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April 2014  

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Readers Recall HUB-Robeson Center Memories

La Vie photo of HUBLast month’s History and Traditions story on the evolution of the HUB-Robeson Center inspired readers to write about their favorite or lasting memories of the Penn State student union. We’re always pleased to hear from you, whether it’s a story idea, a memory or feedback on our articles. Email your comments to

Serving Snacks and Snapping Photos
“I started working in 1956 as a sophomore in the Lion’s Den snack bar. I usually worked the soda fountain, serving ice cream and other fountain products. I can't imagine how much Creamery ice cream I served. The Coca Cola was pre-mixed, but other flavors of soda were mixed on the spot—a dash of syrup, a dash of milk and soda water. When I moved to New York City after graduation, I discovered I'd been making ‘egg creams.’

Lion's Den at the HUBIf I worked an early shift, I was serving fresh-made cake doughnuts and coffee. Hamburgers, hot dogs, sloppy Joe’s, and other sandwiches were available. The sloppy Joe’s, wimpies to some, were my favorite lunch.

In those days, students were paid in meals at the cafeteria. I believe one hour was good for one meal served in a room toward the rear of the seating area. The specials for lunch and dinner, from soup to dessert, were available. I quit at the start of my senior year to take a job delivering pizza and hoagies that paid with cash.

I was into photography in my Penn State years. I was really impressed by the dark room facilities that existed in the basement of the HUB for use of Camera Club members. The entrance room contained a print dryer and a mounting press. Professional presentations could be made on 16’ x 20’ mounting boards. The area to the left was divided into two dark rooms—a small room to load the canisters used to develop film, and a larger room, which held professional class enlargers to make prints. The area to the right had two dark rooms, which were used mainly to reload empty cassettes with 35mm film bought in large rolls.

Another room I recall belonged to a model railroad club. I visited the room with a friend who belonged to the club. I could not believe that they were actually laying track with small spikes and ballast. They also built switches that were powered by compressed air. What dedication.”
Ron Hillman ’59

When It All Started
“I remember watching the original HUB being constructed. It was built on a solid outcropping of limestone, and required a lot of blasting. I remember the constant rattle of the air hammers and felt the vibrations of the blasts while I was in a chemistry class across the street. Once, I saw a good-sized rock escape from the blasting mats and go sailing over the roof of an adjacent building.”
Richard Grime ’57

Group of women playing bridge at the HUBFinding Refuge During ‘Spring Monsoons’
“I was there when the original HUB opened in 1955. I remember, with fondness, the ‘continuous bridge games’—a great stopover between classes—and also a perfect refuge during the ‘spring monsoons.’”
Patricia Herbster Dowden ’58

Civil Rights Era
“The HUB, in the spring of 1965, was my refuge from the mundane as I awoke to the civil rights movement then emerging.

I discovered the New York Times was on sale, and this senior, then a former Chi Phi brother, read about the social justice movements in the country.

The HUB was also where I sat on the floor one evening, about eight feet away, from Senator William Fulbright, who sat with students after his lecture. Fulbright was one of the last truly great states persons and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The HUB also had great food, the tuna salad was my favorite. On Sunday in early 1965, I was crunching on such salad when it was announced Malcolm X had been murdered.

Happy to retain all these memories.”
Curry First ’65

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