Southwesterner Named Top Tab
Southwestern College's alumni tabloid, received a top award during
the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District
VI meeting in January.
tabloid was named a bronze award winner in competition with colleges
and universities of all sizes from throughout the Midwest. The alumni
tabloid of Wichita State University received the gold award, and The
Southwesterner shared the bronze award with the University of Nebraska
alumni tabloid. No silver award was presented.
were especially delighted by the award because of the quality of competition,"
says Sara Severance Weinert, SC director of communications and editor
of The Southwestener. "To see that we competed favorably with large
universities with much larger staffs was a great encouragement to
our communications team."
of The Southwestener is a collaboration by communications office members
Weinert, Karen Mages (graphic designer), Joni Rankin (communications
assistant), and Jeff Rahm (student assistant). Also vital to the publication
is Ralph Decker, coordinator of alumni records, who compiles the extensive
Alvin-See Ya Later
It may have been
the most famous death ever suffered on the Southwestern Campus. But
then, who among campus personalities was mentioned (by name) in recruitment
brochures, visited by hundreds each year, and housed in a specially-built
suite featuring a waterfall and pool?
Alvin the Alligator,
the unofficial campus mascot for four decades, died as the new millennium
began. He was found in his Mossman Hall gator-arium Jan. 11 by biology
professor Patrick Ross.
The death of
this campus personality (Alvin's was variously described as surly,
unpredictable, and nonexistent) was greeted with widespread publicity-details
of the passing were picked up by the Associated Press news service
and reprinted in dozens of Kansas newspapers. Front-page stories,
radio interviews with Alvin's keepers, and countless condolences for
both students and faculty swirled around the event.
began in 1960 when vacationing members of the Pi Epsilon Pi fraternity
brought a pair of six-inch 'gators back from a vacation trip. Roger
Lungren, now a Winfield realtor, recalls that L.M. Neal and Joe Norton
were original owners and originally kept the reptiles on the Neal
farm north of Caldwell.
It wasn't long,
though, before Pi and Ep (the original pair) became part of the campus
scene, traversing the campus and attending football games at the end
of custom-made leather leashes and harnesses. Robert Wimmer, SC biology
professor, became the pair's unofficial keeper.
When Pi ate Ep,
the survivor was renamed "Alvin" in honor of a character from the
Pogo comic strip.
Alvin spent most
of his life in old Mossman Hall, eventually moving into fancy new
quarters with the opening of the Beech Science Center. Schoolchildren,
prospective and current students, and visitors to campus made the
pilgrimage to see Alvin usually sitting motionless next to the tropical
waterfall in the alligator room.
alligators live to be much older in their natural habitat, Alvin's
death at age 40 is not considered premature, the biology professors
say. Within hours of the discovery of the death, notes, posters, and
an alligator-shaped floral tribute covered the glass windows of Alvin's
And the death
and resulting autopsy revealed that Alvin had the last laugh on the
spectators that had gawked at him throughout his life: Alvin was a
So what to do
with the mortal remains of the college's most memorable critter? A
Derby taxidermist now is in charge of returning the 10-foot corpse
to a lifelike appearance.
being accepted to cover cost of the taxidermy. To read more tributes
to Alvin (or to add your own reminiscences), visit Southwestern College's
Web site at www.sckans.edu.