Edinboro University is home to the Fighting Scots. One might say that it’s always been that way. However, the reality is that in the 1950s and ‘60s, the Fighting Scots were known as the Red Raiders. On Oct. 10 at 5 p.m., Edinboro will host the Red Raiders of the ‘50s and ‘60s dinner at Van Houten Dining Hall. This event allows the alumni a rare opportunity to reminisce on their days as Red Raiders.
According to Major Gifts Officer, Marilyn Goellner, in the fall of 2000, a close-knit group of Edinboro University alumni, known as the “Athletes of the 50s,” began to raise funds among themselves and their classmates to establish a scholarship.
That fund reached endowment level through contributions from the athletes of the ‘50s and is to promote and encourage athletic spirit among students. From those funds come the scholarships they provide to a student athlete at the dinner.
There are two different scholarships that are given out at this dinner, one for the “Athletes of the 50s” scholarship and another for the “Football Players of the 60s.”
The scholarship fund, which started in 2000, for the “Athletes of the 50s” is valued at $90,000, which means they give out $3,000 in scholarship money to a different student athlete each year.
According to Goellner, however, the “Football Players of the 60s” scholarship is still “relatively new” and only gives out $500 from the scholarship fund valued at $19,000.
“It is an endowment,” Bruce Baumgartner, director of athletics, said. “So that fund will theoretically never go away. When the athletes are no longer with us, we can still be giving it in their name.”
The athletes of the ‘50s began as one entity and eventually grew into what it has become today. “It started out as the ‘Athletes of the 50s’ event,” Baumgartner said. “Then we kind of expanded it because most of the folks are retired, so now it’s into the early ‘60s. Back then there were way more men than women participating in athletics.”
The Red Raiders seems to have a somewhat brief, albeit interesting history. “Up until about ’63 or so it was the Edinboro State College Red Raiders,” Baumgartner said, “and then it went for a year or two as Highlanders. Then in the later ‘60s, we went to the Fighting Scots.”
According to Baumgartner, the alumni not only host a dinner on campus, but they also sit in the president’s section during the football game.
“We affectionately call it the Red Raider’s Picnic,” Baumgartner said. “A lot of those folks (alumni) feel special when we take care of them.”
Baumgartner seemed pretty enthusiastic about the event, but he really enjoyed talking about interactions with the alumni. “This is one of the things I really like about my job, getting to talk to the different alumni.”
“When some of these guys were here, I think there were about 200 or 250 people on campus, it was way different than it is now. And just hearing how a good Edinboro education has transformed a lot of people’s lives over the years [is great].”
The alumni event encourages alumni-student interaction by allowing the winner of the scholarship to speak at the dinner. “These years, as you see, if you ever got to talk to any of these folks in their late ‘50s, ‘60s and then more importantly the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Baumgartner said , “they still remember their friends from whatever dorms they were in. It’s pretty unique.”
The Red Raiders of the ‘50s and ‘60s dinner has been allowing alumni to revisit their alma mater, while also allowing for them to interact and share their stories with current students.
“I think it’s great when these folks (alumni) come back,” Baumgartner said. “It’s predominantly men, but there were some women that participated back then. It’s the stories they tell about their life here at Edinboro and it’s a great place and changed a lot of people’s lives.”
William Stevens is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.