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Belknap College alumni return for dedication

“The Belknap Five:” Henry Scarfo, Mike Sehl, Hene McCaffrey, Jim Mulligan, and Virginia “Biddy” Irwin in front. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
October 27, 2010
CENTER HARBOR — Belknap College alumni shared their memories with the town as they unveiled two markers commemorating the college.

Belknap College operated from the early 1960s to the early 1970s out of Founders Hall, which is now part of the New Hampshire Music Festival campus, and several other buildings in town.

Belknap College alumni have included several local officials, including Meredith Selectman Miller Lovett, Moultonboro Town Moderator Mel Borrin and the late Inter-Lakes School Board Chair Paula Adriance. Other prominent alumni include meteorologist Bill Hovey, who worked for Channel 5 in Boston.

Previous reunions for the college have been held in the past 20 years, ranging from a formally organized reunion of around 300 people to smaller reunions, including one in Florida. Efforts have been in the works in the past year for another large reunion, though the idea also evolved to raise money for a memorial for the college.

A group of alumni got together over the Internet last fall and decided to raise money to buy a bench and a memorial plaque. Eventually a website was formed for classmates to contact each other. Ideas for two different reunions were then combined for the reunion October.

Around 150 Belknap Alumni gathered in Center Harbor for the reunion with a dedication of the bench and marker on Saturday.

Members of the "Belknap Five" including Henry Scarfo, Mike Sehl (along with his wife Susanne), Gene McCaffrey, Jim Mulligan, and Virginia "Biddy" Irwin gave a joint speech telling the history of the reunion as well as thanks to founders Royal Frye and Virginia Brigham.

"Here today 47 years after its founding we have alumni, former students, faculty, and staff along with officials from the town and the library," Sehl said in his speech.

Sehl said he left Belknap College in May of 1966 after attending for two years.

"But even though I attended other colleges and earned my advanced degree at other schools, Belknap has remained with me as a part of my education, as a part of my growing up, as a part of my spirit," Sehl said. "Our children grew up hearing mythical stories of Belknap, its professors, its students, and the wonderful people of this town."

"When you look around at all of you that have traveled great distances because you had such wonderful and memorable experiences, it's absolutely amazing," Scarfo said. "Other colleges don't seem to have that bond."

Mulligan and Tom Whalen helped unveil he granite bench in front of the library. A historical plaque was then unveiled on Main Street.

Members of the alumni group gave special thanks to the Board of Selectmen and the Library Trustees for their support in this project.

"We appreciate very much a memorial such as this to (recognize) the college while it was here," said Center Harbor Selectman Charley Hanson. "It's nice to have something there to remind us of what was a part of us."

Scarfo then presented Sehl with an honorary degree.

"Mike is the inspiration of why we are here," Scarfo said.

The alumni are planning further reunions. A reunion is being planned for 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the college's founding.

"It's overwhelming to see the loyalty and the people who came from every where because they went to Belknap," Irwin said. "It's just great. I'm feeling like we were all just down the street."

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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