Class of 1963 at Golden Reunion

ASU Alumni Association hosts class of 1963 Golden Reunion

By

Liz Massey

Graduates from Arizona State University’s class of 1963 have returned to their alma mater for their Golden Reunion on May 9 and 10. The Alumni Association hosts this special two-day event each year, allowing classmates from the university’s 50-year reunion class and their guests to reconnect with each other and ASU, as well as giving them the opportunity to lead the procession during the university’s spring commencement.

Many former student leaders and successful graduates from the class of 1963 are registered for the reunion or have helped plan it by serving on the reunion committee. Several of them reflected on their time at ASU and how the university impacted their lives and careers.

Ronald E. Pies '63 B.S.

Except for a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Ronald Pies, who received his degree in recreation administration, has lived and worked in the Valley of the Sun since his graduation.

A transfer student from the University of New Mexico, Pies was intramural champion in the mile run and a letterman on ASU's track and field team.  He was also a founding member of the Arizona Beta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  Pies worked for three decades for the city of Tempe, and held the positions of vice chair of the Maricopa County Stadium District Advisory Committee and president of the Cactus League Baseball Association. He was appointed to chair the Governor's Baseball Commission in Arizona, and negotiated and administered spring training contracts with the Seattle Mariners and California Angels. He also served on the Arizona State Parks Board, where he was instrumental in the creation and passage of the Arizona Heritage Act and the Outdoor Recreation Coordinating Commission.

As a result of his professional efforts in the recreation field, he has been honored as one of nine Leisure Legends by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association. He was also honored in 2001 by the city of Tempe with the dedication of the Ronald E. Pies Gymnasium at the Westside Community Center. Pies was inducted into ASU's College of Public Programs Hall of Fame in 1996.

Pies met his wife, Bernita, at a fraternity party at ASU and they married in 1964. He is the father of two children.
He says he is looking forward to experiencing Spring Commencement at the 2013 Golden Reunion, something he missed the first time around.

"I will finally have a chance to go through a ceremony that many take for granted," he said. "Even though we have lived here, I am looking forward to seeing old friends that I haven't seen in many years."

Charles Tichy '63 B.A., '67 M.A.

Charles Tichy's passion for foreign languages influenced his time at ASU, provided a career path and even a portal to a lifetime relationship. Tichy, who received bachelor's and master's degrees in German at ASU, was president of the German Club and a member of the Russian Club during his time on campus. After pursuing additional graduate education at the Ohio State University and the University of Pittsburgh, he became a professor of Russian and German in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He chaired the department from 1972 to 1997. He will retire from his position next month.

"I believe that ASU perfectly prepared me for the rest of my life," he said. "At ASU, in classes and language clubs, I was given several opportunities to work side by side with international students. This experience and knowledge I gained turned out to be invaluable when I began organizing study abroad programs and creating global opportunities for faculty and students from Russian and German."

He also found the love of his life through his career.

"The professors of Russian at ASU, through challenging assignments and language immersion strategies, developed my Russian skills to an excellent level,” Tichy said. "I met my wife Natasha in Moscow and our relationship started because she was impressed with my excellent Russian. I never would have been able to communicate with her had it not been for the encouragement and motivation from the Russian faculty at ASU to master Russian."

A fervent Sun Devil, Tichy was instrumental in the founding of an alumni connection group in western Pennsylvania, which has evolved into an alumni club. His daughter Andrea (Parenti)  attended ASU, graduating with a degree in political science in 1993.

While visiting Tempe for the Golden Reunion, he said his activities will look strikingly similar to what he did at the university a half-century ago.

"I am looking forward to spending time again with my classmates … walking about the campus, visiting facilities and buildings, enjoying lunch," he noted.

The Rev. Robert E. Reynolds '63 B.A.

The Rev. Robert Reynolds, who served as an Episcopal priest for most of his career, spent two stints at ASU, beginning as a member of the class of 1959. In his first period at ASU, he helped lead 4,000 students to march on the state capitol to stop the Arizona Legislature from giving Arizona State College the (unwanted) name of Tempe University.

He was heavily involved in the successful Proposition 200 effort during 1958 to legally confer university status upon Arizona State. He also was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, a yell leader, and was head resident at M. O. Best Hall. He left the university shortly after the initiative passed, then returned to graduate with the class of 1963 with a bachelor's degree in history.

After graduation, he became ordained as a priest in the Episcopalian Church in 1966. He served as a chaplain at Willamette University, as well as rector of several churches in Oregon, Washington and California. He retired from St. Paul's Church in Walnut Creek, Calif. in 2006.  He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2012.

Reynolds credits "superb" teaching done by professors in the history, political science and English departments with preparing him well for his theological studies. He also notes that friendships formed in his fraternity and on campus led to enduring connections with his classmates.

He says he is most looking forward to seeing how the university has grown since he left it.

"I'm looking forward to taking a new look at the school that had a total of 11,000 students when I entered as a freshman in 1955," he said.

John J. Brooking '63 B.S.

John Brooking, who has worked in the Valley of the Sun since his graduation from ASU, is also well aware of the university's influence in the world outside of Phoenix.

"I am proud to be a Sun Devil and to have been a part of the great history of excellent sports and great academics over the past 50 years," he said. "I can tell you in my many travels across the United States that people know ASU and (the university's) rich history."

Brooking graduated with a degree from the W. P. Carey School of Business. He came to Arizona State on a basketball scholarship and played from 1959 to 1961. He was activities vice president for the Associated Students organization, as well as the rally and traditions chair his junior year. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and was listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities his senior year.

After graduation, Brooking worked in the insurance industry for several years. In 1969, he started John J. Brooking & Associates, a financial planning firm emphasizing retirement plans, investment plans and annuities. He became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in 1982  and a Registered Financial Consultant in 2001.

Brooking continued his connection with ASU as an alumnus. He was honored by the ASU Alumni Association with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award and inducted into the W. P. Carey School of Business Alumni Hall of Fame. He was a co-founder and early president of the Sun Devil Club, a community owned organization focused on funding and support of Sun Devil Athletics. He has a son, Todd, who graduated from ASU in 1991 with a degree in accountancy, and a daughter, Shelley, who also graduated in 1991, with a degree in justice studies.

Looking back after a half-century as an ASU alum, Brooking said his education has helped him to be a better businessman and citizen.

"The education I received trained me to accept responsibility and risk in a effort to serve my community," he noted. "The friendships developed have lasted a lifetime and made me stronger as a individual."

Sun Devils who come back to ASU’s Tempe campus for Golden Reunion have the opportunity to take part in various events over the course of two days, including tours of the Memorial Union, the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4, Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, the Ed and Nadine Carson Student-Athlete Center and the Biodesign Institute. There will be opportunities for graduates of the W. P. Carey School of Business, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to attend breakfasts hosted by their school or college. There also will be a lunch featuring legendary former ASU football Head Coach Frank Kush. 

A major highlight of Golden Reunion is the Golden Circle Induction Ceremony, a candlelight ceremony in which class of 1963 graduates will be inducted into the Golden Circle, an honorary group comprised of all classes who have celebrated their 50th reunion. Graduates form a circle around Kachina Fountain in front of Old Main and each class member lights a candle representing the light of knowledge. Reunion attendees will be joined at this event by members of the class of 2013 who are recipients of the Alumni Association’s Moeur Awards and Outstanding Graduate Awards.

For more information about the class of 1963’s Golden Reunion, visit: http://alumni.asu.edu/events/golden-reunion.