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John Roland, '63, English Literature

John Roland Profile Photo

Tell us something about the value and/or meaning of your CSULB experience?

Looking back, it was a fantastic and innocent time. If it hadn't been for the opportunities LBSC offered at the price it did, I would not have been able to afford to go to college.

What organizations were you involved in while attending LBSC and which events did you attend?

I was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). One of the great things we did was sell Christmas Trees for special needs children. We also dressed up during the holidays as Santa and visited children in hospitals. I still keep in touch with some of my fraternity brothers on the phone or on facebook. Most are still on the west coast, and I'm in Florida, so it's kind of tough to get together. I enjoyed attending 49er days. The SAE's would build a float and the students would build that town on lower campus. It was very elaborate and it was sad tearing it down.

Which professor or staff made an impact on your academic or professional career and why?

Dean Bergland was the Dean of Admssions when I was there, and he was a big help to me and a lot of other students, especially the SAE's. He kind of had a soft spot in his heart for us. When we had trouble getting classes Dean Bergland would help assist and guide us to get what we needed.

What was your fondest memory of LBSC?

In the Summer of '65 I was working as an assistant to Dean Bryant and I worked on the Sculpture Symposium. I worked alongside Hal Lynch who was the assistant to Dean Flynn, the Dean of Architecture. I was in charge of getting stuff donated, the materials for the sculptures and projects. We got the materials any way we could, through begging, borrowing, stealing. I remember calling Pittsburgh for large sheets of stainless steel for Kowalski's project, and the guy I was speaking with thought he was being pranked. I was even the light engineer for one of the projects. I designed the lights for the Homage to Simon Rodia because the desinger JJ Beljon had to return to Europe. Beljon thanked me profusely for completing the lights. The Sculpture Symposium really helped put Long Beach State on the map, and I am most proud of having been part of it.

How did LBSC prepare you for life after college?

My time at LBSC helped me grow intellectually as well as socially. Many of my fraternity members had served in the military and were going to school on the G.I. bill. They were older, in their late 20's, and more mature. They taught me how to be a gentleman. I was fortunate to go to school with a mix of students that helped pass knowledge to us kids.

What did you do after graduating? What are you doing today?

I worked for the university for a year. I was Dean Bryant's assistant. Then I spent two years in Los Angeles doing the behind the scenes at KNBC and then doing news stories at KTTV Metro Media. I covered the Manson Trial and other stories and back then there were no satellites so we would send video tapes to stations on the east coast. I sent my tapes to New York where my future boss liked my work and offered me a job. I transferred to New York in September 1969 and I anchored The 10 O'Clock News, in New York City for 35 years with channel 5 FOX station. I am currently retired from television journalism; I retired six years ago.

What was your favorite song or music while attending LBSC?

I was a fan folk of music and rock and roll. Folk music was big during those days, especially in Southern California. I roomed with John Denver, John Deutschendorf at that time, in Belmont Shore after graduating. Also Bobby Hatfield, one half of the Righteous Brothers, was one of my fraternity brothers as an SAE.

What advice would you give to a current student today?

Learn as much as you can about China and learn the language. Their influence in the world is huge now, and will only get bigger.

John Roland, Head Yeller, with cheer squad  members  Charles Ramsberger, Gordon Getz, Ken Gibson, and Dave Freeman

John Roland, Head Yell Leader, with Cheer Squad members Charles Ramsberger, Gordon Getz, Ken Gibson, and Dave Freeman.

John Roland anchoring the 10 o'clock news for Fox 5 New York City.

John Roland anchoring the ten o'clock news for Fox 5 New York City.

John Roland rallies the crowd at a 49ers' football game.

John Roland rallies the crowd during a 49ers' football game.

John Roland with yell leaders Joann La Cour, Gorden Getz, Bob Van Wetter, Gary Purser, and Connie Blagg.John Roland with yell leaders Joann La Cour, Gorden Getz, Bobby Van Wetter, Gary, Purser, and Connie Blagg.

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