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Memories of SSU

Jay Orcutt

Student, Biology
1962-1966

Congratulations on this milestone. I was taken back in fond reflection to the apartment building beginning, the patient guidance of Dr. Nichols and the faculty he had assembled to attempt to mold this most unlikely of college student.

A married adult veteran without the most necessary qualification of a High School diploma. The urging of my wife lead to an application, an interview and eventual acceptance to the first Freshman class admitted to Sonoma State College.  Thus began my journey of learning to think. I studied and graduated in Natural Science but my education began in the Institute of Modern Studies modeled by Dr. Warren Olsen  to be in the Humanities.

I shall always be indebted to Dr. Stan Lyman for whom standard, trite answers were never acceptable and Dr. Ken Stocking who thought I could be a teacher.  My interests ran beyond the classroom with student government involving me in many of the dynamics of the day.  Dogma as adherence to someone else's thought was not acceptable as we were encouraged to explore.

Intimately involved in selecting the logo, the seal, and the mascot as President of the ASB when the first freshman class graduated in 1966.  As I recall there were six of us. Controversy was part of our life. Remember the political and social atmosphere of the time did not provide a comfortable fit for a community that was quite comfortable with their JC. John Birch Society was very active producing one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. This is a very long story so best it be left where it is in the past.

It is my hope that the freshman initiation in the redwoods is an annual tradition that our first Dean of Students Dr. Al Marks would be proud.

A short personal biography.  My wife of 50 years and I live in a gated retirement community at the base of the San Juacinto mountain.  My work took me to Canada as the national manager of a medical diagnostics company and back to California as the owner of my own business from which I retired on it's sale in 1989.  My days now consist of my wife worrying that I am not busy enough.  Surely there must be something I need to do to allow her the peace of mind of keeping her house unencumbered by me.