In 1971, L. Don Shields was appointed Cal State Fullerton’s second President at the age of 34, becoming the youngest university college chief executive in the country. He served as President at Fullerton for ten years before becoming President of Southern Methodist University, a position he held until 1986.
After receiving his PH.D. in Chemistry from the University of Los Angeles, in 1963 Don joined CSF as a Professor of Chemistry, and he quickly established himself as an extraordinary teacher and scholar, later receiving the California State Legislature Distinguished Teaching Award. From 1963-1967, he was Vice-President for Administration.
In 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed Don to a 6-year term on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation. From 1989-1995, Don was executive director of the California Council on Science and Technology, just one of the many groups Don Shields served on as an advocate for the advancement of science.
In the 1970’s during a time when downtown La Mesa was feeling the impact of competition from the large shopping malls such as Grossmont Center, Gordon Austin thought of ways to bring people back to La Mesa.
In 1976, Gordon became executive director of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a position he held for 24 years.
In this leadership position, Gordon was responsible for the creation of two annual events in La Mesa: Oktoberfest and the Christmas Village. Using public works grants, La Mesa’s merchants and community leaders organized the restoration of its historic downtown village area, attracting small merchants and businesses to create a quaint downtown village.
Gordon Austin was also publisher of the La Mesa News, a 16-page “voice” for area merchants and residents. He was responsible for the creation of Econ-Ed, a class that the Grossmont UHS District adopted and a concept that has been accepted nationally. At one time, he was co-owner and manager of the Village Restaurant on La Mesa Blvd.
Grossmont High Student, 1947-50;
Honorary Graduate of the Class of 1951
Photographing one of the most spectacular moments of the 20th century, "Earthrise", on 1968’s Apollo 8 mission, Bill Anders was one of the first humans to visit the moon.
After his historic Moon flight, Anders would continue to serve his country, becoming the first Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and serving as United States Ambassador to Norway. Bill retired as a Major General in the Air Force and as CEO and Chairman of General Dynamics.
Anders enjoyed his time at Grossmont, particularly his participation on the tennis team. Although Anders left before he could graduate from Grossmont, he is one of the most respected members of the school’s Hall of Honor.
Please read our Foothiller Footsteps column for December 2018 to learn more about the historic Apollo 8 flight and Bill's iconic "Earthrise" photo.
Martin Donohue received his commission in 1954 through the Air Force ROTC program at San Diego State College and began active duty August 1954. Marty was awarded his pilot wings in 1959 and completed Helicopter Pilot Training the same year. In 1967-68, he served his first tour of duty in Vietnam with the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron.
Two years later in November 1970, five Air Force Crosses were awarded in the attempted rescue of American Prisoners of War from Son Tay prison in North Vietnam. Major Donohue "Apple 3" was one of the three HH-53 pilots awarded the Air Force Cross. His Air Force Cross Citation was awarded for “extraordinary heroism …when Major Donohue courageously flew the first aircraft directly over the compound at an altitude of forty feet….He fired upon the greatest threats to the ground rescue party,…neutralizing guard towers….Major Donohue, without regard to his personal safety, immeasurably contributed to the complete confusion and disorganization of enemy forces….Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy….”
Colonel Donohue then served at the Pentagon and MacDill Air Force before retiring from the U.S. Air Force on August 31, 1984.
During the Vietnam conflict in the spring of 1964, in a two week period, Ben Cloud flew 12 missions over North Vietnam to gather reconnaissance information of North Vietnam's military activity and received hostile fire every time. Before the Vietnam War, Ben flew with the Blue Angels. When the war began, the Blue Angels were dismantled, and in 1964, when he was sent to Vietnam, he flew the first combat mission in the Vietnam War.
Later in his career, Ben worked in the White House as an aide in the Office of Protocol, planning diplomatic events to three Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. Ben became one of the first African Americans to command a squadron and in 1972 served as the Executive Officer of the carrier Kitty Hawk, which launched some of the final strikes of the Vietnam War. In 1972, Commander Cloud was instrumental in defusing the worst race riot in modern navy history.
Also, during his career, Ben was Commander of the Fighter Squadron at Miramar Air Force Station. He served as Captain of the Navy for 32 years from 1952-1984. He retired after an amazing career distinguished by his commitment to the service of his country and by his personal courage.
Bill Davis loved Grossmont High School. It was a love first instilled in him in 1944-48 during his four years as a student and athlete at Grossmont High School, then in 1966-1970 by his four years as a Assistant Principal,and finalized by more than ten years as a Principal from 1976-1988.
Upon his departure as GHS Principal, Bill said despite the changing problems the school faces, “the things Grossmont stands for are built on a foundation and record of excellence.” After leaving Grossmont, Bill became a GUHS District Director working to develop programs to identify and encourage high-risk students to graduate.
But his love of all things Grossmont didn’t end with his retirement. Bill became Grossmont’s oral historian, reminding us of the wonders of our past. In this role,Bill continued to be an advocate for the values and traditions that have distinguished Grossmont High School.
Outside of education, Bill continued to serve others. In 1988 after 37 years in the military, Bill retired as a Colonel: he had served 4 years in the Naval Reserve, 2 years of Active Duty in the Air Force, and 31 years as a member of the Air Reserves. In addition, Bill was active in East County community service organizations: he was a member and Past Distinguished President of the La Mesa Kiwanis, as well as being a member of the Elks Lodge of El Cajon, the El Cajon Masonic Lodge #575, the SDSU Aztec Club, and a Life Loyal Sigma Chi member.