January 2010

Memories of Doyle

Mark R. McCallum, ‘82

Strange how one life affects so many others. That thought surfaced because of an unexpected intersection at Homecoming. Between signing copies of my novel Taking Three, I found myself sharing stories with Judy Bolton Jarrett Brown from the Class of ’63 about her painting of Neville Hall.

Turns out, we are connected. While not on the scale of Clarence Oddbody’s insight to George Bailey in ”It’s a Wonderful Life”, her revelation made both of us smile. See, I asked if she ever did a painting of my dorm — known in her day as Doyle Infirmary, to others as Doyle Hall and to we happy few, as the Doyle Experimental Laboratory.

Doyle Infirmary

Doyle Infirmary

When I mentioned Doyle, she grabbed my arm and said her relative, E. Clay Doyle, donated the money for the building and was its namesake. I told her I had the privilege of being exiled there in 1978 as housing overflow along with 11 others. We embraced our outcast status so much that when the administration secured alternative housing, we refused to leave. What followed was the stuff legends are made of.

In the ensuing years, we did things that still make us laugh. In addition, we created “The Epic of Doyle” which chronicled our bottle rocket/water balloon battles with Georgia Hall, which I’m told still continue today. We established the National Doylian Society and each semester during pledge week invited worthy new residents to become members, complete with a certificate designed by Will Morris. We periodically issued press releases about our experiments to the Blue Stocking. We played intramurals together, and dodged Dean Nixon together.

Mark McCallum, 1982 Pac Sac

Mark McCallum, 1982 Pac Sac

For a decade after graduation, my resume listed “Public Relations Director for the Doylian Society” and I never was questioned about it. We even let modern technology catch up with us. Search http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=46884532413 “Doylians” on Facebook and you’ll see that we’re still bonded. After all, Doylians really did have a wonderful life. What a shame it would have been if it had never been built.

Original 1978 Doylians

Original Doylian Mark McCallum

Original Doylian Mark McCallum

Rob Abrams

Greg Breter

Thomas Hoover

Mark R. McCallum

Randy Morris

Steve Rigl

Robb Schmitt

Tom Siler

Tom Smith

Drew Thomberlain

Greg Whitacre

Joe Zucha

(HISTORICAL NOTE: Doyle Hall was actually originally called Alumni Hall Dormitory, and was the first building on the current PC campus. Our apologies to Mark for the one rather raucous picture, but we couldn’t resist.)