When the phone rang in 1971 and ISU History Chair Earl Reitan offered me a job, I spoke out in a voice that probably could have traveled from Seattle to Normal without telephone lines: “Yes—I accept!” And that began my 33 years of teaching history at the University.

I had some familiarity with the place already: My parents met at ISNU in the late 1920s and married in 1930.

The department was very welcoming, something my wife, Eva, and I appreciated. Everyone helped this newly hatched University of Washington Ph.D. feel at home.

I started teaching U.S. History Survey and Labor History. I had promoted myself as a labor historian on the basis of having been labor reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune before entering grad school. My dissertation was on Western hard-rock miners.

The early years were difficult. I took energy from the students, and still have occasional contact with some of them. Others live on in memory for the research they did. I was given new enthusiasm as I saw students researching, probing, working hard at their writing and interpretations. It is said that historians “wring meaning from facts,” and my students certainly did.

I consider myself blessed to have been a Distinguished Professor, and to have authored the University’s history in the book The Fourteenth Decade: 1987-1997. Raising a family of three children in Normal has been the best thing that could have happened to Dan, Ruth, and Miriam, as well as to me and Eva.

Contact me by email at wdwyman@frontier.com.