Homecoming? Ronald Collman '49 wouldn't miss it

When Ronald Collman ’49 arrived at Pacific University in the fall of 1945, he was one of just 30 men in the student body.

“Then, in January, that’s when the vets all started coming home,” he said.

Pacific’s student body ballooned in the years immediately following World War II. Veterans with GI Bill benefits were hungry for education, while the post-war economy needed skilled workers.

In fact, Collman actually went to work as a teacher before formally graduating in 1949. The school district in Warrenton, Ore., “needed a teacher posthaste,” he explained, so he left campus in February 1949, returning to take a final class that summer.

The job and Collman were a good match. He worked as a teacher in Warrenton until he retired.

Now 90, Collman stays connected to his alma mater, driving back to Forest Grove most years for Homecoming. He plans to attend this year’s festivities Oct. 19-20.

The campus looks very different today than it did 70 years ago. “There were very few buildings while I was there,” he said.

He lived on the third floor of Knight Hall. Originally built in 1879 as a home for Pacific’s first president, Sydney Harper Marsh, and his family, Knight has been a residence hall and the home of the Music Department. Today it houses the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Collman also recalls waiting tables in the dining room — then in the basement of McCormick Hall, which expanded during his student years — and working side jobs on campus, including one that paid him 40 cents an hour to pull dandelions from the turf of the football field.

Collman, the only member of his class expected at Homecoming 2018, says he’ll be easy to spot: “I have the white beard.”

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018