On June 4, 1964, 15 candidates for the associate in arts degree were presented at Christopher Newport’s second Commencement Exercises in the old Daniel School in downtown Newport News. The ceremony was presided over by Director H. Westcott Cunningham, who encouraged the graduates to lead lives of excellence. Judge Forrest B. Wall, of the Municipal, Civil, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, delivered the address.

In 1964 Christopher Newport was vastly different from the 260-acre residential campus of today. The first building constructed at the current location was Christopher Newport Hall, completed in September 1964. Over the next two academic years arts and humanities classes were held there, while science classes and labs continued to meet at the Daniel School. Christopher Newport Hall also housed the library, a lecture hall and student lounge.

For Guy Futrell (’64) and wife Dana Dix Futrell (’65), the old campus is a lasting memory of their college days. For them, the opportunity to return to where it all began offers a chance to reflect not only on their graduation milestone, but also to see just how much CNU has evolved over the years. “We both experienced the Daniel School location and the University’s very humble beginnings,” Guy Futrell says. “After living and working out West for most of our careers, we haven’t seen the campus beyond the first building that was constructed. We’re excited to see the great things that have been accomplished at Christopher Newport.”

In fact, Futrell takes even more pride in his alma mater because of all the changes of the past 50 years. “I am really proud of how Christopher Newport has become recognized on the education map,” he says. “When I first put CNC on my resume, no one outside of the local area had ever heard of it. Now it is well known and respected all over the region.”

Classmate Marianne Skelley Coates (’64) echoes these sentiments, and looks forward to participating in a second commencement with the Class of 2014. “It offers renewed meaning for our 1964 graduation and brings special ceremony and significance. It’s a memorable recognition of that day so long ago in the old school building,” she says, reminiscing about student life a half-century ago. “Reaching a 50-year milestone brings to mind so many thoughts of Christopher Newport,” she says. “I think of our school, friends, professors, classes, events, the student lounge, playing bridge … all good memories.”

This year, the Coates, the Futrells and their peers from the Class of 1964 will join the Class of 2014 at the 88th Commencement Exercises, including a campus tour and dinner. They will be honored at the Candlelight Ceremony, which commemorates the transition of the newest graduates to alumni, and they will don regalia and participate in the festivities on the Great Lawn May 10.