Listening to Don Rascoe reminisce about his time as a student at Sam Houston State University in the late 1960s, it is hard not to get caught up in his fervent love for the university.
“Sam Houston was a real homey, comfortable place,” he said. “We were here for just a snapshot of our lives but it was a snapshot that really affected us. I’ve been gone for 30-something years but it still feels real.”
Rascoe, 59, graduated as a journalism major in 1969. He works and lives in Ellicott City, Md. now but remains as active as possible within the university. He’s made several trips back to Huntsville to visit the campus and with it, old friends and professors. His most recent visit being this week, which will be capped off with a road trip to Austin to cheer on the Bearkats take on the University of Texas Longhorns. He made numerous lifelong friends many of whom were professors and even met his wife at Sam, so it seems only natural, perhaps, that Rascoe would feel the strong connection he does.
“I’ve always felt this tug to come back,” he said. “My life as I know it started here.”
The majority of Rascoe’s time was spent working for “The Houstonian” back when it was still inside the Thomason Building and it is there he developed the sense of community he carries with him today.
“I started hanging out at “The Houstonian” office as a freshman, that seemed to be where the action was, and waited for the good looking senior girls asked me to do something. They finally did, I’d write headlines or a cutline and… next thing you know you really become a part of the fabric, he said. “It was so much fun being a part of something because we all seemed to work together. Pretty much any time we weren’t in class we were in the newsroom.”
Those bonds have stood the test of time as Rascoe still keeps in touch with many of his college buddies professors included taking time to e-mail them or even meet up with them during his visits back to Huntsville.
Age, distance and time often create insurmountable barriers between people but
Rascoe said its always just like old times when meeting up with familiar faces.
“When I see them it’s like time hasn’t passed. You just pick where you left off, catch up, and laugh at the same stories.”
SHSU was much smaller and the student population has more than doubled since his time there when he attended and several of the landmarks he knew so well no longer exist.
“We actually have to give directions by where things used to be,” Rascoe said, chuckling.
Though, for as much change as has taken place around the campus since he graduated, he doesnt bemoan the university for its expansion but instead embraces it wholeheartedly.
“I love coming back and walking through the campus to see the buildings and dorms, it’s just beautiful,” Rascoe said. “I lived in White Hall and would have loved to live in a place like Sam Houston Village. We all wanted to live in Frehls because they were like mini-apartments, but it was an all-girls dorm so there was no getting in there.”
Rascoe encouraged students to remain as involved with their alma matter as possible.
“I guess Im a little geeky about these sorts of things but the sense of belonging is constant. You were part of something that was here long before you were and you hope it will be there a long time after you were gone,” he said.
Rascoe said he greatly anticipates Saturdays game versus the Longhorns.
“I predict a good, fun time. The score on something like this is meaningless,” he said. “I always wanted to see Texas play but I never thought it would be against Sam Houston.”