Members of the class of 1966 will wear a purple cap and gown one more time to walk in the graduation procession during spring commencement.

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Fifty years ago, a gallon of gas cost 32 cents, Lyndon B. Johnson was president and “Batman” premiered on television.

TCU’s class of 1966 will reflect on that era while celebrating their 50th year reunion during the 2016 spring commencement. The alumni association is marking the milestone with a weekend celebration.

The coordinator of senior adult programming for the alumni association, Melissa Austin-Weeks, said reunion events include dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s, lunch with Chancellor Victor Boschini and a tour of the new Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

A view of the TCU campus from 1966 shows that things the landscape was different from what students see today.
A view of the TCU campus from 1966 shows the landscape was different from what students see today.

“They want to see a new space,” Austin-Weeks said. “They love to hear about the current culture of the student.”

The class of 1966 will get to relive the glory of their own graduation as they walk behind the class of 2016 during Saturday’s spring commencement ceremony.

Dale Young, a member of the class of 1966, said this is what he’s looking forward to the most.

After teaching 8th grade for 10 years, Young returned to TCU to serve as director of student teaching and career services for the college of education, a position he held for 35 years.

“Even though I already did it as a faculty member, it’s kind of neat to come back after 50 years and get to march in graduation,” Young said.

Many of the members of the class of 1966 might not recognize TCU’s campus.

“Nearly every building on campus is either newer than 1966, received a major renovation since then, or is scheduled for renovation or demolition in the next four years or so,” said Todd Waldvogel, associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus planning. “Since 1966, we’ve totally redefined the university as a pedestrian-oriented campus.”

In 1966 Sid Richardson was still under construction.
In 1966, Sid Richardson was still under construction.

Waldvogel will present current and upcoming construction plans to the class of 1966.

“This campus is important to past, present and future Horned Frogs,” Waldvogel said. “Commitment to TCU doesn’t disappear when graduates leave the campus.”

Young said that although the landscape of TCU has changed dramatically since he was a student, the heart of the university has remained the same.

“When I came through, it really seemed like [the faculty] cared about how successful you were going to be. When I came back, that same philosophy was here,” Young said. “This university has not changed the real point of why they started it.”

Austin-Weeks said the reunion celebration is an important way to keep alumni active within the TCU community.

“For some people it kind of reinvigorates their love of TCU,” she said. “If we don’t keep our alumni actively engaged in the life of our university, our university won’t grow.”

Austin-Weeks said the alumni association is expecting 100 to 125 total guests to attend this year’s reunion events.

“They don’t want to miss the milestone of their 50th reunion,” she said. “TCU is pretty good about always producing an event that’s going to be fun.”

After the reunion, the class of 1966 will be invited to join TCU’s Quinq club (Quinq is latin for “50”).

Robert Carr Chapel has remained relatively unchanged on the outside.
Robert Carr Chapel has remained relatively unchanged on the outside.

Austin-Weeks said the club, which hosts events throughout the year, was “established as a way to keep people connected to the university.”

“They keep trying to bring us back,” Young said about the alumni association. “You feel a support from the university 50 years after graduation.”

Young, who retired two years ago, said he stays active in the TCU community by attending alumni events.

“I feel closer now to my classmates now, than when I went to school here,” Young said. “There is something about graduating from TCU that really builds a circle of friends that you can turn to if you need to.”