Love at PSU

To the editor:
My husband, Tom Erwin, and I met at Pitt State in 1977 during our senior year. He was president of the social work club and I thought he was hot.

The student social work club decided to take a trip to Arizona in March of 1977, to attend the National Student Social Work conference. Since it was the ‘70s, we loaded 12 people into a large van with carpet everywhere and drove ourselves there. We camped at a KOA campground, sleeping in two tents. We stopped by the Grand Canyon on the way there! It was during this trip that we decided to get married.

Within 7 months, we had dated, gotten engaged and were married. We were married on August 27, 1977, at Timmons Chapel after we both graduated with degrees in social work. All three of our social work instructors attended our wedding: William Schutter, Karen Subramonian and William Collinge.

We have been married 33 years and have two daughters. Our youngest daughter graduated from Pitt State 4 years ago.

Kathie Schairbaum Erwin


Memories of Lakeview Hall

The article in the last Pitt State mag brought back many great memories. We (my wife and I) moved into the two-story building (I guess it was called Lakeview Hall) the late summer of 1954. One floor was for married couples and one floor for singles. I forgot which was which. Since the bathroom and showers were at the end of the hall, it was protocol to yell “man on the floor” or “woman” when going down the hall to use the facility. Luckily we were moved to one of the barrack -style units in early fall. The units, as I recall, were four one-bed room units with a fence around the four. This made the back yard about 10 ft. deep with the length of all the units. Our rent was $30-something a month and that included utilities. Our daughter spent the first two years of her life there.

I do not recall if Al and Virginia Ortolani lived for a while in the barrack style housing but we became good friends with them as Al was a student also at the time. I recall their oldest son “Pug” was the same age as our daughter and they shared some time in the wading pool we had in the back yard.

Regressing a little about the great people produced by the university is the following:

Although a student, Al was also a mentor to me and helped me become oriented with the college & city and helped me find a part-time job.
Later, after teaching, I became the VP of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and contacted Al Ortolani, who was then the head trainer at Pitt State in addition to coaching, and asked if he would help us organize a national trainers association. He not only took charge but was later elected as the first president of the NAIA Trainers Assn.

I also got to know a little better a great coach and a superior instructor, Carney Smith who was the athletic director at Pitt State. I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with Carney at the NAIA athletic directors’ meetings. There was not a finer individual.

Sorry for wavering from the subject of “homes for GIs” but those were great times spent at a great institution surrounded by great individuals.

Wallace H. Schwartz (BS 1956)


Lakeview Hall

To the editor:

My first semester at Pittsburg, I was late selecting a dorm and my only choice was Lakeview Hall. The other four men’s dorms were beautiful and functional, but I chose Lakeview over them because it was one-third the price.

Lakeview Hall was my residence from Aug. ’61 until May ’64. After Lakeview closed down, I moved to Shirk Hall. Next on the horizon was pharmacy school at U.M.K.C. After 50 years, I retrieved three Kanza yearbooks from my library to refresh my memory.

Lakeview was shaped like the letter H. The connecting part is where the showers and bathrooms were. It was two stories tall, composed of hardwood floors, thin beaver board walls, steam radiators for heat, no air conditioning, ping pong room and a big TV room. We had two outside phones and weekly inspections. It was landscaped with flowers and redbud trees.

There was plenty of parking for the fastest cars on campus. We could watch football games 150 feet away and walked just one block to class. The ROTC drilled outside our windows.

The dorm mother was Helen Van Ness and we had six proctors to make sure we were gentlemen. N dorm had a cafeteria, which we would have used happily.

We had many vocational students such as Jo (Jeep) Stinson from Wichita; Tom Pickrell, whose family owned an oil company and kept saying that a barrel of oil may be 55 gallons but contained only 47 gallons of oil; and John Hyde from Altoona, who had been a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper and later flew jet fighters at Pensacola, Fla. We had about 150 students in the hall.

College was tough, with two semesters of communication mandatory before any focus on specialty classes. A college hour was exactly that – in class with no substitution of anything for college credit. 1961 was when the Berlin Wall was started and the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba took place.

From Lakeview, we would watch the football team on the practice field – Bob Fulton, Harlon Hess, Gene John, Doug Potts, Bruce Roach, Jerry Archor, Craig Campbell and the rest of the football team. They defeated four Missouri football teams by an aggregated score of 121-0. We watched in the TV room Pittsburg win the Camellia Bowl.

The next year, some of the military housing was destroyed and tennis courts were removed for the new math building. October brought the Cuban missile crisis. Some of our students were in the National Guard. They were very serious. Pittsburg had the largest ROTC student enrollment, about 900-1,000 students, because it was mandatory. Most of our graduating ROTC officers went to Fort Riley, Kan., home of the 1st Infantry Division and the 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion of WWII fame. Russia backed down and the only war we saw at Lakeview was 150 feet west when Omaha played our football team on military night. We were dressed in our ROTC univorms and when we won the game, we headed to the south field goal uprights and tore it down. Oh! Oh! On Monday Morning, Cpt. Ponder told us in ROTC class that the department would pay the $2,000 bill and for us to curb our energy.

1963 was a significant year for Lakeview. There are some conversations with people that you remember word for word, even after 40-50 years. In room 212, Thomas Bettis Jr., from Independence, Kan., and five others were talking about normal subjects – school, cars, girls and the future. We decided to go to the Friendly Tavern or 311 club and have a pitcher of beer. Tom became silent and looked us in the eyes and said, “I am not allowed to go to a private tavern with you because of my color. But you see me as one of you and you could care less about my color.”

We had a lump in our throat and said there were many stupid laws. Lakeview dorm and the rest of the dorms were way head of civil rights in practice and we hoped the laws would catch up to us.

Parked on the east side of Lakeview were some of the fastest cars on campus. Gasoline was $.25.9 with possible 95 octane for 2 cents a gallon more. Songs on the radio were “GTO,” “XKE,” “409,” and “Hey, Little Cobra.” We had them all except the Cobra. The Cobra in the song raced that year 90 miles northwest at my hometown of Garnett.

Many of our students were in automobile mechanics and had modified their cars for the Mo-Kan drag strip. I remember getting inside a 409 with $10 bill taped on the dashboard. “If you grab it, it’s yours.” I buckled up and he took off. I was pushed back in the seat until it hurt. No money for me. The GTO was from Liberal, Kan., and took off in second gear in a race. Roger Guffey and Ronnie Moore, from Wichita, had ’57 Chevys with 327-cubic-inch engines with two, 4-barrel carburetors. Tom Pickrell, from Wichita, had a candy apple red Mustang that left rubber in all four gears. Fortunately, I don’t remember any tickets or wrecks of our students.

Lakeview we thought was built at Fort Crowder during WWII then brought to Pittsburg, later. Lakeview was not an address of distinction, but the people were great. It is the relationship of students to each other that is important. Lakeview Hall completed its mission and was removed by the university. Would I do it all over again? Yes!

Gene L. Beauchamp

Springfield, Mo.

Teacher’s oath

To the editor:
I just read the grand news in the latest issue of Pitt State Magazine that Pittsburg State’s teacher education program has implemented The PSU Teachers’ Oath. What a tremendous effort and vital consideration for the teaching profession, especially coming from PSU!

I graduated from PSU in 1964. I still recall my experience there student teaching in the elementary and the high school on campus before going to Chanute to complete student teaching. What a valuable experience it was to have had the opportunity to practice at all levels before graduating. Too bad those “lab” schools are not in existence today, as I’m told.

This is my 47th year in the classroom and I am still maniacal about teacher education and academic professionalism that connects and enhances the teaching and learning process. The oath that PSU has implemented certainly encompasses the profession well and serves as a reminder as to what teaching is and will be for the duration of each teacher’s career.

Deans of Education Howard Smith and Andy Tompkins, as mentioned in the article, are to be commended for their efforts in making the oath a part of the graduation process.

Gordon S. Hale, 1964
Teacher, Academic Professional
Educational Consultant, Resources
Henderson, Nev.


Mystery girl…

To the editor:
I thought I recognized the girl in the bookstore (p. 2 in the Vol.19, No.1, Spring 2011 issue), and in checking my 1963-64 Kanza, I found her! Please see p. 65 — the one printed in the Pitt State Magazine — and then check p. 227. She is Martha Jane Wendal, from Wichita.

Sue Beattie


Missing Award

To the editor:
I just got around to reading the Pitt State Magazine. I graduated in January 1961, but can’t make the 50-Year Reunion. However, in reading the Beta Gamma Sigma organization in one of the article, it made me remember something. In 1960 (I think it was), I received the Gamma Beta Alpha Award for having the highest grade point average for the Business Department, but at the meeting that night, I was told I would receive the award later. Later never came. Any idea where this is?

Harry L. Pell, CLU
Green Valley, Ariz.

Editor’s Note: Harry, Congratulations on your award. Sorry this is 50 years late. I have it on good authority that you should be receiving something in the mail very soon. – Ron


GI family

To the editor:
I was surprised and pleased to see a picture of my husband, our daughter, Janet (2 years old) and me in the PittState Magazine.
It was the article about veterans returning to go to college after WWII.

Our name was Jarvis, and John (now deceased) was enrolled in manual arts and education. He became a teacher and spent about 30 years teaching at Whitewater, Kan., and Wichita, Kan., before returning to Cherokee County to the family farm where he operated a business making woodcraft items for craft shops.

The picture sparked many questions from our daughters about our living arrangements at the college. It also brought back many memories to me.

Martha (Jarvis) Teter
MS ‘74, Derby, Kan.

Editor’s Note: In a subsequent phone conversation, Martha Teter said she believed John started the garden as a way to relieve stress. “He just dug up a little patch. It was more something for him to do. I don’t recall that we ever got much out of it.” Ms. Teter, now retired, spent seven years as a classroom teacher and about 22 years in library services.