I only really noticed the beauty of the place after I left then returned. For me it was always the people that the place attracted that made the memory of Nyack College Rockland special.
Recently, Nyack College made the announcement that they will be closing down the Rockland County, NY campus and moving to Manhattan, NY. The Rockland campus is stunning, but I what I will remember are the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made.
My freshman year was the last year that Simpson Hall was co-ed. I remember that first year our two floors of male students took on the entire Mosley Hall (all male dorm) in all types of ambushments and fights. We were using the campus van to do drive by ‘jumpings’. We stopped when it started to get too serious. Those were funny moments.
I remember a guy on our floor who was counting down the number of days before his wedding. The problem was he placed the pull-off numbers outside his dorm door. We changed the countdown almost every day, every time he would go to the shower. He got so mad every time!
I remember Mosley hall guys running into Bowman gym during basketball games in vikings garb banging on aluminum garbage can lids! It was probably the noisiest gym in the CACC at the time. There were multiple times the referees had to ask them to pipe down the players couldn’t hear the whistle.
I remember chilling with Ernie (RIP) in the student center (where the nursing area is now), playing madden and getting free chinese food. I remember that Tilden was the best barber/hair stylist/singer/anything. I remember Andy was the polo king (my guy had polo sheets too). I remember my first roommate Glen (super smart…graduated early). I remember my second set of roommates (still my close friends to this day).
I remember women’s basketball was live! I remember the smile of #33 (genuine). I remember people (no names) teasing others (no names) until someone (no name) got slapped off. Funny…you just had to be there! I remember playing video games all night and skipping those early morning classes in the winter (my advisor told us not to schedule 8am classes in the winter…we didn’t listen).
When I asked my Bible professor Larry Poston, “What makes you so sure that this perspective is the ‘right one’?” He responded, “He who knows one religion knows that he knows none.” He was letting me know that it was ok to search. This was one of the most powerful conversations I had at Nyack. His office was at the bottom of Christie Hall (I don’t know where it’s at now).
There are too many memories of people to mention but I want to mention just one more – Howard Jones. In mentioning him I want to say something about Nyack College.
Howard Jones is a Nyack College graduate (Rockland campus). I mention him because he was the first African-American to be infused in the Billy Graham ministry when Mr. Graham’s evangelism crusade came to Madison Square Garden in 1957. I mention Jones because it was his story that made me realize how much of a leader Nyack College and The Christian & Missionary Alliance was in the world at that time.
Our nation, in 1954, finally ruled against segregation in public schools – a great social justice reform. Great leadership. But Nyack College had already opened up its doors to ‘Negroes’ in the 1920’s and although the mentality of the white students hadn’t fully caught up with the vision of the alliance, Howard Jones, attended Nyack College in the 1940’s. Jones recalls being 1 of 11 black students there at the time.
The education he received there prepared him for his work in the kingdom of God. Jones work got him noticed by others and he got the call to join Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden to help spread the message of the gospel.
So today as all the alumni grieve the apparent losing of our beloved campus, I have to believe that the spirit of leadership still resides in the hearts of the decision makers. I trust God. But I also grieve for this move like the loss of a person because what helps me remember those people is walking in the same places where those moments took place.
Much Blessings Nyack College! Thank you for leading us. #WE
© 2018, Ira Webbe Jr, all rights reserved