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Is S&T haunted?

University campuses and college towns are notorious settings for ghost stories. Is Rolla one of them? Is Missouri S&T haunted? We asked about your spooky Rolla experiences. Here’s what you told us.

Two incidents occurred within a couple weeks of each other at the same house a few blocks from campus in Rolla. First, I usually fell asleep listening to the radio playing softly. One night I was awakened by my radio as it was turning itself up until the volume was blasting. This
was an old tube radio with a mechanical volume knob. Second, I was awakened one night by the shower running full blast, not from broken plumbing but from the handle being turned wide open.

Mark Buhr, MetE’89
Washington, Mo.

A few years after graduating from S&T, I brought a group of college students to campus for a conference. While taking the students on a tour of campus, sharing with them what I remembered from my ambassador days, the students asked “Do you have any ghosts?” You see, there is a residence hall on the campus where they go to school that is supposedly haunted. I laughed and explained that when engineers hear weird sounds from the attic, they go upstairs, nail down the floor boards, seal the windows and make sure the mouse traps are set.

Aimee Rea, Psych’06
Maryville, Mo.

During my freshman year at S&T, in the fall of 1980, my grandmother asked me to visit the
Pi Kappa Alpha house, which had been the home of my great-uncle, Carl Cromer. He had been a member of Pi Kappa Alpha long ago and passed away during his sophomore year after an October 1937 car accident on Highway 63, near the present-day Stonehenge.

I was surprised to find out that Carl was reputed to have haunted the Pike house for years. Many members refused to occupy his room, which had been dedicated in his memory. Many unexplained phenomena had occurred over the years, ranging from the sound of glass crashing, to “ghostly images” and dogs barking and jumping up and down on the tiled crest just inside the front door.

Perhaps the strangest occurrence happened after the fire that destroyed the Pike house in February 1999. My husband, Chris Ramsay, MetE’83, MS MetE’85, who is chapter advisor to the fraternity, and several members scoured and searched the rubble of the house looking for the memorial plaque that hung on Carl’s door. They searched and searched, but found no plaque. A year later on the first Founder’s Day after the fire, my husband returned to his desk in the metallurgy department foundry to find the plaque, a little discolored, bent and scarred by the fire, mysteriously sitting on his desk.

Darlene Ramsay, MetE’84
Rolla, Mo.

Q&A: Did you ever pull a prank in college?

Were hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone Missouri S&T alumni all work and no play during college? We don’t think so. We’ve heard tales of students leading a calf to the third floor of the Rolla Building, constructing a brick wall across Pine Street and burning an outhouse on campus. We wanted to hear more of those stories, so we asked.

Yeah, they’ve tried to get me to incriminate myself before. It’s not going to happen.
Jeff Spencer, CSci’93, Rolla, Mo.

To this day, I will testify that I know nothing about who disabled the elevators in TJ Hall. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Patrick Williams, CE’11, Helena, Ark.

There might be stickers on hard-to-reach places around campus. Some are in plain sight and were still there as of February 2012 when I was last there. Some are probably in official press pictures. Good luck finding them, and to whoever put them there.
Scott Frazier, EE’09, Rochester Hills, Mich.

The final in the 1997 Intro to Programming C++ involved debugging an application. Simple things like finding compile time errors and logic errors and fixing them. The lab probably had about 40 students in it. One student had created a program to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on delay. You loaded it off of your 3.5-inch floppy disk, ran the program (which loaded it into memory), popped out the floppy and were out of the room before it went off. He passed out several copies the week before the final. My guess is almost half of the class had a copy of this program. I stayed until almost the end of the final, sitting in the back row listening as more and more PCs played out the song in all its 8-bit glory.
Nate Taylor, EE’00, Omaha

We repeatedly painted the Mu back on the rock at the Sigma Chi annex after they had the big “Burning the Mu” party. The Mu was dropped after getting their charter. We even went in camouflage with war paint. They tried to catch us, but it never worked. It was great fun. I was even dating a Sigma Chi and they were clueless. The sorority girls were not on the suspect list.
Cheri Mohan-Schmitt, ME’87, St. Louis

It is a tradition for the pledges of Sigma Phi Epsilon to drag the large rock in their front yard to another fraternity so their members would have to drag it back. In 1994, the students at the fraternity where the rock ended up rented a jack hammer and made the rock easier to carry back to Sig Ep. I’m not Greek, but I had some great friends in the Sig Ep house. When I asked them if they were going to replace it, of course their answer was “yes.” Their minds going wild with the size of rock they wanted to get. But then after a bit of estimation of what they could actually haul, they realized their goal was out of reach because no one in the house had a large enough truck to move a three-ton granite boulder. I said, “You find the rock, I’ll haul it.” I worked for Poe’s Gas, which had a truck equipped with a hydraulic boom for hauling propane tanks. One of the guys got permission to take a large red granite boulder from the Experimental Mine. I secured the truck from Gordon Poe, who had only one request, “Just don’t flip my truck over.” I delivered the rock the Saturday before finals week during the fraternity’s traditional senior round of golf. As soon as the rock was on the ground, someone shouted, “Let’s move it!” Those of us that loaded the rock knew this was nearly impossible, but we sat back and watched them try. The rock was sitting on edge and after a few minutes of grunting, it did roll over to a larger flat with a loud thud. I don’t think that rock moved for several semesters because of its extreme weight.

Another time, during the spring of 1997, the old IBM system in the computer lab was going away and all the 1-inch reel-to-reel tapes would all be obsolete. Dax Sparks, AE’96, ME’96, and I were working in the operations and equipment room on weekend shifts. We stockpiled about 80 of those reels and then unwound them and stuffed the mess into Charlie Irwin’s office one Sunday night. (Irwin is a retired supervisor of computing and information services, now known as IT.) His office was on the edge of the room and the walls were all glass. The tape filled the room to about chest height with his desk, chair and computers still inside.
Brian Call, ME’97, MS EMch’99,
Dunlap, Ill.

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Pranks?

Send us your answers by Jan. 1, 2013, for inclusion in the Spring 2013 issue of the Missouri S&T Magazine.

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