Alumni Spotlight On: Nick Roes ’74, ’83

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Nick Roes ’74, ’83 “was just poking around in a nostalgic mood” when he came across our news site and decided to share his UB story. In 1974 Roes had in hand a B.A. in Education (Social Studies) when he decided to stick around Atlantic Avenue with some UB friends to pursue an M.A. in Urban Suburban Administration. Low on funds, he joined UB’s maintenance crew by day so he could take classes on a UB staff grant by night. In the fall of 1974, just months after his graduation, he was sent to the dorm room of Nancy Bennett ’76 in Barnum Hall to repair a ripped screen. The rest, as they say, is history. Now in retirement, Roes’s many ties to UB have led him to share his story below.

My UB Story

Nick Roes '74 playing guitar in the top bunk of his dorm room in North Hall, freshman year.
Nick Roes ’74 playing guitar in the top bunk of his dorm room in North Hall, freshman year.

When I was at UB back in the 1970s, I had the time of my life. I learned to get over my self-consciousness, to communicate better with other people, and even picked up some knowledge in the classes. I also learned to play the guitar, and wrote songs for just about everyone I met and everything that happened. And I wrote the songs down so I’d remember them.

The education I got at UB led me to a rewarding but unexpected career. Teaching jobs were scarce, so I got a job teaching history at New Hope Manor, an all-female substance abuse treatment center in Barryville, New York. The salary was so low, I was only going to stay there two years — like the Peace Corps — and then get a real job. Well, I loved it so much I never got a real job.

In three years I was executive director, and 30 years later, retired. In between I also taught at Marist College and Brown University’s online addiction program, and published many articles and books on substance abuse and mental health.

Nick Roes '74 and wife-to-be Nancy Bennett '76, circa 70's
Nick Roes ’74 and wife-to-be Nancy Bennett ’76, 1970’s

Since retiring two years ago, I thought back to my UB days, and my songs. Though they were written in a much younger voice, I still liked them. I met someone who owned a music studio, and he encouraged me to record the songs. Of the 34 original songs I recorded, only three were written after my UB days. So the songs include ones about my first roommate, an RA in Barnum Hall, the girl I had a crush on in Schine — and three songs about another girl I met at UB and later married. Thirty-nine years ago and we’re still going strong.

Here’s one of the songs about my wife Nancy, “When I Look at You”:

And another, “One Small Favor”:

After three CDs, I’m only about 46 million hits behind Adele on YouTube and Spotify. And I’m having the time of my life – again! The music is available at CDBaby, iTunes, and Amazon, and is streaming for free on Spotify, YouTube, and just about every place else you can listen to music.

Regarding UB and Schine’s recent demolition, Nancy and I always called that building the “New Dorm.” Our attachment is not to the bricks and mortar but to the wonderful memories. Fine by us if old buildings are replaced with better ones.

What can’t be replaced are the memories – and the music.

Connecting with Me Today

Nick Roes '74 and wife Nancy Bennett '76 in 2016
Nick Roes ’74 and wife Nancy Bennett ’76 in 2016

I would love to hear from anyone who connects with a reference in any of my songs, or has an idea of who/what the song is about. (For example, in the song “Tricia, Tricia” the line “Barnum Babe Pretty As A Pitcher” was inspired by a T-shirt the ladies in the dorm made up and wore in the 1970s.)

Check out my music old and new through the following links, and if you want to start a conversation, please leave a comment below.

Facebook – Nick Roes
Facebook – Artists Market
YouTube – Channel
YouTube – Playlist
CDBaby
iTunes
Spotify
Amazon