Man of honor
Former Chico State President Glenn Kendall, 100, is showered with proclamations
An exceedingly modest Glenn Kendall turned the tables on the small group assembled this week to honor the former Chico State University president: “You mean they named a building after me?” joked the 100-year-old, for whom Kendall Hall, which houses the school’s administration, is named.
Kendall, who is credited with seeing the college through the critical, post-World War II growth period, collected even more recognition at an April 29 luncheon: matching resolutions from the Chico City Council and the Butte County Board of Supervisors proclaiming May 4, 2002, Dr. Glenn Kendall Day. It’s also Go Chico! Day, a celebration of school pride.
A small group of friends and admirers joined Kendall for lunch at the Sierra Sunrise Village retirement community, where he lives.
Third District Supervisor Mary Anne Houx joked that, while her board has struggled to find common ground of late, “on this, there was a unanimous vote.” A proclamation signed by Chico Mayor Dan Herbert was also given to Kendall.
“Oh my gosh,” Kendall said. “I don’t know why people would want to do that.”
He remembered having done “real well” during his time at Chico State but said that was because “the time was ripe when I came to Chico. I was lucky.
“It’s the best move I ever made—coming to California,” he said. “I sure am proud of the university, and I sure am happy that I did a little part of it.”
Bob Rankin, a retired administrator and friend of Kendall’s, said, “We were so proud the day we named the building Kendall Hall.” Kendall shot back: “Not as proud as I was.”
Andrea Belanger, a world-recognized soprano about to graduate from Chico State, treated Kendall to a performance. She chose a piece set in Tennessee, because that’s where Kendall, the son of a Methodist minister, was born and raised.
He taught in rural Kentucky for many years before taking on posts ranging from that of Tennessee superintendent of schools to a directorship with the Department of Immigration and Naturalization to the role of a division chair at San Francisco State.
Kendall led Chico’s college from 1950 until 1966, and during that time it went from being a teacher-training college with 1,500 students and 78 faculty members to a full-fledged state school with 6,000 students and 305 faculty members.
Remembered as one who listened but wasn’t afraid to be decisive—even if it meant controversy—Kendall is considered by many to be the best president in Chico State’s history.
Richard Elsom, former student body president, said, “What Chico State is today started during his tenure.”
In addition to being Go Chico! Day, May 4 will also feature the Celebration of People Parade through downtown Chico at 10 a.m. Elsom, one of the parade’s organizers, said they had initially hoped Kendall could serve as grand marshal for that event but settled on this honor rather than asking him to brave Chico streets as a centenarian.
Saturday’s event will include, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on-campus events including music, free Go Chico! apparel, booths featuring student achievements, food, dance and a fashion show.