Emma Pardo, News Editor
Imagine, if today your college tuition was $34 per credit hour. This was a reality for students, like Francis Buehler and Robert Doeppe, at the University of Missouriđ–Saint Louis over 50 years ago. “It was a beautiful time,” stated Buehler, from UMSL’s class of ‘72, “I still see my friends from there [UMSL], we have had a golf tournament for 30 years, it is a ’fun’-raiser.”
After sitting down to discuss how times have changed Buehler shared that he had 154 undergraduate hours due to the fact that if you graduated you lost your draft deferment for the Vietnam War. Buehler also recalls, “The basketball team was really good and the gym was packed every game and that it was during half-time they drew draft numbers by birthday…which was very intense.”
Buehler played on the first men’s soccer team established at the university, coached by Don Dallas. This is where he met one of his long time friends, Doeppe. The two were never roommates but recall throwing “good parties” and Buehler describes Doeppe as being the last man to make sense after the night. This would only make way for a friendship that has lasted half a century.
The two met in Buehler’s sophomore year when they became teammates on the soccer team. “We were and are still able to handle punks after being teammates for a long time,” states Buehler. When they were enrolled, the campus did not have any parking garages, just parking lots. This is something that has obviously changed since that time.
Doeppe shared his feelings towards his college experience. “UMSL gave me the opportunity and education that I would not have received if I passed this chance up.” With sincerity he stated, “With the opportunity, it has given me a great life and super friendships.”
These alumni have been friends for 50 years after meeting in college and still remain teammates as they bowl at Shrewsbury Lanes with each other on a league team, play golf and enjoy drinking together. When asked how the friendship started, Buehler commented, “Bob is hard headed which is something I respect … He was the guy at his own parties that would take cheetos and dance them into the rug.”
Recalling The Current during their enrolled years, both remember a quote from one of the issues that read, “Half of the highschool girls that graduate are attractive, and the other half attend UMSL.” Since then the schools student-led newspaper has changed quite a bit.
After college, they continued to play soccer as teammates, before going their separate ways. Doeppe worked hard in Alabama for six years making honest money. This time period did not stop the two from keeping their friendship as he would return back to St. Louis to be able to visit Buehler. “Our friend group held four to five events a year like golfing and watching the NCAA finals,” said Doeppe.
Through all these years, the two remain good friends as they attend lots of outings together. When they were younger both these men were exposed to a Polish background and attended not only Polish festivals but the St. Pat’s Parade, where they have stood at 12th and Market every year since it has started.
In conclusion to this conversation, after asking what has kept this friendship rolling after playing on numerous teams and creating a lifetime of memories, Buehler finally added, “We bring out the best in each other. I tell you what we have in common, we drink and we play ball, if Bob broke his leg today, tomorrow I would never see him again.” To follow, Doeppe’s response was directed towards all his close friends including Buehler, “You don’t see them for six to nine months and they call you up… and you’re there.”