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Blushing Badgers – 1970s

Pets rocks, Watergate, Jimmy Carter… and love on campus.

Badgers know that Cupid’s bow shoots missiles tipped with Motion W–shaped arrowheads. Students find chemistry with each other while sharing a Bunsen burner, or they make sweet music during a trombone lesson. We asked you readers to share tales of where love found you while you were on campus, and your responses brought an ear-splitting chorus of “Awwww…” We have space to reproduce only a fraction of what we received, which should still be enough to send the dial on the romance-o-meter spinning.

In this update, Badger grads of the ’70s share tales of campus romance. Check out the links below for stories from other decades.

More Blushing Badgers

Barbara Pedian Schneider '71 and Gary B. Schneider '69

East Falmouth, Massachusetts

The romantic starry night does not describe our first encounter. Instead, the setting was The Pub on Pledge Night of my freshman year. As for our hangouts - we balanced our time between the Medical School Library and Jingles (loved to play pinball and eat pretzels with mustard!). That was 1967. We were married three years later; both of us went on to complete doctorates, we have two children and five grandchildren and have had successful careers in education and medical research. We will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary this June. And the photo - 1967 Alpha Phi Fall Formal - priceless!

Our love “bloomed” at UW-Madison the fall of 1970; 44 years later, it hasn’t stopped.

James Reck, ‘73

Green Bay, Wisconsin

We met the summer before the fall semester while working in Wisconsin Dells. Those encounters were brief, but we exchanged addresses after learning that both of us were to be Badgers at UW. A short bike ride after registration to Nancy’s [Cooper Reck ‘73] house on Lathrop St. from mine on Spring St. was the start of what has been a life-long romance. Lasting memories were made from the quiet of Steenbock Library to the noisy excitement of Camp Randall; Friday and Saturday hockey nights at the coliseum followed by the seclusion of a booth at Jingle’s on Monroe; and snowy walks down State St. and home from Nancy’s work on the Square.

We still hold each other’s hearts … both with a special place in them for UW-Madison.

Bob Gitter MA’75, PhD’78

Delaware, Ohio

In 1973 I was a first-year graduate student in Economics.  I was sitting on a table in a hallway in the Social Science Building, talking to a couple of people.  This nice looking young woman walked by and without thinking I said to her that I really liked the way she smiled.  She said thank you and I tried to think of what to say next.  On the table beside me where some rolled up papers that looked like maps.  I told her that I bet I had a map of her home state.  She said, "I bet you don't."  I said I bet I did and pulled down what was not map but a window shade with torn edges.  I thought of what state was rectangular with a straight top and bottom and ragged horizontal edges and said, "See, a map of North Dakota!"  She asked how I knew she was from North Dakota and I replied it was what the map looked like.  It turned out she really was from North Dakota.  A few days later I asked her out and now 41 years, three children and five grandchildren later Liz [Elizabeth Greenleaf Gitter ’73, MS’75] and I are still happily married.

Andrea Harkins ’70

Marshfield, Wisconsin

My future husband [Paul Harkins ’71, MD’75] and I met at the Rennebohm Drug Store (#10) on the corner of State & Lake Streets where we both worked part-time.  We were both pharmacy students but not in the same class.  It was snowing but not very cold on April 1, 1970.  We both worked late that night and decided to stop for a beer at The Pub. Paul walked me home that night.  When the Viet Nam riots started, his fraternity house was tear gassed often so he studied at my house, which was on East Johnson.   By Christmas we were engaged and got married in June of 1971.  After graduation, I continued to work for Rennebohm Drug Stores and my husband went on to medical school.  Our children are both UW graduates and met their future spouses on campus as well.  We have very fond memories of great years on the UW campus!

John Groskopf ’79, MBA’80

Elm Grove, Wisconsin

Love bloomed for my Badger soul mate [Sue Dolata Groskopf ‘80] and I under the starry sky on Bascom Hill in September of 1976. Thirty-eight years and four children later (all UW grads), we still get and to Madison as often as possible and think back to that romantic start. On Wisconsin!

Bruce Barnes ’78 and Karen Lindstrom Barnes '77

Mequon, WI

We met at a dorm beer party in Turner Hall in the Fall of 1974. Back then, with the legal drinking age of 18, that was a common weekend activity.  Karen [Lindstrom Barnes '77] had observed that by stationing herself near the tapper she was assured to meet most of the guys in the room by the time the party was over. Bruce [Barnes ‘78] worked at the desk in her Kronsage dorm and introduced himself with the original line of "Don't I know you from somewhere?"  The Lakeshore Path became our special place -- the spot of our first kiss, proposal for marriage, and many fun times walking and biking.  We still return to the path whenever we are on campus -- it's our special oasis from the bustle of the rest of campus.

Joann Cross ‘72

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Until the dorms became open, you couldn't see a guy in your room. My freshman year my dorm floor led the movement to eliminate women's hours and allow men to visit openly during the day.  Of course, if you were careful, you could keep him after hours, but he couldn't go home until hours opened the next day.  Many couples sent the guy home through the first door setting off the alarm and causing many a couple concern. By my sophomore year we generally "went coed".

Ken Vander Weele ‘75

Chicago, Illinois

Our relationship and love bloomed on walks along the lakeshore path behind Liz Waters dorm.

Linda [Vander Weele ‘73] and I were married on graduation weekend in May 1975, and we will have our 40th anniversary in May 2015.

Jim Pettegrew '77

Telluride, Colorado

Spring of '75, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we left the Mifflin St Block Party a little earlier than many. I was snuck into her room inside the still-women-only Liz Waters Hall...

Marc Williams ’77, MD’81

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

While not technically a part of the campus, Luther Memorial Church and the Lutheran Campus Ministry are centrally located on the main campus footprint. 37 years ago, my wife Janet [Williams ‘79] and I were 'reunited' at Luther Memorial 8 years after we met at a music camp. We were married there nine months later and have accommodations for our earthly remnants in the church's columbarium, so we will always have a presence on campus.

Sandy Bloom Livermore ’80, MS’82

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

My husband of 35 years [John Livermore MD’82] and I were actually set up on a blind date by Bucky Badger! As a cheerleader, I got to know Bucky quite well (there was only one Bucky back in the 70's), and he had gone to high school with John, my soon-to-be husband. Bucky had us meet at a Badger hockey game (we still have season tickets), and if John had asked me to marry him on our second date, I would have said yes. As it was, we spent our entire courtship at Memorial Library. We would meet at the elevator banks for 15 minutes every few hours before returning to our individual cages. I knew that John felt the same way about me when I was able to tempt him away from his cage for two hours to watch the film "Swept Away", a classic movie that was showing at Bascom Hall.

Thirty five years and three kids later (two of whom are proud Badgers), we are happy to say that it's all Bucky's fault.....and now our Bucky is the Madison Chief of Police!

John Jeanneret ‘80

Western Springs, Illinois

I met Yvonne [Jeanneret ’81] in Engineering Mechanics 214.  It was the Fall of 1978, the beginning of my junior year in Chemical Engineering, and I had just transferred to the UW-Madison from Purdue.  It was my first week on campus and I didn’t know a single person in Madison.  As I sat in the back row waiting for class to begin, Yvonne walked in through the front door, strode across the room, and took her seat.  I was immediately smitten by this confident, intelligent, beautiful, and funny young woman and was determined to get to know her better.  I introduced myself after class and learned that Yvonne already had a boyfriend back home in Milwaukee.  Clearly I needed a more subtle strategy, so I feigned needing help with my my homework in order to spend time with her (we engineering students didn’t have much free time). Over Christmas break, Yvonne broke up with her old boyfriend and started dating me instead.

It was pretty much love at first sight for me, but it took a few more years to convince Yvonne that I was the right guy for her.  I still remember sitting out at the end of Picnic Point in the dark, looking over the water at the lights of Madison, and writing in my diary that I would marry this girl someday.  I graduated in December 1980 and Yvonne graduated one year later, each of us with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.  We were married in Milwaukee in January 1982 and we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.  We have two wonderful children, Derek and Danielle, and two delightful grandchildren, Jack and Addison.  The entire extended family lives in the Chicago area and we get together often.

Yvonne and I have many fond memories of our time together in Madison:  long hours studying in Wendt Commons and the Helen C. White Library, dancing in the rain on State Street, Friday afternoons listening to live music on the Terrace, Badger football games on Saturday, and lounging in the grass on Observatory Hill.  But we still fondly remember our first meeting in Engineering Mechanics 214.  By the way, did you notice that the course number, 2/14, is Valentine’s Day?


It was July 18,1977 and she was sitting by Lake Mendota. She wore sunglasses and had long brown hair and brown eyes. she had freckles and a pretty smile. She has a soft, warm voice. We talked and later spoke throughout the week. Our second date was taking a canoe out on the lake. Neither of us were expert rowers but it was fun to be outdoors and on the water. We dated a year and she was always supportive of me at a time I did not always believe in myself. We are no longer together but I have never forgotten her and am blessed with having had her in my life.

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