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Interview 2: Gail Annas Lazar

Mrs. Gail Lazar was a student at Furman during the time of the merger. Though she graduated just before the official merger in 1961, she lived and took classes at both Greenville Women’s College (“The Zoo” – as she called it) and at Furman. Her senior year and maybe her junior year (she could not remember) she lived in the dorms at Furman. She said that at least one of the dorms on the men’s side of campus was opened to women who began taking all their classes on the “new campus” (Furman). She lived in Manly, but Geer (the dorm adjacent to Manly) was reserved for men. The large room connecting the dorms was a commons area.

Though “there was a good comradery” at the old campus (GWC), Mrs. Lazar told me that she was very happy to move from downtown at GWC to Furman. She was in the band, so before she moved, she had to take shuttles back and forth between the separate campuses. It was easier to be on the new campus because she did not have to commute and because all her friends were at Furman. There were more activities when women moved, and organizations which had been separate came together as one.

Though Mrs. Lazar commented that there were disadvantages of being so far away from downtown, it was clear that she would not have wanted anything less than to move to the new campus. She did not want to make a generalized statement, but she said many other women were also content with the move. When I asked her if it was difficult to adjust to moving away from the all-women’s college, she said not at all. Because Mrs. Lazar was in the band, she was used to being around men, and she was most excited to finally live on the new campus of Furman University.

The interview began in a question/answer format and then moved into more of a conversation. For the sake of easy-reading, I have summarized the interview and left out information not pertaining to the merger.
-Shadie Wiland