Joseph Gordon Christensen- 1953 Alum
1. Where are you currently employed? I am happily retired. I began my teaching career in Pleasant Grove, Utah, but soon followed the “big bucks” to California where I taught in Garden Grove. I did additional graduate work at San Diego State, and was then offered a position at Citrus College, a Junior College in the Azusa-Glendora area of Los Angeles County. In the interview, the selection committee really picked up on the fact that I was a product of a 2-year Junior College!
After teaching at Citrus for a few years, I was offered and accepted a position with Science Research Associates, Inc. (SRA), a subsidiary of the IBM Corporation, where I worked with schools and school districts on Instruction and Evaluation strategies. At the end of a 20 year career with SRA, I was selected as Superintendent of the San Pasqual Union School District, a small K-8 district in the San Pasqual Valley adjacent to Escondido, California. It was there that I spent the last 11 years of my career.
Upon retirement, my wife Marcia and were able to serve 3 missions as a couple. We were called as an office couple in the Carlsbad, California Mission immediately following retirement and then we were honored by a call from BYU Kennedy International Center to teach English for a year in the PhD program at Peiking University in Beijing, China – a wonderful experience we will never forget!. Upon moving back to Utah in 2005, we were called to serve as Missionaries at the Snow College Institute.
2. How did Snow College contribute to your accomplishments? As I look back on my days at Snow College, from the prospective of almost 60 years, I am still very much warmed by memories of experiences, friendships, and good times I enjoyed there. I was fortunate to spend 4 years at Snow College. There was no Ephraim High School in those days, and so the last two years of High School were spent in the facilities at Snow, and we were known as Lower Division.
I was fortunate to know personally and be tutored and taught by many faculty members whose names grace the buildings on the Snow College Campus; Hans Reid Christensen, Fern Young, Lucy Phillips, Mary Nielsen, Joseph Crane, etc (The Crane Theatre was torn down to make room for the Eccles Building). Then, as now, each teacher was a personal friend, dedicated to the success of their students. It was great fun to be involved in student leadership, and to serve as President of the Junior Class, be Snow College’s Publicity Agent, participate on the Debate Teams, and to play a small part in the theatre productions.
3. What is your most memorable moment at Snow College? One of the most humorous and memorable experiences I reflect on occurred at the end of our senior year – just a couple of days before graduation. A buddy and I, on a dare, climbed up the fire escape of Greenwood Hall, just across the road south of the campus. It was a girl’s dorm then, and guys were forbidden to enter. The girls in the upstairs right apartment were our buddies, so we climbed through the window into their apartment. We were having a great conversation when one of the girls from another apartment walked by the open door and saw boys in the apartment. She let out a scream, and pretty soon the whole place was in bedlam! Somebody called Hespert Sevy, the city cop. My friend and I locked ourselves in the girl’s bathroom, and Hespert and his deputy could not get in. We had a standoff for a while, and then found that someone was holding the door closed from the outside, and we couldn’t get out! Finally, they let us out. What surprise showed in their faces when they discovered two clean-cut kids, who had never been in any trouble, had violated the sacred code of “no boys permitted in the girl apartments – anytime.” Since it was graduation two days later, the whole incident was forgotten – and I have never repeated that particular criminal offense!
4. What additional information would you like for other alumni to know about you? After graduation from Snow, I was drafted into the US Army and served 2 years in the Signal Corps, 14 months of which were spent at a communications outpost just outside of the city of Seoul, Korea. Following my return to civilian life, I accepted a call to serve a mission in Sydney, Australia, which, at that time, was a 21 day voyage from San Francisco. It was a great experience and I loved it.
I met my sweetheart at BYU, and we were married in 1962. Life has been a grand adventure. We raised seven children who are scattered coast to coast. We love to travel and visit family. My life is enriched by the people we know, the places we’ve been, and memories shared – not the least of which are the wonderful days I spent at Snow College!
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