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I was a student at Sonoma State ‘80-’85. I just want you to know how much I enjoyed reading the “Then and Now” issue of Sonoma Insights. It made me feel very nostalgic. Sonoma State had become a beautiful campus by the time I went there — I always loved the ponds and trees and all the greenery. It’s wonderful to hear that the students are proud of their school now; it’s true that when I went there, Sonoma was still combatting the “Granola State” reputation.

Yvonne Thorne-Booth
B.A. 1985



It was the spring of 1969 and the college counterculture was in full swing. Sonoma State had been quiet until a mixed bag of disrupters appeared on campus recruiting students to rise in protest, presumably of the Vietnam War and other things we didn’t quite understand. They stated their intention of closing down the school for no particularly valid reason.

A group of us Vietnam vets were there to get our education and not to engage in closing anything down, except perhaps the student cafeteria, which at the time wasn’t a gourmet outpost. The group visited us several times passing out leaflets and then announced they would be back with the plan to shut us down.

We vets also gathered and decided that when they reappeared we would approach them with our views. One warm, sunny spring day they gathered on the lawn in front of the main building. We vets were there and approximately 30 of us surrounded them.

We had appointed one of us to speak, and while they were talking he tried to interrupt them, but they ignored him, and us. So, in true military form, we shouted them down with more than a few well chosen words from our recent past. They stopped talking and turned to face us with astonishment on their faces, clearly surprised that anyone would dare confront them.

Succinctly our spokesperson told them that this campus wasn’t closing down, unless it was for the ambulances to come and collect their prostrate bodies. Then several of us spoke up to confirm that probability, this time describing precisely how they would end up prostrate.

That was the end of the potentially great Sonoma State shut down and sit in. As we returned to our respective classes over the next few days, with the exception of a few, we were thanked for our

Sam Wein
B.A. 1969



I loved the latest edition of Insights, with the look back at the last 40 years — loved the photos!
Great job.

Colleen Bentley-Adler
Director, Public Affairs
California State University
Chancellor's Office



I transferred to Sonoma State from a junior college in January 1971. I graduated two years later, with a BA in English. I kept a diary for a few months of that period, which supplements my recollections. Some random memories follow:

• Christmas carolers sang beautifully in the library shortly before Christmas break began in December ‘71.

• A rock concert by the lake in spring ‘71 was well-attended, and the crowd was boisterous but otherwise ruly. Country Joe and the Fish were among the performing bands.

• A peace march to protest the Vietnam War in spring ‘72 began on campus and ended at the Cotati quad. A North Vietnamese flag was run up a flagpole.

• An exhibit of lifelike nude sculptures in Darwin’s lobby drew crowds in November ‘72.

• Subfreezing temperatures in December ‘72 culminated with snowfall on campus in the middle of the

• Rock bands frequently performed on a stage Fridays at noon in front of the Commons during my time ,br />at SSU. Enthusiastic dancing always broke out. Old Vito, a dance instructor, would gyrate among the dancers. He was characteristically dressed in flowing clothing that matched his gray hair.

• A large student “die-in” protested a Marine Corps recruiting table outside of Stevenson Hall. Prone bodies lay all around the table area.

Phil Ratcliff
B.A. 1972



I just received my copy of Sonoma Insights, Winter 2005. I really enjoyed some of the old photos and it brought back some great memories.

I have a newspaper article about something that probably has long been forgotten regarding the Canine Corps provided at Sonoma State (as it was called then). I was appointed director and ran the program along with other student helpers. It was a program that was voted on by students and faculty and approved to allow dogs on campus. I have an original copy of the article along with a photo that the Argus Courier newspaper ran on Friday, June 23, 1972. I also have an original invitation to the graduation along with the program of the 12th annual commencement that I saved all this time.

Sandi (Schwarz) McClure
B.A. 1973



The latest issue of Insights has been forwarded to me in Boston where I’m spending the year. I liked the way in which the accomplishments of the school were calmly presented, without puffery, rhetoric or overblown claims to excellence.

There was one thing that did strike me, however. 

Information Technology director Sam Scalise’s prominent quotation on page 12 could be interpreted, without a context, as suggesting that the faculty is somehow resisting student demands for modernization through the use of new information systems. Knowing Sam, I doubt that this was his intention. How best to integrate new technologies into all aspects of University life, sharing benefits and burdens equitably, is a complex question not easily summarized in a one line quote. I don’t think anyone was well served by the inclusion of this quote in this way. 

Other than this, and an unfortunate reference to some of the social convulsions during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s as “race riots” (page 4), I found the latest Insights good reading.

Victor Garlin
Professor of Economics


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