You asked for stories about University proctors (From the Archives, January issue).

It was winter sophomore year, likely January or February 1976 (but the picture is often fuzzy from a distance). My Holder Courtyard roommate Jeff Georgia ’78 and I were finishing up a late evening meal at Commons, when the idea struck (his idea or mine, is no longer certain).

“Let’s grab that big stodgy portrait off the wall and hang it outside our room for all the courtyard to admire!”

And just like that, the deed was done. I believe the particular dining hall was called Lower Eagle (the dining hall closest to our entry). It was a big old formal portrait (seems like it was 6-feet-by-4-feet, but again things get fuzzy from a distance). It was all reverential pomp-and-circumstantial portraiture, with a fine fantastic formal frame. Our room (second floor) was centered on the northern side of the courtyard, and its placement gave the whole courtyard an air of rarefied respectability (or so we believed).

We even enhanced the presentation with dedicated lighting, making judicious use of a desk lamp centered just so above the new courtyard addition.

Well, everything was fine enough, and the evening was quietly unfolding when quietly and surreptitiously, snow started falling. Then next thing you know, we had a knock at our door.

That’s when the four of us in our quad had our first genuine encounter with The Proctors. They were firm but fraternal, as I recall.

Long story short, back into Lower Eagle went the old patriarchal figure, and as I recall Jeff and I, within a day or two, had some delicate conversation with a dean. Our lesson in art history was completed.

Rocky Semmes ’79
Alexandria, Va.