Yakima Valley College begins research for centennial celebration
Five years until 2028 may strike some as being early to start planning Yakima Valley College’s centennial celebration, but not in the opinion of a small committee of current and former instructors who have been compiling historical materials since 2015.
Led by retired Athletic Director Jerry Ward, efforts are under way to collect and organize photographs, yearbooks, publications, anecdotes and other material that will help showcase the college’s legacy.
The objective over the next few years, says Ward, is to reach out to former students and college staff, asking them to look through family picture albums, yearbooks and other college publications that they may have in their possession.
“These individuals could be a valuable asset to finding information that could not only reflect their own YVC days, but what could have been passed down to them from their parents and grandparents dating back to the 1920s and 30s.”
The committee, comprised of retired faculty and staff members Chuck Weedin, Millie Stenehjem, Barbara Boutaine, Gary Tollefson, Brooke Creswell, Roger Carlstrom, Robert McCutcheon, John DiBari and Judy Kjellman with the assistance of college staff, has access to yearbooks and commencement programs dating back to the first year of operation for Yakima Valley Junior College (YVJC) in 1928. There are also archived files of the student newspaper, The Galaxy, that was published into the 1980s.
“YVC has provided educational and cultural opportunity to the residents of the Yakima Valley ranging from quality instruction to museum, library, plays, musicals, and sports.”
— Jerry Ward, retired YVC athletic director
A primary objective of the committee is to find pictures taken “inside” the original YVJC building that was located on North 4th Avenue. This structure was the old Columbia School that was constructed in the 1890s and used by the college from 1928 until the move to the current campus at 16th and Nob Hill Blvd. in 1949. Though the college published yearbooks from 1928 until 1962, these books do not provide a very good representation of the original building’s interior.
Ward, who worked for YVC from 1968 to 2004, feels the project helps showcase what he considers one of the crown jewels of the Yakima Valley.
“Each of us, during life’s journey, is presented with many types of opportunities that can improve or enhance our lives or the lives of our family,” said Ward. “YVC has provided educational and cultural opportunity to the residents of the Yakima Valley ranging from quality instruction to museum, library, plays, musicals, and sports.”
Since his first years at the college more than 50 years ago, Ward has observed and been a part of numerous changes and growth at the college. He hopes this project helps showcase some of what he’s seen.
“From an academic standpoint, YVC is an acknowledged leader in the health professions. Nursing, radiology sciences, dental hygiene, allied health programs. YVC also has one of, if not the most, attractive campuses in the Washington and Oregon community college systems. It is always a pleasure to host friends and family on a tour of the campus that is not only beautiful but conveys the rich heritage of the college via the names on buildings and facilities.”
If you have information or photographs you would like to share please email the Community Relations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.