Alumni and Lifelong Friends Reunite to Celebrate 35th Anniversary

What started as a group of Kent State students known as the “Crew of 802” turned into a special, lifelong bond between 15 Kent State graduates. To celebrate this friendship, the “crew (and crewettes)” returned to Kent State Sept. 24-25 to celebrate around 35 years since they graduated (1980-82).

"The Crew" in front of the Victory Bell
The 'crew' at an 802 DePeyster party in the 1970s, and last weekend at their beloved Ray's Place.
“This was the first time we ever planned a big reunion at Kent,” Laura Wilcox, ’80, says. “It was a perfect fall weekend for the 'Crew of 802' to gather and celebrate.”

Graduates, their spouses and “honorary crew members” met from near and far. While some of the alumni were from Ohio, others came from California, Toronto and Washington, DC. They packed two days with fun activities around campus and downtown Kent. 

“We met at the Victory Bell on Saturday, toured the May 4 Visitor Center, strolled the campus, visited our dorms (Fletcher, Dunbar, Prentice, College Towers), bought Kent paraphernalia at the book store, dined at the Venice Café, marveled at the vastly improved downtown scene, drove past our old houses on DePeyster, School and Morris Streets, and of course descended on Rays (where we spent much of our time in the late 1970s and early 80s),” Wilcox says. 

Most of the group met freshman year and four of the Crewettes (Mary Flynn, 81, Melanie Priester Castleberry, '81, Gladi Reilly, '80 and Laura Wilcox, '80) met in the Semester Abroad Program in Mexico. The “crew” originated when Joel Goldberg, ‘80, Michael Reilly, ’80, Jeff Smith, ’80, and Rich “Hawk” Miles, ’81 lived at 802 DePeyster Street. 

“It became our 'party' place. In the 1970s, fraternities and sororities were not as popular as they appear to be today, so we created our own and dubbed ourselves the Crew of 802,” Wilcox says. “We remain lifelong friends today, in part because most Crew members live in and around Cleveland and get together frequently.”

Alumni & Friends Attending the Reunion Include:

  • Gladi Reilly, ‘80
  • Michael Reilly, ‘80
  • Laura Wilcox, ‘80
  • Jeff Smith, ’80 
  • Ann Smith 
  • Joel Goldberg, ‘80
  • Michelle Lamadrid 
  • Jimmy Gutierrez, ‘80
  • Mary Flynn, ‘81
  • Melanie Priester Castleberry, ‘81
  • Patti Clark, ‘81
  • Michael Clark, ‘81
  • Rich “Hawk” Miles, ‘81
  • Joanna Miles 
  • Susie Gutierrez, ‘82
  • John Shulsky, ‘82 
  • Cindy Shulsky 
  • Kathy Pliszka Morrow, ‘82
  • Chuck Morrow ’84 
  • Steve Fortlage, ‘85
  • Tom Creech, former Ray's Place bartender (now manager) and friends with all
  • Laura Brewster, John Hannibal, Kevin Smith, Eileen Landl and Cindy DeMarco (honorary crew members)

By Ashley Whaley, '06, M.Ed. '12

POSTED: Thursday, January 3, 2019 - 8:41am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 5:33pm