San Fernando Valley State College graduates of 1969 and professors who began their service that year to the university now known as California State University, Northridge shared warm memories and reconnected with classmates and colleagues on Nov. 2 as part of CSUN’s annual Founders’ Luncheon.
Many also shared how their time at Valley State was transformative for them during a particularly turbulent time around the globe.
The Class of 1969 and faculty members who started teaching that year were honored and inducted into the university’s 50-Year Club.
“This brings back a lot of memories that have been put away for a long time,” said Mike Scroggie ’69 (Business Administration), who served as the Founders’ Luncheon alumni chair. “College was the greatest time of your life. It’s the first time you’re an adult. I remember my first class when the professor called me ‘Mr. Scroggie,’ and I looked around and thought, ‘Is my dad here?’”
Scroggie’s time at Valley State was interrupted by service in the Vietnam War. But he returned to finish his degree and went on to have a successful business career as a founder and executive for marketing and advertising companies. He also met his wife, Kathy, at Valley State.
Scroggie utilized the Founders’ Luncheon as an opportunity to give back to the university, as he is leading the 50-Year Class Gift — a challenge to his fellow 1969 graduates to help raise $50,000 for student scholarships at CSUN.
“I really consider my college experience as a launching pad for the rest of my life. I had some great experiences, met people who became lifelong friends, had some great professors. I feel an obligation to give back because everything this university did to prepare me for the rest of my life.”
Each 50-Year Club member was welcomed to the stage at CSUN’s Northridge Center. Some of the inductees met their spouse at Valley State. Many had children who followed in their footsteps and earned a degree from CSUN. And many enjoyed personal and professional success after graduation.
Barry Hinden ’69 (Psychology) was joined by his wife Marilyn Hinden ’68 (Art) in induction. Barry met Marilyn at Valley State, where he was senior class president and she was a homecoming queen candidate.
“This is very significant. To come back here and see the advancement of the college, the university, it’s just beautiful,” Barry said.
Robert Gunsalus, CSUN Vice President for University Advancement and President of the CSUN Foundation, thanked the group of graduates and emeritus professors for what they did to help set the course for the future.
“We, your current campus stewards, are grateful to you for laying the cornerstones for what has become one of our nation’s largest and most significant universities,” Gunsalus said. “We also recognize that the core personality and uniqueness of the university today grew out of your vision, pioneering spirit and collective wisdom.”
Said CSUN Alumni Association President Cindy Chernow ’78 (Anthropology), M.A. ’91 (Counseling and Guidance): “A lot has changed over the years. We are a much bigger and a much better campus in so many ways. However, one thing has not changed, our purpose — to be a place where students are inspired to learn and where they thrive as individuals.”
In his speech, James Allen, emeritus professor of geography and faculty/staff chair talked about his arrival at Valley State in 1969. He recalled the November 1968 occupation of the university’s administration building by the Black Student Union and the creation of ethnic studies programs in 1969. He also talked about optimism and camaraderie between faculty members.
He said he has remained close to CSUN after retiring in 2007. But to see so many people return for the reunion was special.
“This was heartwarming,” Allen said of Founders’ Luncheon.