With Homecoming in full swing this weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting two of schools alumni Rich and Bella Englebach. Rich was a science education major with a minor in chemistry and Bella was a general biology major. They were kind enough to sit down for lunch with me in Panther Dining Hall and share some stories about their time here at Florida Tech that may be relatable to some of our current students, alumni, and future students alike.
The school used to work on a trimester system. The best part of that was more frequently class changes with multiple starting points in the school year. The downside? If you think midterms come around way too fast now, imagine if the semester was even shorter!
Sport a timeless tradition
Today some of our best teams include swimming, soccer, tennis, golf and football. One of the most well-known Florida Tech teams of time were our rowing teams, as well as soccer among the international students of the time. Any given Sunday you could find various teams of our intramural teams competing for the annual title (just like today).
They chose the club life
Both Rich and Bella were very involved in clubs and organizations on our campus.
Rich was one of the co-founders of the Florida Tech Sci-Fi club in 1974. At the time they were one of the larger clubs on our campus regularly hosting movie nights in Gleason Performing Arts Center and being associated with school hosted Star-Trek conventions.
Both Bella and Rich were active members of College Players (our campus Drama Club). During Bella her senior year she directed multiple plays one of them being A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was the first time a Shakespeare play had ever been performed on our campus.
They also participated in hosting a series of radio shows about a superhero named Captain Benzine who battled the forces of various nefarious super villains modeled after some of the teachers at the time.
Going to the mall was no easy trip
Today we can enjoy the luxury of having Melbourne Square Mall just around the corner from us. Bella had a much more adventures story to share about her experiences. Her college roommate at the time wanted to go to the mall. That was no small feat as the nearest mall was a little ways past the town of Cocoa. Their solution to their predicament? Taking a taxi from campus to the airport, flying a plane to Cocoa and then catching a taxi to the mall. How far would you go to just buy the newest iPhone? Would you be willing to fly over the air force base for a short shopping trip?
Pizza Cuban or Old School?
Before Old School existed there was a restaurant known as Jose’s Pizza. A Cuban pizzeria that also had killer Cuban sandwiches. No matter where or when you go to schoo, there is one thing that never changes: college students love pizza. Who hasn’t had a good time at Old School or Jose’s before?
Both Rich and Bella enjoyed a successful career after having graduated from Florida Tech. Having had long careers in medical, pharmaceutical, chemical firms and consultancy agencies. Now enjoying their retirement, they are back in town to celebrate Homecoming with our fellow students. Something I can definitely advise anyone to do is talk to the alumni of your school. You will learn a lot more than any book on the school’s history will ever tell you.