Eastern Through the 20th Century: David Bradstreet

Dr. David Bradstreet graduated from Eastern in 1976 and proceeded to earn his doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to Eastern in 1983 as an assistant professor. He has taught at Eastern for 32 years. 

Lauren: What was your experience like in the 1970s?

David: I came to Eastern in the fall of ’72, the first year McInnis was open. We were the biggest class at the time. They had rooms they didn’t know what to do with, and they had a new planetarium. It was exciting, to have a brand new classroom; when it was built it was state of the art.

Lauren: Do you remember hearing what other college campuses were like in the ‘70s?

David: I went to Villanova at the same time. It was like a little city as opposed to this little country village. It’s almost like we have the best of both worlds — this great metropolitan city, but we’re in the country. [Eastern] was much more conducive to community, and there were far fewer people.

Lauren: What has changed about the layout of campus?

David: Several of the dorms weren’t there. It was Hainer, Kea-Guffin, Doane, and Hainer. In those days, there was no Fowler or Workman, because those were private homes. It was a friendly campus, and it was exciting because of the new building (McInnis).

Lauren: Any professors that you had that students might recognize today?

David: I had Dr. Boehlke for history as a freshman. I always appreciated him because he was thorough, he was detailed, and in his own mind, he was funny. He tried to keep it as interesting as he could. I had Dr. Cherry, Dr. Beardsley, and Betsy Morgan, who came in 1975. She and her husband came as professors in English. She was phenomenal.

Lauren: Anything about Eastern in the ‘70s that trumps what Eastern now?

David:  I think just the size of it. I mean, we were limited, but you really got to know people better. But in regards to academics, we are better off now. Tony Campolo was the only person that people really knew from Eastern back then. My wife had all the courses that Dr. Campolo ever offered; she was a sociology, so she took everything he had.

Lauren: Is there anything about the Christian mission of Eastern that has changed?

David: I don’t think it was as evangelical as it’s become. I think that Eastern has become more evangelical as it’s grown. It was more Baptist in the ‘70s. 1972 was the year that they got rid of Baptist from Eastern’s name, so we were getting away from that.

Lauren: How did you discover Eastern?

David: My sister discovered it. She was a sociology person, so she came here for Dr. Campolo. She graduated in ’67. I still remember when I visited in ’62 or ’63 when I was in third grade, and I was walking down along the pond next to Walton. It was much greener, a much more grown-over college. I can remember thinking to myself, “If they had astronomy here, I wouldn’t mind coming here.” The campus itself had a huge impact on me.

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