Louise (Roy) Plante (BA 1968) had one very important pre-requisite to fulfill during her time as a student at the University of Windsor—she couldn’t get married until she had a degree.
The busy honours French and Spanish student was on a full scholarship away from her home in Port Arthur, and her mother was determined that there would be no ring on her finger until there was a diploma in her hand.
“She turned out to be a very nice lady,” says Ray Plante of Louise’s mother, his eventual mother-in-law. “But she meant it.”
Ray was a geography and history student and a sea cadet officer, when he met Louise, who was involved in the Latin American dance club, the Spanish, French, Sociology and Glee Clubs and the Thomas More Society. He pursued her in the library when a boy Louise was studying with got up from the table.
The couple graduated in May 1968, and were married June 8, 1968.
They both recall having active social and academic lives while on campus, though with very different pursuits.
“Geography was my thing,” recalls Ray. “I worked as a student assistant with professor Winter doing water sample testing—and professor Vandal. We took a field trip to the caves of Kentucky with the geography club.”
He says the guidance of UWindsor stalwart George McMahon, who was a high school teacher at the time, put his career path on track.
“George was my teacher at Assumption High School in grade 10 and I wasn’t doing too well in science,” Ray recalls. “George said, ‘Well how about geography and history for university?’ so that’s what I did and believe it or not I became a high school geography and history teacher.”
Louise’s first memory of her time at UWindsor is a party she attended within a half-hour of disembarking from the Port Arthur to Windsor train.
“I was a few days later than most people arriving on campus because I was attending my graduation in Port Arthur,” she recalls. “I didn’t even have time to unpack my trunk—I was just given my room and went to the University Centre immediately.”
Louise says the whole university experience was very good for her and that her goal of teaching school became a reality because of the support and education she received from faculty.
“We had Father Pazik—he was a Spanish teacher,” she says. “Everyone liked Father Pazik; he was a very modern priest and very entertaining. I remember that he was very approachable and would drink coffee with the students at the University Centre.”
Not surprisingly, being a young woman outnumbered by male students was also a perk of university life in the 1960s Louise says.
“I was living in the Electa residence and the ratio of girls to guys was very good. We had a curfew of course—during the week it was 10:30 and I think 11:00 on the weekend. We had Mrs. Kelly at the window. If we had our boyfriends in the lounge she would flick the lights at twenty-five after to let them know they had to leave. And they sure weren’t allowed beyond the lobby.”
Ray’s service as a sea cadet officer put him through school and gave him the opportunity to attend Expo in 1967 where he was employed training cadets to perform. The following year, Louise and Ray were married in Assumption University chapel.
Louise’s uncle came from California to marry the couple, who were surprised by a Sea Cadet officers’ honour guard which formed outside the chapel, accompanied by the Sea Cadet band.
“I didn’t expect the band—it was a complete surprise,” Ray recalls.
Louise and Ray left Windsor shortly afterward to pursue teaching careers in Oshawa—Ray retiring in 1998, followed by Louise in 2000.
Louise Plante (indicated by red arrow) with members of the University’s Latin American dance club in this 1964 photo. Click on the image to see more.