Letters to the Editor
The original home of the Student Union in 1935, which is now the Fine Arts Building. The Student Union has moved many times and is now known as the University Center.
A Timely Confession
The article in the fall 2008 issue of the Montanan regarding the Student Union Building brings to mind my days in Missoula County High School back in the early ’40s. There were many activities at the union that were open to the public and also to the school kids. Several friends and I used to go there and were very familiar with the building. In those days it was a stopping place for many big bands as they came from Seattle or the Twin Cities, stopping to play for dances in the Gold Room on the top floor.
My friends and I would walk up the back stairs and hide behind the bandstand some hours before the dance. Sometimes we would help the musicians carry their equipment up that long flight of stairs.
One night a band was appearing that we particularly wanted to see and hear, but we arrived late and the dance already had started. Coming up the back stairs, we found the back door to the Gold Room was locked—we were out of luck. Someone in our group remembered seeing a garden hose coiled up outside by a water faucet. Knowing the layout of the building as we did, our prayers were answered. We went down, picked up the hose and went up the back steps to a dressing room down the hall from the Gold Room, which had a trapdoor in the ceiling allowing roof access.
There was a stepladder nearby that we used to reach the trapdoor. Up we went with the garden hose, crossed the roof, tied the hose around a pipe coming out of the roof, and dropped the end of the hose down to the balcony, which was used by dancers taking a breath of fresh air or coming out for a smoke. You can see it at the end of the building in the picture you featured.
Several of the people on the balcony were quite surprised to see four high school boys sliding down the hose. We strolled into the big room and made our way over to the bandstand hanging around in back, listening to the music, and talking with the musicians. Nobody bothered us, and we had a great time. This was probably in fall 1941. I only wish I could remember the name of that band.
Leonard Coombs ’50
After reading the Montanan’s homage to The Sentinel, I am reminded of the hours and weekends spent meeting publication deadlines during the late ’60s. Cyril Van Duser was our adviser. Her dedication to quality outcomes and responsible, unbiased journalism was our mandate as a volunteer staff. Mareen Jacobs Stoffel contributed untold hours as editor, and we all worked to produce an interesting, relevant, and inclusive yearbook. My assignments always included the “Greek” pages, as I was an independent and therefore assumed to be impartial! We learned a lot during those years that was not credited to our transcripts!
Lynne Hogue Lansdon ‘70
We recently received the fall Montanan and think it was the best since I started to receive it after graduating with the class of 1950.
My wife is a real fan of The Closer, and we both found the information on the Simmons family (About Alumni, fall 2008) very interesting. We get back to Missoula every year. Keep up the good work.
John Dunning ’50
On September 9, 2008, UM honored the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of UM’s African-American Studies program, originally called Black Studies. Ulysses Doss, Jibreel Khazan, and Tunde Adeleke addressed the founding days of the program.
I thought about all the people who should have been in that room. After a phone call to Judy McBride, the first secretary for the Black Studies program, I explored holding a reunion for the students, staff, and host families involved in the beginning of this extraordinary program.
With the support of the UM Alumni Association and President George Dennison, a Black Studies Reunion will be held in Missoula September 17-19, 2009. The celebration will include all students, staff, and host families who participated in the program since its beginnings in 1968.
We are working hard to gather names of those who were involved in this program, and we need you! To be included in this event, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black Studies host parent
The Montanan welcomes letters to the editor. Please sign and include your graduating year or years of attendance, home address, and phone number or e-mail address.
Send them to:
325 Brantly Hall
Missoula, MT 59812 or
Because of space limitations, we are not able to include all letters sent to us. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. While universities are places of discussion where good people do not always agree, letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Opinions expressed in the Montanan do not necessarily reflect those of The University of Montana.