PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University alumni who graduated 50 and 60 years ago, “golden” and “diamond” grads respectively, will visit the WSU campus Wednesday and Thursday (April 23-24) for reunions with classmates.
The graduates will have a chance to reminisce at a noon luncheon in the Compton Union Building Jr. Ballroom. Thirty-five liberal arts alumni returned RSVPs this year, a lower number than in years past, university officials said. The low numbers are due to World War II and the fact that there were fewer students back in those years. Reunion numbers are expected to increase again starting in 2005, they said.
Among the returning graduates are former students from the College of Liberal Arts who have unique memories of their time on campus. “I remember when I worked at KWSC as part of an assignment and fed the teletype sheets to Keith Jackson for the first remote broadcast of a WSC (Washington State College) football game,” said graduate Dorothy Bullard. Many things have changed since Bullard’s senior year. Jackson went on to become a network sportscaster, Washington State College became Washington State University and KWSC became KWSU. Dorothy changed her name, too. In 1958, she married Kenneth Moe and the couple eventually returned to Pullman while Kenneth completed his master’s degree in education.
“I remember saying “hi” to Bing Crosby in Todd Hall, having dinner with Louie Armstrong and crew at the ‘teke’ (Theta Kappa Epsilon) house, and being shocked by panty raids,” says Kenneth Eickerman, a general studies graduate.
Many of the golden grads remember the winter of 1949-50 and how cold it was in Pullman that year. “It was so cold,” declares Joan Carolyn Chisholm (now Joan Weeks), “that I seriously thought I might freeze getting to my finals, and we were allowed to wear slacks on campus.”
Phillip Phibbs has memories of professors, which leads us to believe “World Class. Face to Face” was a practice long before it became part of the university’s marketing campaign. “Professor Paul Castleberry transformed my life as he introduced me to international politics and the idea of an academic career,” said Phibbs, a 1953 political science graduate at WSU who went on to become the president of the University of Puget Sound for 19 years. “And”, Phibbs said, “I remember Irene and Frank Potter whose love of learning and sheer joy in articulate discussion made students feel that an intellectual life was both honorable and richly rewarding”.
Two of the liberal arts graduates returning for the reunion are former office holders in student body politics — Bob Youngs, class of 1943 and Bud Bendix, class of 1953. Both served as senior class president. That is no surprise to Kay Glaser of the liberal arts development office. “The people who were active student leaders and were ‘joiners and doers’ are the ones who return for the reunions,” she said.
Also in the group of liberal arts returnees is retired Superior Court Judge Wallis Friel. Friel court in Beasley Coliseum was named for his father, Jack Friel, a 1923 graduate and WSU basketball coach for 30 years until 1958.