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A Look Back at 1962-63 to See Forward to Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary in 2012

Posted on April 18, 2011 in: @Gonzaga, A Look Back, Academics

Four Gonzaga coeds stand outside in the new St. Catherine/St. Monica residence hall, 1963. Photo courtesy GU Archives.

Four Gonzaga students stand outside the new St. Catherine/St. Monica residence hall, 1963. Photo courtesy GU Archives.


Looking forward to Gonzaga University’s quasquicentennial celebration (125th anniversary) in 2012, @Gonzaga continues its monthly series counting back to its founding year, 1887. This series began in September when we looked back six years to the 2004-05 academic year, and each month looks back another six years. In this issue, we travel back in time to view highlights of the 1962-63 academic year.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University held its Jubilee Year (75th anniversary of its founding) in 1962-63 and launched seven building projects totaling $3.5 million to mark the occasion. The St. Catherine and St. Monica residence halls project, built in two phases, featuring a lounge and recreational facilities, was completed to accommodate 350 coeds.

With the physical sciences growing, Hughes Hall was built for chemistry. The structure honors Edward and Marie Hughes, Spokane civic leaders who contributed approximately one-third of its construction cost. The building came with an attached 300-seat auditorium, classrooms and laboratories.

Keeping pace with increasing enrollment (2,111 students in fall of 1962), the University added an 18,000-square-foot annex to the COG and three smaller residence halls were built on Boone Avenue to create housing for 119 students: Alliance; Campion, named for Jesuit martyr Edmund Campion; and Rebmann, honoring Gonzaga’s first president Fr. James Rebmann, S.J.

In 1963, Gonzaga bought the former Webster Elementary School and dedicated it as the new Law School building. Since its inception in fall 1912, Law School had been held in the Administration Building (now named College Hall). By fall 1962, Gonzaga had127 law students, including three women.

Gonzaga hosted its first Parents’ Weekend in April 1963 and welcomed more than 200 guests. A highlight was the Saturday evening banquet. In 1963 Gonzaga expanded internationally by establishing the Gonzaga in Florence study abroad program in Italy. Father Neil McCluskey, S.J. was named program director. Fifty-nine young men and women attended Florence in its first year.

Also in 1963, Gonzaga purchased the Waikiki Mansion and 9 surrounding acres for $85,000. Built in 1913 for J.P. Graves, the mansion was designed by famed architect Kirkland Cutter and has been used as a student retreat center. Gonzaga later relinquished ownership of the facility; in 1986, Christine and Horace Bozarth donated funds to purchase Waikiki and its name was changed to the Bozarth Mansion and Retreat Center to honor the donors.

  1. Marlene (Wassmuth) Nickolson
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I have very fond memories of St Catherine and St Monica. I spent my freshman and sophmore year in that hall (1963-1965. I’m sure that the students today would be surprised to learn that, at the time there was a 9pm weekday curfew and it was a girls only dorm.

    Marlene (Wassmuth) Nickolson
    Class of 1967
    License plate GU00511