Look back at Incarnate Word College as it was for the Class of 1969. This year, they celebrate their 50th anniversary.
In the evenings along the grounds of Incarnate Word College (IWC), Ellen Kennedy Franckowiak ’69 remembers that Sr. Joseph Alphonsus, CCVI, writer and scholar Dr. Amy Freeman Lee and then-dean Sr. Margaret Patrice Slattery, CCVI, would go out walking. At the time, the Sisters were quite strict, she says, but that evening stroll allowed Franckowiak and her friends to get to know them in a different way than when they were in the classroom.
“I was very, very inspired by the nuns,” she said. “The nuns we went to school with, we stayed in contact with. Because of the spiritual influence of the priests and the nuns, it’s instilled a great, great love – a lifelong love – for the Incarnate Word.”
This year, the Class of 1969 celebrates the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Alumnae are welcomed back to their campus, now a University, for a reunion, celebration and a look back at what brought them to their alma mater and why they stay true to their school. They are also considered members of a very special group affectionately called the Crimson & Gold.
The freshman class of 1965 was made up of 165 young women. While it made for a tight-knit community, it was also a record number of incoming students at the time. Students also learned from many Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and other religious.
Faith was a driving reason that Franckowiak and her parents chose Incarnate Word College when she was looking to study. Originally from Midland, she had a choice to enroll in other Catholic colleges, but ultimately chose IWC where her older sister Mary Kate was studying. She remembers attending daily Mass just before lunch in Our Lady’s Chapel whenever she could.
Franckowiak lived in Dubuis residence hall with her roommate, Judy, with whom she remains close friends with today. “Living on campus and attending classes, it was just wonderful,” she remembers. “It was all girls back then, and that was no problem. Except the telephone situation.”
She recalls the traditions that helped make her time at IWC so special. Freshman ladies were given little wool caps called beanies that set them apart from the upper classman. The annual talent show was also a beloved event, and one in which Franckowiak and her friends took part in with a somewhat original song. They rewrote the lyrics to Galveston by Glen Campbell, a hit at the time, to reflect their Incarnate Word experience. “We weren’t The Supremes, exactly,” she said. “None of us could sing, but we ratted our hair and dressed up and went over to the auditorium and had a great time.”
Style shows and luncheons were enjoyed at Marian Hall, where the Student Engagement Center now sits. And, despite strict rules, small adventures were had with trustworthy friends. “We would sneak across to the zoo, but we had to wear trench coats over our shorts or slacks, because we couldn’t wear those on campus,” she said.
A secondary education major, Franckowiak, like many of her peers, went on to become a teacher retiring almost 20 years ago from a career as an educator. Her education and formation at Incarnate Word College helped shape the life that she’s enjoying now.
Franckowiak is eager to return to the place she called home for four years and see friends she hasn’t seen in ages. She also plans to bring some friends and hopes to take a peek at the dorms, now so different from when she resided. There’s much to see at the University of the Incarnate Word. “I will be there in October!” she said.