Harrowing Halloween Headlines

by Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant


Perusing through October and November issues of the Mace and Crown, I found the usual stories about Halloween parties and dances, reviews of horror movies released around Halloween, articles highlighting the “in” Halloween costumes for the year, promotions for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, an occasional article on the supernatural, and a few articles about the annual ODU pumpkin drop. Among those were a trio of truly suspenseful Halloween headlines about harrowing happenings at ODU.


On Halloween day in 1994, an ODU student tackled “an alleged larcenist” outside the ODU Library. Apparently, Norfolk police were attempting to apprehend the larcenist outside of the Mills Godwin Building when the suspect fled. An ODU student named Snapper Arnquist, who was sitting in front of the library when things went down, saw the suspect running. Arnquist quickly threw down his bookbag, dived over a small outdoor wall, and wrestled the suspect to the ground. The police were then able to arrest the suspect.


In 1995, three ODU fraternities where caught – apparently “orange-handed” – “committing a pumpkin heist.” Members of Delta Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Pi Kappa Alpha were caught stealing pumpkins and Halloween decorations from the Larchmont neighborhood adjoining campus. As punishment, the guilty members had to do 230 hours of community service, pay for the stolen items, apologize to the children in the neighborhood, and most punishing of all — throw them a party.


The last story is less of a crime and more about crushed dreams. The October 29, 2003, article titled “’Great Pumpkin’ goes bye-bye” relates the story of two ODU students with hopes of adventures on a 26-foot sailboat called “The Great Pumpkin.” The students, Matt Cornelison and Robert Munson, acquired the 40-year-old boat for free through a newspaper ad. They had the boat transported from the previous owner’s back yard to a boat storage facility where they could fix it up. A few weeks later, they discovered a small crack in the hull. As time went on, the crack got larger and larger until they could see into the cabin from outside the boat. Unable to afford to fix boat, Cornelison did what he “had to do.” He had the boat demolished with a bulldozer “until there was nothing left of it.” Such is the tragic demise of “The Great Pumpkin” and the sailing dreams of two ODU students.

Ask the Archivist: “February Is Black History Month, Can You Tell Me Some Little-Known Facts in ODU’s History Involving African American Students?”

Steve Bookman, University Archivist


I recently received the following question for my “Ask the Archivist” column in the ODU Alumni News: “February Is Black History Month, Can You Tell Me Some Little-Known Facts in ODU’s History Involving African American Students?”

While folks may already know about the groundbreaking achievements of Ronald Horne, Margaret Simmons, and Arthur “Buttons” Speakes, there are some other achievements of African Americans at ODU that people may not know about. During segregation in the 1950s and 1960s, while other schools in Virginia denied admissions to African Americans, there were several instances where African Americans were able to take classes at the Norfolk Division campus. While not officially admitted to the division, as we understand it today, African Americans were able to take classes if they were not offered at area African American institutions such as what would become Virginia State University and Norfolk State University.


In 1968, Jackie Bryant (pictured) became the first African American to rush a sorority, and Bill Forbes became the first African American to win a bid from a fraternity at ODU. It would be another six years before the first African American sorority, Delta Sigma Theta in 1974, and fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi in 1975, would be established. In 1972, Jerome Nixon became the first African American Battalion Commander of the ODU ROTC.

More information about the history of diversity and inclusion at ODU can be found in the online exhibit: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at ODU: http://exhibits.lib.odu.edu/exhibits/show/celebrating-diversity-and-incl/introduction

The History of the “Breaking the Ice Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival” at ODU

by Mel Frizzell, Special Collections Assistant

Our Own, January 1995, page 8: https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/ourown

The Breaking the Ice Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival was first held February 2, 1991 in ODU Webb Center.  It was sponsored by the ODU Gay and Lesbian Student Union (GLSU) and the Hampton Roads Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition (HRLGPC).  The event was envisioned as a winter pride event to supplement the annual Out in the Park pride picnic held each summer.  It was also a fundraiser with proceeds going toward Breaking the Ice expenses and toward the summer picnic.   The main event took place from 9:30am to 5pm and was followed by the play “I’m Positive” at 8pm and a dance in Webb Center from 10pm to 1am.  Daytime events included a showcase of vendors and organizations, as well as workshops “on healthy gay and lesbian relationships, being single, addiction, political activism, coming out, minorities, and the dilemma of gay men and lesbians in the military.”  Guest speakers that year included Robert Bray of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) who led a workshop on “The State of the Gay and Lesbian Nation: 1991” and Kate Dyer, an aide to U.S. Representative Gerry Studds (D-MA) who led a workshop on gays in the military.  Tickets to the main event were $5 in advance and $7 at the door.  Attendance to the evening play and the dance were free. 

The format stayed fairly consistent in subsequent years, though there were some changes.  The daytime hours shortened to 11am to 5pm the following year and by 1997 the main event ran from 12noon to 5pm.  Admission costs were lowered to $3 general admission and $1 for students, and only went up by $1 by the late 1990s.   Early evening events varied year to year.  Some years featured plays, most years an evening film festival, and a few years featured other entertainment.  1997 featured one act plays by ODU students, followed by country dancing performed by the OtherSiders country dance troupe, and music by local singer and songwriter Julie Clark.  1998 featured Lesbian comedian and musician Lynn Lavner and music by the Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus.  The late evening dance in Webb Center remained a fixture each year.   In 1997, there was an “All Faiths” continental breakfast held in Webb Center before the day’s other activities.

Breaking the Ice 1995 Workshop Schedule from the ODU Gay and Lesbian Student Records, Box 2, Folder 1: https://sites.wp.odu.edu/oduwiki/2018/06/25/gay-and-lesbian-student-union-glsu/

A number of prominent guest speakers were featured over the years.   Guest speakers often represented current events related to the LGBT community.  The 1992 guest speaker was Karen Thompson who had recently been awarded guardianship of her lover Sharon Kowalski in the Minnesota Appeals Court.  Kowalski had been “severely disabled” in a car accident in 1983. Guardianship had initially been awarded to Kowalski’s parents who barred Thompson from visiting.  After nine years of court battles, Thompson finally won custody in December 1991.  The 1993 guest speaker was Crae Pridgen — a gay man who had been beaten outside a gay bar in Wilmington, North Carolina by three Marines in January 1993.  This happened only a week before his appearance at the 1993 Breaking the Ice.  In 1995, Rev. Mel White of the Metropolitan Community Church was guest speaker. White had been an Evangelical writer who ghostwrote autobiographies for televangelists such as Jerry Falwell, Sr., Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham.  White came out as gay in 1994, transferred his credentials to the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church, and devoted himself to serving gay Christians.  The week following the 1995 Breaking the Ice, White led a peaceful protest on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach.  White had requested a meeting with Pat Robertson to discuss how the televangelist’s anti-gay rhetoric was harming gay people “in the name of God.”  Robertson refused the meeting and White was arrested for trespassing.  White refused bond and fasted three weeks in the Virginia Beach City Jail until Robertson finally agreed to meet with him on March 8.  At that time, Robertson dropped the charges against White.  Guests speakers for other years included Mandy Carter of the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRCF); Barbara Grier, CEO and Founder of Naid Press; Kerry Lobel of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce (NGLTF); David Perry of Virginians For Justice, and Lesbian comedian/singer Lynn Lavner. 

A variety of workshops were held at Breaking the Ice with some themes remaining consistent over the years.  Given the huge military presence in Hampton Roads, it’s not surprising that “gays in the military” was a frequent workshop theme.  Coming out was also a frequent theme, as were Lesbian and Gay relationship issues, LGBT affirming-spirituality (including alternative spiritual beliefs like Wicca), and LGBT politics and activism.  Other topics included LGBT youth, bisexuality, diversity within the LGBT community, addictions, safer sex, Lesbian and Gay Unions, LGBT legal concerns, finances, child custody, Lesbian and Gay literature, and dealing with grief.

Breaking the Ice Photo with Caption, Our Own Community Press, March 1991, Page 1 : https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/ourown

Each year ODU’s Webb Center cafeteria was filled with LGBT vendors and organizations.  Vendors included bookstores such as OutRight Books, Phoenix Rising, Lambda Rising, The Tidewater Women’s Bookshelf, White Rabbit Books and Things, and others.  Other vendors sold pagers, candles, clothing and jewelry, health products, and Pagan spiritual supplies, among other things.  Organizations included political and activist organizations like the Human Rights Campaign Fund, Virginians for Justice, and even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).   Local service organizations included Tidewater AIDS Crisis Taskforce, AIDSCare, Full Circle Hospice, and American Red Cross.  LGBT-affirming religious organizations were represented.  These included New Life MCC, All God’s Children, Dignity (Catholic), Honesty (gay Baptists), Unitarian-Universalists, Integrity (Episcopal), and Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns.  Support, social, and recreational organizations with tables at the event included Youth Out United, Transgender Pride, Gay Games, Mid-Atlantic Amateur Softball Association, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Primetimers, Lambda Car Club, Gay Men’s Chorus, and Tidewater Bears.

Breaking the Ice couldn’t happen without the support of its sponsors and those organizations that provided volunteers and workshop facilitators.  The two main co-hosts for Breaking the Ice were always the Hampton Roads Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition and the ODU Gay and Lesbian Student Union (later renamed ODU Gay Lesbian Bisexual Students and Allies).  Over the years other community sponsors and supporters included: Mandamus Society, Hershee Bar, Coral Sand Motel, Don’t Tell Mama restaurant, New Leaf / Quarberg Gallery, Mitch’s Cut-ups, OutRight Books, Out of the Dark, Out and About, Out in Virginia, Our Own Community Press, New Life MCC, Mac Graphics, Virginian’s for Justice, Youth Out United, Bi-Choice, All God’s Children Church, the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, Tidewater AIDS Crisis Taskforce, Tastebuds Supper Club, Taylor Rental, B&B Exxon, and many others.

Breaking the Ice continued at ODU through the late 1990s, and possibly into the early 2000s.  The exact date of the last classic Breaking the Ice is unclear as our primary sources for the festival in the ODU Special Collections and University Archives only go up to 1998.  ODU Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) brought Breaking the Ice back to ODU in 2019.

A New Insight: An Intern’s First Look Into Archival Work

by Ethan Dykes, HIS 368 Intern in Special Collections and Archives

As an up and coming history major at Old Dominion University, I was excited to receive the opportunity to work as an intern at the Special Collections Department in the Perry Library. I have always been curious about the specifics behind the jobs that entail the collection, study, and preservation of historical materials. This being my final semester at the university I was thankful for the opportunity to learn all I could about archival work before I graduated. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I would have to do the internship remotely rather than the usual in-person experience. Still, I believed this to be a good opportunity to see what working in an archive facility was like and if I would consider it as a job for myself in the future. Needless to say I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have learned about archival work and the types of materials I have gotten to work with despite the global pandemic.

October is National Archives Month! It’s a great time learn more about archives and the labor and expertise that goes into them.

Unexpected Lessons

My first few assignments in the internship mostly involved getting to know the staff and reading the training modules for archival work. To my surprise, the training module held a plethora of information on the specifics of archival work, and I learned many unexpected lessons. Not only did the modules define the different types of archives in the world and what they look to collect, but how they may sort and preserve those different types of materials. Many paper materials, for example, need to be kept in properly humidified places with dim light and kept in containers safe from dust and bugs. I knew from common sense that paper materials certainly needed to be kept clean and with minimal exposure, but I did not know the amount of tiny specifics that were important to keep those materials in good condition. Such things included the importance of using iridescent bulbs and not fluorescent ones in rooms with paper or other materials to prevent deterioration from ultraviolet rays. I also learned much about the importance of structure and safety in archival facilities. Archives have to be careful of how their buildings are built and manage to ensure safety from disasters and accidents, such as water leaks from air conditioning units. There is also a surprising amount of importance on security, such as the need to organize materials in a certain way that prevents just anyone from looking something up and being able to take it. Archival work has a surprising amount of complexities and small details that one must learn if they wish to be able to handle historical documents.

Employee in Washington National Records Center Stack Area, ca. 1968. (National Archives and Records Administration)
Employee in Washington National Records Center Stack Area, ca. 1968. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Of Surprising Importance

Other than learning much about archival work and the surprising amount of information required to conduct such labor, I have also found archival work to be of surprising importance to the world of history. As a historian, I always knew that archives played a key role in the study of historical materials but I did not initially see their overall importance. Archives do not simply gather and preserve information, which in of itself is of significance, they also organize, label, and make that information easy to access to the public and to historians. Those wishing to research certain materials for a book or paper may easily find themselves in the depths of an archive facility shifting through shelves of materials. Many archives are also the keepers of documents one would not find anywhere else in the world, and are thus of major importance to the preservation of local and smaller portions of history. Archives are not only more complicated than I initially thought, they are also of greater significance than one such as myself may originally think. They are a key cog in the machine that preserves and teaches the world’s history.

A New Found Respect

Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with this internship so far, and have a new found respect for those who work in archives. The work I’ve done so far has been interesting and insightful, with a plethora of information about archival work. A person outside of the archival world, such as my previous self, may believe it to be simple and easy. But there is actually a science to it, a methodology that is used to best preserve the world’s history. This has been the most useful and world-changing lesson I have learned so far from the internship. In just a few weeks I have had the privilege of learning about the importance of archival work and the amount of effort that goes into it. I strongly recommend anyone interested in archival work, or in other professions of history, to seek out information on the methods behind archive work. It may yet offer a new perspective on your view of the work behind historical preservation and research.

COVID-19 and Beyond: How ODU Has Stepped Up to Meet Crises Throughout Its History

By Steven Bookman, University Archivist

Women students in the war-training program work on an airplane

As Virginia, the United States, and the World are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Old Dominion University is rising to meet the challenge. For the health and safety of its students, staff, and faculty, the University closed its facilities, moved all its courses online, and will hold a virtual Monarch Grad Week to celebrate students graduating in May 2020. The entire Monarch community has come together to help slow down the Coronavirus by making masks for their fellow Monarchs, providing meals for the community, and volunteering for the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.

However, this isn’t the first time ODU has faced adversity in the face of a crisis. International wars, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the H1N1 pandemic have cause the University to respond in a variety of ways.

World War II


Sally Avery holding her nephew, George Shipp, Jr., points out her uncle Robert Turner whose name is on the Alumni War Memorial plaque.

Well before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Norfolk Division of William & Mary, as Old Dominion was known from 1930 to 1960, was already heavily involved in the war effort. An Aircraft Instruments Institute was established at the division in 1938 to train students to operate and repair aircraft instruments. The following year, a war training program was established on campus, allowing students to take courses related to aircraft mechanics and welding, radar, and topographical mapping, among others. At a time when colleges were losing enrollment with male students leaving to fight the war, the enrollment at the division remained steady and even grew during the war. Under the direction of Lewis W. Webb, Jr., the war training program offered free classes for women such as aircraft repair, drafting, and other war-related topics. Officers from Naval Station Norfolk, including several African American sailors, took classes at the division. By the end of World War II, approximately 5,000 people enrolled in the war training program, the largest on the East Coast.

September 11, 2001

The morning of September 11, 2001 began like any other Tuesday morning on campus. Students went to their classes as usual, but when highjacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania Field, word spread rapidly. The ODU community, as it always has, reacted quickly to help with those in need. Shuttle service was organized for students, faculty, and staff to give blood at the Norfolk Scope, the History Honor Society collected bottle water and socks to give to first responders in New York and Washington, D.C., and a room in Webb Center was reserved for Monarchs to pray, remember, and reflect. Three students and an alumnus lost their lives during the attacks: Army Lieutenant Colonel Karen Wagner, Army Specialist Craig Amundson, Navy Lieutenant Commander Robert Elseth, and alumnus Robert Schlegel, ’92.

ODU students attend a 9/11 vigil

H1N1, 2009

In April 2009, the first human infected with H1N1, a flu-like virus similar to the current Coronavirus, was reported in the U.S. Unlike the Coronavirus, H1N1 mostly infected children and young adults. ODU Student Health Services was quick to send out recommendations by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to combat the virus. By July, Human Resources encouraged offices and departments to come up with plans for teleworking in preparation for an outbreak in the fall. A vaccine was developed in September and H1N1 flu clinics were held on campus beginning in November. By the time the CDC declared the pandemic over in August 2010, only a small number of Monarchs were infected.

ODU Student Jordon Wanzer takes a closer look at a Monarch basketball legend

Courtesy of ODU Special Collections and University Archives

Old Dominion Men’s basketball continues to plan ahead and look forward for the future of the program.“DEFENDING OUR HOUSE” is written in bold on the cover of the 2007-2008 ODU Basketball media guide. Ten years ago, head coach Blaine Taylor and his staff brought in Kent Bazemore from Kelford North Carolina, averaging 18.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.2 steals per game as a senior at Bertie High School. He was also named Northeast North Carolina Coastal Conference Player of the Year. Having an astonishing high school career, Bazemore’s future ahead of him looked to be promising coming into a great college program here at ODU. The ability to bring intensity to the game and play both sides on the court showed that Bazemore was more than an average high school player.

Coach Blaine showed great interest in Bazemore’s performance. He had stated that his “physical toughness and continued strength improvement will allow him to reach his vast potential.” Being redshirted 2007-2008 season, Bazemore was able to get an extra year to improve his game on the court and transition smoothly to the collegiate level. As a sophomore he was moved into the starting lineup for the Monarchs. Bazemore played a great role for the men’s conference championship season. Known for being a high flyer and a lockdown defender, Kent was a force in the Colonial Athletic Association regular season. He was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team averaging 8.5 points, 3.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds.

Kent also contributed to another conference championship the following year. During his junior season the monarchs made the NCAA Tournament which ended with a two point  loss to Butler University. Butler finished runner up behind UCONN in the 2011 NCAA Championship match. Bazemore was named CAA Defensive Player of the year and the most outstanding men’s college basketball defender in NCAA Division I (Lefty Driesell Award). He now is currently a professional athlete for the Atlanta Hawks and averaged 11 points, 2.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game during the 2016-2017 NBA season. Old Dominion has retired the number 24 and introduced Kent Bazemore into the athletic ring of honor in 2016. Bazemore’s work ethic and college legacy will always be remembered here at Old Dominion.

Courtesy of ODU Special Collections & University Archives

Old Dominion basketball produces great talent and competitive athletes who are willing to put in extra hours at the gym in order to perfect their craft. As the next season approaches, I look forward to seeing the up-and-coming athletes here make history and add more archival material to special collections.

-Written by ODU Special Collections student assistant Jordon Wanzer