As members of Kansas University’s Class of 1960 gathered on campus on Thursday for their 50-year reunion, talk would inevitably turn to Wilt Chamberlain.
The KU basketball great played for two years in the 1950s, and members of the class recalled numerous stories. Mel Hawk, a Lenexa insurance agent, remembered how the very tall Chamberlain would drive around in a convertible, and he remembered once seeing him reach down and pick up a piece of trash off the ground without having to open his car door.
“A friend of mine saw Wilt Chamberlain try and sneak out of a psychology lecture on his hands and knees,” said Ed Wheeler, who traveled all the way from Singapore to attend the reunion.
But it wasn’t all about basketball.
Ten members of a pledge class from Pi Beta Phi sorority were in town, and greeted each other warmly as each new one would enter the reception room at KU’s Adams Alumni Center.
Most of the members became teachers in those days, but one member, Marilyn Mull Fead, who now lives in Boulder, Colo., decided to become a doctor. She went on to graduate from the KU Medical Center after earning her bachelor’s degree.
Of her KUMC graduating class of 114, she recalled only two or three women. She remembered most doctors at the time treating women well — as long as they didn’t try to act like men, she said.
“They were really helpful,” Fead said. “They kind of treated you like their little sister.”
About 110 members of the class will be in town this weekend. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little is scheduled to address the class this evening, and officially induct them into the Gold Medal Club, KU’s society of alumni of more than 50 years.