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Frozen in time

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Once, I took some photos from the top of the not-yet-completed Lederle GRC [Graduate Research Center] tower. I’m sure that I would have gotten into a bunch of trouble if I had been caught, but the idea of taking ‘aerial’ photos was too tempting to resist.

Over the decades, building renovations and new construction have reshaped the look of various parts of the campus. These additions, trims, and remodels give students, faculty, researchers, and staff access to cutting-edge facilities that prepare them for an ever-changing job market. Though things have evolved with the times, nostalgia for favorite spots on campus can still be felt—including for those that live on only in treasured photographs.

Karl Gerdes ’75 was kind enough to share some of his photos—and favorite memories—from the winter of 1972–73.

Snowy creek with bare trees and bushes.

“I liked to lug my old Canon SLR around a lot during my college years, and enjoyed trying to capture the ‘perfect shot.’ I often got up early to wander around the campus, even in the cold, if only to get out of my dorm room for a while. As is still the case, the campus was beautiful, with lots of photographic opportunities.”

The icy side of a brick building with a large icicle cascading down.

“I was, and still am, fascinated by older architecture. It was fun to wander around in my spare time and investigate the old buildings. As the university has grown, I have been pleased that the school did not demolish the old buildings, but instead has created an interesting mix of structures—old and new.”

View looking up of a large icicle hanging off the corner of the roof of a brick building.

“I was also awestruck by the brick buildings and their impressive icicles. It seemed that almost every one of the older buildings were adorned with them, some more than 6 feet long!”

Close-up of lichen growing on a tree.

“I often tried to get some ‘arty’ shots. Back in those days, there wasn’t the instant gratification of digital photography. You sent your film away to be processed, and hoped that a few of the shots on your 36-exposure roll were good ones—which was not always the case.”

Snowy view of UMass campus in 1972 taken from rooftop shows library and some buildings under construction

Flipping Out

When our team started working on the layout for this story, something about this photo just didn’t seem right. In production, we had attributed the photo's wonkiness to its unique, under-construction vantage point, but several of our readers noticed right away that the image was simply reversed. And then it hit us. We failed to take into account that slides from this era were automatically flipped so they would appear correctly when viewed with a projector. Many thanks go out to Peter Mack, Director of the Student Union Craft Center, for sending us the corrected image—to which we immediately said, "Goodness! That's better!”

While the ship has sailed on the printed copies, we’re fortunately able to correct the image here (see top of this article), presented with our mea culpa.

Got something you’d like to share? Maybe a collection of UMass-themed knickknacks or postcards? If so, share them with UMass Magazine! Send photos of your loot to