More on the Appalachian Trail 

After reading about the hike JIM DODGE ’71 MEA ’76 took through the Appalachian Trail (Fall 2011), I thought I would share my AT back-packing adventures. After I retired from nursing in 2003, I started hiking sections of the AT beginning at Springer Mountain. Since then, I have hiked and backpacked approximately 400 miles of the trail. I have hiked in our beautiful national parks but still prefer to head out on
the iconic AT. 

I taught nursing at Bradley for a number of years, and my husband Peter was department chair in speech pathology and audiology. I could not complete my hiking quests without the love and support of Peter, who is my way-pointer, dropper-offer, picker-upper, and, at times, bailer-outer. My advice? Hike while you are young. 

Walker, La. 


I enjoyed the article in the fall issue about hiking the Appalachian Trail. My wife is an avid AT hiker and has been out five times to hike short segments. In May 2010, when I was 74 years old, I rode my motorcycle from the southern end of the AT in northeast Georgia at Amicalola Falls State Park to the northern end of the AT in northern Maine in six days and three hours. 

This time compares to six months walking the Appalachian Trail by JIM DODGE ’71 MEA ’76, the author of your article. 

In 2007 I rode this same motorcycle to Alaska alone when I was 71.

Powell, Ohio


My Appalachian Trail experience in 2005 only relates to the climbing of Mt. Katahdin, which is a very short part of the trail, but for me it proved a real challenge. 

Our group was on a weeklong canoe trip on the Allagash River in Maine. I thought that my marathon training would let me jog up this mountain. After all, it was only about a mile high, and a marathon is 26.2 miles. 

We started mid-morning and made it to the top. I was keeping up pretty well. We had lunch, a short rest, and started down. At that point, my fear of heights and my 65-year-old body started to take their toll. Fortunately, one of the college students stayed with me as we got farther and farther behind. We ran out of food and water, and the cell phone died. The others finished way before sundown, but we finished the climb more than an hour after dark. The trail was marked with rocks painted red, which we could not see after dark. 

I had visions of coming down in New Hampshire instead of Maine! It was great to see those flashlights at the bottom of the mountain. 

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Reflecting on Bradley bonds

This year marks 20 years since my Bradley graduation, and I have been reflecting. My BU experience remains one of the most important influences of my life. Not only were my 4½ years on the Hilltop memorable, but also the friendships forged have held strong. 

I had never heard of Bradley when I started researching colleges, but choosing Bradley remains one of the best decisions I ever made.  Ironically, one of the main reasons I decided on Bradley was during a campus visit when I saw guys throwing around a football in the quad and I thought to myself, “This is college.’’ Still waiting for my first BU football game, though. I never thought I would join a fraternity, but Phi Kappa Tau* provided me with bonds and life experiences from which I continue to learn and grow.

I established lifelong friendships at Bradley, the likes of which I do not have from anywhere else. I make an effort to see my friends from Bradley at least once a year. I have attended weddings on both coasts and everywhere in between. With fellow BU alums, I have seen the Braves play basketball in at least 10 different arenas, including the memorable Sweet 16 run at Auburn Hills in 2006. The Missouri Valley Conference tournament is a yearly gathering when we always rehash our Bradley stories.

I have made more friends through the Bradley University Alumni Association. Nothing would make me prouder than if one of my two children attended BU.

Few things remain constant in our lives. We all seem to have less time as life provides additional joys and challenges. One thing that has remained unbroken is that my Bradley bonds are as strong as they were back in 1992 when I was still determining the course of my life. I am always proud to tell people that I am a Bradley Brave. Go BU!

Fox Point, Wis. 

*Editor’s note: Phi Kappa Tau celebrates 50 years on campus this year. 

Campus tours with iPads

We found an article referencing the Winter 2012 Hilltopics story about the use of iPads for Admissions tours in our local newspaper, The Island Packet

Just goes to show that fresh and original ideas are a product of Bradley University. 

Bluffton, S.C.

An engineer’s perspective 

My family and I were in town to visit Bradley and attend a reunion of Sigma Phi Delta engineering fraternity recently. It was very good to see my brothers from so long ago. It has been 10 years since I was last in Peoria to visit friends and show my boys the Bradley campus. 

The fraternity held a road rally that routed us around the city. I was very impressed to see all of the hard work that has been done to improve the standard of living of Peoria’s citizens and taxpayers. 

I was glad to see the improvements in public works and public spaces. I am proud of the people of the Peoria area and all that they have accomplished. 

Kingwood, Texas

61 years later

My granddaughter Maria is a freshman at Bradley, and we enjoyed the 2011 Homecoming activities. When we toured the campus, I explained the many changes to my granddaughter and our family.

During my undergraduate days, I resided on Bradley Avenue directly across from the Library. My last visit to the campus was our 40th class reunion in 1990.

My former residence is now a University building. Time changes everything, but I’m impressed with the wonderful additions made to the University. I can understand why my granddaughter is so thrilled being a student. I enjoy the articles in Bradley Hilltopics. Keep up the good work.

Joliet, Ill.

Family history

My sister and I enjoyed the excellent article about our family ancestors (“Lynch Family History Mirrors Bradley’s”) in the Winter issue of Bradley Hilltopics. We can’t believe that our mom, FRAN LYNCH RECTOR ’39, could remember all of it in so much detail. We learned some things about our family that we didn’t know. Mom truly enjoyed helping with the research.

Years ago, the plan was that when it was time for me to go to college I would go to Bradley and live with my grandmother, HAZEL COOPER LYNCH, 1912. She passed away long before it was time for college, so I didn’t end up at Bradley. I am a Pi Phi like my mother and grandmother though. 

Judy Rector Knox
Longview, Texas