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Alumni 50th Reunion Central

​​Allegheny Class of '66

I am not able to make our 50th Reunion but wish to thank you all for writing your most interesting stories. I have enjoyed each and every one!

I really can’t believe it’s been 50 years. I still remember thinking (not so long ago) 65 was “very old.”

Like many, if not all of you, Allegheny has a special place in my heart. For me it was a discussion with my pre-med advisor, Dr. Benjamin, in 1963 that would influence my life long after I left Allegheny. It’s true that one never knows the influence you may have on others, hopefully always for good.

During our sophomore year I decided that my chosen career, medicine, was too long and too expensive a journey so transferred to Cornell University New York Hospital School of Nursing. I went from a small town, Meadville, to the Upper East Side of Manhattan (70th & 1st Avenue) with “no hours” and the City as our backyard. The nursing students lived in a nurses’ residence (now the Helmsley Medical Towers) and on some Sunday mornings I would walk to 5th Avenue and have “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with a pastry & cup of coffee. Cornell had a wonderful nursing school (now closed) and emphasized community nursing which in New York City was like traveling around the world!

After getting my BS in Nursing in 1967 (a five year program) I went to Boston University and received a MS in Nursing in Child Psychiatry, spent a year as a Visiting Nurse in the inner-city of Boston and then was the nursing/medical component of the “BU Center for Exceptional Citizens” providing early childhood intervention for children in the inner-city through Boston University’s Mental Health Center. While there my friends & co-workers kept telling me I should go to medical school. This is when Dr. Benjamin’s comments many years ago, “I’m sorry that you are leaving Allegheny but I think that you will eventually enter medical school” encouraged me to take the missing courses (physics at BU at night and a 6 week crash course of organic chemistry at Harvard in the summer) which led to my entering BU School of Medicine in 1976. Dr. Benjamin’s encouragement in 1963 for me to enter medicine as a woman was very advanced at that time and I am forever grateful. (In 1966 7% of medical school graduates were women.)

I had a great albeit exhausting time in medical school and it was there that I met my wonderful husband! When we graduated in 1980 we “matched” as a couple in Pittsburgh for our residencies (Joe in internal medicine at Mercy Hospital and me in pediatrics at Children’s). Joe had never been off the East Coast but we both loved Pittsburgh and our years there. Then on to NIH and Johns Hopkins for MPH’s and fellowships. I completed a Preventive Medicine Residency at Hopkins and Joe did cancer research at NIH & then Hopkins, completing an Occupational Medicine Residency in June, 1993.

In the fall of 1993 we moved back to Joe’s hometown, Shoreham, NY (Eastern Long Island) to live with his mother after his father passed away much too young. Joe has been directing the Occupational Medicine Clinic at Brookhaven National Laboratory for the past 14 years and enjoys it very much, most of the time. I brought my dissertation work to Long Island but soon became a geriatrician, first caring for my mother-in-law and then my mother who moved in with us in 1997.

In 2004 Joe was given a 1917 Insurance Map of our little village and googling the names I discovered that Elizabeth Cady Stanton had summered here and her daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch,  ran the New York Suffrage Movement in the summer from a house up the street. All of a sudden history came alive and I was appointed Shoreham Village Historian in 2010 and co-authored an Arcadia book on Shoreham and Wading River (Joe was the ghost writer). Joe & I also wrote a chapter on Shoreham for a just published book, Gardens of Eden: Long Islands Early 20th Century Communities. Also in 2010, while agreeing to co-author my first book I went for my annual mammogram and was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer (no family history) and Joe was diagnosed with early bladder cancer. We are both doing very well 6 years later and I am writing this to encourage all my female classmates to have your suggested mammograms.   

Memorable Trips: In 1972 I took an “Encounter Overland” camping trip from England to Nepal camping through Afghanistan and Iran, an incredible trip no longer possible.   

In 2006 Joe and I finally found time to go on a “honeymoon” (married in 1985) and took a Tauck Sailing Cruise around Sicily connecting with his relatives in his maternal grandparents’ hometown of Borgetto, Sicily. One year later we took Joe’s uncle and aunt back for the “Feast of the Madonna” and in 2014 went for “Festa San Giuseppe.”  Wonderful times and wonderful people!

Have a great reunion and we’ll be thinking of you all!   Mimi & Joe   

Mimi Oberdorf

Mimi - India, 1972