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her father and Spanish professor Phil

Gillette on the school tennis courts.

When it came time to recognize student

achievements, Anna won every award

the high school had to give. “My mother

was a very shy woman; she never wanted

her children to show off. We were sitting

in the chapel, and they were giving

these awards. I went up to get one, and

I went up to get two. My mother said,

‘Anna Ruth, I don’t want you to go

up anymore.’ And, of course, people

were clapping and I was so embarrassed.” After the ceremony,

Dr. Long brought the rest of the awards to Anna referencing

Mahomet coming to the mountain if the mountain wouldn’t

come to him.

Masters appreciated daily interactions with her classmates

and professors, but the person who “saved her life” was Mary

Landon Russell, the school’s music professor. The teacher and

student shared a passion for playing the piano and performing,

but they also supported each other through personal losses

and sadness. Russell’s young husband had been killed in a

WWII military training accident. Masters was terribly lonely

and homesick for Duluth, Minnesota, where she had enjoyed

an active and happy school life with many friends. Russell was

a demanding, but very supportive teacher. “I loved to practice

and play piano. I played all over Williamsport -- every women’s

club, church, or museum.” The joy in playing and performing

was the highlight of her senior year. It was also the beginning of

a friendship between the two women that would last a lifetime

and influence Anna’s future. After Masters had graduated from

Vassar College, married, and given birth to her first child, she

began a 48-year career as a piano teacher. “I loved it. I really

liked the children and I wanted them to learn to play the piano

the way I had. I wanted to be like Mary Russell.”

As Mary Russel was to Anna, Masters’ parents were an

integral part of Lycoming College life for many. The Sandins

regularly opened their home to the college community. “My

father had coffee every afternoon at 3:00, and he usually brought

a faculty member home with him or he brought some students

home with him. And my mother would bake a cake. There

probably would be five or six of them

that would sit there and talk.” At the

beginning of each school year, Anna’s

father would place an invitation in

every faculty mail box. “He would say

Ruth and Eric Sandin at home the first

Sunday of the month. At first nobody

would ever come, they didn’t know

what this was. But one or two in the

English department would come. Dad

would say, you coming over? What is

it? We are just going to get together,

my wife makes cute sandwiches. Then everybody came. They

discussed everything from the school to current events like the

conflict in Vietnam.”

Masters believes that her father was a leading influence on

what the college is today. “He demanded excellence from his

students. “Having achieved his doctorate degree over a period

of ten years while teaching and raising a family, Sandin believed

that the college must equip itself with faculty who had earned

terminal degrees in their fields of expertise, something that was

not the case in junior college years. Her father had great respect

for Dr. Long even though the two did not always agree about

how the college should go forward into the future.

Masters credits her mother’s contributions to the life of the

college as going well beyond making sandwiches and cakes.

“Mother was very kind to the students. She just felt so bad for

the young men who came. Whether they got a bad grade or they

had lost a girlfriend, she would invite them over to the house.

Mother was shy at times, but she was a wonderful conduit to my

father in every regard.”

“I know my mother and dad really loved Lycoming. It was a

great challenge to them. After their retirement, they would often

host former Lycoming colleagues at their home in Connecticut.”

Although she remembers her experiences fondly, Masters her-

self seldom returned to Williamsport and now barely recogniz-

es the College or the city. Many things have changed since 1948,

but Masters was happy to hear the neighboring church bells

still ring, just as they did when she was a student, and she looks

forward to the next chapter in the life of a college that meant so

much to her parents.

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