May 4, 2016/Tempe, Ariz. – Graduates from Arizona State University’s class of 1966 will return to their alma mater for their Golden Reunion on May 9 and 10. The Alumni Association hosts this special two-day event each year, allowing classmates from the university’s 50-year reunion class and their guests to reconnect with each other and ASU, as well as giving them the opportunity to lead the procession during the university’s Spring Commencement.
Many former student leaders and successful graduates from the class are registered for the reunion or have helped plan it by serving on the reunion committee. Here are short biographies of a few of the attendees.
Ed Pastor ’66 B.A., ’74 J.D.
Ed Pastor, the son of a miner from Claypool, Ariz., used his ASU education to pursue a life of public service, culminating in serving as a U.S. Representative from Arizona for more than 23 years.
Pastor taught high school chemistry after graduating with his bachelor’s degree, then moved into nonprofit work, serving as the deputy director for the Guadalupe Organization, Inc. After receiving his law degree from ASU, he worked for Gov. Raul Castro, enforcing worker’s rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 1976, he was elected for the first of three terms to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. He won a special election in 1991 to become a U.S. Representative, and was elected to the next 11 Congresses, ultimately serving under four presidents.
As the first Hispanic from Arizona to be elected to Congress, Pastor served on the House Appropriations Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, and the Committee on Small Business, among others. He served on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and was a delegate to Democratic National Conventions from 1972 to 2008.
At ASU, Pastor is the namesake for the Congressman Ed Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, a dynamic, student-centric hub of activity that promotes, publicizes, and encourages political engagement and public service among ASU students and the broader community. He is married to fellow Sun Devil alum Verma Mendez Pastor, and has two daughters, Laura and Yvonne, and four grandchildren.
Diane Powell Escalante ’66 B.A., ’73 M.A.E.
Although Diane Powell Escalante was active in student government during her time as a student at ASU, it was an incident at a Sun Devil football game that remains one of her most significant ASU memories.
“I was in student government committee meeting and someone came in to announce that the guy who usually played Sparky the Sun Devil, was really ill,” she explained. “(They asked) could someone please fill in? I had been a cheerleader in high school and said I could probably pull it off. The costume in those days was not wearer friendly. … But it was the University of Arizona game – at home! “During a U of A band number, the U of A drum major’s hat fell off. I don’t know what came over Sparky, but I swooped it up, held it over the clunky devil’s costume head and ran down the field to the joyous cheers of Sun Devil fans.”
After graduation, Escalante spent 30 years teaching in the Phoenix Union High School District. She has four children, and one of them, her daughter Maile, graduated from ASU in 2014.
Escalante says she valued the guidance of her advisor, the late Nicholas Salerno, an English professor who taught film history and appreciation courses at the university for more than 30 years. And as for what she is looking forward to at the reunion, she summed things up in one word: “Surprises!”
Lance Renfrow ’66 B.S.E.
Lance Renfrow has a long history of pioneering new fields. In addition to creating several patented and patent-pending technologies for the pulp and paper, food and beverage, and the paint and coatings industries, he also is credited with the development of the first private residential water-ski site in 1972 – the Wet Set in Newberry Springs, Calif.
During his student days, Refrow was active in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. After he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, he held a number of sales/marketing executive positions for firms that included Stauffer Chemical, Transmeridian International, and Holtrachem West. He was a founder and vice president of sales at Western States Chemical and owner/chairman of the board at Flask Chemical. He currently is the president of E.P. Consulting, as well as Clear Solutions USA LLC.
His passion for water skiing has continued throughout his professional career, and he has won more than 1,000 awards during 36 years of competition. He is on the board of trustees for the American Water Ski Educational Association and is a Senior Olympics gold medalist in water skiing and table tennis.
Charles Johnston ’66 B.S.
Charles Johnston is the president/CEO for Select Artists Associates, LLC, which specializes in presenting sports entertainment and event productions. Johnston founded the company in 1968, and the company has created sports event shows that have included pre-game, halftime or post-game concerts for more than a dozen Super Bowls, and more than 10 Major League Baseball All-Star Games. Select Artists Associates also works with venue operators to creatively use venue spaces for concerts, events and festivals beyond the original intent of facility designers.
Johnston was active as a student in the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Sun Devil Band.
Sun Devils who come back to ASU’s Tempe campus for Golden Reunion have the opportunity to take part in various events over the course of two days. There also will be a special pre-reunion welcome reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 in the Alumni Lounge of the ASU Memorial Union.
One special highlight this year on Monday, May 9, is an afternoon tour of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Other activities on the first day of the reunion include a welcome luncheon in Old Main at the Tempe campus, and a special dinner at Chase Field prior to participation in the university’s Spring Commencement ceremony.
On Tuesday, May 10, alums will be able to attend special Golden Grad breakfasts hosted by their school or college, and there also will be a barbecue buffet lunch that day for all Class of 1966 members that will feature a number of special guests from around Arizona State University. In the afternoon, Golden Reunion attendees can enjoy tours of the Biodesign Institute, the Neural Control Movement Lab, Manzanita Hall, and the Ed and Nadine Carson Student-Athlete Center.
Golden Reunion concludes on Tuesday evening with the Golden Circle Induction, a candlelight ceremony in which class of 1966 graduates will be inducted into the Golden Circle, an honorary group comprised of all classes who have celebrated their 50th reunion. Graduates form a circle around Kachina Fountain in front of Old Main, and each class member lights a candle representing the light of knowledge. Reunion attendees will be joined at this event by members of the class of 2016 who are recipients of the Alumni Association’s Moeur Awards and Outstanding Graduate Awards.
For more information about the class of 1966’s Golden Reunion, visit: http://alumni.asu.edu/goldenreunion.