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Tenth Anniversary Celebration: July 10-15, 1979

Tenth Anniversary Program Book

GSU's Tenth Anniversary festivities culminated with an academic convocation and reception. Author and syndicated columnist, Garry Wills was the keynote speaker. Platform guests included GSU's first president, Dr. William E. Engbretson, and past and present members of the Board of Governors and Board of Higher Education who played important roles in the planning and founding of the university. Dr. Daniel Bernd of the College of Cultural Studies presented a paper titled "Getting Ahead of Yesterday: Ten Years of Governors State University" and Mildred Johnson, who represented the alumni, spoke on "What Governors State University Has Meant to Me".

Additional activities included symposiums, workshops, a nostalgia media exhibit, a Skylab lawn party (see more in box below), and a jazz concert.

Image Source: Tenth Anniversary Program Book cover
Text Source: 10th Anniversary Clippings from Faze 1

Selection from a thank you letter written by President Goodman-Malamuth:

"Last Sunday night President Carter spoke of a debilitating lack of confidence among Americans. He may well have, indeed; I believe he did identify a serious national malaise. In this microcosm of America we call Governors State University, however, there is a different spirit. We can and do approach our second decade with confidence in our bright future, a confidence only strengthened by our demonstration last week of superbly productive cooperation. Once again, my thanks to one and all."

Source: Faze 1 July 20, 1979 p. 1

Memorable Quotes

Melvin N. Freed, Vice President of Administration

GSU will probably be the last public university to be built in Illinois for many years. The pioneer attitude and vitality are to be found within this fledgling institution. I believe that as the Illinois prairie nurtured this state's early pioneer will this pioneer University on the south suburban prairie be molded into a creative moving force and influence for the future growth of Illionois.

Virginio L. Piucci, Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning

Ten years as a university is just a speck in time. Yet much can be written about this prairie flower that is blooming into an excellent regional university.

Source: History of GSU 1969-79 pp. 441-442

This is what the Chicago Tribune had to say about Governors State University at the ten year mark: "Still experimental, it is now reducing its peculiarities. It is maturing - for a young institution, the preferable alternative to arrested development." Read the entire editorial "Governors State at Age 10" reprinted in Faze 1 August 10, 1979 p.3.


President Goodman-Malamuth's comment at Convocation that fall: "Our first ten years have been good years. Our next ten will be even better."
Source: Faze 1 September 7, 1979


Skylab Lawn Party

Skylab Lawn Party poster

This is not a myth.

It's true that the university planned a Skylab Lawn Party on Saturday July 14, 1979 to watch for falling debris from the United States' first space station.

The event was tied in with the 10th Anniversary Celebration. The GSU Skylab Advance Team included Phyllis Bacon, Tom Dascenzo, Mel Muchnik, Paul Schranz, and Wendy Kress.

Chicken Little was suggested for a Grand Marshal to periodically announce "Skylab is falling, Skylab is falling."

The zany idea caught the attention of news media throughout the United States and Canada.

On the day of the event, it rained. Skylab didn't show up, although 150 people did. 

Image source: Skylab Lawn Party Poster

Additional sources:

GSU's Skylab Lawn Party - Faze 1 June 15, 1979 p. 3

GSU Plans Skylab Lawn Party - Innovator June 26, 1979 p. 4

A Bit of Summer Madness - Faze 1 June 29, 1979 p. 2 

The GSU Tenth Anniversary Celebration - Faze 1 July 6, 1979 p. 1

GSU Summer Fun- Faze 1 July 13, 1979 p. 1

After Skylab Faze 1 July 20, 1979 p. 2*

A Word of Thanks from Leo Goodman Malamuth, Faze 1 July 20, 1979 p. 1

*The Wall Street Journal front page news item published on June 28, 1979 (mentioned in "After Skylab") is attached below.  


Twentieth Anniversary Celebration: 1989

GSU the 3rd Decade

The celebration of GSU's Twentieth Anniversary began with Founders Day on July 17, 1989. In addition to honoring Dr. Engbretson, the Founing President, a breakfast also recognized the original Directors of Academic Development (DADs) who worked with him to prepare the university during the two years prior to the first classes in September 1971. Later that day, a "Happy Two Decades, GSU!" birthday party was held in the Hall of Governors for all members of the university community.

President Leo Gooman-Malamuth held a cocktail reception and dinner for the Board of Governors and invited guests at the president's house on campus on July 19.

The "social event of the decades", a 20th Anniversary Midsummer's Ball, was held in the Hall of Governors on July 29.


Text and image Source: A Celebration Combining the Past, the Present, and the Future! Join the Festivities as Governors State University Marks the 20th Anniversary of Its Founding (schedule of events flyer)

Additional Resources:


40th Anniversary: 2009

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