Alum Recalls ‘70s Dorm Life

While nearly three decades have passed, John Cochran can remember the challenges of living on the Missouri Southern campus … sharing close quarters with a roommate, trying to find a good time to do laundry, finding things to do on the weekends.

They’re stories that will likely ring familiar to today’s students – albeit without some of the modern conveniences available in the new residence hall complex.

Today, Cochran is a successful insurance agent in Moberly, Mo. From 1976 to 1978, he was a transfer student from Moberly Area Community College. The physical education major and basketball player lived in the Missouri Southern men’s dorm with a friend from high school.


What were the residence halls like in those days?

“Oh, they were very basic,” he recalls. “Small rooms with tiny closets or no closets. We had two people to a room, stacked on top of each other. ‘Basic’ is a nice word for it.” Cochran remembers making the trudge every morning to the communal showers. Then came the long walk to the cafeteria in the basement of Billingsly Student Center. “That was every day, rain, shine and whatever,” he says. Cochran remembers having fun at Missouri Southern. Students from the men’s and women’s dorms would get together to play pool and socialize.

“Laundry was a challenge,” he recalls. “There was a washer and dryer but a lot of people had to use it. So we would go off campus to a laundromat…We wore the same pair of jeans a lot of days,” he says, laughing.

In 1977, the movie “Saturday Night Fever” took America by storm. “Disco fever hit really big,” Cochran says. “The Bee Gees had ‘Night Fever’ and lots of other hit songs. We lived too far away to go home on weekends. We went to the mall, watched a lot of movies and did a lot of walking around.”

After two years, John received his degree in physical education.

“All in all, it was a great experience for me,” he says. “It was something I wouldn’t trade for anything. It propelled me to be successful in my life. I own a business. If I hadn’t had that experience, I don’t think I would be where I am today.”