Mary Hunter Bowman has been a loyal alumna of the University of La Verne for almost 80 years. She graduated in 1933, but Mary fell in love with the university six years earlier when she attended the dedication of Founders Auditorium.
As a sophomore, Mary’s parents brought her all the way from Inglewood to take part in the dedication of Founders Auditorium in February 1927. “I don’t know why we went, but I decided right then and there that I wanted to go to this college.” She told me it was a memorable event, especially because after the dedication, the family couldn’t drive home. “It rained so hard out that we had to stay with some friends in La Verne, the Rensbergers.” Two years later she returned to the campus she fell in love with and roomed with a friend at the Rensbergers home to defray the cost of living on campus.
Mary met her late husband, Sidney, at the University of La Verne. They were assigned seats next to each other in chapel – Hollinger (Mary’s maiden name) and Hunter. They took one look at each other and never looked back. The year they graduated they were married by Dr. William Hoover, professor, dean & president of the University of La Verne.
Mary has been a loyal and consistent donor of the University of La Verne, and her support of the auditorium renovation is no exception. Mary pledged her support for the auditorium and memorialized her legacy with a plaque bearing her family name on a balcony seat. She proudly admitted, “We couldn’t give much, but we gave what we could.”
Mary is overjoyed that the auditorium is being renamed for Ann & Steve Morgan. “It’s exciting because of all they have done for the university.” Mary smiled brightly as she showed me a picture on her refrigerator of her with the president from Homecoming Dinner 2010 where they were honored as oldest alumnus and alumnus of the year, respectively.
It has been many years since Mary Hunter Bowman has attended an event in the auditorium, and she is looking forward to attending the Auditorium Dedication on April 2nd.