Alumni Association hosts class of 1962 Golden Reunion

This year, graduates from Arizona State University’s class of 1962 are invited to return to their alma mater for their Golden Reunion on May 3 and 4.

The Alumni Association hosts this special two-day event each year, allowing classmates from the university’s 50-year reunion class and their guests to reconnect with each other and ASU, as well as giving them the opportunity to lead the procession during the university’s Spring Commencement.

Many former student leaders and successful graduates from the class of 1962 are registered for the reunion or have helped plan it by serving on the reunion committee. Several of them reflected on their time at ASU and how it impacted their lives and careers.

Sel (Erder) Yackley ’62 B.A.

Sel Yackley says she has accomplished every goal she has set for herself, an impressive feat considering the number of accolades she has accumulated in her life. Born and reared in Istanbul, Turkey, Yackley majored in journalism at ASU. She served as a senator and secretary of the Associated Students organization, and was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi sorority. She was honored as Panhellenic Woman of the Year in 1962.

After graduation from ASU, Yackley worked as a reporter and editor for United Press International and the Chicago Tribune, winning writing awards from the National Federation of Press Women. After moving to Ottawa, Ill., she became the first woman president of the local YMCA. She now runs a successful public relations agency, Say It with Sel. She has been active in a number of Turkish-American organizations over the years, including the Turkish American Cultural Alliance, which she founded in Chicago in 1964.

Yackley said she was looking forward to a “nostalgic” Golden Reunion.

“I have been proud to see ASU become such an outstanding institution,” she said. “I am a happy, well-adjusted individual, probably because ASU gave me a very good foundation.”

C. Rockne Anderson ’62 B.S.

C. Rockne Anderson, who graduated from ASU with a degree in economics, played football at the university under Head Coach Frank Kush and enjoyed his extracurricular responsibilities as social chair for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Once he left the university, Anderson served two tours in Vietnam as an aircraft carrier pilot with the U.S. Navy.

After leaving the military, he joined United Airlines, serving as a co-pilot representative for the organization’s pilot association. Toward the end of his career with United, he trained new pilots, an assignment which led to him developing his own small business training college students to fly commercial aircraft. Anderson also owned a successful building supply company while he worked for the airline.

Anderson now spends much of his time in Pinetop, Ariz., where he is involved in the ASU Alumni Association’s White Mountain chapter. He is a passionate supporter of the university and Sun Devil Athletics. He is looking forward to seeing his former classmates at the Golden Reunion.

Anderson credits his ASU education, particularly the lessons handed out by Coach Kush, with helping him live a successful life.

“ASU really helped prepare me for life,” he said. “If you could get through (Coach) Kush’s program, you could get through anything!”

Nancy (Cooper) Pressendo ’62 B.S., ’92 M.B.A.

Nancy Pressendo pursued a career in the health sciences after graduating with a degree in microbiology. While on campus, she was a charter member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at ASU, and belonged to the science honorary society, Beta Beta Beta.

Pressendo worked first in a research position with the Barrow Neurological Institute, then switched to a medical technology internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center. She stayed in the medical technology field for many years. After receiving her M.B.A. from ASU in 1992, she began working in information technology, ending her career in healthcare computing at Catholic Healthcare West.

Pressendo’s son, Michael, also went to ASU and graduated in 1990. He served as the chair of the ASU Alumni Association’s board of directors in 2009-10. Nancy said she was taking prerequisites for her master’s program at the same time her son was pursuing his undergraduate degree in communications, and they were able to take some classes together. She said she enjoyed the chance to revisit her alma mater 30 years after her original graduation.

“I was struck with the quality of the professors in the MBA program,” she said. “And the experience of being on campus again was really great.”

Harry Mitchell ’62 B.A., ’80 M.P.A.

Harry Mitchell, a man whose name is almost synonymous with Tempe civic life, served on the reunion committee to reach out to many of his former classmates. Mitchell, and his wife, Marianne Mitchell ’62 B.A.E., ’65 M.A.E., have two children.

Born and raised in Tempe, Mitchell earned a bachelor's degree in political science from ASU. Several years after graduation, he began teaching American Government and Free Enterprise at Tempe High School. He was elected to Tempe’s city council in 1970, and became mayor of the city in 1980, the same year in which he earned his master’s of public administration degree from the university. The part-time nature of Tempe's City Council allowed Mitchell to continue teaching, which he did for 28 years, retiring in 1992. He continued as Tempe’s mayor until 1994.

After leaving the mayor’s post, Mitchell served several terms in the Arizona Senate and served as chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2006. He ran successfully for U.S. Congress from Arizona’s 5th District and served from 2007 to 2011.

Sun Devils who come back for Golden Reunion have the opportunity to take part in various events over the course of two days, including tours of the Mars Space Flight Center and the Biodesign Institute on the Tempe campus and a post-commencement lunch with legendary former ASU football Head Coach Frank Kush.  A major highlight is the Golden Circle Induction Ceremony, a candlelight ceremony in which class of 1962 graduates will be inducted into the Golden Circle, an honorary group comprised of all classes who have celebrated their 50th reunion. Graduates form a circle around Kachina Fountain in front of Old Main, and each class member lights a candle representing the light of knowledge. Reunion attendees will be joined at this event by members of the class of 2012, as recipients of the Alumni Association’s Moeur Awards and Outstanding Graduate Awards at Spring Commencement have been invited to participate in the Golden Circle Induction.

For more information about the class of 1962’s Golden Reunion, visit: