Library Friendship

In 1964, five freshmen arrived at Carnegie Institute of Technology and became close friends. More than 50 years later, the women’s bond that was forged over studying and becoming young adults together remains strong…as does their connection to what is now Carnegie Mellon University.

Marilyn Ackerman Posner (MM’68) and Karen Rossi Schnakenberg (MM’68, DC‘96) were close friends in high school but decided not to room together so they would be pushed to make new friends. The plan worked well, and their circle soon expanded to include Marjorie Rein Schlosberg, who was Schnakenberg’s freshman roommate; Patricia Raab Schuetz (MM’68), whose father was Schnakenberg’s father’s boss; and Fredda Simon Unangst (S‘68, ‘70), whom Schnakenberg met in calculus class.

“College friendships are important because they help you form who you are as an adult,” said Unangst. “As time goes by, these long-term friendships are important because these people know your history.”

The women credit each other for some of their fondest college memories. One memorable example is how Posner and Schnakenberg ran a laundry service in the dorm to make extra money. Seeing that many young women had never learned to do their laundry and were ruining their clothes, the two made a plan to wash and iron oxford-cloth shirts for a fee — and learned a little about pricing strategies in the process.

“Marilyn and I were close enough friends by that time that there weren’t many surprises,” said Schnakenberg. “But we had plenty of business because we charged significantly less than the dry cleaners down the block. Underpricing your service brings in customers, but then you end up working more than you intended for really pretty low wages.”

Many everyday experiences and extended ties to the campus community helped cement their friendship. They even share a favorite classical music piece that was introduced to them by an acquaintance of Unangst’s from home who was also in their freshman class.

“We all loved Carl Orff's ‘Carmina Burana.’ We would listen to it in the music room of the library while we studied and gave each other copies for our birthdays,” said Schuetz.

Unangst added, “To this day, whenever I hear that piece of music, I think of CMU and my friends there. It is our song.” Read More at Dietrich College News.

News category: About us