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Cal Poly Memories - by Professor Jack Jones 1969-1991, College of Teacher Education

In 1968, when I was ready to graduate from the University of Arizona's doctoral program, I contacted Cal Poly and was politely told that I was not needed. I interviewed with Ventura and Cuesta colleges because I wanted to relocate to the Central Coast. I had committed to the Ventura College position, and then I received a call from Walt Schroeder inviting me to come to Cal Poly. It seems that our late colleague, Marge Cass, was asked by Walter to help him find a faculty member for Education in language arts, and she recommended that he contact my U of A advisor to find a suitable candidate. She recommended me, and Walter called me in Ventura and offered me the job. I had already committed to Ventura City College and felt ethically bound to fulfill my commitment. I then gave him the name and phone number of a fellow grad student named Malcolm Wilson.

Immediately after I hung-up, I called Malcolm and told him that in a couple of minutes a man named Walter Schroeder would be calling and offering him a job, and I would recommend that he take it. Malcolm did, of course, and went on to become provost of the university. One year after Malcolm had been at Cal Poly, he was selected for a project in Botswana, Africa. As he was preparing to leave, he called and asked me if I would come as his leave replacement for two years. I said I would consider it but only if I would be able to transfer to regular track and have the two years count toward tenure. He and Walter agreed, so I scheduled an appointment to fly up and meet with Dean Carl Cummins, Walter and the faculty on a Thursday.

I met my class Thursday morning at Ventura College and then about 11 a.m. I ran out to the airport and flew up to Cal Poly. The Cal Poly runway was still active at that time even though they had experienced a terrible aircraft accident about two weeks previous during Poly Royal. I recall that when I arrived just prior to noon, I had to "buzz" the field because of the sheep grazing at the edge of the runway. I landed and was met by Walter and Malcolm. We went directly to the faculty dining room where Walter gave me a ticket to buy a sandwich. We had lunch, met Carl Cummins and then made the rounds of the faculty.

After the grand tour of the campus and building BA & E, I crawled back into the cockpit and flew home. The next day, I received a phone call that I was hired. When I came to Cal Poly in fall of l969, I was given an office in the old Ag Ed building which was located where Architecture is now. My office was on the first floor and had been the president's office at one time. It had a fireplace in it and a marvelous view of the hills and Cal Poly. The office was next door to SESLOC, which made it convenient to do business. Bertha Foxford and Gloria were the only two employees and all of SESLOC's records and cash were kept in a floor safe, which anyone could peel in a nano-second. Those were the "good old days." -- Jack Jones


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