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Browse personal recollections and stories from the past 50 years of FAU.

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My Time at FAU
Tennant David Tennant on guitar

After finishing at Indian River Community College, I decided to enroll at FAU. At that time, there was only the Boca Raton campus. Just to put a little "age" to this, I finished in March of 1976. So I graduated a long time ago, but find myself today, in 2011, still wondering what I want to do when I grow up.

I actually took three years to get through my FAU curriculum for a number of reasons: I changed majors a couple of times, I was having too much fun (what's the rush?) and the job market at that time wasn't so hot—so there was little incentive to finish and join the unemployed. Plus, I was paying my own way through—which was much easier then than it is now.

Tennant Performing at the Rathskellar
What I remember most about FAU was the campus environment. Maybe it wasn't as "established" as that "Gator" school in Gainesville or FSU in Tallahassee, but it had a lot going for it: the tropical setting, and the great town of Boca, fabulous beaches and nearby Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami. I started in the Ocean Engineering curriculum, as FAU's reputation for that program was very high. However, I ultimately finished with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Tennant The band Spectrum gives an outdoor concert at FAU
While I had been somewhat a wallflower in high school, I became very active with the many opportunities at FAU. As a "serious" musician at that time, I connected with a variety of musicians and played parties, dances and numerous occasions both on and off campus. I played the Rathskellar probably 5 or 6 times and many of the clubs between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale—this helped pay for my tuition, board and books! At the same time, I played in FAU's jazz and concert bands and studied music along with engineering.

The other activities I participated in included writing a record review column (remember records?) and covering concerts for the student newspaper—called the Atlantic Sun. I also served as a member and chairman of the Student Entertainment Council. At that time, the pop band "The Eagles" had just recently become "big" and they could have been brought to campus for $5,000—a paltry sum by today's standards. Some of the major personalities and musical acts that came to FAU during my time on the committee included Vincent Price, Climax Blues Band, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Betty Freidan and a host of others that were enthusiastically received.

Tennant Administration Building, 1974
Of course, Boca Raton is not your average college town: it wasn't then and it still isn't today. I used to think: "What's a scruff like me doing in a place like this?" Very upscale town, which made it such a nice place to go to school. And, of course the beaches were merely a 20-minute bicycle ride from Dorm 6 (now Algonquin Hall?).

In retrospect, living in the dorms was not typical of what I have seen at other universities. When I think back, we had "housekeeping" services. Twice a week, a crew came in to clean the rooms, take out the trash, etc. What school today offers that service? Having visited the campus a few times since graduation (most recently in June 2011), I can only conclude that going to school at FAU in Boca today is like staying at a 5-star resort. (Can you say Hilton?)
Tennant Wimberly Library, 1974

In retrospect, I had a wonderful time at FAU. I've stayed in touch with a few friends from that time; and, of course, I regret that I've lost touch with others. I have since gone on to two other universities for graduate degrees, but will always consider my time at FAU as my favorite. It was a very formative time in my life and, best of all; I will always remember the wonderful professors, friends, and people I met along the way.

David Tennant '76
Windward Consulting Group, LLC
Atlanta, GA

My FAU Story

When I came to FAU in the early 1990s, it was as both an adult student and a somewhat intimidated junior. I had gotten my associate's degree in journalism at Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, and FAU just seemed so much bigger to me.

I had served in the Marines and was working in the Postal Service at the time, so I was not totally frightened, but this was a new experience. Everything was just on a larger scale.

As at PBCC, thanks to the dedicated staff and faculty at FAU, it became almost my second home. Hardly a day goes by in my professional career when I don't use something I learned from a professor at FAU, and the many kindnesses of the staff are my best memories of the university. My job kept me busy, but I had time to be a founding staffer on the new FAU newspaper, the University Press, which debuted in the early 1990s and still exists on paper and on the Web. The Internet then was just beginning to be a factor, and you still had to apply for an e-mail address, and you might not get it.

Some of my greatest memories of FAU were working in the Student Union offices of the paper to get it out the door and to the printer, and the great stories we did. Some of the people who worked on that paper have made their mark in journalism and in other fields.

I work now as a copy editor and page designer at the Gainesville Sun, and our coverage of the University of Florida always brings back memories of Florida Atlantic University. I go to events and activities at UF, and the vibe there makes me young again. When students talk about rising tuition, expensive books and more, I think about how we talked about those very same things.

Today, there's Facebook, the Web is an even bigger factor in our lives and we have Kindles instead of textbooks, but one thing remains the same: the strength of a college and its mission is its people, and it was the people working at FAU who made my college experience so awesome.

Vincent F. Safuto '94

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