Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Remembering ASU from the 1980s

Like everyone who went to ASU, I have fond memories of it. I had grown up in Minneapolis, left home at 18 just to get away from the snow and cold, and just kind'a randomly found myself in Phoenix. When I got myself organized, a little bit, I took classes at Phoenix College, and then transferred to ASU.

I wish I could tell stories of being a "party animal", or going to the games, but I was a starving student. A starving art student. I didn't live in Sin City, or in a Frat House, I lived in a tiny converted garage over by Price and Apache near Mesa. Just say "Wildermuth" to me, and to this day, I shudder. My parents helped to pay my tuition, but otherwise I was on my own, paying rent, buying food, and paying for repair bills on my unreliable car.

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They must have taught me something there, although I don't really have very clear memories of going to classes, which I'm sure I did. It took me, uh, seven years to get my four-year degree, so I really had that "old man on campus" feeling, being 25 when I graduated. Many of the friends I've stayed in touch with over the years were in the same situation, for whatever reason, graduating years later than most of their peers. My excuse was that I took a year off to "find myself", but mostly I just didn't focus very well on what classes I should have taken. I took a lot of classes just because they interested me, not because they applied to my major. Looking back, I'm glad that I did.

In the sculpture room at ASU, 1981

The photo at the top of this post is behind the art building, which is next-door to the architecture building, and more importantly, across from the Chuckbox. To get my Graphic Design degree, a lot of fine art was required, included sculpture. Presumably I had driven around the building to pick up a sculpture, the area was a loading area, not a parking place.

It seems to me that there was a place where we all went over for ice cream right nearby, in a shopping center that also had a grocery store. I had started my freelance business, which I called Brad Hall Advertising Art, by then, and when I got work, I saved what I needed to, and splurged on ice cream, and a burger at the Chuckbox. Yes, I remember the Chuckbox well! I still go there, and there's still only 278 sold (which was a slam against McDonalds, who at the time was saying "over 10 million burgers sold" or something like that).

I went to go look for work in Los Angeles after I graduated, and I have to admit that I wondered if my "Arizona State University" degree would get sneered at. Luckily, it wasn't. I'd say mostly because I was in an business that relied on doing the work (which I could), and showing a portfolio (and my teachers did a great job making sure that I had the best one I could do). I did get the job in Los Angles, and it was great. But after it ended, with a layoff, in 1989, I came home to Phoenix, and nothing in my life has ever felt so good.

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