Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Brea Barski
Former Editor in Chief
Article originally published in October 21, 2009
Think of a college where men and women are sharing a dining hall and dormitory buildings, guys are playing football on the quad and studying in the lounges. It doesn’t seem much like Cedar Crest, but 40 years ago, that’s exactly what it was like. Men lived at Cedar Crest College.
It is common practice for colleges to accept more students than they can actually accommodate, with the understanding that some of the accepted students will end up going to other schools. In 1973, Muhlenberg College followed this practice, but a problem arose when more students than anticipated decided to attend the school. There wasn’t enough housing for everyone. So, Muhlenberg rented dorms at Cedar Crest and sent twenty to thirty men and a few women to live in them.
The Muhlenberg students lived in what is today Curtis hall, a building with a few dormitory rooms—known mostly for being the quiet hall on campus—graduate housing, Health Services, Academic Services, and several department offices.
At that time, the Cedar Crest College campus was surrounded mostly by fields and some farm land. A shuttle ran between Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest at every half hour for students without cars.
Men lived at Cedar Crest for three years—first, in the upper floor on the College Drive side, and for the other two years on the second floor near Butz. Some of the men had no choice in where they would live, but others came for the food in the newly built Tompkins College Center, while still others came for the girls.
Gary Kinyon was not given a choice about living at Cedar Crest his freshman year at Muhlenberg. It was the first year that students were being housed at Cedar Crest and he was assigned to live there.
“My father was not too pleased about it since he was paying for his son to go to Muhlenberg but he was living at an all-girls school,” Kinyon said.
Like many other men that lived at Cedar Crest, one of the best things about living there was the dining hall. The Tompkins College Center had been built in 1969, so the new building was often a better option for meals, though the students could choose to eat at either college.
The dining hall was also a place where Cedar Crest students spent a lot of their time.
“That was a social thing. That was where you really interacted,” Kinyon said. “The Cedar Crest women [when] they had parties on campus, weren’t so much mixed parties. So I think their tradition and habit was to go to schools like Lehigh, as well as—or maybe rather than—Muhlenberg. So there weren’t mixed parties at Cedar Crest that we would go to. So the main social connection we had with the women there was living on the same floor and in the cafeteria.”
Kinyon had many friends from Cedar Crest. “I remember having a lot of fun with the women that went to Cedar Crest, specifically the ones who lived in our dorm.” Kinyon recalled sledding down the hill behind the library on dining hall trays, going to concerts with them, and just hanging out.
“I remember there were some rules about males not going into the female section after certain hours and females not going into the male section, but it was easy to skirt those rules.”
By Kinyon’s senior year at Muhlenberg, the housing situation had been corrected and all students were moved back onto campus.
“I would have been happy to [keep living there] if they had let me,” Kinyon said. “It was fun. I liked the access to two campuses. It was always fun to tell people that I lived at a co-ed dormitory at and all-girls school.”
Gary Kinyon is a lawyer in Keene, NH. He graduated from Muhlenberg in 1977 with a degree in political science. He lived at Cedar Crest from Fall 1973 through Spring 1976 with Dean Kasher.
Dean Kashner, Kinyon’s college roommate, was also given no choice about living at Cedar Crest his first year at Muhlenberg. For his sophomore and junior years, he could have moved to Muhlenberg, but he chose not to.
“It went from being something freshmen had to do, to something some people wanted to do,” Kashner said.
Kashner has many fond memories of Cedar Crest. Sledding down the hill behind the library was a favorite. In those days, alcohol was involved with this pastime.
Across the open fields, the nearby King George Inn was a frequent Thursday night hangout. The basement bar would be taken over by a pretend radio station “WKGI” and students would gather to start the weekend a day early.
At Cedar Crest, Kashner attended events on campus, ate in the dining hall and made friends with students. “Cedar Crest students were some of my best friends in college,” Kashner said. “Women are generally more mature than men at that age. We got to meet lots of people who were mature.”
While Tim Burke remembers the fun of playing hockey in the hall (see below), Kashner recalled that everyone was punished for it. The third year that he lived at Cedar Crest, enough damage was done to the building that each of the students was billed $30 to $40 (the modern day equivalent of $120 to $160).
The good things about living at Cedar Crest outweighed the rest, though. Kashner said, “I have nothing but happy memories of Cedar Crest. It never seemed that unusual to me, but it’s a great story to tell later in life.”
Dean Kashner is a newspaper editor in Bloomsburg. He earned his degree in English literature from Muhlenberg in 1977. He lived at Cedar Crst from Fall 1973 to Spring 1976 with Gary Kinyon.
Tim Burke, DMD
When Tim Burke began his junior year, he wanted to live at school. A graduate of Salisbury High School, he had been living at home in Allentown, but helping out around the house and with his two younger siblings got in the way of his studies. A problem occurred, though, when Muhlenberg College didn’t have the space to give him a room.
“It was either move back home or live at Cedar Crest,” Burke recalled. Choosing Cedar Crest, Burke moved into Curtis Hall joining other students who had been living there the year before.
“The main reason we went over? Obviously, college guys think, ‘We can meet girls who will actually talk to us,’” Burke joked.
There were some Cedar Crest students who Burke knew from high school and he soon made friends with others at the school.
Living at Cedar Crest was more than just residence halls for some of the Muhlenberg students. They were all able to eat in the dining hall and had the option to take classes.
At this point in time, the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) had just formed. Much like today, the program allowed students to get books from other local college libraries and to take some classes at those schools. While living here, Burke took advantage of the LVAIC program and attended classes at Cedar Crest.
As a biology major attending a liberal arts college, Burke was required to take humanities classes, that he chose to take at Cedar Crest.
“At Muhlenberg, they treated you like a major, but at Cedar Crest you could actually have fun,” Burke said. He took Comparative Animal Behavior, Jazz and Electronic Music, and History of Theatre and Drama.
Of course, college wasn’t only about education. “We used to get fined all the time,” Burke said. One of the main activities that caused fines was playing hockey in Curtis.
“It started at Muhlenberg,” Burke said. “We would play hockey in the halls with super balls. At Muhlenberg, the lighting was recessed, but not at Cedar Crest. We got fined for that.”
Noise violations were also common occurrences with the men on campus. Burke’s roommate was a keyboard player in a band. They had an electric piano and an organ in their room. For the most part, Burke doesn’t remember people on campus having a problem with the noise, but complaints came from the residential area across the street from campus.
At least once a month, they hosted a keg party where a bed sheet was hung up inviting Cedar Crest students to attend.
Sometimes the pranks were more rowdy. “There was one time when the guys up at the other end of the hall had an exam,” Burke remembered. They were studying in a lounge in Curtis when a couple of male students emptied a fire extinguisher throughout the room.
Tim Burke is a dentist in Allentown. He graduated from Muhlenberg College with a degree in biology in 1976. From Fall 1974 through Spring 1976, Burke lived at Cedar Crest.