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Golden and diamond grads add sparkle to campus

Washington State University and its various colleges are preparing for one of the most anticipated events of the year, the annual Golden and Diamond Grads Reunion.

Held each year in April, the reunion welcomes back to campus students who graduated 50 years ago (golden grads) and 60 years ago (diamond grads). This year’s attendees received their diplomas in 1946 and 1956.

“This is one of the events that we look forward to each spring,” said Erich Lear, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Our time with these men and women is always inspirational. It is fascinating to hear about their careers, to see the way in which a liberal arts education has benefited their lives, and to discover the role they played in making WSU the world-class university that it has become.”

Sponsored by the university and the WSU Alumni Association, the reunion spans two days, April 26–27, with numerous activities planned. Grads tour campus, learn about new programs and facilities, and attend a luncheon hosted by the administrators, staff and faculty of their college.

Valeria “Val” (Munson) Ogden is one of the 20 diamond grads planning to attend the reunion. A graduate with a degree in sociology, Ogden served as a Washington state representative for 12 years and calls it the highlight of her career. The last four years of her political career Ogden served as speaker pro tem, only the third woman in the history of Washington state to do so. She was one of five women legislators in the U.S. to travel to Brazil on a trade mission and in 2002 led a legislative delegation to Germany to observe the German election.

Like all returning grads, Ogden says she has special memories of Pullman and the campus. “I remember when we were ‘allowed’ to wear slacks one Saturday so that we could go up to the president’s house to help Mrs. Compton tear down a rock wall that separated the house from the campus.” She added that when she was on campus no one thought of jeans as appropriate wear other than in the barnyard.

“I enjoyed my years at WSC immensely,” said Marie (Adams) Buckner, one of the more than 100 golden grads planning to attend the reunion. “After graduation, I left college and headed into a long and happy career in public education. I taught 40 years in elementary and middle schools, finding my passion working with young people.”

Ron Bayton, a diamond grad, finally retired at age 79. He, like many of the graduates who will return to campus, sums it up in these few words: “It’s been a great life!”

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