Fullerton College Centennial


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A notable student during Fullerton College's early years was writer Jessamyn “Jessie” West (1902-1984), who attended classes in 1920-21. A master of the short story, and an accomplished novelist, she is best remembered for The Friendly Persuasion (1945), which gathered stories that reflected her Quaker heritage. While at FJC, West found a mentor in President William T. Boyce, and she returned to the college in 1957 as the keynote speaker at the dedication of the new library named in his honor. She also announced the creation of the William T. Boyce Creative Writing Award, an endowed scholarship. A cousin of President Richard M. Nixon, West spent her childhood and early adulthood in Yorba Linda. This is the senior year photo of Jessamyn West at Fullerton Union High School in 1919. She was active in high school as the Vice President of her class and as a member of the Girls' League Cabinet. She demonstrated an early interest in writing and communication as Editor in Chief of the Bi-Weekly Pleiades and as a student in the debate class. Her debate class decided to stage a play that mourned the death of the Southern California Debating League which was "killed" by influenza. The class had been looking forward to the Orange County Debating League competitions, but influenza hit the schools and the event was cancelled. At FJC, she retained her interest in forensics and joined the debate team. (courtesy of Fullerton College Library Archives)