A Chapter from Bold Venture: A History of Walla Walla College, by Terrie Dopp Aamodt. (Published in 1992 by Walla Walla College)
It was a hot, dry, dusty dayAugust 15, 1947when Edward and Helen Cross and their two children drove into College Place. During the previous 18 years Ed had been a practicing engineer and a teacher. The pressures of working had strained his health to the breaking point, and he had decided to make a change. He answered the call of his church and agreed to move to Walla Walla College to create a collegiate department of engineeringsomething the denomination had never before attempted.
The Cross family had agreed that they would somehow find a way to live on less than half of their previous salary, since the college wages were just $49.50 a week. They gave up their friends and the familiar neighborhoods of New York City and even Ed's beloved Yankees for what they knew would be something very different. Still, they were not prepared for the shock. The first time they laid eyes on College Place was the day they moved there, and they discovered that they had exchanged New York's skyscrapers and urban millions for a newly incorporated town of 3000. College Place had no sewage system and few sidewalks.
"The work in your line would have to be started from scratch," President Bowers had told Ed Cross in his hiring letter. Cross learned that "scratch" meant a surplus McCaw Hospital barracks building filled with debris and surrounded by chicken coops, the campus sewage treatment plant, a warehouse, a barn, and a barnyard. Classes were supposed to begin in six weeks, and 26 young men were ready to enroll in the engineering program. Ed and Helen Cross took a few minutes to recover from their shock and dry their tears of dismay; then they rolled up their sleeves and began to sweep and scrub.
From this inauspicious beginning emerged the largest major on campus and one of the most prestigious academic programs in the denomination's colleges and universities. Inevitably, such a significant department would fundamentally change the character of Walla Walla College. It would also greatly increase the number of Seventh-day Adventist professionals who worked outside the denomination, a change that the program's founders did not foresee.
Until World War II, Walla Walla College had been defined in the terms that had achieved its accreditation in 1935; it was a denominationally-oriented liberal arts college. This purpose was broader than that of the school's earliest years, when it had functioned as a Bible college, but it still primarily trained workers for the church: ministers, Bible workers, teachers, physicians, and nurses. After the Second World War, the church's needs, the students' goals, and the national economy were significantly different. Adventist colleges had become so successful that they were turning out more graduates than the church could hire. War veterans who sought to complete their college education had diverse professional interests. Also, the expanding postwar economy offered many new career opportunities in science and technology, and many American colleges and universities were revamping their programs to meet those needs.
Before anyone else at Walla Walla College had realized it, biology chair Ernest Booth and physics chair George Kretschmar came to understand that in the future many students would choose their careers from outside the traditional arts and sciences. Dr. Kretschmar, who had earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, was interested in setting up an engineering program. Professor Booth, although he personally preferred biological field work to other sciences and mathematics, had come to believe that an engineering program would be an excellent thing for Walla Walla College to have. During a doctoral study leave in New York City in the summer of 1944, Booth happened to meet a very rare persona Seventh-day Adventist engineer. It was Edward Cross. Booth began a one-man recruiting campaign and praised Cross to President Bowers. With Booth providing the inspiration and Kretschmar the technical expertise, they persuaded George Bowers and the board to introduce engineering into the curriculum.
College officials did not know what they were getting into. Many people on campus thought that engineers either designed buildings or operated power plants, and thus they believed the program's graduates would work for the church either as architects or boiler room supervisors. President Bowers reflected this view when he announced the new major in the spring of 1947. The program, according to the Collegian, "is designed not to enable students to compete with graduates of the engineering and technical schools, but rather to prepare them for denominational work." The original curriculum also reflected this outlook, and the bulletin for the 1947-1948 school year listed the new engineering major under the manual arts department.
Integrating an engineering major into the WWC liberal arts milieu required Professor Cross to spend a great deal of time educating the faculty and administration. The first thing college officials learned was that the engineering program would be expensive. It required a wide variety of laboratories and equipment just as the school was about to enter an enrollment downturn. During the first year the faculty were forced to place their students in machine shop and auto mechanics classes because the lack of laboratory equipment prevented them from teaching theoretical mechanics. Engineering students took more hours in their major than students in any other department (from 84 to 108), and they had to take 208 hours to graduate, rather than the usual 192. Thus several teachers would be required to teach the wide array of courses.
For the first two years only two faculty members, Edward Cross and Vernon von Pohle, taught all of the required courses for electrical/mechanical and architectural/construction engineering. During the 1948-1949 school year Cross requested $9000 to equip three laboratories. He warned that a third faculty member was urgently needed and that a fourth would soon be necessary. Due to Cross's persuasiveness and the obvious promise of the department, the board voted to continue the major and hired a third teacher, Glen O. Patchen, in 1949. Board members also foresaw that their program would be too expensive to duplicate on another Adventist campus. To protect their investment, the board asked the General Conference to designate Walla Walla College as the one school that would offer an engineering degree.
It became clear that both the curriculum and the faculty would have to expand even more to provide enough courses in the correct sequence. When the board learned this, some thought perhaps the program should be cut back to one concentration to reduce the cost per student. Cross pointed out that in two years the major had attracted 34 students, and he stated that they deserved an adequate program.
Although Walla Walla College could not compete with the variety of engineering classes that a well-endowed school could offer, Cross insisted that the school must support a sound course in engineering fundamentals that would prepare its graduates to work in bona fide professional positions outside the denomination. "Certainly the denomination has no plan to use all the engineering graduates though it will doubtless absorb a few," he stated in 1949. He felt that primarily the architectural engineers would be attractive to the denomination, whereas a larger proportion of the students were choosing the mechanical and electrical option.
The program would either have to be adequate or it would be impractical to continue, and it is always very difficult to cut back a rapidly growing major. "Our hands have been put to the plow; we should not turn back," Cross told President Bowers. To create professionally competent engineers who could achieve professional registration and join professional societies, the college would inevitably have to seek accreditation for the program, and that would cost even more money. In 1949 Cross asked for 2500 additional square feet of space and $15,000 for two more laboratories. The department would then need at least $5000 a year for several years to purchase more equipment. This investment would not be lost, Cross assured the president. In fact, during the department's first two years the college had profited greatly from the engineering and architectural expertise of Cross and von Pohle, and the program had more than paid its own costs.
The college would continue to reap benefits from the expertise of its engineering faculty. Cross and von Pohle had just arrived on campus when they were asked to revive the antiquated college power plant. The boiler operators had to ration steam in the morningit went to the women's dormitory for a half hour, then to the men's dorm, and then to the classrooms. On one frosty winter day a seven-foot icicle hung from a steam pipe in the power plant. The two engineers designed a new and much larger array of boilers and a new building to house them.
Engineers who teach are always striving to find ways to keep current in their field, and in the 1950s Ed Cross found his professional fulfillment in a series of additional design projects for the college: the dairy store and milk processing plant (1950); the bindery (1950); Clara Rogers Elementary School (1952); two additions to Conard Hall (1954 and 1961); the new cafeteria, Kellogg Hall (1958); the Sittner south wing (1960); expansion of the College Press; and additions to Bowers Hall (1959). Cross designed, remodeled, or expanded 13 campus buildings during his career.
The college also benefited from the expertise of its new graduates. By the 1949-1950 school year, its third, the engineering program claimed 46 majors, and it continued to grow steadily. In 1952 the department created a professional outlet for graduates and offered a service to the denomination by opening an Engineering Office. The supervisor of this office would design buildings for various church institutions. In the spring of 1952 the college employed graduating senior Don Kirkman as the first supervisor. Later Dale Schuler and Cleo Rusch worked there, and the office continued until 1955, when the state ruled that it would not permit the college to conduct such an enterprise.
The department was more successful in operating an engineering
office that worked only on campus. By 1960 the campus building program was
going on at such a rapid clip that the engineering faculty could no longer
design buildings on the side. The college set up a campus design office and
hired Grover Starr, a 1952 graduate and licensed architect, as the full time
director of the building program. Harold Benson, a 1950 graduate, became construction
superintendent, and Ed McCants, who graduated in 1963, served as a draftsman.
Starr's office produced plans for Kretschmar Hall (1963), the 1965 library
renovation, and Smith Hall (1965). In 1965 Starr re-entered private practice,
but McCants stayed to design Tausick Natatorium, the new swimming pool facility
(1965). In addition to supervising the Starr buildings, Harold Benson also
oversaw the construction of the College Church (1962), the Fine Arts Center
(1966), and the Life Sciences Complex (1967). In later years other graduates,
including Charles Harter '50, Don Kirkman '52, David Hensel '56, Larry McGinnis
'62, and Don Krieger '61, worked on the development of Foreman Hall, the second
and third phases of the physical education complex, Canaday Technology Center,
and the College Church addition.
By the time the department had existed for ten years, it could boast 105 majors and 58 graduates. Its first alumnus, Edwin Larson, had received his Professional Engineer registration and had worked for both the Bonneville Power Administration and the U. S. Forest Service. He would return to his alma mater in 1958 as a faculty member. That year the department graduated its first woman, Patricia Drake.
Although engineering faculty continued to support campus building projects in the 1960s, their involvement shrank as they focused on preparing the department for accreditation. Full recognition required a site visit by the Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD), later known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET). Before the department could be accredited, its graduates had to establish a track record of successful professional activity, professional registration, and graduate degrees. The faculty also came under scrutiny. They were expected to have graduate degrees, experience in industry, professional registration, and a publication record. Some of those goals were more attainable than others because the heavy teaching load left little time, if any, for research and publication.
There were many reasons to be discouraged about achieving accreditation. Most engineering programs, particularly accredited ones, were found at large state universities or private schools with sizeable endowments. Tiny Walla Walla College could not begin to equip its laboratories the way a large school could. Accreditors also looked askance at the heavy teaching load carried by professors and the extremely low salaries the school offered. They assumed that the 1/2 to 2/3 pay cut from industry levels would scare away competent teachers.
Still, the college had some things in its favor. Professor Cross insisted that engineering majors take a general engineering degree, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.), with a concentration in civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering. All students took a common core of courses that addressed all branches of the profession. At larger schools, engineering majors specialized in one area and took courses only in that field. Many potential employers were attracted to the breadth of the background of Walla Walla College graduates and found that they could fit into a variety of job descriptions. The broader emphasis also enabled the department to function with a minimal amount of expensive specialized equipment.
The senior engineering majors began taking a standardized test, the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam, in 1960. From the beginning, Walla Walla College students attained a high pass rate. These results clearly indicated that the department was able to attract skilled teachers and to prepare its students to compete favorably with those from other schools. By 1962, the department felt ready to have outside educators look at the program and invited the regional accrediting body, the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities, to make an inspection. The faculty apprehensively awaited the visit by Fred Merryfield of Oregon State University, who was known to be very tough. The department was still functioning in its "temporary" barracks building, but its new quarters, to be named Kretschmar Hall, were under construction. Merryfield made his visit, and six months later the department received the report. It stated that some areas still needed development, but it also encouraged them to keep working toward accreditation. In 1963 the department moved into a new building, which it shared with the mathematics and physics departments. Several faculty members went on leave to undertake graduate study, and the college hired some teachers who had already completed their doctorate.
Just as the college was nearing its goal of achieving engineering accreditation, it received some disturbing news. Although the General Conference had ruled in the 1950s that only one Adventist college should offer an engineering degree, Andrews University in the late 1960s decided to create its own program. Its students would take three years at Andrews and the final year at the University of Michigan in order to receive their Andrews University engineering degree. The Walla Walla College board quickly protested to the General Conference and to the president of Andrews and asked for an explanation. It would take several years for the answer to return.
Meanwhile, it was time for the WWC engineering department to have its first visit from the engineering accrediting body, ECPD/ABET. A delegation made a visit in early 1971 and met in a closed session July 13 to make the decision. On October 1, they announced the result: the Walla Walla College department of engineering had received accreditation. Edward Cross paused for a moment to bask in the glow of the announcement he had been working toward for 24 years. "ECPD won't accredit a school unless its engineering department has demonstrated its ability to graduate [students] who can succeed professionally and pursue graduate studies through to the Ph.D.," he noted. He also pointed out that it was very unusual for such a small department to get accreditation on the first try. In fact, for many years Walla Walla College could boast the smallest accredited engineering department in the nation.
Although the program was accredited at last, another phase in its development lay just ahead. The General Conference wrestled with the problem of expensive programs proliferating on college campuses. In an attempt to keep Adventist schools healthy and to avoid overlaps in academic specialties, the church set up a Board of Higher Education. It was authorized to study all colleges and universities and determine which campuses should house costly specialized programs. One of the most significant actions of the Board in that regard was the 1973 announcement that the denomination would have a full engineering program at only one school, and it would be at Walla Walla College. The Board directed that the Andrews University/University of Michigan program should be phased out by the close of the 1973-74 school year. At the same time the Board recommended that all other Adventist schools develop affiliations with Walla Walla College. This would enable them to work together and mutually benefit from this program without getting into deadly, expensive competition.
As the department of engineering moved into a new phase, Ed Cross decided to give the leadership of the department to someone else. In 1974, after 27 years as chair of the department of engineering, Professor Cross left that position and began teaching full time. He was replaced by Charles Bell, who had taught both physics and electrical engineering at the college. The college board decided to restructure the department into a school, and in 1974 the new School of Engineering joined the School of Theology, School of Nursing, and Graduate School as a major division of the college. The School of Engineering's task of building an affiliation program with the other colleges and universities in North America and the Caribbean was a long process. For the other schools, joining the affiliation meant providing the first two years of the engineering major on their own campuses. Then the students would transfer to Walla Walla College, begin taking upper division engineering laboratory courses, and receive their B.S.E. from Walla Walla College.
The Walla Walla College engineering faculty have worked hard
to make this transition a smooth one for the students. Each year engineering
faculty members make multiple trips to each affiliated campus to talk to prospective
students. Civil engineering professor Jon Cole, who headed the affiliation
program for many years, traveled thousands of miles and corresponded with
hundreds of prospective students each year. "He has put his life's blood
into the affiliation," said engineering dean Rod Heisler. Cole and other
professors have visited most of the North American academies as well. The
college provides a travel stipend for affiliation students to come to the
College Place campus.
The affiliation program has changed the School of Engineering in significant ways. Within a few years of its advent in 1974, enrollment more than doubled from just over 100 to well over 200. From 1986 to 1988 the school's enrollment grew 20%, whereas enrollment in engineering schools nationwide dropped 20% between 1983 and 1988.
By the 1990-1991 school year, the engineering major boasted an enrollment of 270 and was bursting the facilities of the once-spacious Kretschmar Hall. The number of graduates doubled, and by 1992 over half of the nearly 1000 alumni came from the affiliation program. This diverse group of students has also made a significant impact on the academic quality and the cultural diversity of the student body. The engineering major at Walla Walla College is the only undergraduate program at Seventh-day Adventist schools that draws on a nationwide student pool. The freshmen who choose an engineering major on the affiliated campuses are winnowed by two years of stiff math and science courses before they set foot on the Walla Walla College campus. Only the brightest and most highly motivated choose to travel to the College Place campus to pursue their major. Added to these students from across the United States have been a substantial number of international students. Every continent has been represented, but the largest number have come from the Middle East and the Far East.
As a result, this broad pool of talent has given the Walla Walla College School of Engineering a larger share of academic recognition than its enrollment totals might indicate. The pass rate for the EIT exam remains high. Almost without exception the college's pass rate has been above 90%; the national average over the past five years if 73%. From 1980 to 1987, Walla Walla College engineering graduates had the highest statewide pass rate for six out of the eight years. This is particularly remarkable because Walla Walla College requires its seniors to take the exam, whereas it is optional in most schools.
Each year the Consulting Engineers Council of Washington gives a scholarship to the most promising applicant from the engineering programs in the state. In a three-year span in the mid 1980s, the award twice went to Walla Walla College students: Gordon Lacey in 1983 and Tom Zirkle in 1985. In 1985, after a nationwide search, the professional society for electrical engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) chose Walla Walla College engineering major Charles Whiting to be one of two student interns at its editorial offices in New York. In early 1989, five doctoral students at Stanford University passed their qualifying examinations in electrical engineering. Three of them, Karin Wells Sperley, Glenn Jensen, and James Cho, were graduates of Walla Walla College. Cho had just completed his undergraduate work in June 1988 and took his exams after only one semester at Stanford.
Another Walla Walla College graduate, Eric Sperley, had passed his doctoral exams at Stanford the year before. A 1986 mechanical engineering graduate, Brad Damazo, completed his doctoral preliminary examinations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 1988-1989 school year.
Walla Walla College engineering graduates tend to prosper in industry as well as in academia. In 1989 the School of Engineering surveyed 650 graduates about their attitudes toward their undergraduate education and their current professional status. Twenty-three per cent of the respondents had obtained the master's degree, and their average annual salary was $45,000. The alumni praised the breadth of their undergraduate program and expressed the belief that they compared favorably with graduates from larger schools.
In addition to their professional and material success, engineering graduates have been noteworthy for their contributions to their alma mater and to their church. Because their education includes a strong general studies component, including several religion courses, engineering students are encouraged to look at technological issues from an ethical perspective. Engineering students and faculty participate vigorously in campus debates on environmental and defense industry issues.
After students graduate, there is an obvious bond between them and their teachers. School of engineering faculty sponsor a continuous stream of professional, spiritual, and social activities for their students. Because their department teaches only undergraduates, it does not have teaching assistants. Faculty conduct all of the laboratories, most of the outside tutoring, and a great deal of the paper grading. Much of their time outside the classroom is devoted to student advisement and one-on one contact with students who are working on assignments. "There is a love of teaching here," notes the department's accreditation report. "Students are different there is less competition and more willingness to help one another." Students respect the concern shown by their faculty, and many of them stay in close contact with their department after they graduate. Annual homecoming departmental reunions are always well attended, and many graduates who enter industry arrange for their employers to donate equipment or funds to the school.
It is also common for engineering graduates to provide leadership and technical expertise to their church. For many, this begins while they are still college students. Some of them have taken a summer or entire calendar year out of their education to lend their expertise to irrigation and construction projects in Third World countries, and several have aided the development of a short wave broadcasting station in Guam. In 1972 three new graduates, Fred Biesenthal, Dale Messenger, and James Eklund, volunteered to spend the summer providing engineering services for several construction projects in Central America. Many former students became involved in an organization founded in 1973 by civil engineering professor Fred Bennett and other alumni, the Society of Adventist Engineers and Architects. This group raised $85,000 and donated engineering expertise to many mission projects; in 1979 they designed a floating ambulance for Bangladesh to transport patients the 100 miles from Gopalgonj to Dacca.
Walla Walla College engineering faculty have maintained a high level of involvement in community projects. Deans Charles Bell and Rodney Heisler have given many hours to the Walla Walla Symphony. Civil engineering professor Fred Bennett has contributed his expertise to many construction and development projects and to various governmental agencies in the region. Jon Cole, professor of civil engineering, serves on the Washington State Advisory Board for Surveys and Maps and chaired it in 1985. He has also served as a water resources engineer and field archaeologist for the Madaba Plains archaeological project in Amman, Jordan, since 1984. In recent years he has coordinated Earth Day activities in Walla Walla.
Clearly the engineering department has reflected Walla Walla
College's traditional emphasis on service. Part of the reason, according to
Fred Bennett, is that the field of engineering is essentially a service-oriented
profession. "It is involved with meeting people's needs," said Bennett.
What is left unsaid, however, is that the engineering faculty have also made a commitment to service by accepting a much lower salary than they are capable of earning in industry. Dean Rod Heisler tells new faculty, "Be careful about making your budget because you have to leave room for miracles." He also tells them that although it requires "a certain [financial] irrationality to come here to teach," the rewards are measured in terms of "changing people's lives." Faculty are influenced by the example of Ed Cross, who sparked the local Kiwanis club, helped to develop the first city park in College Place, and essentially served as the College Place city engineer for many years. All of these factors have influenced many of the program's graduates to make similar contributions to their college and to their community.
The School of Engineering is still growing. Even with the addition of spacious civil engineering laboratories in the Life Science building that were funded by the Murdock Charitable Trust, the Kretschmar Hall space has become impossibly cramped. In 1991 the School of Engineering faculty, in consultation with college president Niels-Erik Andreasen, voted to expand Kretschmar Hall. The $3.75 million project, which includes a building endowment, was financed in part by a $1 million gift from the Chan Shun foundation. It will add classrooms, offices, laboratories and space for student services.
Over the years the physical facilities of the engineering department have changed. The gleaming new wing on Kretschmar Hall will be vastly different from the junk-filled temporary building that adjoined the chicken coops in 1947. But the continuing emphasis on academic rigor and community service form a continuity that is both less tangible and more real than physical facilities alone.
The following content was also included in the chapter.
WHO WERE THE FIRST WWC ENGINEERING MAJORS?
What does it take to be a pioneer in a new curriculum? For the first Walla Walla College engineering majors, it meant enrolling in an unproven, unaccredited program with primitive laboratory facilities. The success of those first students depended on the dedication of the teachers and on their own motivation. Of the 26 students who began the program in the fall of 1947, 12 stayed in the program until graduation. The first graduate was Edwin Larson, who had begun his engineering studies at another school and finished his WWC requirements in 1949. Six more followed in 1950, 1 in 1951, and 4 in 1952. Within a few years several of these graduates were registered professional engineers.
EDWARD FULTON CROSS, ENGINEERING TEACHER 1947-1979
Edward Cross received his engineering degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1929. While working for the Columbia Gas and Electric Company in Ohio he became a Seventh-day Adventist. For some time after that he had difficulty finding full-time employment because of his Sabbathkeeping, so he worked part time in industry and part time teaching.
Although Ed Cross initially had a low opinion of Adventist education, once he had made the decision to teach at Walla Walla College, he felt that there was no turning back. "This was not a job, it was a call from the Lord," he said. He planned to spend the rest of his career there, and this commitment kept him at the college throughout the 24 years it took to build the department and obtain accreditation for it.
In 1947 Cross became head of the college engineering department and remained the chair for 27 years. During that time he saw the department grow from nothing to one of the school's largest. In 1974 Cross stepped down as department chair and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the college. He taught full time until 1979, when he retired and was designated Dean Emeritus. He has continued to teach part time.
Students saw "Prof" Cross as a tough, intimidating teacher. Yet one early class trusted his sense of humor enough to present him with two neckties: he was to wear the one with the large polka dots on the days he gave large quizzes; the small polka dots were for "nickel" quizzes.
Ed Cross and his wife, Helen, developed a strong sense of family and departmental spirit among the engineering students. After retirement, they could be found night after night at the college's fund raising phonathons. The Crosses, wielding their personalized red telephones, evoked the loyalty of countless engineering alumni and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the college.
What would prompt someone like Edward Cross to leave a lucrative engineering career and spend a career building up a college engineering department? "I would very definitely do it all over again," he said. "There is only one reason why the members of the department and faculty are here. They're dedicated to the service of the Lord [they] do not cut their salaries in half, they do not cut their vacation time in half or more than half, they do not extend their working days from six or eight hours up to thirteen or fourteen hours, they do not accept loads that are high, unless they have a sense of dedication to the Lord and a love for the students whom they're going to teach."
Prof Cross's former students paid tribute to him at Alumni Homecoming 1988, when he was recognized as an honored faculty member. On May 21, 1991, the college board voted to rename the engineering school the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering. There is a compensation, however, that Professor Cross values above these honors. "The real reward," he said in 1974, "is to know that a part of me has gone out in each of the engineering graduates."
GLENN MASDEN, ENGINEERING TEACHER 1957-PRESENT
Glenn Masden was named as one of 300 finalists in the Westinghouse national science talent search and received a four-year scholarship to the University of Colorado. He received his B.S.E.E. in electronics and communications there in 1955.
He worked under Seymour Cray at Remington Rand Univac and was involved in the development of the first transistorized computer. After doing some graduate work, he came to Walla Walla College in 1957 as an engineering instructor. He subsequently received his M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University in 1984.
His undergraduate training proved useful when Walla Walla College obtained a World War II vintage phase modulated transmitter from government surplus sources for a few dollars. College officials hoped to use the device to power their proposed radio station, but first it had to be converted to a frequency modulation mode. From 1960 to 1963 Masden spent evenings and summers reworking the transmitter, which was used at KGTS until 1970. (The cost of a new transmitter would have been the equivalent of a year's salary at Walla Walla College.)
Masden's next major project was to help the college enter the age of educational computing. At first he punched student computer cards himself and used the Corps of Engineers computer during lunch hours; later he transported boxes of cards to the Tri Cities for analysis on a computer there. In 1972 he set up the PDP 1120 computer on campus, nursed it through four or five crashes per day, maintained the hardware and software, and taught 15 to 16 hours of classes per quarter.
Glenn Masden has gone through several lifetimes worth of technological change since he began teaching at Walla Walla College 35 years ago. In those days, a vacuum tube computer that cost $1.5 million and was as large as a house was less powerful than today's laptops. Masden has taught courses in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. By the 1991-92 school year he had taught the electrical circuits course at least 50 times and was still able to say, "I love it."
Professor Masden has a legendary reputation for academic rigor. He sets high standards for himself as well by personally grading all of his students' homework and exams. He said that he has remained at Walla Walla College for 35 years because "I wanted to use my talents to train Christian engineers. I'm fascinated by electric fields and electric circuits, and it's exciting to see students pick it up. I guess I keep up this teaching schedule because I'm crazy, but I love it."
FRED BENNETT, ENGINEERING TEACHER 1961-PRESENT
Fred Bennett graduated from Walla Walla College in 1955. After working for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships in Washington, D. C. and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, he returned to his alma mater in 1961 as a faculty member.
Bennett loves to go down to the sea in ships, and he enjoyed sailing his own boat in his home port of Bremerton, Washington. He found it difficult in some ways to return to landlocked Walla Walla after graduating and working in industry. "I came back because I wanted to teach and to serve," he recalled. "I was also interested in attending graduate school." After joining the faculty he obtained his M.S.C.E. and Ph.D. in engineering science from Washington State University.
In addition to his teaching duties at Walla Walla College, Dr. Bennett was involved in the design and construction of the new Walla Walla General Hospital building in 1975-1976, as well as many construction projects on the college campus. He recently designed a highway bridge in the Tri Cities and was named "Tri City Engineer of the Year" by the Washington Society of Professional Engineers. He has also served as the chairman of the Port Commission of Walla Walla and as Assistant Chief of the College Place Fire Department.
ED CROSSWHAT THE STUDENTS SAW
The Walla Walla College Alumni Association has long honored distinguished graduates of the college. Not until 1988, however, did it begin honoring faculty members who had graduated from other institutions. Edward Cross was the first faculty member to be so honored. At the 1988 Alumni Homecoming banquet, he was presented with a ten-pound scrapbook containing tributes from over 100 former students. Here is a sample.
March 15, 1988 If I had to choose one example to sum up my experience at Walla Walla College, I would have no difficulty in doing so. After my first year at WWC, I had returned home in the East where I had been accepted as an architectural student at a major University. Liking WWC, feeling I belonged in a Christian school and having met the girl who would later become my wife, I reluctantly opted to return to College Place in the fall. The first class that quarter was Engineering Mechanics. As was his practice at the initial class, Professor Cross had the students kneel in prayer. As I listened to this dedicated teacher, in that humble environment, asking for God's guidance, I experienced a deep sense of conviction that this is where I belonged. That feeling stayed with me through graduation.
Grover L. Starr, class of 1952; Neptune &
Thomas Associates, architects, engineers, San Diego, Calif.
March 15, 1988 You invested in mebut "invested" is not an adequate word. You loved me as a father. I knew that and I have never forgotten it. I respected you, I admired you, I tried to emulate you. And, although I have failed sometimes, things have turned out rather well when I have lived by the standards you demonstrated.
Even now I find it hard to properly describe how I feel about you. I feel like a student, but, I think that there is another word that describes it better. I feel like one of your sons!
Raymond L. Watts, class of 1954, senior researcher,
Battelle Memorial Institute, PNL; Richland, WA
I remember your words, "Gentlemen, do your work well. A building does not one tenth fall down." That has stayed with me my whole life.
Griffith L. Thomas, MD, class of 1957; Tillamook,
January 20, 1988 I've had an exciting and rewarding career in engineering. If you had not pioneered an Adventist school of engineering, I'm not sure what I'd be doing today! You set a very high standard for the department and high expectations for your students. You got us off to a good start: I hope we haven't disappointed you.
Pat Drake Cople, class of 1958; Silver Spring,
February 10, 1988 During one of the classes you said that we students would use less than 10% of what was being taught. You undoubtedly said that to get a reaction from us and you certainly did. I remember thinking "If that is the case why waste the time teaching us the other 90%" which is just the way you expected us to react, I am sure. On the other hand, I know I wasn't prepared to take you seriously.
Over the last 20 or so years, I have found out that you were both completely right and totally wrong. Superficially you were right. In my present work as a system manager for the VAX computer system in the Nuclear Engineering Department at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, I have no need of fluids, thermo, fields & waves, calculus or practically any of the other engineering/physics/math courses that I took. The most advanced math that I use requires the square root button on my 5-function calculator. (I still have my slide rule tucked somewhere in a dresser drawerI wiped the dust off of it a couple of months ago), so you can see that you were completely right.
But I said you were totally wrong and that is also true. I have discovered that I didn't really understand then what you were really teaching me. You weren't teaching fluids, thermo and the other engineering subjects really. What you were actually teaching was the engineering approach, the way of thinking, the engineering professionalism. The engineering subjects were merely the vehicles by which this teaching was accomplished. It is this that I use every day as I encounter difficult problems, develop solutions in the face of many conflicting requirements and research new material. I need and attempt to use every bit of what I learned.
So you were wrong and I am forever grateful that you were.
Wilmer G. Radke, PE, class of 1966; Bremerton,
February 21, 1988 The world will little note nor long remember what the Alumni Association may say or do here, but we can never forget what you have done here. I suppose that the majority of the lasting values we "caught" from you were largely subliminal as you untiringly poured your spirit into us. Each of us, your students, feel that we owe you a debt we can never repaycall it respect, agape love, unconditional positive regardyou've given so much of your great spirit. Appreciation, honor, thanks seem like too small words for one who has exerted such a pivotal influence on so many of us. I can only say that I have seen your good spirit multiplied a thousand times because you took the time and effort to communicate it to us students.
Jim Learned, class of 1968; Kirkland, WA
January 28, 1988 You were working some formula on the chalkboard, ran into a problem, smudged around with the eraser, then made some adjustments to your figures. You turned to the room full of freshmen (we were expecting the legendary department head to put us through some unnamed academic rigors) with a twinkle in your eye and admonished: "Well, sometimes you just have to throw in a little fudge factor." Of both of you [Edward and Helen Cross] my most vivid memory is a sunny Sabbath morning in Kretschmar Hall. Prof was conducting the discussion (the topic was related to predestination vs. free choice) when he proclaimed: "I want to make one point perfectly clear. I do not believe that there is just one `right person' for each individual to marry. The Lord gives us options and gives us brains to use in choosing. He then expects us to stay with our commitments."
Then came the classic Cross punch line: "As a matter of fact my wife could give you the names and addresses right now of three or four women with whom I could have been perfectly happy. But I chose her and I'm very glad that I did." The class burst into laughter while Mama Cross sat in her chair nodding in agreement. Stanley Green, class of 1976; Long Beach, CA. W