Posi (Rosalind) Tucker and her 30 classmates from IU South Bend’s first graduating class are celebrating their 50th anniversary. In honor of this milestone event, Tucker served as a co-chair of IU South Bend’s Jubilee Year Celebration Task Force. “I love giving back to IU South Bend. It was such a big part of my life,” said the alumna. “It’s so wonderful to see how this campus has grown over the last 50 years.”
Proud to be a member of the distinguished class of first graduates, Tucker credits her three degrees from IU South Bend with shaping her long and happy career. “All three of my degrees gave me wonderful experiences I could draw from in my jobs,” said Tucker, BS’67, Elementary Education; MS’76 Guidance and Counseling; MS’96, Educational Leadership.
Tucker fondly remembers IU President Emeritus Herman B. Wells, IU President Elvis Stahr, and IU South Bend Chancellor Lester Wolfson presenting the first IU South Bend graduating class with their degrees. When she enrolled at IU South Bend, it was an extension campus, and students completed the last two years of their coursework in Bloomington. She credits Chancellor Wolfson with making it possible for her class to finish their degrees at IU South Bend.
Following her graduation, Tucker’s first teaching assignment was at McKinley School in South Bend. After teaching for a year, Tucker stayed home for a few years to raise her three daughters and son. “At the time, teachers were not allowed to teach if they were pregnant,” she explained. In 1975, when her children reached school age, Tucker accepted a teaching position as a technical assistant in radio-TV broadcasting at the Elkhart Career Center, which also led to her nine-year side-career as a freelance sports broadcaster.
When Sam Smith, a WSBT sports broadcaster, visited Tucker’s class as a guest speaker, he offered to listen to students’ audio tapes and give them pointers. Tucker asked if he would listen to her tapes from the Career Center’s WNIT talk show, Patchwork. “He invited me to join the staff as a freelance broadcaster,” she said. “Never in my life did I think I would be interviewing sports figures.” In her freelance broadcasting career, she interviewed personalities such as Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, former Notre Dame Athletic Director Moose Krause, and former Notre Dame coaches Nancy Cortes, Digger Phelps, and Dan Devine, to name a few. “My counseling degree gave me a different perspective in interviews,” she explained. “I was able to illicit more personal responses.”
Tucker feels a special connection to her classmates and the faculty from her Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. “There were only 15 students in the program, and we became very close working together,” she said. “It really had an impact on my life. I had to learn a lot about myself to counsel and guide others.” She feels a special fondness for her professors, including Len James, Eldon Ruff, Marcia Sheridan, and Richmond Calvin. “They were wonderful teachers and advocates for their students,” she said.
When a guidance counselor position became available in 1976 at the Career Center, Tucker took it, but opted not to pursue an administrator’s position. “I decided I wanted to keep working with kids,” she explained. She eventually became the guidance director for the Elkhart Career Center and the city-wide guidance director. After 35 years at the Career Center, Tucker retired in 2010.
As co-chair of the Jubilee Task Force, one of Tucker’s favorite assignments has been to reconnect with members from her class and invite them to attend the Jubilee celebrations, including the Party of the Century and commencement. “They could not all attend these events,” she explained, “but I received letters from some of my classmates expressing how honored they feel to be members of the first graduating class of IU South Bend.”
Like her classmates, Tucker exudes pride and astonishment at the tremendous growth of her alma mater over the years. She recalls when she was a student and a legal-size sheet of paper was sufficient to list all the classes available and Northside Hall was the only building. “We didn’t think much about it at the time,” she said. “But through the generosity of donors and the vision of its leadership, IU South Bend has evolved into a remarkable asset in our community.”