Frank "Tom" Patton '56 traveled with Iranian nomads
Image Credit: Tom Patton


Changing course

In the fall edition of Idaho State University Magazine, we asked you to tell us how attending ISU led to a change in the plans you had for your life. Here is what a few of you had to say.


Attending ISC (Idaho State College, predecessor of Idaho State University) certainly did change my life's plans. I went to high school in Twin Falls and worked three summers as a construction ironworker. After graduating from high school in 1951, I continued this work as a foreman on the new Twin Falls High School and expected construction would be my life's work.

However, during the fall of 1952 my job driving rivets on the Monsanto plant in Pocatello was completed and the fall semester at ISC was starting. So, I decided to see what college had to offer.

Attending ISC taught me the value and joy of hard work. My curriculum was physics, and I also worked full time for Union Pacific Railroad as a machinist apprentice, from 4 p.m. to midnight, my first two years attending college. Additionally, I earned my varsity letter on the swim team, was the manager for the championship intramural team in 1955, and was active with Xi Theta Tau fraternity, I-Club, and homecoming. I graduated with a B.S. in physics in four years, 1956, and continued graduate work in engineering at Northeastern and UCLA.

For 22 years, my engineering profession led me to many interesting projects and places, including working many years in Europe and the Middle East. However, in 1978 I traded my desk job for a more active life. I started by low-budget traveling to many exotic places in the world, including six trips to India, overlanding from Iran to Lapland, mountaineering in the Andes and Himalayas, and sailing the Aegean, boating the Amazon and bicycling 2,000-plus miles around the perimeter of Scandinavia to 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle and down the coast of Norway.

For the past 20-plus years, I have returned to my passion for the outdoors and have been renovating rental properties. Currently, I am building my dream home in Hawaii overlooking the magnificent Kona coastline.

I would love to hear from my ISC friends.

Frank (Tom) Patton '56
Kealakekua, Hawaii

New directions

As an old-timer, and a student on the campus when Graveley Hall was new, I must tell you that the inventiveness of the ladies existed from the very beginning. I know from experience, since my wife lived in Graveley her second year, and worked on the switchboard. I would not want to give away secrets, but back in 1940 ladies came and went after hours.

The campus was quite a bit different then. I lived in Faris Hall, and Carl MacIntosh was the resident house father then. My wife to be, Mary Mitchell, lived the first year at Turner Hall, then at Graveley. I was a journalism major, she took journalism, among other things, and we met in the journalism office, then located in the basement of the Student Union Building. I became managing editor of the Bengal, and she continued as a reporter.

Attending Idaho State, then the University of Idaho, Southern Branch, certainly gave me new directions in life, but it was World War II—which arrived after our second year—that made permanent changes. We were married in Pocatello. I eventually was in the military, served in Europe in the Army, Combat Engineer Battalion. She moved to Boise and worked there until she was able to join me in California, before I went overseas, and we've lived here ever since, but with fond memories of our years in Pocatello.

Gerald Burke '41
Riverside, California

A learning experience

I didn't know about Idaho State University when I was in Oregon. Pocatello? It means "the road not to follow" in a Native American language. I applied to ISU as a backup plan in the counseling/student personnel program in the College of Education (I was in an education program in a small college in Oregon).

I get to ISU and start learning about Adlerian psychology from Tom Edgar. Tom liked to write. I was interested in writing. So we wrote articles together and now I have a long list of professional publications.

I got interested in counseling and got to spend a couple of summers at Stanford University, where I studied with John D. Krumboltz, Ph.D., among the "Top Ten" psychologists in America.

So I worked in school counseling for about 10 years, then learned about school psychology. I then went to the University of Wyoming and got a degree and certification as a school psychologist and school administrator. That was good for about 10 years, then I went to Kansas State University, where I got a Ph.D. This is what is funny: I don't really even like school. I just do it well. Goes to show you what happens when you get with the right group.

David Lemire '79
Klamath Falls, Oregon

Next Memories: Pond Student Union Building

At Idaho State University, the acronym "PSUB" almost needs no explanation, for it refers to a building that has been at the heart of University life for almost half a century.

In January 2009, the University will mark the 50th anniversary of the Pond Student Union Building, which replaced what is today’s Admistration Building. The theme of the celebration will be "50 Years of Gathering."

We invite you to share your most memorable experiences in the PSUB for possible publication in the next edition of Idaho State University Magazine.

Opened in 1959, the PSUB was named in 1985 for Earl R. Pond, Student Unions director for 23 years and general manager of the Associated Students of Idaho State University for 33 years.

Send your remembrances to ISU Magazine online or by e-mail at Or send them by postal mail to: Memories, Idaho State University Magazine, University Relations, 921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8265, Pocatello, ID 83209-8265.