By El Gaucho, February 18, 1958
Alumni and friends of Santa Barbara College from all parts of the state gather Friday night in honor of Clarence L. Phelps, College President from 1918 to 1944 and Provost under the UC banner from 1944 to 1946.
The 78-year-old Santa Barbaran, who led the institution from obscurity as the Santa Barbara Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics to its present status of a college of one of the nation’s greatest universities, will be the guest of honor for the dinner at the Montecito Country Club.
Friends and associates attending the banquet are expected to number over 200, according to Dean Helen S. Keener, chairman of the occasion.
College Head Speaks
The evening’s program will include short addresses by people closely associated with him during his tenure as president and provost. Distinguished alumnus Dr. Julio Bortolazzo, class of 1936, president of San Mateo College, will speak on “The Rugged Years.” One of his close educational advisers, Mrs. Lester A. Williams, former professor of psychology who served the college from 1925 to 1938, will speak on the subject: “In Retrospect.” From the alumni point of view, Mrs. Dewitt Trewhitt, class of 1938, of Palo Alto, will give her remarks on the theme of “A Graduate Looks Back.” Mrs. Trewhitt was a leader in student body activities and was editor of El Gaucho.
Community recognition is to be expressed by Mrs. Max Schott of Santa Barbara, a long-standing friend of President Phelps. Dr. Harry Girvetz, professor of social philosophy who joined the college faculty in 1936, will speak on “The Greatest Gifts,” representing the faculty who were part of the Phelps administration and who saw it become part of the University.
Greetings from the present administration will be expressed by Dr. Elmer R. Noble, acting provost, who also joined the faculty in 1936. A special expression of appreciation will be extended by Dr. John C. Snidecor, dean of applied arts, who was here for the last four years of Phelps’s administration.
President Phelps saw the growth of the college in its various steps from a school of manual arts and home economics in 1918, to the Santa Barbara State Normal School in 1919, to Santa Barbara State Teachers College in 1921, to Santa Barbara State College in 1935, to the University of California in 1944. Phelps fought for the continuation of the school — and won — when the state considered abandoning the institution in 1918. He changed the character of the school to insure its progress. It was among the original state colleges established in 1935. After that date, the college moved rapidly into fields other than teaching and by 1941 almost half of the graduating class had non-teaching majors. From this, it was a logical step to a liberal arts college under the University.
An impressive number of important steps in the college history came during his administration. They included the organization of several important academic departments and majors, including music, history, the sciences, physical education and others; establishment of AB degree (1921), first La Cumbre yearbook was published (1922); class organizations started (1923); sororities and fraternities official recognized on campus; construction and move to the Riviera campus (1928); WAA established (1926); William Wyles started the library of Lincoln materials (1928); Honor Copy of La Cumbre award started (1928); AMS and AWS honor awards established (1932); new nickname “Gaucho,” established (1934); name of newspaper changed from Roadrunner to El Gaucho (1934); La Playa Stadium built (1939); IA building completed (1941); Santa Barbara became eighth campus of UC (1944).