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Yesterday in La Crosse

VIP’s on campus, 45 years ago

Brad Williams

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UW-La Crosse hosted a couple of notable people in September of 1975.  One of them was already world-famous…anthropologist Margaret Mead.  She spoke to overflow audiences at both the North Hall building, and Cartwright Center.  Dr. Mead was best known for her studies of primitive cultures, but by the 70’s, she was popular at colleges for her opinions on sex and marriage.  On the La Crosse campus, Mead commented that traditional American marriages of the 50’s, with fathers working and mothers at home, produced boys who became male chauvinists and girls who were ‘fiery women’s libbers.’  

Another visitor to the university that September wasn’t very well known yet, outside of Georgia.  Former Governor Jimmy Carter was running for president, and campaigned in La Crosse County.  Appearing on the public radio show ‘Newsmakers,’ Carter was pretty confident about his chances, saying he didn’t think anyone else in the race could beat him. When Carter returned to the campus the following April, he was leading the Democratic race, and he filled a large hall at Cartwright.   

Patty Hearst was arrested in September of ’75.  The newspaper heiress had been kidnapped the previous year by a California terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and she publicly claimed she had joined their cause and helped them rob a bank.  Hearst later went to prison, but the sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, yesterday in La Crosse.              

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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