Stanislaus State was a very different campus in 1966 than it is today. But then, so was the city of Turlock.
As Turlock was eclipsing 10,000 in population, the college also was going through a slow and steady growth. Most of the buildings on the 228-acre site were not yet built, and the vast majority of the trees that now make up the region’s largest urban forest were little more than saplings.
The Stanislaus State College Class of 1966 was the second to hold commencement on the current University site, and eight people who walked the graduation stage that day returned for the 2016 Commencement to be honored as Golden Grads.
The Golden Grads program, brought to the campus by President Joseph F. Sheley in 2013, not only celebrates the graduates’ 50th anniversary but gives them an opportunity to reflect on their Stan State experiences.
“Our experience with Golden Grads has been very special,” said Lisa McMullen, director for alumni relations. “Many have not returned to campus since they left 50 years ago and it’s exciting to see the looks on their faces when they see what their campus has become.”
This year’s Golden Grads were invited to be part of the platform party for commencement and were feted at receptions prior to the ceremonies.
“It’s a wonderful way not only to reunite these graduates with their alma mater, but to connect current students and this year’s graduates with the history of their University,” McMullen said.
Here's a closer look at the 2016 Golden Grads:
Paul Adalian, Jr. (B.A., History) went on to earn master’s degrees in history from Loyola Marymount and library science from Syracuse. He served as the Dean of the Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University and the Dean of the University Library at CSU Channel Islands. He also worked at Cal Poly for 23 years. He met his wife of 45 years, Rosemary (Stan State ’67), at the Stan State library.
Ed Bearden (B.A., Social Sciences) continued in school and earned a master’s in social work from Sacramento State. He is a licensed marriage counselor and also worked as a Child Welfare Supervisor for Stanislaus County. Bearden and classmate Larry McGranahan were responsible for bringing the Free Speech Rock to campus and placing it in our Quad. Bearden has been a board member for the Empire School District for 24 years. His wife Roberta also is a Stanislaus State graduate.
Bonnie Campbell (B.A., English; teaching credential) taught in Ceres and Delhi, spending most of her teaching career working with emotionally challenged students. Her late husband also was a 1966 Stanislaus State graduate, and her son Paul earned a degree from the University in 1993.
Gladys Duncan (B.A., Education) is a native of Long Lake, South Dakota, and despite aspiring as a young girl to become a teacher says she was not allowed to attend high school. She got married at 17, passed the GED test and completed her associate’s degree in one year plus a summer session. She entered Stanislaus State more than a decade later and went on to teach third grade in the Lodi Unified School District for more than 30 years. One of her daughters also is a Stan State graduate.
Leonore Krueger (B.A., Education) is a native of Germany and now resides in Stockton. She taught kindergarten in Manteca and then second grade in the Lodi Unified School District while taking classes at Stanislaus State. She says she loved every day of her teaching career and abides by the axiom “once a teacher, always a teacher.”
Otto Lairson (B.A., Social Sciences) was born in Oklahoma City but grew up in Ceres and Modesto. A life-long educator, he was a teacher and administrator for the Chatom and Mountain View school districts. He said he enjoyed going through this year’s commencement since he was suffering through a migraine during the 1966 ceremony.
Laura Patten (B.A., Business Administration) was a transfer student who was married during her entire college career. After earning her degree she turned her focus to raising her three daughters, knowing that her degree would allow her to find work. Once her daughters reached college age, she found employment in accounting. She and her husband will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary in August.
Kathleen Sereno (B.A., Business Administration) had three small children at the time of her graduation. Her daughter, who was 4 at the time, went on to earn a degree from Stan State while her sons both are Fresno State graduates. She is a native of Merced but is a long-time resident of Modesto, where she worked as a staff accountant for a CPA firm.