That phrase really hit home with me in a personal way this weekend. I'm taking my daughter to visit colleges she's gotten accepted into (this is SUNY weekend - we hit Binghamton and Albany). I graduated from Albany back in 1984, so I was interested in seeing how the place has changed.
The biggest change I've seen thus far is how the move of the drinking age from 18 to 21 has impacted the place. There's no Rathskeller at the campus center anymore; it's a food court now. The "Across the Street Pub" is still here, but instead of an open floor plan, they now have booths and a restaurant - we ate dinner there last night.
Then there's the building boom. The Albany campus used to be pretty compact, with everything in the center, surrounded by the 4 quads. Now there's a ton of stuff on the periphery, with new buildings still going up (that last part is kind of ironic, given the wave of budget cuts that have hit SUNY over the last couple of years).
The "culture" of the place has probably shifted as well, although that would be harder for me to see. The drinking age change alone will have seen to that, never mind anything else that's happened since I left here.
All in all, it's a bit strange coming back after so much time. I haven't been on campus since 1985 or so - I visited once after I graduated. The past really is a different country - we did things differently there :)