Donation Memorializes Spot Where Paul and Rosemary Adalian’s Life Together Began
February 14, 2022

Rosemary and Paul Adalian noticed one another in what Paul calls the first class — at 8 a.m. — on the first day of school at the brand-new Stanislaus State campus in 1965. 

She sat in the front row of Sociology 201. He was in the back. 

“I saw this girl in the front and she was wearing a dress, and I thought, ‘Who in the heck wears a dress? This is college,’” Paul said. 

Someone who wore a plaid skirt, blue blazer, white gloves and hat to an all-girl Catholic high school two blocks from New York’s Times Square did. 

Two months later he saw her studying in the Library, one of only two buildings on campus when Stan State opened. He stopped and asked Rosemary what she thought their instructor was going to ask on the midterm. 

That conversation was followed by many more in the University Library, a gathering place for students.  

Paul and Rosemary Adalian’s romance began in that library, and their love for   Stan State never subsided. 

The couple, who currently live in Fort Collins, Colorado, near their only grandchild, celebrated that love by donating $25,000 to name the large second-floor classroom in the newly renovated J. Burton Vasché Library. 

The room, named the Paul and Rosemary Adalian Instruction Room, is near the spot where the couple and a few friends routinely sat when the Adalian’s love story began 56 years ago. 

Learn more about the Next Chapter: J. Burton Vasché Library campaign 

 Paul, a history major who wanted to be a high school teacher, graduated from Inglewood High School, attended El Camino Junior College and transferred to Stan State. He liked the idea of attending a brand-new college. His grandparents, who had escaped the Armenian genocide in Turkey, grew grapes just south of Fresno, and he envisioned himself driving them to family gatherings in Los Angeles.  

Rosemary’s family had moved from New York to California after she graduated from high school. She attended Diablo Valley College and a counselor suggested the English major transfer to Stan State. The campus  stunned her. 

“I was used to subways and buses and tall buildings. My mom and I drove down to Stanislaus after I was accepted, and there were 220 acres and two buildings,” she said. “The trees were like toothpicks.” 

What the school lacked in physical atmosphere at the time it made up for with its people. 

The first student residence building, Yosemite Hall, wasn’t built until the following year, and some faculty rented spare rooms to out-of-area students. Paul and Rosemary each lived with a faculty member. The second year, Rosemary served as  a residence assistant in Yosemite Hall. Paul rented the master bedroom/bath in the home of a woman who lived in Turlock. 

“I think people in the community were excited to have a college in their town,” Paul said. 

There were only about 10,000 people in Turlock and 600 students, Paul estimates, and he and Rosemary found each other. 

He loved her “powder keg blue eyes,” and New York dialect. She was attracted to his laugh and exuberant personality. 

"We’re the first in our families to go to college. I remember when we went to the 50th anniversary event for the Class of 1967, and I looked out and there were so many students in their caps and gowns. I think having been a teacher combined with wanting to applaud and encourage that opportunity for others led us to make this donation.” 

-Rosemary Adalian, Stan State alumna

Opposites attract.  

Their first date was to a Theatre Department production of “Theatre of the Absurd.” He took her to her first basketball and baseball games. 

“Paul was a yell leader,” Rosemary said of her sports fan husband, who still has his childhood baseball card collection that dates to 1953. 

“They had a basketball team, and no official yell leader or anything,” Paul said. “John Russell, a senior, and I started being yell leaders. It was a lot of fun.” 

“What was that yell?” Rosemary asked during a FaceTime call, “Gobble, Gobble...” 

“Gobble, Gobble, That’s Our Cry. Turkey Tech, Do or Die,” Paul cheered, sending them both into peals of laughter. 

Their joyous college memories often involve the Library. 

“One day I was sitting by myself at the table and this wad of paper came flying over the shelves and landed on the table right in front of me,” Paul said. “I opened it up and it said, ‘Do you want to cut out and go to Santa Cruz?’ I went around the corner and there’s Rosemary and another person, so we skipped classes and went to Santa Cruz.” 

Another time, they deliberately jiggled their table, which squeaked, and told everyone there was a bird loose in the Library. 

It was the kind of prank college students played. But the two were serious about their studies. 

Rosemary remained after graduation and earned a multiple subject teaching credential. Paul returned to Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree at what is now Loyola Marymount University. He taught college history, but he’d had a student job in the Stan State Library, and one summer he took library courses at the University of Washington. He missed the library environment and enrolled in Syracuse University’s library studies program. 

Rosemary was teaching in California, but they married Dec. 19, 1970, and moved to Syracuse. Paul plowed through his studies and Rosemary made her way to a teaching job at a neighborhood elementary school that winter when 157 inches of snow fell on the city. 

Paul put his new degree to work at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, where the couple’s two daughters, Allison and Caroline, were born. 

They soon returned to California, and Paul worked in San Francisco State’s library before beginning a 23-year tenure at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Rosemary taught kindergarten and first grade to migrant children in San Ardo, a population not unlike students now attending Stan State. 

Paul became the founding librarian when CSU Channel Islands opened in 2002, where he remained until 2008. He spent the final six years of his career at Southern Oregon University. 

Through the years, the pair took their daughters to Turlock, always stopping at Penguin Ice Cream for “the best chocolate chip ice cream and hot fudge,” according to Paul. 

They would marvel when friends in town took them around the ever-changing Stan State campus with its mature trees, water features and well-appointed residences. 

“It looks like a park with all the lawn and trees,” Paul said. 

Dean of Library Services Ron Rodriguez kept them updated on the renovations of their beloved Vasché Library. Last May, they announced their gift. 

“I did a lot of instruction as a librarian myself,” Paul said. ““I thought that would be a good fit.” “We’re the first in our families to go to college,” Rosemary said. “I remember when we went to the 50th Class of 1967.I looked  and there were so many students in their caps and gowns. I think having taught at San Ardo combined with wanting to applaud and encourage that opportunity for others led us to make this donation.”