Since the first issue of Plymouth Magazine landed in readers’ mailboxes in 1996 (back when it was called Plymouth State Update), it has made its way into the hands and hearts of tens of thousands of alumni, students, families, friends, faculty, and staff across the generations and around the world.
The magazine is a link back to campus, a trigger for a memory, an experience, or a relationship. It communicates the University’s vision and goals, connects alumni with the University and each other, and showcases the important contributions that our students, faculty, and alumni make in their respective communities.
Two recent notes from alumnae illustrate this.
Madeleine Goebel ’34, a Plymouth Normal School graduate who taught in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, wrote: “I very much appreciate your still sending me the Plymouth Magazine. I read every word and think you are doing a fine job … My three years at Plymouth were cost-free except for board because we were in a Depression. Now things are depressed again but our children are borrowing so much money for college that it will take years to pay back. Very sad! I taught forty years and in one more year I will have been retired forty years. I think Plymouth Normal was a great school. I bet you don’t get many letters from ninety-nine year old graduates … Your efforts are appreciated!”
When Bich Tran ’08G received the Summer 2013 issue of Plymouth Magazine at her home 8,000 miles away in Da Nang City, Vietnam, she was instantly reminded of campus. “All the memories and my experiences as a PSU student come back so clear and warm as soon as I touch it,” she says. “I am happy to read the articles and catch up with news and achievements other PSU alumni have gained. I always can go online and read and listen and watch PSU, but the feeling of having the physical magazine in my hand is so amazing.”
We’d love to hear from more alumni about what Plymouth Magazine means to you. Send us a note and a photo of you with your copy to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may share your story in an upcoming issue.
Class president. Student trustee. Intern at the New Hampshire State House. President-Elect of the PSU Alumni Association. That’s an impressive track record for someone who recalls starting his college career as a shy young man, afraid to get involved. “Plymouth State helped me break out of my shell and prepared me to achieve my dream of a career in politics,” says Gene Martin ’09.
Martin made his first gift to PSU during his senior year. “Our class had life-changing experiences at Plymouth State and we wanted to ensure that future students had that chance too,” says Martin. “It made perfect sense to ask our classmates to give $20.09 to support student scholarships.”
Martin continues to support his alma mater, now through the University’s new monthly giving program. “It’s an affordable way for me to give back. $10 a month is roughly equal to 4 iced coffees,” he notes. “When you break it down like that, you realize you can give a meaningful gift that adds up.”
As the first in his family to attend college, Martin believes that all students should have the chance to earn a college degree. “I want to do my part in making sure someone like me can have that same opportunity.”
“In the summer of 1973, a friend and I were tossing a football around in knee-high water at Lake Sunapee State Beach,” recalls Randy Hoidahl ’74. “The ring was quite tight on my finger; but when I went to catch a pass, the point of the football hit right at the base of my ring finger, and the ring flew off into the lake.”
Hoidahl was never able to find the ring and eventually resigned himself to ordering a replacement.
Eight years later, an 11-year-old Tim Byrnes and his father, John, had traveled from their home in Keene, NH, to spend the day metal detecting at the same beach. Father and son were about 15 feet offshore when their detector signaled an object. There, in three feet of water and buried under five inches of sand, they found a ring. They brought it home and put it in a box where it sat, forgotten, for 32 years.
Tim Byrnes, now in his forties, and his father had just picked up their metal detecting hobby again when they rediscovered the box containing the Plymouth State class ring. “My dad and I knew that we needed to try and return the ring to its owner,” says Tim. On June 19, 2013—two days before Alumni Reunion Weekend—Tim posted a message on the PSU Alumni Association Facebook page.
All it took was a photo, a few clicks of the mouse, and a phone call to Hoidahl to confirm that it was, in fact, his missing ring.
Exactly forty years after Hoidahl’s ring flew off his finger and into Lake Sunapee, the trio met at the Byrnes’ home where father and son presented Hoidahl with his long-lost class ring.
“I think about the ring being underwater that amount of time and then sitting in a box for 30 years,” says Tim. “It was a great feeling to see the ring finally home.”
Of the entire experience, Hoidahl says, “It was rather strange because it was something that was gone from my life, an experience that I’d forgotten about. I’d bought the substitute ring. That Tim and John found the original ring—and the way in which it was found—it’s just amazing that my ring has finally found its way back to me.”
Coincidentally, Hoidahl will celebrate his 40th class reunion at Alumni Reunion Weekend June 20–22, 2014. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years. I’m looking forward to coming back.” And will he be wearing his original class ring? “First I’ll have to get it resized,” he says, “It’s been 40 years and my fingers are a little bigger than they used to be!”—Heidi Pettigrew ’99, ’07G, ’11CAGS