A personal account from Amanda Pugh| Corporate Communication graduate, 1999

I was a grad student when the tornado hit in 1999. It was actually my second week on campus and my closest family was two and a half hours away.

My room at Cross — thank God — was on the ground floor in the very center of the building right behind our detached lobby area.

I remember our Resident Assistants and the ones from the neighboring dorms yelling at their residents to get down to the ground floor “now!” I opened my door and volunteered to let a bunch take shelter in my room.  I very quickly made nine new friends.

As the sun came up, it was all over. I remember walking out to the parking lot and seeing all the damage and being absolutely shocked. I distinctly remember a two-by-four through the back window of someone’s car.

I had to call my parents as soon as it was light enough to see to get to my roommate’s phone on the other side of the room because I didn’t want them to hear it on CNN first and panic. Turns out they hadn’t even gotten up yet, but they sure did when I said a tornado had hit campus.

The staff couldn’t have handled it better for those of us that had to stay on campus though. After the ones that could go home for the weekend left, they split the remainder of us between two hotels for the weekend until they could determine the safety of the buildings that were still intact. Food Services even brought us meals.

Wild start to my time there.