By Robert W. Dalton

Foster McLane ’69 remembers working hard to impress the coaches during his first practice in a Wofford football uniform. He was participating in a blocking drill when he heard a voice behind him tell him to stay low.

“I looked around and saw this guy in street clothes,” says McLane. “And I said, ‘Who are you?’”

Turns out it was Dr. Joe Lesesne, president emeritus, who was a history professor and an assistant football coach at the time.

That’s one of the stories that was told at a restaurant in downtown Spartanburg in early December, when McLane and other members of the class of 1969 gathered to reminisce with Lesesne and Dr. Ross Bayard, professor of history emeritus. Some members of the class have been holding informal get-togethers since their 50-year reunion in 2019.

“It is wonderful to see these guys,” says Lesesne. “I’ve seen many of them off-and-on since I retired (in 2000).”

Johnston Dantzler ’69 has been the organizer of the gatherings. He says he wants his classmates to stay connected. At the December gathering, Dantzler read messages from classmates who were unable to attend.

“Time is a precious commodity,” says Dantzler. “In the past 18 months we’ve all lost friends. It’s easy for us to not check up on each other. I’ve tried to reach out to a lot of friends. That’s what makes me tick.”

Bayard says it’s overwhelming that students he taught more than 50 years ago still recall some of his lessons.

“One of the things you learn in teaching is that you never know how students are going to turn out,” says Bayard. “I’m delighted to know they still remember me and some of the things I said in the classroom. I have so many good memories of them.”