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Sharing Pitt Memories

GI/Co-ed Romance


Nancy Ruther (A&S ’44):

Count me as the co-ed half of one of the marriages that occurred during Pitt’s World War II military occupation. It’s been 54 years now. 

Army Specialized Training Program member Private First Class Frank J. Ruther was one of 200 engineering students camped out on the 12th floor of the Cathedral of Learning.  Floors 12 and above were military barracks, completely off limits to faculty or students.

Free time? Good behavior brought weekend passes, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, following outdoor drill, ending at curfew on Sunday. Bed check: routine. On Sundays The Young Men’s & Women’s Hebrew Association welcomed the GIs to a day of food, music, relaxation. And, of course, girls. There was never a shortage of co-ed volunteers to meet and greet the guys. Count me as one.

Frank and I met there in September 1943, became engaged in January 1944, and were married on July 1, 1944, following my June 6 graduation. After completing his Army service he returned to Pitt and, thanks to the GI Bill, received his degree in June 1947. Our sheepskins—hand lettered on real parchment—now hang in the Yale University office of our daughter, Nancy Lynn Ruther (A&S ’72, GSPIA ’77, DEd).