A Golden Anniversary Missed

Having reconnected with Illinois Institute of Technology via publications such as Illinois Tech Magazine, Virgilio Caballero (M.S. ENVE ’72) expresses his disappointment about having to miss this year’s 50th reunion.

I am enjoying the current school news that bring reminisces from the time that I was enrolled in the environmental engineering program. To this day I feel very fortunate for having chosen IIT for my graduate studies, which was the key that opened many doors for me as an immigrant during my successful 44-year professional career that started as a part-time draftsman in an engineering firm while attending school [and ended as] the director of waste water operations in a central Florida municipality.

A 50th reunion is a milestone that not many people can attend for many reasons, particularly during these pandemic years. For those of us who are 70-plus years of age, it is truly an important event in our lives, and that is the reason that I feel terribly sorry after hoping to attend. An unavoidable schedule conflict for that date prevented me from participating in such a memorable celebration, and the sad part is that I missed my one-time 50th reunion.

A Plan to Stick To

A World War II veteran who served in the United States Navy, Charles Ticho (EE ’48) used his G.I. benefits to attend Illinois Institute of Technology upon his return home to Chicago. He highlights some of his experiences as a student at Illinois Tech, specifically in pursuit of his goal to graduate in three years to make up for the time he spent in the service.

IIT had a somewhat primitive method of registering for classes. On the specified registration day each department would set up a table in the gymnasium. If you wanted to sign up for an English class, you got in line in front of the English department table and hoped that, by the time you got to the head of the line, the class that you wanted was still available. You would then rush to the next line to sign up for the next course and so on until your schedule was complete. This system did not present a big problem for those signing up for the normal 16 credit hours per semester. If one of your preferred classes was already full, you nearly always managed to find an alternate class that would fit into your schedule. However, when you were trying to squeeze 22 or 24 credit hours into your program, as I was, a careful strategy had to be prepared.

Every semester, no matter how well I planned, there would always be one or two classes that were already filled by the time I got to the table. To solve this dilemma I developed a bit of subterfuge. I’d go up to the professor who was teaching one of the closed classes and say: “I spoke to the head of your department and he said that, if it is all right with you, were I to join your closed class, it would be OK with him.” What could the professor say? I had already received the department head’s approval, so he could hardly object. He always agreed. I would then rush over to the department head and say: “Professor so-and-so said if it is OK with you it’s OK with him if I join his closed class.” Invariably the department head approved, and I had the class.