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By TERRI LIKENS
People all over the world are remembering Paul Newman as an actor, activist, race car driver and philanthropist.
Dick Merian of Kingston can add a couple more labels: “fellow classmate” and “likeable rowdy.”
Merian went to Kenyon College in Ohio with Newman, who died of cancer at his home in Connecticut last week.
It was a respected men’s college of 385 people at the time.
“Everybody knew everybody,” Merian said. “Paul was in the class ahead of me.”
Merian’s closest contact with Newman was on rides home together. They both lived in the Cleveland area and, on weekends, would commute together with another classmate.
They also were set to play football together one year, but that ended in preseason, Merian said.
Newman went to a beer joint, was arrested and was kicked off of the team.
While Newman didn’t get to show his athletic prowess on the field, his stamina during the party season at Kenyon was legendary.
The college had a dance weekend that was, essentially, three days of parties.
“Paul would never go to sleep,” Merian said.
“He also was kind of known as a very easy-going, likeable rowdy,” he said.
Merian remembered that Newman was active in college theater even then, but doesn’t remember seeing a glimmer of the talent the actor would later become famous for.
“He was just a nice guy,” Merian said. “You would never have committed him to fame.”
“We had some great intellectuals on campus — he was not one of them.”
Newman gave back to the little college — both in terms of talent and money.
He and his longtime wife, Joanne Woodward, were artists in residence at the school, and Newman, widely known for his charitable contributions, gave $10 million to the school.