Thanks to Wes Dempsey
I want to express my pleasure in reading the fall 2010 Chico Statements, which featured Professor Emeritus Wesley Dempsey. As a student, I had the wonderful experience of taking his course in genetics and working as a part-time technician on his tomato genetics research.
I had many excellent teachers at Chico State, including especially my long-time mentor Don Wootton, Marge Anthony, and Dallas Sutton. Dr. Dempsey’s course, though, has particularly stood out over the years for me for its rigor and mind-stretching exercises, and for his enthusiasm and concern for his students. The experience has served me well over the years in my own research career, and Dr. Dempsey has provided a role model for my own teaching challenges that have taken many different forms.
After nearly 50 years, Dr. Dempsey may not remember me, but I hope he reads this and recognizes that I am among the many who appreciate what a wonderful teacher he has been and the impact he has had on students. He has helped make the Chico State experience unique.
—K. Darwin Murrell (BA, Biological Sciences, ’62)
More on Campus Arboretum
I enjoyed reading how the legacy of the campus arboretum was alive and well but am disappointed in the article “A Heritage of Trees” by Dave Waddell because it lacks the true history of how the arboretum was founded. I was a biology major. During the 1979 school year, I was taking a botany class taught by Dr. Marge Anthony when Dr. Anthony announced to the class that there were plans on campus to move toward a more modern re-landscaping plan that would have removed some of the historical trees that make up the current arboretum. In a very short time, Dr. Anthony recruited me and another student, Molly Ryan, to look at the possibility of preserving the unique campus plant life through the creation of an arboretum.
During the next two years, we created two campus guides to introduce students and visitors to the historical and unique plant life on the Chico State campus: the Guide to Woody Plants of the Front Campus, and the 5 Bridges Trail. They were the foundation that brought attention to the significance of the native species, as well as the rare and unique species of plants introduced by General Bidwell in the 1800s. I was not on campus to see the arboretum dedicated in 1982, but I do not believe it would have happened if not for the hours of volunteer work by a handful of students led by Dr. Anthony back in the late 1970s.
There were originally about a dozen students and faculty members who created the two interactive guides of the plant life at CSU, Chico, and I do not recall all of their names, but I remember they were listed in the introduction in the 5 Bridges Trail guide. To Dr. Anthony and all the original volunteers, I thank you for your dedication toward a cause that helped create the current arboretum that is such a large part of the history and heritage of Chico State.
—Eric Moore (BA, Biological Sciences, ’80)
Editor’s note: According to the 1983 guide 5 Bridges Trail, the following students were responsible for the process of getting the campus grounds recognized as an arboretum: Eric Moore, Molly Ryan, Tori Blickle, Doris Everett, Sara Flynn, Nancy Prouty, Kathy Kramnic, and Wendelin K. Smith. In addition, the following students helped prepare the brochure: David Leuck, Denise Devine, and Lynn Johnson, with help from faculty Marge Anthony and Julie Newman.
Remembering Mentors and Friends
I couldn’t agree more with Harlan Hawkins’ comments on Dr. David Lantis [fall 2010 Chico Statements, “Letters,” page 3]. He was a source of inspiration for me to go on to grad school and to learn to enjoy roadside geography so much. My thanks to all the geography department staff at that time.
I also read Russ Gianfortone’s obit in the same issue. Russ was my roommate our first two years at Chico State, first at Bradley Hall and later in a small house near Sandy Gulch. I was in Grass Valley last week, and while waiting for one of my workmates, I decided to give Russ a call to see if he wanted to get together. That was when and how I found out he had passed away.
Here’s to old friendships and all our amigos past and present on our journey through the late 1960s and early ’70s at Chico State!
—Alan R. Shearer (BA, Geography, ’74; MA, Geography, ’77)