duo stood on campus. That is, until Orange Central. For the first time in 65 years, the lifelong friends made it back to the university where their friendship formed.
When Nusbaum and Koplowitz were students, gasoline cost $0.19 per gallon, “I Love Lucy” debuted on television sets across the country and Harry Truman occupied the White House.
“Now that we’re back, I wish we’d come back to campus sooner!” Nusbaum says. “The campus is absolutely beautiful. Syracuse means a lot to me. I got a wonderful education at the Maxwell School and it served me well all these years later. I was successful in life because of what I learned here.”
Nusbaum and Koplowitz meet with other New York City-area SU friends once a month to catch up and stay in touch.
“This campus, all of the new buildings and the Schine Student Center, it is all brand new to us and it looks absolutely magnificent,” adds Koplowitz. “Syracuse University was the best four years of my life. I don’t know whether I realized that back when I was a student, but I do now and I am proud of that bond with my fellow SU alums. We never want to lose touch with each other or with Syracuse.”
For Bernadette and Sam Penceal ’66, Orange Central marked two special milestones: their 50th reunion and the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. The couple used Orange Central as the official kickoff to a year-long wedding anniversary celebration. Both Penceals decided there was no better place to honor the start of their golden anniversary year than on the campus where their love story started.
The Penceals even timed out their reunion and wedding anniversary celebrations to coincide with the first time they met: Sept. 17, 1962, on the SU campus.
“It was an easy decision for us to celebrate our special day being back on campus at Orange Central,” says Sam Penceal, an English major who played three seasons for SU’s basketball team. “We thought it would be great to start this party at ‘Cuse since this was our class’s 50-year reunion. We didn’t do anything else special, just surrounded ourselves with our friends, laughing, joking and having a good time together. It was great catching up with old friends and marching into the football game with the marching band was truly special. The whole weekend was special and rewarding for us.”
Barry Gipstein ’56 graduated with a business/marketing degree. He and his fellow ZBT friends Dr. Milt Friedlander, Ted Krawitz and Dr. Herb Portnoff make it back to campus with their wives for homecoming/reunion weekend every five years.
It is a tradition that Gipstein looks forward to, as some of his best friends stem from his days at Syracuse. “I look forward to coming back for this. It is such a trip and we’ve always had such a good time at every reunion,” Gipstein says. “I stay in touch with other SU alumni and the chance to reconnect with old classmates is always a highlight of my year. Every time we get together it is like nothing has changed at all and we pick up right where we left off.”
Story by John Boccacino Jr.