end of an era

Home Sweet Home

A shared nostalgia for life in the Mods connects many generations of Bucknellians
by Katie Neitz

hat makes a house a home? Many say it’s the people who reside within it.

That’s certainly the case for the Bucknellians who called the Bucknell West complex — aka the Mods — home. For 50 years, the distinctive H-shaped housing units accommodated 272 sophomores, juniors and seniors who developed their own homegrown microcosm of the Bucknell community on the west side of campus.

When the units were built in 1972, they were intended as temporary housing to accommodate the influx of the boomer generation students enrolling in Bucknell. It’s unlikely administrators of that era would have expected the structures to endure for five decades.

While the Mods were maintained with care over the years, there was recognition that fresh paint and regular repairs can only take a building so far. To fulfill its goal of providing students with a superior learning and living environment, Bucknell is in the process of replacing the Mods with a modernized residential complex.

Four new three-story buildings will feature the University’s traditional red brick exterior and include apartments of varying sizes and configurations to accommodate 280 students. An outdoor recreation area with a fire pit, amphitheater and volleyball court will maintain the complex’s identity as a distinct and unique section of campus. Construction begins this spring and is expected to be complete by 2024.

Gary Sojka H’09, who served as Bucknell’s president from 1984 to 1995, says it’s time. “The Mods were aging in 1984 when I arrived,” he says.

“We have needed this for a long time, and I think this is an extremely exciting project.

A black and white photograph captured of a Bucknellian sitting down on a lawn chair outside her home with her cat in her arms as she glances upon the view in front of her
For 50 years, the Mods provided a homey atmosphere and (almost) independent living to Bucknellians.
Photos: Special Collections/University Archives; Ralph Laird
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For 50 years, the Mods provided a homey atmosphere and (almost) independent living to Bucknellians.
“We learned that students who lived in the Mods enjoyed feeling some independence, being at a distance from campus. So keeping the new housing in the same location and providing many upgrades will make it a desirable place for future generations of students.”

To honor the Mods, we asked residents from different eras to share their favorite Mod memories. The common thread? Over their lifespan, the Mods helped build friendships, spark relationships and strengthen Bucknell’s special sense of community.

John McCoskey ’79 spent half of his Bucknell career living in the Mods, calling the complex home for both his sophomore and senior years. McCoskey says securing a Mod was competitive, but one of his three roommates lucked out in the housing lottery. “We really liked living there,” he says. “It felt like we had our own apartment. The half-mile walk to campus wasn’t so bad — even those times it had snowed and I had to make an 8 a.m. engineering class.” McCoskey, who remains close to his Mod-mates, says when they think back to their time there, they remember tossing Frisbees, hitting golf balls, hanging out on the roof and letting the dishes pile up.

Nick Yaeger ’05 lived in the Mods his sophomore year. As a baseball player, he liked the proximity to the diamond and the feeling of independence he had being a bit distant from campus. “Socially it was great,” he says. “People who lived there purposely made a choice to be there, and it created this smaller, tight-knit community.”

Yaeger acknowledges some mischief. “I remember getting in trouble for frying turkeys, and we used to sneak on the golf course and play a few holes at sunset.” He has no regrets though. “Living near the golf course literally changed my life. It sparked a lifelong love of golf for me.” The Mods also inspired Yaeger’s culinary appetite. “All of us who lived there had to learn some important life skills. For me, that included learning my way around the kitchen, which has become a passion of mine ever since.”

Chad ’08 and Lauren Teschemacher Glasser ’08 credit the Mods for bringing them together. Lauren remembers exploring the Mods with her friends and selecting Mod 16 as her first choice. “Something about it just felt right,” she says. As fate would have it, a group of football players, including Chad, ended up on the opposite side of the Mod. They shared many laughs and special memories together, capturing each other’s hearts.

“We’ve been happily married for more than 12 years and have three kids,” Chad says. “Our children have visited the Mods and sat on the connecting porch that we used to sit on, and they know our story.”

Arnie Mascali ’88, P’17 is also grateful for the relationships formed at the Mods. His Mod-mates are still so close that seven of them Zoom together every other week. “It was our little sanctuary out there. We had the best time,” he says. Before moving to the Mods for his senior year, Mascali lived in a fraternity house. “Back in that time, you didn’t venture out of your fraternity, so moving to the Mods became this great opportunity to meet a whole other group of people you wouldn’t have otherwise known.”

The Mods also connected Mascali to his wife, Elizabeth Adams Mascali ’89, P’17, who lived there her junior and senior years. Arnie and Elizabeth had the opportunity to relive their Mod memories together when visiting their daughter Ally ’17, who was also a Mod resident.

Amanda Mitchell ’25 is surprised by how quickly she’s developed an attachment to her Mod. “My roommate and I didn’t plan to live here; we expected to live in a dorm,” she says. “But we’ve quickly become really fond of our living situation. We decorated our kitchen, and we started having friends over for ‘family’ dinners. One of us will cook for everybody, or we’ll make something together. It’s been really nice to have had this experience.”

Mod Memories

This collection of images — submitted by alumni and pulled from University Archives — sparks nostalgia for a special part of campus history.

Gone But Not Forgotten

The Mods provided a home away from home for thousands of Bucknellians. Here is a way to commemorate this special part of campus history.

Share Photos: We’re creating a digital photo compilation and need your help showcasing the decades of memories made in the Mods. Submit photos at bucknell.edu/alumni or alumniandfamilies@bucknell.edu. You’ll receive a digital photo compilation and a commemorative Farewell to the Mods decal.