Howe House housemates with their spouses.
Home to Howe
Former classmates find that dorms, like college, get better with age.
There was something special about Howe House on Murray Hill in the early 1970s. Maybe it was because so many of the young men lived there all four of their college years, six to a suite. They played sports together, studied engineering and science together, and graduated together in 1974.
“It was truly a fraternity,” said Mark Humphrey ’74, who lived in Howe House while earning an electrical engineering degree from Case Institute of Technology. “We just developed a lot of close friendships. We worked hard and we played hard.”
When he put out the call for a Howe House reunion, former dormmates responded with enthusiasm. On June 23, 10 of them arrived from across the country, bringing along eight spouses. Some of the former classmates had not seen one another in 48 years.
“It was fabulous, it really was,” said Humphrey, who retired in California after a 34-year career with Chevron Corporation.
He had returned to Canton last year for a high school reunion and had dinner with Case classmate and former Howe houser Paul Harold ‘74. They started talking about Case, their upcoming 50th college reunion, and how they had already lost some of their classmates.
“We’re thinking, let’s not wait for 50. Let’s do it now!” Humphrey said.
With the help of Kelly Hendricks, Alumni Engagement Director for the Case Alumni Association, they targeted about two dozen former housemates. Seventeen responded positively and a date was set–the weekend of June 23-25, 2022.
Working with Hendricks, Humphrey and Harold designed an itinerary that ranged from campus to downtown and back. The group played golf, visited the Rock Hall and took in a Cleveland Guardians game. They had breakfast with Dean Ragu Balakrishnan, who brought them up to date on the Case School of Engineering, and toured the new Structures Lab in the basement of Bingham. They also toured the university’s acclaimed innovation center and maker space—a highlight.
“Hands down, Sears think[box] was the big hit. Think[box] is a unique asset for the university. And we received an incredible tour,” Humphrey said.
As an added touch, the group had lunch with Larry Sears ’69, who helped to make think[box] a reality. A couple of the alumni fondly recalled Circuits Lab taught by Sears back in the 1970’s.
Climactically, they returned to Howe House, which now houses second-year students as part of CWRU’s South Residential Village.
They were surprised and delighted to find that their former dorm had not changed so very much. They climbed onto the single beds and posed for photos in familiar lounges.
For a while, they were college students again.
“The memories just kept flooding back,” Humphrey said.
Want to re-connect with your place at Case? Contact Kelly Hendricks and get the reunion started: Kelly.Hendricks@casealum.org
Alumni Ray Staron and Mark Humphrey in Howe House.
Dave Fries ’74 jumps back into a bed in Howe House.
For Paul Harold, left, and Dave Fries, there was no domed canopy when they climbed the Elephant Stairs 45 years ago.
Howe housemates. Front row (l to r) Bill Temkin, Ray Staron, Bruce Tuma. Back row (l to r) Jim Isner, Tom Moos, Dave Fries, Paul Harold, Jim Calvin, Mark Humphrey.