By Jim Carnett
(Jim was an Orange Coast College student in the early 1960s. Now in his 36th year as Director of Community Relations, he is editor of Coast-to-Coast. This is a regular column that focuses on OCC’s history and distinctive characteristics and characters.)
I realize that Orange Coast College has just begun to celebrate its 60th anniversary, but the focus of this week’s column is on what was happening on campus 20 years after the founding…40 years ago this spring.
It was the spring of 1967, and your humble correspondent had just been discharged from the United States Army. I’d returned home from Korea, and had enrolled as a sophomore communications major at OCC. It was a bit of an adjustment – going from being an overseas GI to an OCC student – particularly considering the fact that the hippy movement was in full bloom (pun intended!) on campuses across the country. Flower Power was the rage everywhere. With my short hair and “square” wardrobe, I felt like a plain brown shoe at a Bill and Hillary inaugural.
Fall classes concluded on Friday, Jan. 27, 1967, and the spring semester got under way the following Wednesday, Feb. 2. OCC enrolled 5,900 students for day classes that semester, and 9,300 evening students.
The sophomore class hosted a Valentine’s Day dance on Friday evening, Feb. 10, in Peterson Gymnasium following the OCC-Mt. San Antonio College basketball game. The game started at 8 p.m., and the dance, titled “Cupid’s Couple,” ran from 10 p.m. to midnight. Men were required to don slacks, dress shirts and ties, and women were obliged to wear dresses. No capris were allowed.
By the way, OCC’s basketballers, led by freshman John Vallely, who would later star at UCLA and play in the NBA, beat Mt. SAC, 90-88, before 1,822 fans. By all accounts, the dance that followed the game was a success.
The school newspaper, the Barnacle, ran a feature story on OCC speech instructor, Jack Holland, in its Feb. 24 edition. Holland, who joined the faculty in 1964, had spent 25 years producing, directing and acting in stage productions. For a time, he operated his own repertory company. He also appeared in more than 50 television productions.
Holland, who was 54 that spring, was full of energy and teaching an astonishing load of eight sections of speech.
“I find teaching to be the most exciting and challenging career I’ve ever had!” he enthused. “I love it and I wouldn’t want to leave!”
Nick Wassiliew (center) and
Miki Mikolajczak (right)
His words proved prophetic. He almost didn’t leave! He remained at the college until he was nearly an octogenarian – 78. Jack finally retired in 1991, and died three years later.
OCC sophomores, Miki Mikolajczak and Nick Wassiliew, were named OCC’s “Man and Woman of the Year” for 1966-67. The Bank of America, sponsor of the award, honored the duo with scholarships. Mikolajczak was a student senator who’d been freshman class president and vice president. Her career goal was to become an elementary school teacher. Wassiliew, OCC’s student body president, was a member of the rowing team and director of the Campus Spirit Club.
Creative writing professor, Pat Kubis, sold her second novel in March. Pat wrote the book under her penname, Casey Scott. The book, titled “The Beach House,” was written during the summer of 1966 while Pat and her husband lived at Kilometer 39, a highly-favored surfing spot in Mexico. The tragic love story, which revolved around surfing and the beach environment, was released by Avon Publishing Co.
Later in the semester, Pat captured first-prize in the California Press Women’s writing competition. Her feature story about a young disabled boy was titled “I Want to Fly.” The article appeared in West Magazine.
“LSD and the College Student” was the title of a lecture delivered in the Robert B. Moore Theatre (then called the OCC Auditorium) on March 14 by Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider. Ungerleider was an assistant professor of psychology at the UCLA School of Medicine. The theatre was packed for his presentation.
Ted Palmer tossed up a 53-foot buzzer-beater to give Riverside City College’s basketball team a pulsating 88-86 victory over OCC, March 8, at Cal State Fullerton. It was the Eastern Conference playoff. The two teams had tied for the conference championship with identical 15-1 records, necessitating an extra game to see which school would advance to the eight-team state tournament.
“The defeat was too unbelievable to be true,” wrote a grieving Barnacle reporter. “The ‘cardiac kids’ died of heartbreak.”
“We couldn’t do anything but stand there with our mouths agape, looking stunned,” recalls OCC physical education professor, Jim Jorgensen, who was an Orange Coast student at the time. Jorgensen was in the jam-packed Cal State Fullerton gym to watch the game. “We were inconsolable after that loss. Our hearts had been ripped from us.”
It was one of the most devastating defeats – in any sport – ever suffered by an OCC athletic team.
The Pirates finished that hoops season with a nifty 24-8 mark. They set a new school scoring record, averaging 94.1 points per game, and eclipsed that mark the following year, averaging 97.3. At one point during the 1966-67 campaign, the Bucs won 17 games in a row. Freshman John Vallely set a single-season scoring record, averaging 20.4 points per game. He broke the record his sophomore year, averaging 25.8.
OCC’s 1967 spring break ran March 19-25, and the college readied itself for the annual “Bal Week” onslaught.
“What makes thousands of teenagers come to Balboa every Easter week?” Gloria Myrick asked in her Barnacle op-ed. “No one really knows because it differs from teen to teen. Maybe it’s tradition or the miles of sun-drenched beaches or the thought of the massing together of thousands of one’s own kind in a central location obsessed with one thought – to have fun.”
Myrick warned that approximately 170 Newport Beach law enforcement officers would be out in force during the week. In addition to regular patrol cars, the officers would be backed up by two beach-wagon buses, three van trucks and five motorcycles.
Dr. Gerald Sjule
Dr. Gerald Sjule, a young OCC counselor, was selected to lead a prestigious summer psychology institute in Denmark. Sjule, then in his fifth year on staff, continues to teach at the college to this day. He’s been a member of OCC’s faculty for a record-shattering 45 years!
OCC conducted “Gripe Week,” April 3-7. Students, faculty and staff members were encouraged to voice their opinions and file personal gripes or grievances against any aspect of campus life.
Here are a few of the gripes that surfaced: the library is too noisy; male students need to wear socks with their sandals; there are too many staff-only parking stalls; there are not enough staff parking spots near classrooms; the Student Center closes too early; students should be able to audit classes; and, why is the American flag flown on the center mast in the quad?
Orange Coast College president, Dr. Robert B. Moore, convened a Campus Beautification Committee midway through the spring semester. The committee, composed of students and staff members, was concerned with the “untidy appearance” of the college as viewed from its Arlington St. entrance. The committee investigated the possibility of planting trees and shrubbery at the entrance. The committee was also concerned about the clutter and trash behind the Student Center that was visible from Fairview Rd. A brick wall ultimately went up to shield the back of the Student Center from the street.
Two OCC barracks buildings, which were leftovers from the Santa Ana Army Air Base era, were permanently “retired” during the first week in April. Fire crews from several surrounding communities burned the buildings to the ground. One of the buildings had been used for storage and for teaching upholstery classes. The other hosted lathing, painting and dry wall classes.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, a professor of government at Harvard University who later became Secretary of State under President Richard M. Nixon and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke on campus on Wednesday, April 5. Kissinger discussed how new weapons were changing relationships within the North Atlantic Alliance.
The Players Production Company of Los Angeles presented a single performance of the play, “The Rivalry,” on April 16, in the Moore Theatre. The play focused on the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. Motion picture and television actor, John Anderson, portrayed Abraham Lincoln. Steven Gravers was Stephen A. Douglas.
Zubin Mehta conducted the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra one week later in a concert in the Moore Theatre. Principal cellist, Kurt Reher, was the soloist. Student tickets were available for $1.75, and general admission tickets sold for $3.50.
In April, the Barnacle was notified that it had won a first-place award from Columbia University for content, writing and editing, make-up, and “general considerations.” Judges stated: “The Barnacle is a good solid product with overall good appearance and overall an interesting variety of news.” Editor of the paper was Sylvia Onalfo. Several years later, Sylvia was editor of the Daily Titan at Cal State Fullerton.
OCC’s Theatre Department staged John Patrick’s “Teahouse of the August Moon,” May 18-20 in the Moore Theatre. Directed by John Ford, the play concerns a U.S. Army of Occupation officer who is stationed in a remote town in Okinawa shortly after the close of World War II. The officer’s responsibility is to teach democracy to the locals. Cast members included Jeff Burtt, Chris Weatherhead, Joe Donofrio, Doug Dougherty and Stan Tudor.
The production was excellent (I saw it), but director John Ford expressed frustration over the fact that the student body didn’t turn out for the show, or appear to appreciate the hard work that went into mounting the production.
“(This is) not at all like a high school production as students seem to believe,” Ford said. “‘Teahouse of the August Moon’ ran on a minimum of personnel. Sixty students worked an average of 120 hours (each) as actors – and 60 hours for stage crew – and received only one unit (of credit) for their effort.”
Ford proudly pointed out that former OCC acting students were appearing that spring in the Broadway production of “Hello Dolly,” and in the L.A. Music Center rendition of “The Man of La Mancha.” Also, a former Coaster had become a ”name movie star” in France, and 11 former students were teaching drama.
“The present drama group is the best I’ve had in my eight years here,” Ford said. “It’s a shame that the community could be so appreciative, (but) the student (body) so indifferent.”
Orange Coast College’s Library (located at that time in the clock tower building in the quad) opened a special “magazine room” during the spring semester. The new four-story brick structure, that would become the college’s Library in 1969, would soon begin construction north of the Student Center. That facility, today, is Watson Hall. Elmo Bines, an OCC student in 1967, wrote a Barnacle letter-to-the-editor about the new magazine room.
“…It’s a wonderful idea,” he stated. “Now one doesn’t have to hunt all over the library to find needed magazines, which have not been put back by their users. Also, the magazine room keeps noisy browsers away from those who are trying to study.
“However, the lighting is so dim that if anyone tries to read magazines in this room for more than half an hour, he will develop severe eye strain. As long as the trouble is being taken to remodel the library, why shouldn’t the lighting situation be improved so that this change can be fully effective?”
The Barnacle ran a feature story in its April 21 issue on OCC psychology professor, Lee Bradley, who taught the college’s popular Psych 33 class. Bradley was quoted in the article as saying that students were “personally apathetic towards themselves.”
“Not in social or political ways,” he explained, “but they just don’t know themselves. This is one of the reasons for the class (Psych 33), so students can get out of this apathy and find meaning.”
I took his class in the summer of ’68. Personally, I didn’t find meaning there, but I did discover a lifelong friend in Lee Bradley.
The “hippy” movement, Bradley said in ‘67, had impacted his students.
“I feel the hippy trend had a good start with a bad end. It is basically a good idea but, when I hear of a ‘love-in,’ I can’t believe genuine love can be spread to 8,000 students at one time. A tree grower has 8,000 trees – he can’t water them all at once.”
In the spring of 1967, Bradley had been at the college for eight years.
“I have aged in those eight years because I believe in living intensely,” he confided.
Lee continued to live intensely at Coast for many more years. He remained on staff for 36 years total, and retired in 1995. He continues to teach at the college as a part-time instructor.
The college announced that its 1967 summer session would run June 19 through Aug. 11.
The youngest professor on campus that spring was 24-year-old speech instructor, Barbara Burgess, who had joined the faculty the previous fall. She was a fresh face from Cal State Long Beach with a B.A. degree in speech. She completed her master’s in speech during the summer of ‘67.
“I really love Coast,” she said in a Barnacle interview that spring. “The combination of fine staff and friendly students and teachers makes teaching very enjoyable.”
The article stated that Barbara was "known by her students for her large wardrobe and wide variety of earrings.”
Barbara Burgess later became Barbara Bullard. She remained a member of OCC’s faculty for 38 years and retired in 2004.
Several faculty members publicly announced their summer plans for ‘67: English professor, Michael Finnegan, planned to travel throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland with his wife; consumer economics instructor, Phyllis Basile, was planning an excursion to Montana; anthropologist, Dr. Dwayne Merry, was going to work at several archaeological sites in San Diego County; nursing instructor, Margaret Reagan, was hoping to find a cozy cottage next to a lake; history professor, Hank Panian, was planning to teach summer school, then take his family to their cabin in the mountains at Wrightwood; counselor, Sophia Derbyshire, was cooking up an exciting trip to the World’s Fair in Montreal; and zoology professor, Lewis Follansbee, planned to camp with his wife and two sons along the Baja coast.
OCC’s Athletic Department was informed in April that the college’s athletic teams were being placed in a new conference for the 1967-68 season. The ancient and venerable 10-team Eastern Conference was being disbanded, and the Pirates, who’d competed in the EC since the college first opened its doors in 1948, would be moving. The Bucs were placed in a brand new conference along with Golden West, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Southwestern, Grossmont, San Diego Mesa and San Diego City. Later that spring, the league would be christened the South Coast Conference.
OCC middle distance star, Jack Malloy, became the number one community college 800-meter runner in the nation. Malloy set a school record of 1:49.1 at the Southern California finals. That record stands to this day…40 years later! He also owns the college’s 400-meter record, at 47.4.
For a week during the semester, a number of OCC male students over the age of 21 were paid $5 a day to participate in a medical trial. They were to eat a salt-free diet for the entire week. Yours truly wrote a bylined Barnacle article on the project. It was my first student newspaper byline. The medical research project was funded by the University of Southern California, and was designed to study the function of the kidneys.
“The students will actually be guinea pigs, but they will be doing a great service for mankind,” said OCC school nurse, Martha Buss. “A salt-free diet is not the most tasteful of diets, and the success of the test really depends on the students sticking with it.”
On the final day of the test, the OCC males had to check themselves into the Long Beach Veterans Hospital and submit to a series of minor tests to determine the effect of the diet on their kidneys.
Orange Coast College’s Theatre Department hosted its 13th annual High School Drama Tournament on Friday, April 28, in the Moore Theatre. The tournament ran that afternoon and evening. Thirteen high schools presented scenes. Awards were given for best scene, best actor and best actress.
A Cinco de Mayo Festival was held Friday, May 5, on campus. Activities included strolling mariachis, food booths and games in the quad, from 5:30-8 p.m. A dance was held in the Student Center, from 8 p.m. to midnight.
On Cinco de Mayo weekend, five OCC students produced a 30-minute documentary in Ensenada, titled “Three Days in May.” The documentary team included Jack Airey, Dave Atkinson, Errol Gerson, Danny Rogers and Ken Martin. The film was described as a “satire on the (behavior of) American people in a foreign country.”
Shots were taken of a Cinco de Mayo parade; the finish of the famous Newport-to-Ensenada Yacht Race; celebratory activity at the Bahia Hotel; and revelry in the notorious Hussong’s Cantina, the verified originator of the Margarita. Total budget for the film was $500.
The first “rough cut” was screened May 20 at a private residence on Ocean Front in Newport Beach. The official premiere was scheduled for August.
Honors Night was staged Wednesday evening, May 17, in the Student Center. Each table contained a “traditional” bowl of daisies. A hundred leadership awards were given out by Joseph Kroll, dean of student activities; Marie Howes, associate dean of student activities; and Dave Grant, activities advisor. OCC’s top award – which today we call the Joseph R. Kroll Student Leader Award – went to three student government officials, Miki Mikolajczak, Marianne Warwick and Nick Wassiliew.
Nearly 200 students divided up $18,000 in scholarship funds.
The 19th annual Spring Barbecue and Western Dance was held May 26 at Irvine Park. Students and staff members were invited. Students with ASOCC cards were admitted free of charge. Those without cards had to pay a $1.25 entrance fee. Student teams played staff teams in softball and volleyball.
The British pop group, Chad and Jeremy, performed on Saturday evening, May 27, in Robert B. Moore Theatre. The group’s two biggest hits were “World Without Love” and “The Summer Song.” During their Orange Coast concert the group also performed “Monday Blues,” “Willow Weep for Me” and “Yesterday’s Gone.” Concert tickets were priced at $2 for students with ASOCC cards, and $3 without.
Cary Simonds and
On May 17, Jim Jorgensen and Cary Simonds were elected ASOCC president and vice president for 1967-68. Jorgensen, a member of OCC’s crew, ran on the platform of “increasing student involvement and reorganizing the registration process.” We’re still trying to get that one right! He later rowed at UCLA.
Jorgensen returned to Coast in 1973 and has been an OCC physical education instructor and sailing and crew coach for the past 34 years.
Simonds, long a successful dentist in Spokane, is the son of Bob Simonds, an OCC professor of construction technology from 1963-81.
OCC’s spring prom, featuring a Mardi Gras theme, was held Friday, May 26, on the S.S. Catalina and in the terminal building in San Pedro. An 18-piece dance band, along with singer Anser Hill, performed in the terminal. Another dance band, the Gas Company, played aboard the S.S. Catalina.
Late in the semester it was rumored that an OCC professor, John Upton, might resign as a result of producing a shocking 1966-67 edition of the college yearbook, The Log. Upton, The Log’s advisor, had been an OCC photography professor for just two years, but had no intention of resigning. Indeed, he stayed on for another 31 years, and finally retired in 1998!
The Log, which was distributed on a Wednesday morning in May, was published for the first time in a magazine-format.
“I was certainly shocked and surprised at the affect (that) it had on the student body at large,” said Log editor, Errol Gerson. “I realized that it would cause some controversy, but not to the extent that it did.
“Some people accused me of ridiculous things, and everyone was hot under the collar. But the whole point of the magazine was left behind in a cloud of anger. The Log was (meant to be) a satirical and thought-provoking magazine.”
The brouhaha stemmed from the fact that the cover of the publication contained a photo of a carved, wooden rendering of a topless female, and the cover article was on psychedelic drugs. Numerous students and staff members were offended by the cover art as well as the content of the story.
The article was titled “Psychedelic Scene.”
“The small blonde girl in cords and sandals across (the aisle) from you (in class) is staring at her beads and giggling, and you know she’s high,” read a portion of the article. “It’s eight o’clock in the morning. You can still taste the toothpaste in your mouth, but she’s high. Still, you’re not surprised. She smokes a ‘number’ about three mornings a week before school. She’s a ‘head’ and all her friends are heads. Not dope addicts, not just thrill seekers, only college students who long to know, who seek the truth.”
Later, the article purports to quote a student who is an LSD user.
“Our generation is the Love Generation,” he says. “Ten years ago it was the Angry Generation, but, man, that was before acid. I mean, love was around then, but nobody could see it for the anger. I rebelled against the system, and my parents. It all has to do with understanding and peace…and love, man.”
The scandal reached the pages of the L.A. Times, L.A. Herald-Examiner, Orange County Register, and Orange Coast Daily Pilot. KNXT-TV, Channel 2 sent a news crew to the campus to cover the story.
“The Log was a misunderstanding,” Upton explained to the school newspaper. “After conversing with student council members, the staff worked with the assumption that the students wished something more than the standard college annual.
“We realize now that this is not what the students wanted. There was a lack of communication.”
The weekend after The Log arrived on campus, staff members replaced the cover and pulled out the drug story. Approximately 2,000 copies were duly “modified.” Nearly 750 copies slipped through the cracks, however, and became collectors’ items.
“The intent of the Log was good,” Gerson said. “I believe that it is good, although it was unfortunate that people took it the wrong way.”
Students expressed their opinions in the Barnacle.
“The cover, the layouts, the position of the (drug) article, and the fact that it was the only subject thoroughly covered, makes it look as if the entire OCC student body has nothing better to do except sit around on the grass and smoke banana peels,” one teed-off student wrote. “I think the students on the staff entirely forgot that they were working on a yearbook – not the latest ‘hippy happening.’”
“For shame,” wrote an alumnus with a contrary opinion. “If the college student can be contaminated by a yearbook, then we have already lost. For myself, I have far greater confidence in them and their ultimate promise. I suspect that OCC will survive this teapot tempest but its intellectual and academic armor may be a little less bright than previously because of this administratively inspired or community pressured yielding to conformity.”
The Barnacle conducted a student poll regarding The Log. Sixty-nine percent surveyed felt that the cover design was inappropriate. Sixty-three percent had a bad overall impression of the publication, and 60 percent disliked the general “theme” of The Log. On a positive note, 54 percent liked the pictures.
The 1968 edition of The Log returned to the “standard college annual” format. The cover photo was of an OCC sailboat. A team of six advisors, including Upton, were listed in the editorial staff box.
Late in the semester, a small newspaper showed up on the Barnacle racks. Titled “Visions and Flowers,” it carried a front-page article on “Flower Children.”
“Gentle, passive, peace loving, idealistic or whatever they want to be, without restrictions,” the article meandered, “they strive for more knowledge of self, and more inner-awareness. Love is their platform, love for all men, even to those who would like to see them eradicated.
“We are simply dedicated to the cause and effect of Love and Peace, nothing more, nothing less, and wish only to serve the public by giving advice and lending a helping hand in attaining this goal.”
“If they are so full of surplus love,” opined a skeptical OCC journalist in a Barnacle op-ed, “why don’t they share it by helping the Peace Corps, Vista or one of the many groups designed to do just what they profess?”
OCC’s 1967 commencement effectively put the lid on the academic year, and was staged on Friday, June 16, at 2 p.m. in LeBard Stadium. The Year of Flower Power officially came to a close.
Like all Coast semesters, the spring of ‘67 was filled with unique and exciting events and activities that helped to mold this college into the distinctive institution that it is.
WE GET LETTERS….
You are certainly a gift to OCC. Your remarkable stories of our former colleagues are outstanding. It brought tears to my eyes to remember Wally (Kleck), Mike (Copp) and Sandi (Savage) (Orange Slices, March 1, “Three Incomparable Coast Colleagues”).
Mike and I used to laugh about his annual tennis trips to Wisconsin, as he would pass through the small town of Tomah, where my Dad lived. He always assured me that he gave my Dad a wave as he passed the cutoff to town. Sandi had such a brilliant mind, and was such a warm individual. Wally had a great sense of humor and loved his work so much.
Senior Staff Assistant (1975-2003)
I would say you really tagged the Coast Spirit with your write-up of the three professionals this week (Orange Slices, March 1, “Three Incomparable Coast Colleagues”). They were three of the best!
Professor Emeritus (1960-92)