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Diamond and Golden Anniversary Luncheon Evokes Fond Memories

By Phyllis Shier and Sam Jones, College of Liberal Arts

Photos by Phyllis Shier, Kelly Nemmers, and Sam Jones. Don't have Flash Player? Click here to view the photos.

Outside it may have been a chilly day in late April, but inside the CUB Ballroom the genial warmth of laughter rang out during the CLA Golden and Diamond Graduate luncheon honoring members of the classes of 1961 and 1951.

Hosted by Dean Doug Epperson, the luncheon kicked off the three-day reunion honoring the graduates and highlighting growth and changes on campus. The luncheon gave alumni the opportunity to reconnect with classmates and to reminisce about shared collegiate experiences of the days when WSU was still Washington State College (WSC).

From famous visits of influential people like John F. Kennedy, Carl Sandburg, and Margaret Mead to the raucous fun of panty raids, alumni shared stories of their favorite memories.

On meeting "the famous"

"He stayed at Community Hall," Diamond Grad Karol (Erickson) Satterthwaite said of Sandburg's visit. "In our guest room. And we sat around him like a great grandfather as he talked to us in the drawing room!"

"I do remember him at Community Hall—we all sat around in our nightwear," fellow Diamond Grad Dolly (Glenn) Yates echoed.

Refrains of "We were!" and laughter seconded Yates's remark.

Others admitted to never having heard of Kennedy before he spoke at Bryan Hall and of being certain that Johnson would win the election.

"I was so excited when Margaret Mead came here and she packed whatever hall she was in," said Golden Grad Maradel Krummel Gale. "It was just amazing to see her!"

Signs of the times

There were memories of the strict dress codes enforced decades ago.

"I was a female student and we were very restricted as to what we could wear," Golden Grad Glenda Bean Jackson told the group.

The "no pants for women" dress code made winters cold, but there was an out.

"They would let us wear ski pants," Jackson said. "Well, I was a skier, and I had a brand new pair of stretch ski pants, and I was darned if I was going to ruin them sitting in class."

Golden Grad Theo (Skowronek) Nassar launched the afternoon's favorite topic.

"We had the last panty raid in the United States; that's what we were told," she said proudly. "I won't point to anyone here, but there were a lot of crazy girls running up and down the halls and probably 200 men outside."

Ed Holm added to his classmate's story, recalling how a planned light outage in Stimson Hall during midterm studies got more than a little rowdy, ending with a police officer locked in a closet.

"Well, I don't know if this is the same panty raid or not," fellow grad Nancy (Cotton) Winklesky said as laughter broke out again. "I lived in Davis Hall. . . . Our dorm mother locked herself in her room. We were told that they [the raiders] were coming in the steam tunnels!"

Cross-state rivals

Diamond Grad Don Bond changed the topic but added to the fun. His story of a football upset against the University of Washington in 1948 drew approval from the crowd.

Bond said as a member of the Intercollegiate Knights (IK) that fall, he served coffee in the president's booth during football games to "regents and celebrities." When WSC pulled off the big upset that game, the IK's had a second job.

"Three of us climbed up a 17-foot ladder in the third floor of College Hall," Bond said. "There's a little two-by-two hole in the ceiling there. We got through that and got up there and rang the victory bell."

The aggressively jubilant Bond and his mates offended fans of the losing team with sustained ringing.

"They decided they were going to storm us and take the bell away from us," he said of the UW supporters. "But they had to climb up the 17-foot ladder and go through the two-by-two hole in the ceiling. It was one of the easiest victories ever won—we had a very strategic advantage!"

Good friends, good times

Some alumni left notes in table photo booklets about the relationships they formed during those years.

Gale wrote about an anthropology field trip she took along the Snake River with Professor Dick Daugherty. A Seattle native, she knew nothing of the area's poisonous plants.

"After a day of scrambling around the hills, through lots of leafless vegetation, I came home and awoke the next day with a strange itching and red rash," she wrote. "I had gotten the worst case of poison oak imaginable. I missed our house dance and was sent home to Seattle to recover!"

Alumni also wrote about favorite professors and staff.

"I lived in Community all four years, and the best part of going to WSC was the lifelong friendships we made," wrote Satterthwaite. "At Community we girls often said we had the best housemother on campus, Mrs. Dorothea Keys. She truly was our 'mother away from home.'"

"I was a foreign language major and had wonderful and varied professors: Dr Kundert, Señor Celcala (the romantic Spanish teacher), and Fräulein Schneider," she added.

The most common remarks written were about lifelong friendships that were made.

"I met my husband John on a blind date neither of us wanted, and yes, it turned out to be love at first sight!" Satterthwaite wrote.

She summed up the mood of the day's luncheon in her description of that meeting: "It's just another miracle to remember as a WSC coed. Go Cougs!"

Tell us your story

If you are a Diamond or Golden Graduate from the class of 1951 or 1961 and weren't able to make it to your reunion, share your favorite memories below.

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