A Good Man for the Long Run
Reggie Arnold 30 calls his running days at UVM the secret to his
longevity. At a healthy 98, he could practically be a scholar on the subject.
Arnold began to earn his cardiovascular capacity as a teenage chore boy,
chasing cows day in and day out on a Hartford, Vermont farm. At UVM he
ran cross-country and distance events on the track in the era of Archie
Post, when shoes werent flashy nylon Nikes, but a pair of black
leather spikes on loan from the University. A caption under one of Arnolds
yearbook pictures reads, As a track man he still excels
his best record is from the Phi Mu Delta House to Murray Street (Doriss
home) in five minutes flat. Doris Duprat, his freshman sweetheart,
would become his wife many years later.
Arnold recalls that his UVM years were a financial rollercoaster, including
a week during sophomore year when he had to quit school because he couldnt
pay on a note. Fortunately, a fraternity friend convinced him to stay
and after meeting with President Bailey, he was allowed an extension on
the loans due date.
That same academic year, Arnold, a civil engineering major, was one of
many college students who assisted relief efforts in Waterbury following
the towns devastating flood of 1927. The disaster and its aftermath,
which wiped out bridges from Waterbury to Burlington, was critical to
the Vermont Highway Departments organization, says Arnold. He should
know a few years after graduation, he joined the department and
stayed on for close to 40 years. Eventually appointed to the position
of chief engineer, Arnold oversaw planning and development of the states
highway system. Even after retirement he kept on with the important work
of building roads; Arnold traveled to Vietnam in 1973 to lead engineers
in re-building the countrys highway system.
Most of Reggie Arnolds life has been rooted in the Green Mountain
State. He and Doris married in 1936 and raised their family here. (Doris
died in 1972. Arnold remarried, lived in Arizona for a bit and took up
race walking, but thats another story in the thick, spiral-bound
autobiography that hes proud to show to visitors.) He now lives
in Montpelier with his daughter, Susan Arnold Knapp 59.
At the Green and Gold Luncheon at last Junes Reunion, Arnold received
an award for representing the oldest class, an honor he shared with Arthur
Wardwell 30, also a graduate of the engineering college. The classmates,
who have been reacquainted through reunions, get together to celebrate
each others birthdays major milestones as they approach 100.
This year marks their 75th reunion and Arnold, a loyal UVM supporter and
member of the Wilbur Society, has another trip back to Burlington on his
In a letter to Interim President Edwin Colodny following the elimination
of the mens track team in 2001, Arnold wrote that in addition to
strengthening his heart, track taught him discipline, leadership,
endurance to the limit, and comradeship. Arnold is pleased track
is back at UVM these days, and though he probably couldnt break
five for the run from Phi Mu to Murray Street, he still puts in his laps
walking the long corridor of a nearby mall.