The following story was submitted by alum Jerry C. Larsen, who also shared this photo of himself and his wife of 58 years, Annie, on a BMW K1600 in Corsica. The couple resides in Seabrook. This is his story in his words:
I graduated from San Jacinto High School in Houston in January 1954 and volunteered for the draft. I got out of the Army in 1956 and started at the University of Houston on the GI bill and graduated in three years in August 27, 1959 with majors in Economics and Accounting.
The GI bill paid me $110 (single), $135 (when I got married) and $160 (when we had a son). I had to work part time in a paint store keeping their books to live. I believe at least a third of the male students at that time were Korean War veterans. You could still see the Quonset huts in the back of the campus, where the World War II veterans stayed with their families while going to school.
The Fred J. Heyne Building was completed during my stay for the business school and it was such a sparking joy. After classes, we would go to Cougar Den and every week, we would see a man in a white suit and a straw hat come by and ask how things were. We always answered, “Great, Mr. Cullen.”
One of our great highlights was when in 1956 the Cougars tied the nationally-ranked Texas Aggies at Rice Stadium. As we were leaving the stadium, we were all singing, “Poor little Aggies.” The Aggies always referred to us as Cougar High; however the year I got my CPA (I passed the first time), UH had the most CPAs getting their certification of any university in Texas.
The University of Houston did a wonderful job of educating so many veterans. I had the fortune of sitting next to Hogan Wharton in accounting class, one of the first All-America football players at the school. Hogan was truly a lovely person and a great guy to know.
We had something at the U of H, that no other school had; the Frontier Fiesta which was world-renowned. We all grew beards and had a wonderful time together for the week of Fiesta.
I would hope that UH would remember its roots and teach our veterans of today as they have shown; they are the best and were willing to serve. The U of H was a great school in the 1950s and is greater today. Go Coogs!
Jerry C. Larsen is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Forensic Interviewer and Certified in the Reid Technique.