Roger Williams
Image Credit: ISU Photographic Services

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We Love Roger

Internationally-acclaimed performing artist Roger Williams returned to his alma mater for a sold-out concert at the Stephens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 14. He welcomed fellow World War II Navy V-12 alumni, family and friends from throughout the West at a reception in the center’s green room prior to his performance. He dedicated the concert to the late Harry F. Magnuson, also a V-12 alumnus. Williams — known as Louis Weertz in his ISU days — is known for his signature performance piece, “Autumn Leaves,” the greatest selling piano recording of all time. He has 18 gold and platinum albums to his credit.

Visiting V-12 alumni also attended a reception at the College of Business and toured the campus, visiting the familiar sites of Graveley Hall (the V-12 dormitory); the Administration Building (the V-12 student union) and Davis Field, where military drills and physical training were conducted. The alumni were among a group of 450 naval recruits from 23 states who came to Pocatello to enroll in a one-year, highly rigorous, concentrated and intensive undergraduate education program created to help meet wartime demand for commissioned Naval officers. From 1943 to 1945 the Navy V-12 program boosted enrollment to 699 students at the University of Idaho–Southern Branch, as ISU was then known.