Mildred Wells ’58 (English) was among the students present in 1957 when anthropologist Margaret Mead, the first guest speaker at the newly opened San Fernando State College spoke on campus. She was also one of a handful of older female students to form a club called “Los Maduros.”
“It was wonderful,” recalled Wells, who was a 46-year-old mother of two when she graduated. “I was really impressed by Mead and the school environment.”
While Mead impressed the campus 54 years ago, it was Wells who impressed attendees at California State University, Northridge’s annual Founders Day event on Sept. 23. The alumna was saluted with applause at the event as the oldest Matador in the room at 99 ½ years old.
“Isn’t that great,” said Bob Rawitch ’67 (Journalism), alumni co-chair of this year’s Founders Day event who asked Wells to stand and be recognized and joked that it’s not often at 65 that he’s the youngest in a room.
“CSUN changed our lives,” said Rawitch about the impact Cal State Northridge has had on him and his wife, Cynthia Rawitch, CSUN’s vice provost. “I think many of you would say the same thing.”
Rawitch reminisced about his affiliation with Cal State Northridge along with Warren Campbell, the event co-chair and emeritus political science professor, and nearly 300 alumni, faculty and staff who attended the Founders Day celebration. Campbell began teaching at CSUN in 1961 and was among 40 alumni and faculty inducted into the 50-Year Club.
President Jolene Koester, who is retiring in December, took the opportunity to salute the alumni, faculty and staff in attendance.
“You have helped to write the history of this great university, laying a solid foundation that has ensured an exceedingly bright future for California State University, Northridge,” said Koester. “To our current and retired faculty and staff, you should be proud to see so many of your former students making a difference in the world. Our alumni, in increasing numbers, are expressing pride in their alma mater and they often credit you and their entire university experience for their success.”
Koester said she is “immensely proud to be associated” with Cal State Northridge and urged others to “be proud and loud.”
“I cherish the lifelong friendships that we [my husband, Ron and I ] have made here. In the future, we too will return to CSUN to re-live special moments,” she added.
In addition to the induction, the attendees were welcomed by CSUN Alumni Association President Dennis DeYoung and enjoyed college receptions and campus tours, including a visit to the Valley Performing Arts Center, which opened in January.
Next year’s event will honor the class of 1962. For more information, visit www.csunalumni.com.