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Letters - Fall 2015

By Terp Staff

Terp CoverI was reading the “Ask Anne” column in this issue and came across the question regarding the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and I wanted to comment on the answer.

Yes, it was filmed in Georgetown and on our Fraternity Row and in other locations around D.C. in the fall of 1984. The extras were UMD students, mostly campus Greeks. The Georgetown University administration wouldn’t allow on campus filming, due to the subject matter, so our Frat Row was used as a substitute.

I do remember that there was an article in The Diamondback at the time, with lots of swooning over Rob Lowe.

Anyway, I really enjoy the magazine and I’m proud of the changes that the University has gone through since my undergrad days.

Calvin A. Bond ’87, Ph.D. ’96

I’m sending this note as a result of reading Q&A in the Fall 2015 issue of Terp about the filming of “St. Elmo’s Fire” on campus. Your answer was a bit vague about the filming.

As one of the extras used in the film (see attached photo: I’m on the left; another actor is flanking Rob Lowe on the right), I’m happy to provide some facts:

  • The filming was indeed October 1984
  • Why UMD was used as a location: As it was explained to us, Georgetown was to be the university location, given the school was mentioned in the script as where the group of friends had just graduated. However, when the university’s administrators read the script, they had serious reservations about the content and pulled out. Maryland was a last-minute/close-by fill-in.
  • “Us”? When the producers contacted UMD administrators inquiring about using Fraternity Row, they were out in touch with the IFC Board, a group of fraternity student leaders, which at the time co-managed the row with the school. I was secretary of the IFC at the time and met with the producers along with IFC President Doug Peters. We agreed to the filming with the only request that all of us on the board and a group of other fraternity representatives could be included in the filming as extras.
  • The key scene involving most of us was a five- to 10-second football scene. A few of us also appear in the background of a few other scenes. We were paid scale (I believe about $100 for the two days of shooting) and invited to a NYC screening when the film opened in June 1985.

Hope that helps for the future!

Howard Schacter ’XX

I was recently reading Terp and someone asked if St Elmo’s Fire was filmed at UMD. I can attest that it was. I was present at some of the filming. It occurred on Fraternity Row in 1984. Everyone wanted to get a peek at Rob Lowe.

Laurie L. King, ’88

I just finished reading the Fall edition of Terp. Wow, great articles! As a retired public school teacher in Emmett, Idaho and 1985 grad, I will share the Clear Solutions section with the science department and the Sights articles with the Social Studies department. 

I earned a B.S. while stationed in Vicenza, Italy while serving in the 1st Battalion 509th Airborne. Thanks a million, University of Maryland, for the opportunities in my life. I taught world history for 28 years and was a two-term state senator. Also, we got to watch the lady Terps in Spokane and the men play in Boise.

Go Terps!

Terry Haun ’85
Emmett, Idaho 

I just received the Fall 2015 issue (at my office in Switzerland), and I just wanted to say that the texture of the cover page was so satisfying to touch that I looked through the entire publication cover to cover, which is something I almost never do with these sorts of things. (The cover story about saving thousands of lives but nobody caring was also a good lead to get me to open the magazine in the first place.) I also appreciated the coverage of issues of racism, even if the articles themselves weren’t so deep.

Anyway, two cents from an alum.

Anne Allison Jorstad


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