The average time for a student to live in the student neighborhood is one year. These spirited ladies of 434 Lowes did it for three.
Suzanne Dumon Ward, Eileen Reilly Phelps, Ann Bretz Boone, Lori Harris Tevis and Cathy Dalsaso Bottema, all 1989 graduates, first rented the home from a landlord their sophomore year, and then UD purchased the house.
“They contacted us and said, ‘You guys get first dibs,’” Ward said. “Living in the Ghetto again? Heck, yeah.”
The five were constantly together, from watching thirtysomething to hitting Brown Street on weekends. They even joined the first national sorority on campus, Alpha Phi, together.
“They were only taking 20 girls, so we were all thinking … there’s no way five of us from the same house were going to get in,” Phelps said.
The 434 Lowes residents had driven to Detroit to attend a Genesis concert the night that bids were sent out, and when they returned, the letters were waiting for them in the mailbox.
“On the way home there was tension in the car,” Ward said. “But we opened the mailbox, and we all got in.”
Having an open-door policy and being buddies with all of the neighbors turned out to be both the best and the worst combination: lots of activity, lots of fun, lots of stolen food.
“We were always friends with our neighbors every year. And we never locked our door, in all three years. We just knew it was home,” Phelps said.
Stepping onto campus exactly 25 years later, the roommates insist nothing has changed.
“We have a strong bond,” Boone said. “It’s instant comfort, lasting friendship and spirit that only people who went to UD would know.”
Take a tour of this house with today’s residents.