For These College of Liberal Arts Alumni, It Was Love at First Ride
By: Nick Santangelo
“We are about to do what is a very, very unique thing,” Temple University Associate Vice President for Student Affairs T.J. Logan told a gathering in Hardwick Hall this afternoon.
It was so unique, Temple President Richard M. Englert would say just moments later, “because it’s an elevator.” But this wasn’t just any elevator. This was the one where Eric Schlesinger, CLA ’73, first met Shari Rubin in 1972. Ms. Rubin, who passed in August 2017, would later become Mrs. Schlesinger. Today, the elevator was dedicated in her memory with a plaque commemorating her first words to Schlesinger.
As Temple Now first reported on Wednesday—and as the plaque now reads—those words were “Hi, Mr. Elevator Man.” Schlesinger today expressed his gratitude toward his late wife for having approached him.
“I’m not sure I [would have] ever walked up to her,” he said, “so I’m very grateful she walked up to me.”
Though their meeting place may have been unique, their story of finding love on Temple’s campus was “typical,” said President Englert. Students and alumni frequently approach the president to share their own stories of how they met their future spouses on campus.
“How many people meet in an elevator?” mused President Englert. “Maybe more than we know. But this is one [meeting] that truly warms the heart.”
The president thanked Schlesinger for choosing Temple all those years ago and for his continued contact with the university over the decades since his graduation. Logan added his own thanks to Schlesinger for sharing his story today and spoke of how touched he was by the College of Liberal Arts alumni’s memory of every detail of his meeting with his future wife.
Schlesinger called today’s ceremony “an honor” and was moved by how many people had shown up for it. “It means an awful lot to me,” he said before speaking of the circumstances under which he met the love of his life.
Back in the ‘70s, Hardwick Hall was the female dorm, but, thinking it would be safer for operators, male residence assistants (RAs) operated the elevators in Hardwick while female RAs operated the elevator in the male dorms at Johnson Hall.
To the amusement of the crowd, Schlesinger said he himself has never had any memory of first crossing paths with his future wife on the elevator. But she sure did. Just a few days after it happened, she spotted him at a social event and uttered those first words.
The crowd was again amused when Logan said he had a small gift for Schlesinger, who sarcastically asked, “It’s not the elevator key, is it?”
It was not. Instead, Logan handed Schlesinger a box containing a smaller version of the newly installed plaque for him to keep.
Wrapping the ceremony up to applause and more laughter, Logan reminded Schlesinger that he’s “always, always welcome back to run the elevator.”