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by Bob Aron

Roommates '83

It’s the fall of 1982 and new residents begin to arrive at the SJSU International Center (as it was called in the early years!). I had already been living at the house for a year, and my current roommate Tim had been there 2 years already.

Remember that in 1982, the house was just starting it’s 5th year, but this annual tradition of new faces, new languages, a welcome dinner and the beginning of new friendships felt like a long standing tradition. This is the semester that my good friend Peter Dippery moved into the house.

To be honest, I had decided to live in the I-Center to be roommates with my high school friend and fellow music major. The international experience being offered was a secondary consideration for me……for about 2 weeks that is. After eating lunch and dinner with students from Bangladesh, Japan, Panama, Germany, Australia, etc. etc. etc., I really could not have imagined ever living anywhere else. The house had, and continues to have a profound effect on my life. In many ways, it might be because I wasn’t ‘looking’ for a cultural experience, that getting one had so much impact. I’ve always said that the American residents have the most to gain in the house, because we have the least experience with other cultures.

But I digress, back to that photo at the top of the page. It’s the room photo taken the following year (1983) when Peter Dippery (yellow sweatshirt), Kevin Howard (pipe) and I (trumpet) became roommates. I can hear some of you thinking, “how is it that 3 Americans are roommates at an international house?”. Well there was a higher percentage of Americans then, compared to 2022, and less effort was made to integrate residents form different countries. Peter, Kevin and I had simply become good friends, had a common love of music, and were all looking for new roommates at the end of the school year.

So a little more about these two fine gentlemen. Kevin Howard and I both moved into the house in the fall of ’81. I can still distinctly remember meeting him in the stairwell where he thought I was my roommate’s little brother helping him move in. I guess I did look pretty young at 18! but nevertheless, Kevin and I quickly became friends. He had a love of music and could play guitar, and I was a music major. He had just returned to the US from a stint in Germany, and as an army brat had spent time all over the globe. He definitely had the good stories about being in other countries as an American. Though my dad immigrated to the US from Germany before Hitler’s rise, he didn’t really pass on any of his German heritage. I hadn’t yet been outside the US when I started college, so talking about Germany was something I remember doing with Kevin. To this day, Kevin has always had the stories. His are so much better than mine, I unashamedly tell his stories instead of my own! We’ve been great friends since the day we met.

Peter Dippery and I also hit it off quickly with our musical connections. He had just spent a year touring around the globe as a drummer with an organization called Up With People. We had graduated high school the same year at schools 20 miles apart, north of San Jose. Both being in our school jazz bands, we had

probably even shared the same stage at some jazz festival without even knowing it. He wasn’t a music major, but we both had an interest in song writing, Billy Joel and all sorts of music.

It seemed obvious at the end of of the spring semester in 1983, that the three of us would be roomies. Thanks to Peter, we had an electric piano and small studio setup for music. I brought the stereo system and music was always part of our time together.

Over the years, the three of us have stayed in touch. Peter and I would get together when our kids were young, we’d occasionally run into each other at Apple’s developer conference where I would be attending and he would be running media in the conference halls, and we even collaborated on a musical project back in the day. In more recent years though, I’m happy to see that Peter has not left his drums to memory, and he’s still performing. Kevin and I have gone a couple times see him play. As for Kevin, we see each other all the time.

Seriously, he still has the best stories, even after knowing him for 4 decades…..what? 4 decades?

Kevin-Bob-Peter 2022


Reminisces by a fall 2021 I-House resident and Summer 2022 European reunion 

Carlotta Zorzi's visit to I-House April 2022 

Carlotta Zorzi at I-House April 2022

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to vist the I-House 10 years after my last time there and WOW - what a whirlwind of emotions that was!  From the moment I saw all the flags dancing in the wind at the front, to the totem that read "Peace on Earth" in different languages, to getting emotional looking at our old Formal Dinner pictures, to catching up on how things have changed (or not!) with current residents... it's been a feast for my soul.  

Knowing that the current state of the world, the I-House is still a place that gives me hope for the future:  A place where differences are celebrated, not condemned; a place where conflict is addressed with diplomacy, not retaliation; a place where disagreements are accepted - and often lead people to changing their minds or challenging their unquestioned way of thinking.  There are many things I took away from my time at the I-House, but the biggest lessons will always remain the importance of tolerance, active listening, and compassion. 

Over the years, many of us have taken very different paths in our life: Some of us started a family, others concentrated on their careers, some did both.  However, I know for a fact that the bond we created back then will always be part of who we are, regardless of what we're doing in life.  Thank you for having me again, I-house.  Thank you for still being the place of laughter, tears, love, and growth.  The place made us, and that still makes us all feel so united because of all our differences.   

Alumni visits 

Dear I-House community,

Have you ever met an old friend after a long time, noticing that from the last time nothing has changed?

This was my feeling when I first arrived at Joe's house in Algarve, a stunning region in Southern Portugal, for our first big reunion.

A year has passed since the first time I set foot on our beloved I-House for the Fall Semester 2021. 

Those were four months full of laughs and adventures throughout California and beyond, with weekend getaways and unforgettable roadtrips to some special places, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe to name a few.

When we left San José, I wasn’t sure that we would see each other when back in Europe, because I feared that those unique memories and friendships would fade away when getting back to routine and busy life in our home countries. 

However, to my delight, we managed to stay in touch for all this time and finally organised this get together in August.

Heart Sculpture Portugal summer 2022 reunion

Seeing some of the friends with whom we shared so many memories was such a dream!

We joined from Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

Beach photo 2021-2022 reunion, Portugal

From making delicious brunch at home, to spending a chill day at the pool, or watching sunset at the beach while tasting Portuguese cuisine, we had a real blast!

Being such a diverse group with all our different accents, made ourselves easily recognizable and we met funny people that were curious to know where we were all from, and a Dutch family even offered us a shot of Amarguinha!

We made the most out of the little moments of everyday life, telling funny stories of last year while still making new memories that will last forever.

I am grateful for all the moments that we shared in and outside of the I-House, and while now it’s time to start another semester in Switzerland, I am sure that our paths will cross again!

At the end of the day, our next reunion is just one message away 😉

-Daniel Renzi, fall 2021 I-House resident

Daniel Renzi, fall 2021 resident
The Magic of I-House!

Dear I-House,

It's a wonderful feeling to be back to I-House after 8 years.  The House is so renovated and is brilliant!

When life goes on after graduation, many times I have a feeling like everything (the magic!) had started from I-House, and I am so grateful for this place.  

I got to see I-House friends from around the world while traveling (UK, France, Ausria, Japan, U.S...) and also when they came to visit Taiwan.  We always had a bunch of stories to tell and things to catch up -- you're so connected to the world!

8 years later today I'm even able to come back to attend my roommie Kayla's wedding!!! What's more magical than this?!

Didi Huang & Kayla Blakely Wedding Reunion

I hope I-House will keep doing great for more young great spirits to have magic in their lives!  Let's do this!

Many, many gratefulness to I-House and everyone who takes care of this house so well!  

Didi Yu-Lun HUANG, Fall 2013 resident

James & Alex (Lamperti) Herrin with Leann

James & Alex 2021


Nao Magami visited I-House from Los Angeles on his way back from a trip up north. 
Nao Magami November 2021


Swar Shah visited from India

Swar Shah December 2021

Our Alumni Around the World 

Check out this Google Cloud Ad featuring student Ezana 

Watch this CBS News story about our Alumni Sameer Saran's app "ParkStash" 

Follow our Alumni Marie Hobson and Momoko Iwagami as they work in Greece for the school Happy Caravan

San Jose State journalism student Gabriel Mungaray  Video

Video created by Marie Hobson 

Washington Square magazine

See the feature from the 40th Anniversary Alumni Reunion in 2018