building process. The three-hour classes were pretty tough. I still had to go to work afterwards.” Drane has returned to campus since his college days and finds it much bigger: “It’s a monster now, especially the music department.” His connection to Amro Music? It just ended. Through four generations of Averwaters and after 65 years, he recently retired.
Secret Agent Man
Alumnus Vernon Drane met his wife, the late Winifred Drane, at the school in the 1940s. His son, Windel, and daughter, Karen Busler, are both alums, too. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino) 32
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John Stathis (BA ’50, MA ’51) and his brother, Kostas (BA ’50, MA ’51), had the distinction of submitting the first two completed theses to the Graduate School. Both studied in what was then the College of Education. Born to parents who had immigrated from Greece, the brothers grew up in Memphis. After graduating from Humes High School, John attended Memphis State as a math major. As a returning Navy vet, Kostas enrolled and majored in psychology. “I found it to be quite challenging. The faculty was terrific,” John says. “We had some very capable teachers. My major professor, Dr. Howard Kaltenborn, was the mathematics department head. I remember R.M. Robison, dean of men, and Flora Rawls, dean of women, both with affection.” John recalls an attempt to turn Memphis State College into the University of Tennessee at Memphis and didn’t like it. He says College president Jack Smith was trying to make Memphis part of the UT system to attain university status. Smith petitioned the Tennessee State Legislature in 1951, but failed. “I remember Jack very well,” John says. “I did not want to become part (of UT). My feelings were Memphis State had grown tremendously in 35 years by the time I got into it. UT was and is an excellent school. The feeling was we were doing fine on our own. We didn’t want or need to be strung along into the UT system.” John reached draft age while at Memphis, but reporting to duty was deferred until he completed his studies. After graduating, his first job was as a high school math teacher in Georgia, a position that paid $2,008. Kostas also got a teaching position in Georgia. John, though, THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
University of Memphis Fall Magazine