The College According to Hugh
Hugh Marlow ’57 has retired.
Those words don’t come naturally; Hugh is not the retiring type, not in the literal sense, anyway. But yes, last June, Mr. Middlebury—that’s a name he will not self-apply; “Gordie Perine ’49 will always be Mr. Middlebury,” he’ll insist—officially retired as the executive secretary of Middlebury’s Alumni Association.
And while we fully expect to see him just as much, if not more, in his “retirement,” we thought now would be as good a time as any to ask Hugh to reflect on his tenure at the College on the Hill.
As a freshman, I lived in Starr dorm, first floor, the corner closest to Starr Library. There were those who said that was the closest I got to the library.
My first class was 8 a.m., the basement of Carr Hall. It was “Idiot English” with Mr. Littlefield. That was the start of College for me.
We had ROTC classes; we were issued a uniform. And we marched Wednesday afternoons in front of McCullough, on the field there. It was mandatory for the first two years, and I enjoyed it very much. For those who wanted two more years, you applied, and if they wanted you, they said sure. So I did it for the next two years, as well.
Compared to the teams today, the level of hockey and lacrosse we played was like kindergarten. But we had fun. It was special.
At the end of the hockey season my junior year, Bob Telfer ’57, my roommate, said, “You have to come out for lacrosse.” I told him that I had never held a stick, and he said, “We don’t have enough players; you’re in shape from playing hockey; Duke [Nelson ’32] is coaching, and you love Duke, and you like to hit people. Come out.” I went out, and I’m sure I dropped more balls than I caught or threw. And I played for two years.
With [geography professor] Roland Illick, you had to think, you had to look at things [differently], make decisions. You couldn’t cram the night before and memorize the length of the river, the population, and the rainfall.
I describe Middlebury as a family. Is it a perfect family? Absolutely not. But there is no perfect family.
Our students are fun, very good company, and smart, so smart. Great additions to any group.
Gordie Perine ’49—he cared, he loved, he took care of you. And he was a calming influence. When people got excited about a situation, Gordie would gently say, “It’s okay.” He was a mentor. He was very special.
When somebody says, “Duke Nelson,” the grins start.
We’re blessed with landscape here.
Middlebury is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.
[Son] Chris Marlow graduated in ’94 at the age of 31 because he had been in the Marines for eight years. And one of his best friends was Glyn Trevillion ’93, who had been a London bobby for six years. I was in a deans’ meeting [when I first heard of Glyn]. Freddy [Neuberger ’50] came in and said, “I’ve just taken care of dorm damage in Battell. We’ve just admitted a London bobby.”
Over a period of time, [daughter Laura Marlow Latka ’01] accepted that it was okay for us to be around, and she brought kids home. Now many of her best friends are our best friends.
We were in a bar in the Embarcadero on a beautiful San Francisco evening. And I suggested to the group that we go outside, and I’d update them on what was happening at Middlebury. We were out there for about a half hour, and after the Middlebury group broke up, someone came up and said, “Excuse me, you all are so tied in. Are you members of a cult?”
For every story that I remember, I’ve probably forgotten 15.
The movie ends, and Peter [Kohn] gets up on the stage, and somebody yells, “Pete, what time is it?” And Peter says, “It’s time for me to thank everyone who made this possible.” And the tears came down.
Winter is part of why you live in New England.
When you’re skating on Lake Champlain, and you hear the ice crack—that’s an attention getter.
The summer is a reward for making it through the year.
To take the Bethel Mountain Road out of Rochester going east in the morning, and you hit the crest before you go down the hill. And looking east across that landscape—the rolling hills, the fog in the hollows, the sun—I’ll put that view up against anything, anywhere.