Bill McGill: The Jump Hook that Never Was

By Paul S. Toala


Bill McGill was named All-American as a junior at The University of Utah. Used by permission, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriot Library, The University of Utah.

“With the first pick in the 1962 NBA Draft, the Chicago Zephyrs select, Bill McGill, center, from the University of Utah” and the crowd went wild! Confetti and the celebratory aroma of champagne stain the air as lifelong dreams and hundreds of hours in the gym are realized in mere seconds. The 6-foot 9-inch African American center who hailed from Los Angeles, California. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, McGill was once known as “one of the greatest of all time”. Spectators would gawk in awe as McGill would display his now world-renowned jump hook shot, that would both dazzle opponents as well as National Basketball League team owners. To many in society, receiving a free education due to an athletic scholarship and becoming an instant celebrity after being drafted to the NBA are accolades to truly celebrate over and one would assume that with his athletic frame, such accomplishments would come easily but, that was not the case. McGill faced many challenges both during and after his basketball career; these challenges included systemic racism, crippling depression as well as financial instability.

McGill would go on to have an outstanding career at the University of Utah basketball team. In his three-year stint with the team, He was able to become the school all-time leader in rebounding and second as the all-time scorer with 2,321 points according to Sports Reference. Most players today are not able to obtain that many points if they were to stay for the full four years at a university. McGill’s college stats are impressive but are much different than draft prospects of today as the rules to allow freshmen in college to enter into the draft has made it so that players don’t have 3 to 4-year college careers anymore. McGill was the first black player for the University as well as its first black All-American.


McGill displays athletic ability in a photoshoot for the Salt Lake Trbune. Used by permission, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

In 1962, Bill McGill was selected as one of the top players in the region and joined the U.S. basketball team to compete at the world basketball championship according to The Chronicle. His college career boasted stats that have not been matched to this day and was the reason as to why he was nominated into the region’s hall of fame. Hidden behind the fame, stats, and accomplishments on the court were what McGill described as pressure to live up to expectations while being ridiculed and stared at, as recorded on his biography “The Hill and the Jump Hook”. The burden of being the first African American player at The University of Utah and the racism and bigotry that followed was not able to derail McGill from highest scoring center in NCAA history.

Circumstances and values have changed and are vastly different now from what they were in the 1960s. Racism and discrimination towards people of color was as regular as going to church on Sunday mornings in Utah. Racism and discrimination did not make any exceptions, especially for the up and coming basketball superstar at The University of Utah. From his collegiate career on “The Hill” to his days in the NBA and ultimately to his days on the streets without a home, the life of the one they called “Bill the Hill” was something to be admired.

After his groundbreaking career at The University of Utah, Bill McGill was drafted first overall to the Chicago Zephyr’s but was halted for a moment by ongoing knee problems that occurred in both high school and college according to McGill’s bibliography. While in the NBA, McGill would find himself in the position that he was unfamiliar with; McGill bounced around from team to team in the NBA which caused the young man to begin to feel out of place. In a documentary of McGill’s life called “How Top NBA Draft Pick Ended Up Homeless” by BCC, he was quoted saying that he felt depression and anxiety due to the fact that he was unfamiliar with how to handle both the national fame as well as money management. These feelings of anxiety and depression, crippled McGill and ultimately led him to his next chapter of life.

That next chapter of life for McGill was unfortunately filled with drug abuse, alcohol, and homelessness. He blamed his off the court issues on several things but the two things that McGill noted that were the most impactful were: 1. Never finishing his degree while in college. 2. His inexperience with financial and real-world life after his NBA career according to LA Times.  He was forced to live on the streets of his hometown Los Angeles and had to bathe in local laundromats and sleep at bus stops. Before his death in 2014, he encouraged young college athletes to both learn more about life after sports as well as pioneer the beginnings of research on athletes and depression.

Bill McGill was an accomplished athlete. The stats and all of the accolades are ones that can hardly be replicated nor beaten. All-American status, NBA #1 overall draft pick and instant celebrity are titles that are now associated with McGill. Unfortunately, titles such as homeless and “NBA bust” are also infused with his legacy. A promising career that never blossomed into what it could’ve been were replaced with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt as he walked the streets of his hometown as one without a home. He would not let this be the end of his story as McGill was able to find help and finish his life the only way he knew how, with a jump hook.

Paul Solomua Toala was a senior at the University of Utah. He was a member of the football team and majored in communication studies and minored in Spanish.

 Primary Sources

“McGill, Green on World Roster,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 3, 1962.

Billy McGill,”

#40, Bill McGill,” NBA Stats.

“Utah basketball: Utes pioneer Bill McGill dies at 74,” The Salt Lake Tribune, July 12, 2014, 1.

“Billy McGill has difficult time with life after basketball,” Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2011.

Kenny Brown and Regan Morris, “Billy McGill: How top NBA draft pick ended up homeless,” BBC, January 16, 2014.

Billy McGill and Eric Brach, Billy “the Hill” And the Jump Hook: The Autobiography of a Forgotten Basketball Legend (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013).

Secondary Source

Speckman, Stephen. “A Book for Life,” Continuum, Spring 2014.








The Trial of Jesse Garcia

By June Sim

The United States is known to be one of the countries that still continues capital punishment. The incarceration rate in America is 15 times higher than that of other developed countries. (The British Journal of Criminology, p. 97) It seems like the justice system is carrying out its purpose well, punishing those who need to be punished. However, unlike our expectation, there are findings that show races of convicts impact the outcome at the court. In other words, races of the convicts can lessen or increase the sentences when only the actions need to be considered. (The British Journal of Criminology, p. 97) Such tendency is thought to be shown in a juvenile’s case back in 1962 at Jesse M. Garcia’s trial.


Letters to the Editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle debated Garcia’s death-penalty sentence.

Jesse M. Garcia, a Mexican-American boy, faced his trial at the age of 16. While growing up, his life was full of sadness. His family was so poor that they had no food to comfort themselves. Young Jesse would always fall asleep wondering when he could eat something again. His parents were busy and so there were no adults to keep him safe and stable which lead to an unfortunate accident. (Daily Utah Chronicle, 1962) As reported by the Daily Utah Chronicle on February 14, 1962, Jesse was running after a bouncing ball that unfortunately went toward his baby niece who was on a couch. Jesse jumped on the sofa, not knowing she was there. His niece was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, where she later died. The accident could have been prevented if there were adults at home. At that time, the occurrence was dismissed as the accident was thought to be unintentional. However, many years later, when he got involved in his biggest trouble, this tragic accident was brought up again saying that the accident may have been intentional.

Jesse Garcia faced his biggest trouble when he got involved in a murder case that occurred on August 24, 1958. The Daily Utah Chronicle reported on February 15, 1962, that an inmate was found to be attacked and brutally murdered in a prison attic by other inmates. Due to this incident, the reality of life in prison was also revealed to the world. At the time, prisoners in the Utah State Prison could easily trade drugs, carry weapons, and inhumanely treat other inmates. As suspects of the brutal murder, three convicts were brought up, Jesse Garcia, Mack Merrill Rivenburgh, and Leonard Warner Bowne. The murder case was not handled thoroughly and the evidences of the murder were not clear. However, the press was only in a hurry to cover the shocking conditions of the prison, neglecting the important facets of the murder case. Bowne and Garcia continuously claimed of their innocence by mentioning the level of cruelty of their actions, and their lack of intention in the murder. But their claims were not considered. Eventually, Rivenburgh and Garcia were given death penalty whereas Bowne was sentenced to life imprisonment.


The Letters to the Editor section of The Daily Utah Chronicle illustrates students’ active engagement in a discussion of capital punishment.

On February 12, 1962, Daily Utah Chronicle reported that Garcia’s death became one of the crucial points in debate on capital punishment among those who believe capital punishment needs to be abolished. Garcia grew up in a very economically unstable environment. From an early age, Garcia had to struggle from a constant hunger and insecurity. Family wasn’t there to help him and serve as a buffer from the harsh world that Garcia had to face. His parents were too busy to take care of him. In such condition, Garcia got easily exposed to committing crimes which eventually led to a murder case.

On February 16, 1962, the Daily Utah Chronicle mentioned Garcia’s murder case from a racial perspective by comparing Garcia and Bowne. It was said that the stereotype on race brought different outcomes to the same crime. Garcia’s features as Mexican and growing up from an unstable background led the jury to think that Garcia has less chance of being rehabilitated than Bowne. On the other hand, Bowne was considered as a trustee while in the jail. It was reported that this may be because Bowne was a typical western boy with outstanding musical talent who grew up in stable background which made the jury see Bowne more favorably than Garcia. In other words, there may have been things other than the crime itself that punished Garcia heavily than Bowne. Without recommendation of leniency, Garcia was convicted of first degree murder. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 1962)

On Jesse Garcia’s case, people’s opinions vary. Some say that the case is an example of racial discrimination and that the legal process of the case should be analyzed critically. Others say the case was fairly handled as Rivenburgh, one of three convicts, was also given a death sentence despite of being white. It is still questionable whether Jesse Garcia’s sentence was justifiable. Given that Rivenburgh was penalized heavily, the idea that Jesse Garcia was fairly punished seems reliable. When it comes to trial and punishment, race can be a very sensitive topic to talk about. However, as long as America is full of people with diverse racial backgrounds, race is something that people will always talk about imposing suspicion on the fairness of the trial outcomes. Therefore, whether race factor was involved in past cases or not, to prevent any future cases from being impacted by the race factor, resolutions such as criminals’ right to avoid judges of certain races should be considered so that people would not get suspicious on the legal process.

June Sim is a junior at the University of Utah. She is currently majoring in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication.

Primary Sources

Tragedy Of Jesse Garcia Reflects A Displaced People,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 12, 1962, 2.

Ethel C. Hale, “Garcia’s Life Marred By Sequence of Betrayals,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 14, 1962, 2.

Ethel C. Hale, “Garcia Met With Crime At Prison, Prejudice At Court,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 15, 1962, 2.

Ethel C. Hale, “Sign Of Bias Seen In Garcia-Bowne Comparison,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 16, 1962, 2.

Fred Glauser, “Stigma On State,” The Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 1962, 18D.

Secondary Source

Tonry, Michael. “Racial Disproportion In U.S. Prisons,” British Journal of Criminology 34 (Spring 1994): 97-115.











Debate Continues Over the Use of Ute Mascot

By Jacob Rueda

The term “Ute” has become synonymous with the University of Utah. Names such as “Utes,” “redskins,” and “redskin braves” have been associated with the university sports teams in some manner or another. Most of those names have been dropped except for “Ute,” a name that is almost always associated with football.

In reality, the actual Utes are barely recognized by students and fans of the university’s sports teams alike. The tribe itself struggles to find acknowledgement in a world that cares more about use than consequence.

The University of Utah was established in 1850. It started using the Ute identity beginning in the 1920s, according to Utes Nickname Project website. The school received permission to use the “Ute” identity from one of the three recognized Ute Tribes, the Northern Ute Nation.

The other two nations, the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Tribes, did not grant permission to the school to use their name.

The Ute tribe has inhabited the area for over ten thousand years. The university has made efforts throughout its history to bridge relations with the Ute Tribe, albeit somewhat clumsily at times.

The Daily Utah Chronicle reported in October 1951 that the U.S. Supreme Court awarded $17,000,000 (equal to $167,880,884.62 in 2019 money) in an effort to appease the Uintah-Ouray reservation and for “furthering educational standards of the people.” Eleven young people between the ages of 17 and 19 were selected and interviewed for acceptance into the university.

Utonian 1-1

“Hoyo” first appeared as the University of Utah mascot in 1947. Used with permission from Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

At the time the university used a mascot called Hoyo, a cartoonish Native American child. The Chronicle absent-mindedly reported in that issue that the acceptance of native peoples at the university meant Hoyo “will at last have some country cousins on campus to urge him on to greater activity.”

Letters to the Editor in an April 1970 issue of the Chronicle acknowledged the “Ute” identity as a sign of strength, vitality, and “a source of pride.” While other students found the university’s mascots racist, others believed those who found them offensive were reading too much into things.

In April 1972, the issue was addressed again in the Chronicle. The concern over the use of native people’s image in college sports was growing nationwide. According to the article, tribes were suing universities for appropriating names and images alike.

There was some reconciliation later on, at least from the Chronicle itself. In 1987, the paper decided to distinguish when it referred to the Ute Tribe and when it referred to the school by using quotations marks when referencing the school. That practice has since been abandoned.

April 2014 saw the University of Utah signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ute Tribe. The memorandum is a five-year agreement where the university is allowed to use the name of the tribe on a conditional basis.

Utonian 2-1

The image of “Hoyo” was ubiquitous, especially in school announcements and calendars. Used with permission from Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Among the conditions, the university is to include in its campus programs a member of the tribe who was not a student. The purpose of that is to “enhance Native American perspectives,” writes author Larry Gerlach in the summer 2017 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly.

Other conditions to use the name include a tribe-approved Native American advisor, a special advisor to Native American affairs, a full-time advisor on the reservation for high school students to attend college, and financial aid and scholarships for Native American students.

The debate over the name came up once more in the Chronicle on August 2016. This time, it was about doing away with the “Ute” nickname altogether. The article deemed the nickname “culturally insensitive” when referring to the school. Two sides, one for and one against, argued their points much like Letters to the Editor did 46 years earlier.

The Chronicle reported in September 2019 efforts by the Housing and Residential Office and Social Justice Advocates to educate dorm residents and advisors on moving away from using familiar symbols and replacing them. They also suggested using the phrase “Go Utah” instead of “Go Utes.” To date, none of these transitions have been implemented.

According to Gerlach in his article for the Quarterly, the National Collegiate Athletic Association declared that starting February 1, 2006, “institutions with hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery” were prohibited from hosting championship games or displaying their mascots in jerseys and uniforms during championship tournaments.

Despite these regulations, the University of Utah was permitted to keep the classic drum and feather logo. Students at the school continue to debate its use.

Controversy surrounding the use of Native American symbols and names has plagued professional, high school and college teams alike. For example, the Washington Redskins continue to stir up controversy with their name and logo.

The situation with the Redskins is similar to that of the University of Utah with the drum and feather logo and the name “Utes.” Most fans support the team name and logo while others support changing the name and image of the teams altogether.

The situation got more complicated in Cedar High School in Cedar City, a small town in the southwestern corner of Utah. The mascot “Redman” had started to raise the ire of some members of the Paiute community.

In a Salt Lake Tribune article from January 2019, various members of the Paiute community expressed personal conflict when it came to supporting the mascot for Cedar High School. Opinions were split; some supported it while others didn’t. The support came at a price for some and questioned whether such support was warranted in the face of communal backlash.

Since that time, the school opted to change the mascot. Google docs published in the school’s website say a committee of “students, faculty, staff, and alumni” moved forward with changing the identity and mascot of the school. They are now known as “Reds” and the mascot is a wolf.

Unlike Cedar High School, the University of Utah does not have even a sizeable population of Native peoples. Therefore, it cannot and likely will not form any sort of committee with the kind of influence that impacted Cedar High School to evolve away from its former mascot.

Also, changing mascots for the university will not have the same significance as it did for Cedar High School. A school with a high non-native population that moves from using a Native American symbol cannot appreciate the significance of that like a school with a high Native American population.

Regardless, there is still a strong sense of pride for fans who identify as “Utes.” It has not waned in the slightest despite objections from individuals who feel the identity of “Utes” should not be commercialized or casually used.

Despite the clamor to respect Native Americans and protect the image of the Ute Tribe, statistics from the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis at the university say Native Americans accounted for 0% of first time freshmen, undergraduate or graduate students in 2018.

To date, there has been no inquiry on the tribe’s views of the name or how their image is appropriated and used by the University of Utah today.

Since the Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the Ute Mountain Tribe in 2014, there have been no formal documented objections from either side over the agreement.

How the Utes intend to proceed with their relationship with the university after all that has transpired remains to be seen.

Jacob Rueda is a junior majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism at the University of Utah.

Primary Sources

Connor Richards, “Debate: Should Utah Ditch The ‘Ute’ Nickname?” The Daily Utah Chronicle, August 29, 2016.

Indian Youths Enter U on Tribal Grant,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 9, 1951, 1.

Craig Glover, “Letters to the Editor: Seriously?,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 24, 1970, 1.

Indians See Red, Hide Skins to Ute,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 19, 1972, 2.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Ute Indian Tribe and the University of Utah,” April 2014.

Martin Raybould, “Letters: Bring ‘Ute’ Back into Football,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 13, 1984.

Natalie Colby, “Appropriation or Appreciation? Social Justice Advocates Host ‘Utah Fan Am I,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 26, 2019.

New Policy Distinguishes ‘Utes,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 1, 1987.

Erin Alberty, “Is a ‘Redmen’ mascot racist or does it honor Native Americans? The debate is dividing a southern Utah town,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 13, 2019.

The Utes Nickname Project, Communication Institute, The University of Utah.

Secondary Source

Gerlach, Larry R. “Appropriation and Accommodation: The University of Utah and the Utes.” Utah Historical Quarterly 85, no.3 (Summer 2017): 204-223.

Billy “The Hill” McGill: Utah’s Elite Center 1959-1962


Billy McGill holds up the No. 1 and a basketball in anticipation of the 1962 NBA Draft. Used with permission from Utah State History.

By Brayden Ramsay

Billy “The Hill” McGill was the University of Utah’s first college basketball player to be drafted as the No. 1 pick overall in the NBA draft, and the eighth African-American athlete taken No. 1 overall in NBA draft history. (Witucki) McGill was a phenom while at Utah (1959-1962), scorching the stat sheet and leading the Utes to a final four appearance. McGill’s time at Utah was glamorous as he topped national sports headlines and was widely known as one of the top college basketball players in the 1960s. After a short stint in the NBA, McGill left the league and soon found himself homeless. He would regret not getting his degree from the University of Utah up until he died in 2014. (Goon) Unfortunately, this scenario is all too familiar to college athletes across the United States of America. (Welch) Especially when it comes to basketball and football players.

Billy “The Hill” McGill was a six-foot nine-inch center from Los Angeles, California. McGill was someone who showed lots of potential in high school and eventually decided to attend the University of Utah for his college athletics career. McGill was a standout for the Utes in his freshman and sophomore seasons but was still a talent with lots of potential yet to be uncovered. After flashes of bright spots throughout his first seasons at Utah, McGill burst onto the scene in 1961 showing the world that he was a force to be reckoned with.

Expectations were sky high heading into the 1961 season as Billy “The Hill” McGill was heading into his final year as a Ute. In January of 1961, The Daily Utah Chronicle reported that Head Coach Jack Gardner said Billy McGill was among the best in basketball. Gardner wasn’t the only person to take note though, as national news outlets and NBA teams were also noticing. Teams and fans were going to have their eyes on McGill during the season, not only for his dominating performances, but also for school records that people were excited for McGill to break.

The upper classmen took on the lower classmen in the University of Utah’s annual red vs white game in November of 1961. This may have been an exhibition game, but this is where fans were able to get their first glance at what McGill could become through the 1961 season. The Daily Utah Chronicle writer Joe Ribotto brought McGill’s 50-point effort to life as the Utes created opportunities for him to showcase his skill in the teams opening matchup. McGill also showcased his rebounding skills with 26 on the night.

Utah’s big man was just getting started. Throughout the 1961-1962 season, McGill would continue to have monumental games and inch his way closer to the University of Utah’s record books.


Billy McGill looks to score a basket during a photoshoot with the Salt Lake Tribune in 1961. Used with permission from Utah State History.

McGill’s most famous game as a Runnin’ Ute came when his team needed it most, scoring 60-points in an effort against in-state rival BYU. In February of 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle writer Dave Smith described McGill’s performance as “blistering” as he scored 19-points in the final 12 minutes of play to lead the Utes to a 106-101 victory.

Astronomical scoring games seemed to come easily for McGill, especially in crucial games. In March 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle writer Norm Sheya put an emphasis on the importance of McGill’s 50-point performance that solidified the Skyline Conference Championship for the University of Utah. He would lead the Utes in scoring during Utah’s 19 point victory over Wyoming. This conference championship would allow a spot for the Utes in postseason play.

In his final year at Utah, McGill not only broke records. He shattered them. In March 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle writer Dave Smith expounded on the records that McGill set during his time at the University of Utah. This list included most field goals made, best field percentage, most total points, and most points per game average.

McGill would find his name at the top of many NBA teams wish lists towards the end of his senior season. When draft night finally rolled around, his name was the first one called. In May 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle writer Ernie Witucki was among the first to report that McGill had been selected as the number one overall pick in the NBA draft by Chicago. The signing of the contract would bring a close to a career where McGill scored over 2,000 points as a Ute and held almost every basketball record in the Skyline Conference.

The top of the mountain had finally been reached, and McGill accomplished what he had originally set out to do. Becoming the top draft pick and starting an NBA career is what most athletes could only dream of. It had now become a reality for the kid from Los Angeles. Sometimes though, dreams don’t always turn out as planned.

McGill’s life in the NBA started off well, signing a two-year contract to play for Chicago. He would eventually be traded to the New York Knicks where he would make a few appearances before being traded to the St. Louis Hawks which eventually led to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although McGill was once the top pick in the NBA Draft, he struggled to find a team that would sign him for more than a few seasons at a time. The ABA would come calling in his final two years as a pro before McGill decided to retire. In February 2011, The Los Angeles Times writer Jerry Crowe wrote a story on how McGill had really struggled since leaving the University of Utah for the NBA. He didn’t have a degree, and when the NBA didn’t go as planned, he became homeless and had a difficult time finding somewhere to land on his feet.

This is an all-too-familiar story to many college athletes who leave school early to take their shot at professional sports. In 1999, Welch Suggs of the Chronicle of Higher Education did a study on graduation rates of college athletes. Suggs found that men and women who played basketball and football had the lowest graduation rate of other collegiate sports. Something that the NCAA requires is for college athletes to take part in one season of collegiate athletics before entering the NBA draft. Unfortunately, this means that kids go to college without the mentality to graduate before moving on to professional athletics. Instead, they attend college and get by in order to enter the NBA draft as quickly as possible.

Billy McGill died in Salt Lake City in July 2014. He was 74 years old. The Salt Lake Tribune writer Kyle Goon paid tribute to McGill after the basketball star’s death by talking to his former teammates. One teammate, Jerry Pimm, described McGill as “one of the greatest players I’ve seen or been associated with.” McGill is survived by his wife, Gwen, and his grandson, Ryan Watkins.

The tragedy of Billy “The Hill” McGill shows the importance of getting a college degree before looking for professional work. It’s always important to have a backup plan in place for any profession, but especially if the route of professional sports is taken. Injury, performance issues, and failing expectations are among the many reasons why professional sports have a high chance of not working out. Before college athletes take off for greener pastures, they should consider getting their degrees so that just in case things don’t work out, a backup plan is in place.

Brayden Ramsay graduated from the University of Utah in December 2019 after majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. He was on the sports desk at the Daily Utah Chronicle and plans to continue his education by earning a master’s degree in sports management.

Primary Sources

Jack Gardner: ‘McGill is Basketball’s Best.’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 26, 1961, 4.

Joe Ribotto, “McGill Tanks 50 Points As Utes Whip Frosh 150-126,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 28, 1961, 4.

Dave Smith, “McGill Scores Sixty for Conference Mark,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, February 26, 1962, 4.

Dave Smith, “Utah’s Record Smasher Faces Final Battle,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, March 2, 1962, 5.

Norm Sheya, “Utes, McGill Leave Skyline with Victory,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, March 5, 1962, 1.

Ernie Witucki, “It’s Settled — McGill Signs Chicago Packer Contract,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 15, 1962, 4.

Secondary Sources

Suggs, Welch. “Graduation Rates Hit Lowest Level in 7 Years for Athletes in Football and Basketball.” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 1999.

Crowe, Jerry. “Billy McGill Has Difficult Time With Life After Basketball,” Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2011

Goon, Kyle. “Utah basketball: Utes pioneer Bill McGill dies at 74,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 12, 2014


The King of Swing: Duke Ellington Visits the University of Utah

By Jake Lewis

Jazz has long been recognized as one of America’s truly original art forms. Combining Western European classical music, African culture and improvisational technique, jazz assembled an entirely new musical language. The progressive genre also played a major role in ushering in the civil rights era decades before it began to gain traction on a nationwide level. As jazz gained popularity outside of the African-American community, Black musicians were beginning to receive recognition as legitimate composers, with many going on to perform at some the world’s most legendary venues such as the Cotton Club and Carnegie Hall.

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Orchestra leader Duke Ellington plays the piano before an audience in New York City, 1943. Public Domain, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection.

One of the most iconic African-American musicians of the jazz era was Duke Ellington. He is widely considered one of the greatest jazz composers of all time. His work not only catapulted jazz into the mainstream, but also brought along with it an impassioned message of equality that helped fuel the civil rights movement. As we near the 60th anniversary of his visit to the University of Utah in 1961, it is important we look back on how far Black musicians have come and draw on the significance of the trail Ellington blazed for civil rights in America.

Born in Washington, D.C., into a burgeoning Black middle class at the turn of the 20th century, Ellington’s family tried to shield him from many of the hardships of segregation that plagued the nation’s capital. Duke developed a sense of racial pride and social justice, which he carried with him throughout his decades-long career.

Ellington first broke on to the scene at a previously White-only venue known as the Cotton Club in Harlem. Ellington and his all-Black band quickly gained notoriety as some of the best jazz musicians in New York. It wasn’t until his 1932 album, It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing, that Ellington began seeing worldwide praise. Despite all of his success, Duke and his band still faced roadblocks when it came to segregation, even after White band managers attempted to protect the band. Even in more progressive regions like the Northern and Western United States, Black musicians were victimized by unexpressed segregationist policies. While passing through on tour, Duke and his band were denied service at a cafe in a Salt Lake City hotel in 1940. (Scott and Brooks)

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A portrait of the famed jazz musician Duke Ellington before his concert at Carnegie Hall in 1946. Public Domain, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.

This encounter in Utah did not stop Ellington from making a return to Utah, however. In 1961, Duke and his band came to the University of Utah October 4, 1961, for a performance at the Union Ballroom. The concert is first advertised in the September 22, 1961, issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle, with subsequent advertisements following on September 29, October 3, and October 4, 1961. Tickets cost just $1.75-$2 for students to attend the event.

Deseret News Music Editor Harold Lundstrom attended the event and recalled the concert in his October 5, 1961, column. Lundstrom remarked that Ellington’s work was incredibly influential for many artists throughout the jazz world. “The longer I sat listening to Duke Ellington Wednesday evening in the spacious Union Building ballroom on the University of Utah campus, the more I realized the fact that more ideas have been borrowed from him by jazz composers, arrangers, and band leaders than any other figure in jazz history.”

The concert included more than a dozen of Ellington’s most accomplished works, such as “Mood Indigo,” “Solitude,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” and even his own rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Throughout the concert, Lundstrom noticed a theme in Ellington’s melodies. Although split up by breaks in-between songs, Lundstrom believed that Duke’s compositions were constructed collectively, an uncommon trait in the improvisational world of jazz.

Despite recognizing the melodic themes carefully laid out in Ellington’s compositions, Lundstrom briefly mentioned, but failed to grasp Duke’s message of the tribulations of an African-American man in segregated America. “Best of all, in this day, sans the “angry young Negro” all of Duke’s music ends on a note of hope!”’ remarks Lundstrom in his October 5 review.

It is unfortunate that Duke Ellington’s visit to the University of Utah did not receive the fanfare it would have today. It is, however a reflection of its time. A segregated America was unable to acknowledge Duke’s brilliance that a modern audience would surely appreciate today. Duke’s struggles helped pave the way for modern African-American artists to thrive today. Without Ellington and the jazz movement’s push for desegregation, it hard to imagine where we would be today.

Jake Lewis is a senior at the University of Utah. He is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

“Jazz Concert Set,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 22, 1961, 4.

“Duke Ellington Sets Jazz Concert Wednesday,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 29, 1961, 1.

Jazz Duke Plays Peer Gynt in Royal Program for Utes,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 2, 1961, 1.

“Student Activities Add Spice to Campus,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 3, 1961, 3.

Harold Lundstrom, “The Duke and Improvisation,” The Deseret News, October 3, 1961, 15.

“Duke Ellington to Present Jazz Concert,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1961, 1.

Harold Lundstrom, “Sentimental Ellington Also Sophisticated,” The Deseret News, October 5, 1961, 48.

Secondary Sources

Scott, Michelle R. and Earl Brooks. “Duke Ellington’s melodies carried his message of social justice,” The Conversation, April 24, 2019.


Foreign Students’ Experience at the University of Utah in 1961

By Yunji Kim

It is common to see international students at the University of Utah nowadays. As students have more opportunities to study abroad, it has become much easier to meet people from various countries. There is the University of Utah Asia Campus in South Korea, which was established in 2014. Due to having a campus in South Korea, students and faculty members from two different countries can make connections with each other. However, foreign students were not a common sight in the 1960s. Even until the 1970s, many Chinese students at the University of Utah did not feel comfortable attending the university in the United States. Since it was unusual to have international students at that time, these students had a hard time adapting to a strange environment.

Egyptian Dinner

The Egyptian dinner was an important cultural gathering. This photograph was published in the May 1, 1961, issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

The Daily Utah Chronicle reported on May 8, 1961, that an Egyptian exchange student, Gamal Arafa, attended the University of Utah for a year. Before Arafa returned to his homeland, he shared his experience at the university, and how the attitude toward foreign students should be changed. What he liked about the university was how the students were studying based on the textbooks instead of lectures. He also liked how the university required students to take courses in different areas instead of only courses that are related to their major. However, he criticized the student government for not doing anything for students. He thought America, especially in colleges, neglected foreign students. His words were controversial among local students at the University of Utah.

In “Fit Punishment” published on May 8, 1961, one of the students said local students need to pay more attention to foreign students since they felt neglected in America. On the other hand, several students expressed unpleasant feelings toward Arafa’s interview. In the article, “We Got Letters from Our Readers,” published on May 9, 1961, McPherson, Dannenberg, and Naegle said that it is hard to take the opinions from him, and Emmett said foreign students come to the university to study like other local students. Therefore, the foreign students should  be treated like any other students.

Students from Abroad Committee Orientation Meeting

This image was published in the October 5, 1961, edition of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

There were contrasting opinions among students about foreign students. Although Arafa felt that local students needed to pay more attention, there were several events held for foreign students. According to The Daily Utah Chronicle published on May 1, 1961, there was an Egyptian Dinner as a school event that allowed the students to taste the Egyptian food. The university has put an effort into giving opportunities to indirectly experience the foreign culture for students.

Moreover, there was an orientation for foreign students. On October 5, 1961, The Daily Utah Chronicle stated that the students from the abroad committee planned to develop foreign student programming on campus. Due to having many events for international students, The Daily Utah Chronicle from May 4, 1961, announced that president A. Ray Olpin was recognized for his work in education through foreign exchange programs.

Despite these efforts the university put into, foreign students from the University of Utah still had difficulties living in the United States. In 1972, Chang surveyed Chinese students from the University of Utah, and they had a problem adjusting to the environment. According to Chang, Chinese students suggested the school to provide more information to help them understand the school, culture, social customs, a more adequate orientation program such as conversational and slang English, and more social activities to allow opportunities to be exposed to American culture and people. However, some of the difficulties Chinese students listed were not what the school or local students could address such as homesickness or cultural background which includes difference in language and social life. Although the university tried several ways for foreign students to feel more welcomed, some students felt there were not enough.

Due to the differences in cultural background and since America is not their home country, there are limitations for foreign students to feel at home. Foreign students facing difficulties in adaptation are continuing which both the university and the foreign students need to put more effort to break down the cultural barriers. Currently, the University of Utah did not only end up having events for international students but establish Asia Campus in South Korea which the students from both countries can experience and make connections with each other. Making connections with various countries would lead to breaking down the cultural barriers in the future. The data from the University of Utah states that the percentage of international students has increased from 25% to 29% for the past four years. As the rate of international students increases, the boundary between local and foreign students would be reduced because students would be exposed to diverse students with different background. Therefore, the foreign students would gradually feel less neglected while attending at the University of Utah.

Yunji Kim graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology.  

Primary Sources

Foreign Student Meet Set For Program Orientation,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 5, 1961.

Students from Abroad to Present Egyptian Dinner,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 1, 1961, 3.

Recognition,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 4, 1961, 2.

United States’ Attitude Week Says Foreigner,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1961, 1.

Fit Punishment,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1961, 2.

Neil McPherson, John Dannenberg, John Naegle and Lester Emmett, “We Get Letters from Our Readers,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1961, 2.

Secondary Source

Chang, Pang-Hsiung. Problems of Adjustment for Chinese Students at the University of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1972.

The Legacy of Dr. Khosrow Mostofi: An Uphill Battle in Establishing the University of Utah Middle East Center

By Christian Gomez

Violence and war have become a normal part of life in the Middle East. Typically portrayed in a negative light, the Middle East is often scrutinized by people throughout the world for its differences in religious and political views. This has contributed to a general lack of understanding of the cultures, practices, and languages that exist in the Middle East.

The University of Utah has championed Middle Eastern studies for many years in hopes of providing opportunities to better understand the Middle East. From learning new languages to gaining an appreciation for other cultures, Middle Eastern studies at the University of Utah have provided opportunities for new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the Middle East. But, it wasn’t always this way. It took the efforts of prominent figures to establish this curriculum—people like Dr. Khosrow Mostofi.


The Daily Utah Chronicle focuses on the accomplishments and retirement of former director and founder of the Middle East Center, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya. It also introduces Dr. Khosrow Mostofi as the new director. Photo from the July 1967 issue. Used by permission, The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Mostofi’s unique story began 7,000 miles away in Tehran, Iran, where he was born in 1921. He attended the University of Tehran, where he received his B.A. in English literature. His language skills were in high demand, and he taught English for the Ministry of Education at several institutions in Iran. (Bean, p. 306; Mostofi interview, p. 3)

In 1949, Mostofi immigrated to the United States. By this time, World War II had ended. But prior to leaving Tehran, he had met a U.S. officer from the Persian Gulf command. Mostofi and the officer stayed in touch after the war, and he told the officer of his plans to attend Columbia University. The officer informed him of the “cultural shock” that he would experience in New York City. Having been a student at the University of Utah, the officer suggested that Mostofi attend school in Salt Lake City—a place he had never even heard of. (Mostofi interview, pp. 3-4)

Mostofi quickly immersed himself into his graduate studies. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science four years later. Bothered by the lack of diversity in the curriculum, Mostofi proposed that three courses on the Middle East be implemented—an idea originally met with skepticism by administrators. Eventually, courses were added, and the University of Utah qualified for its first grant for the Middle East Center. (Mostofi interview, pp. 4-5)

After a two-year teaching stint at Portland State College, Mostofi returned to the University of Utah in 1960 when he was named the assistant director of the center—working alongside then-director and founder of the Middle East Center, Aziz Atiya. There were no formal degree programs and the only staff was Mostofi, Atiya, and one secretary. (Mostofi interview, pp. 6, 19)

Mostofi_Photo_2 Final-2

Dr. Sami A. Hanna, left, associate professor of languages, and Dr. Khosrow Mostofi, director of the Middle East Center, discuss their plans for the new cultural exchange program in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo from a February 1971 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle. Used by permission.

While the addition of the Middle East Center was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t embraced by everyone. In an interview with Everett L. Cooley, Mostofi spoke about the “outright hostility in some circles” that the program was met with on campus. Some faculty felt that funding should be spent elsewhere, and not on a new, unproven program.

In 1966, Mostofi resigned his position to pursue full time teaching and research. His resignation was brief, as Atiya fell ill, and Mostofi took over. The Daily Utah Chronicle highlighted this change in its July 1967 issue, which commemorated Atiya and introduced Mostofi as the new director. (Mostofi interview, p. 18)

Mostofi introduced reforms for the center, citing a lack of performance. He reached an agreement with the U.S. Office of Education that allowed the center to host professors from Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Israel for three-month intervals. Mostofi improved curriculum by forming strong relations with Iran—as evidenced in the August 1966 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle. The center’s funding increased, and graduate and undergraduate programs were approved. Seven graduate degree programs emerged for Middle East Studies: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Anthropology, History and Political Science. (Mostofi interview, pp. 18-20)

After receiving little support from the federal government, Mostofi secured grants from major organizations—changing the entire outlook on the Middle East Center. He also formed relationships with the public-school system, as well as the local community, beginning a “grass roots support” for the center. This was illustrated in the February 1971 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle, when Mostofi organized a cultural exchange program for U.S. students in Tunisia. (Mostofi interview, pp. 24, 27)

In his interview with Everett L. Cooley, Mostofi made it clear what his mission had been throughout this entire process: “Changing attitudes and outlooks.” Mostofi did this by instilling the Middle East’s proud and expansive history in higher education’s curriculum. It was about shifting the misperceptions associated with the Middle East, and bringing to awareness the richness of its culture.

Mostofi etched his mark on students at the University of Utah. The April 1964 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle drew attention to Mostofi’s efforts in bringing thousands of Persian books to the library. His prominent role in the development of the Middle East Center left a lasting impact, and it most likely wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for his contributions.


The Daily Utah Chronicle highlights Dr. Khosrow Mostofi’s efforts in bringing in over 3,000 volumes of Persian books for the Intercultural Library. Photo from the August 1966 issue. Used by permission, The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Mostofi retired from the Department of Political Science in 1987, but remained a Middle East Center consultant until 1991. He was honored with the Distinguished Service Award and acknowledged as “an internationally recognized scholar of Iranian culture, history, and politics,” according to the August 1992 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Today, the Middle East Center stands strong—empowering students to enact change and become global citizens. It offers graduate and undergraduate programs that provide students with dynamic skills in language and cultural comprehension in the Middle East. For students today, the center serves as a stepping stone for potential careers in public affairs, public service, business, and several other fields. Opportunities now exist for students to participate in conferences, workshops, and outreach activities to further their understanding of the Middle East, and shed the stereotypes that are still prevalent in today’s society.

Christian Gomez is a junior at the University of Utah. He is studying strategic communication with a minor in writing in rhetoric.

Primary Sources

Former Middle East Center director dies,” Daily Utah Chronicle, August 12, 1992, 3.

Intercultural Center Gains 3,000 Volumes,” Daily Utah Chronicle, August 16, 1966, 3.

Iran Embassy Honors Prof For Writings,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 10, 1964, 4.

Mid East program okayed,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1971, 5.

Profs Gain Posts,” Daily Utah Chronicle, July 14, 1967, 1.

Transcript, interview with Khosrow Mostofi, conducted September 17, 1985, by Everett L. Cooley, Everett L. Colley Oral History Collection, J Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, The University of Utah.

Secondary Source

Bean, Lee L. “Khosrow Mostofi.” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 26, no. 2 (1992): 306-07.




Venerated Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks at The University of Utah

By Liam Elkington

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most documented figures in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. His active support of anti-segregation policies in the South, his status as a community minister and his ability to speak from his experience as a Black man in America cemented him as one of the most revered and significant men not only of his time, but in all of American history. His outspoken advocacy for civil rights earned King many invitations to speak of colleges and universities, one of them being the University of Utah.


A portrait of Dr. King published in the Daily Utah Chronicle that was used to promote his visit.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born to a middle-class family in Georgia in 1929. His father, Martin Luther King Sr., was a Baptist minister, and his mother Alberta was a schoolteacher. He attended Morehouse College and Cozer Theological Seminary, later conducting his doctoral studies at The School of Theology at Boston University. In 1955, while working as a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, he became a leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. His role in that nonviolent protest is thought to have propelled him into national awareness, as discussions surrounding the Civil Rights Movement coming out of Alabama grew in frequency and became the concern of not only African Americans living in the South, but Whites too. (Lincoln, 1970)

In 1961, King was invited to speak at the University of Utah, where he was to deliver his speech titled “The Future of Integration.” Leading up to the event, which was to be held in the Union Ballroom on January 31 at 8:15 p.m., The Daily Utah Chronicle gave context to readers regarding King and his accomplishments. On January 26, 1961, the Chronicle reported in the article, “Revered King, Set for Ute Talk, Becomes ‘Reluctant Race Leader,’” information about when and where King would be speaking, noting that the event was organized by ASUU Assemblies and Convocations committee. The article referred to King using an outdated term, calling him a “negro leader.”

Other Chronicle articles also preceded the arrival of Martin Luther King Jr., further advertising the event and further stating his accomplishments as a scholar and author. On January 30, 1961, Elaine Krans wrote in “Martin Luther King Sets Campus Speech” that King achieved fame after “his preaching of non-violence succeeded in ending the segregation on the public buses of Montgomery, Alabama.” On January 31, “Southern Leader Speaks on Race Problem Tonight” highlighted again how King used peaceful methods for social progress.


Dr. King meets with Dr. J. D. Williams, who spoke at the event before King’s arrival.

However, the event did not go entirely to plan. King was delayed and so arrived at the University of Utah about two hours later than expected. While this may have caused some stress for the event organizers, they were vocal in their appreciation for the patience of the crowd gathered to hear King speak. In their letter to the editor published on February 6, 1961, Gail Plummer and Dave Gillette of the Assemblies committee thanked the student body for the “tremendous support.” They recounted how when they received the news that King would be late arriving, Dr. J. D. Williams stepped in to provide context and background for King’s remarks, filling time until his arrival. Plummer and Gillette were astounded at the attentiveness and enthusiasm of the crowd, citing the event as a success despite the delay. One student, Kay Winston, wrote in the April 4 Chronicle how the event demonstrated the maturity of the student body, praising the ability of the Assemblies and Convocations committee. Winston also advocated for bringing more controversial speakers on campus “so [students] may decide for themselves what they would like to believe, instead of being led down a road of one type of influential speaker.”

Following King’s visit, the Chronicle published an article on February 2, 1961, that summarized his primary points. “Negro Leader Looks at Integration” reported King’s belief that “integration will be accomplished, and stressed that it cannot be accomplished without sacrifice on the part of the Negro.”

The University of Utah continues to invite scholars and public figures of varying viewpoints to speak to its students. The sentiment of Kay Winston remains true, that being exposed to a variety of opinions allows those studying different worldviews to inform their own beliefs. This can be seen how the University of Utah continues to promote discussion surrounding important societal topics and allowing a variety of viewpoints to be shared, wherever they may come from. In 2017, notable conservative figure Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of Utah campus, creating much discord and some annoyance among the student body. While this may not have been the goal of Shapiro’s visit, it demonstrated that the university is still dedicated to providing a platform for speech that encourages students to think critically. Martin Luther King’s positions about social integration of a marginalized community surely were also seen as controversial, but still provided an opportunity for the students of 1961 to gain insight into a prominent movement. King’s vision of race integration may yet to completely come to pass, and the need for students to think and interact with important ideas has never diminished, therefore it continues to be a vital function of colleges and universities to provide an environment where students can interact with important ideas from a variety of sources and speakers.

Liam Elkington is a senior at The University of Utah, studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. He hopes to use his education to aid in the recording and reporting of truth.

Primary Sources

“Reverend King, Set for Talk, becomes ‘Reluctant Race Leader,’” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 26, 1961, 2.

Elaine Krans, ”Martin Luther King Sets Campus Speech,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 30, 1961, 1.

“Southern Leader Speaks of Race Problem Tonight,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 31, 1961, 1.

“Negro Leader Looks at Integration,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 2, 1961, 1.

Gail Plummer and Dave Gillette, “Letters to the Editor: Thanks,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 6, 1961, 2.

“Secretary Hopefuls Tell Duties, Responsibilities of ASUU Office,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 4, 1961, 2.

Secondary Sources

Lincoln, C. E. Martin Luther King, Jr.; A Profile. New York: Hill and Wang, 1970.

Fraternities and Discrimination at the University of Utah in 1962–1963

By Megan McKellar

In 1928, more than half of college fraternities incorporated an “exclusionist” clause in their constitution in order to deny membership to people of color, according to Charles LaPradd in College Male Fraternities in Controversy. (p. 60) One such clause was written into Phi Delta Theta’s constitution, which stated that “only male, white persons of full Aryan blood not less than sixteen years of age, shall be eligible.” (LaPradd, p. 61)

interfrat council1_Page_1

The Interfraternity Council at the University of Utah gathered for a meeting in January 1961. Photo credit: Daily Utah Chronicle.

However, following the end of World War II, a national movement to eliminate racial and religious discrimination had begun. Many war veterans returned home with little tolerance for discrimination, having “fought alongside Negro and Jew in a war precipitated by men with an Aryan philosophy.” (LaPradd, p. 61) Universities started to take steps toward abolishing discrimination practices.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah, or ASUU, formed a committee in the beginning of 1962 called the Human Relations Committee. The purpose of the committee was to investigate various sectors of student living for discrimination or unfair practices. The Daily Utah Chronicle reported in May 1962 that the committee found certain Greek organizations with “white clauses” (clauses that denied membership to non-whites) in their constitutions, and that even groups without such clauses still practiced discrimination. Additionally, an off-campus charter of Delta Gamma pledged a “Negro” and consequently had its charter suspended by the fraternity’s national office.

Students wrote letters to the Daily Utah Chronicle expressing their views on the discriminatory practices of the fraternities. Their opinions were varied. Student Doug Mottonen wrote one such letter in May 1962, describing the fraternities as “discriminating institutions.” He believed that each fraternity needed to be supplied with “a copy of the Bill of Rights, a Bible, a New Testament, and related documents.”

Three days later, a response to Mottonen was published in the Daily Utah Chronicle titled “Free Association” and signed by 12 male students. They called Mottonen’s perspective “narrow and bigoted” and asserted that the Constitution does not say that a person does not have the right to choose their friends. They claimed that they had no problem with riding or eating with a person of another race, but defended the notion that fraternities had the right to exclude whomever they see fit.

Mottonen wrote another letter the same month defending his initial assertions. He reasoned that “stipulating membership requirements on racial grounds implies inferiority. Such an organized practice is a breeding ground for egotism, prejudice and racial superiority attitudes. A discriminating act of a single sorority or fraternity may seem like a small thing. But if one were to multiply all the organized discrimination of our society in its totality, what emerges is a tremendous cost in human suffering.” The group of fraternity members did not submit a response.

interfrat council1_Page_2

University of Utah students prepare an application for the fraternity rush in April 1961. Photo credit: Daily Utah Chronicle.

On January 25, 1963, the Daily Utah Chronicle published the University of Utah’s Student Affairs Committee’s policy on discrimination in group organizations. The policy stated that the aims and goals of the organization needed to be aligned with the objectives of the University as a whole, and that membership requirements of the group were to further serve to reach the goals of both the group and the university. The policy emphasized unauthorized membership discrimination, stating that “the educational goals of the University are not best served by restricting organizational membership on the basis of religious belief or ethnic origin.”

This policy sparked another series of articles and letters to the editor. An editorial published in February 1963 in the Daily Utah Chronicle argued against the policy, reasoning that the policy was in direct conflict with the national policies of fraternities, thus jeopardizing the existence of the campus organizations. In a letter to the editor, three students argued that fraternities had the right to discriminate. They defended their stance by claiming that fraternities were not the only groups that practiced discrimination, and that “fraternities discriminate on more than just race and religion, although these are indeed important.”

As the University of Utah and its students grappled with discrimination within fraternities, there were those who worked to abolish discrimination, and those who defended and rationalized it. Although the community and society as a whole have since made great steps toward equality and fair treatment, social injustices still exist. In our society, there too will be those who work toward justice and those who find justifications for long-standing oppressive practices, practices that are harmful to a variety of marginalized groups. Today, the social issues that we face might involve people of color, or the LGBTQ+ community, or women’s rights. It is important to examine our own beliefs, and the practices of the organizations and societies to which we pertain, and to work toward justice and equality.

Megan McKellar is a junior at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

Letters to the Editor,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 7, 1962, 2.

Letters to the Editor,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 10, 1962, 2.

Greek Discrimination ‘A Problem,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 11, 1962, 1.

Letters to the Editor,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 16, 1962, 1.

Student Organizations Set Policy,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 25, 1963, 4.

A Threat to Greeks,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, February 5, 1963, 2.

Greeks Present Answer in Discrimination Issue,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, February 18, 1963, 2.

Secondary Source
LaPradd, Charles William. “College Male Fraternities in Controversy, 1950-1965: As Reported in American Magazines.” EdD diss., Florida State University, 1965.


Guest Lecturers at the U: From Cartoonists to Civil Rights Leaders

By Rahul Barkley

The importance of racial diversity in higher education should not be understated. The lack of racial diversity on a college campus can lead to skewed prioritization and underrepresentation while an ethnically diverse campus that encourages cross-race socialization and frequent discussion of racial issues can result in self-confidence, positive interaction between students, and overall college satisfaction. (Gonzalez, 2012) With the topic of racial diversity, reflecting upon historical contexts can provide integral insight on issues of race within a collegiate setting.

In the Fall 1960 semester at the University of Utah, a lecture series sponsored by the ASUU Assemblies and Convocations committee and the Extension Division was entering its third season. The goal of this series was to give “students and faculty a chance to hear the views of some of the world’s great people on some timely and critical problems.” (1961 Utonian, p. 203) Several notable speakers were scheduled to speak throughout the 1960-61 school year. Looking back, it is notable to point out the various speakers that the University of Utah was able to get. From politicians to columnists to anthropologists, the student government undoubtedly succeeded in obtaining an eclectic roster of guest lecturers. What is more interesting, however, is how the University’s media covered the appearances of certain speakers. The University of Utah was a considerably less diverse institution in 1960 and with that, it is important to look at how the school’s media outlets might have prioritized certain speakers depending on their race.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his visit to Salt Lake City on January 31, 1960. Image courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The Daily Utah Chronicle first covered the lecture series on October 3, 1960, by primarily giving attention to the speaker who was going to start off the lecture series, Al Capp. The article gave background information on Capp’s world-renowned work as a cartoon artist. The article concluded by listing some of the other lecturers who would come to speak later that year. One of the speakers who was mentioned was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The following day on October 4, 1960, The Chronicle followed up with a similarly structured article.

This is where the question of prioritization comes in. Is it right to rate the value of certain individuals’ contributions to society? From a 2019 lens, one would probably argue that King had a far greater and important impact on American culture than Al Capp did. Even for the time, King had already made some monumental strides in the Civil Rights Movement. Did America in 1960 not value the contributions of the civil-rights activist? The more likely answer is that the predominantly white University of Utah could not foresee how important King was as an individual.

Eventually, King was given his own article once it came close to the time of his appearance. The January 30, 1961, issue of The Chronicle described King with just reverence and respect when giving readers background information on the speaker who would soon visit their school. Another article was written in The Chronicle about King on the day of his lecture on January 31, 1961, this time offering specific details on what the topic of his lecture was going to be on. The article quoted the subject of his lecture as “The Future of Integration.” (Daily Utah Chronicle, 1961)

MLK and Williams

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking with political science professor J. D. Williams during King’s visit to the University of Utah. Image found through the Deseret News archives.

Should there have been more attention given to the appearance of Martin Luther King Jr. in those initial Chronicle articles? Or was it sufficient to give him his exposure during the time of his lecture? Given the aforementioned goal of the lecture series, more coverage should have been given to King’s appearance considering that the Civil Rights Movement was a central part of arguably the most “critical problem” that America had been facing at the time. This problem is further highlighted in the fact that King’s arrival in Salt Lake City for the event was delayed an hour due to a bomb threat. (House, 2012) Surely none of the other guest lecturers faced a detriment like that. And surely The Chronicle could not have foreseen such a thing happening to King, but it should have made clear after the fact of who would have been the most important speaker of that lecture series.

Rahul Barkley is a fourth-year student at the University of Utah. He is a double major in strategic communication and film and media arts.

Primary Sources

“Dogpatch Ambassador to Speak,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 3, 1960, 1.

“Capp’s Lecture Kicks Off ’60 Guest Speaker Series,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1960, 1.

Elaine Krans, “Martin Luther King Sets Campus Speech,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 30, 1961, 1.

“Southern Leader Speaks of Race Problem Tonight,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 31, 1961, 1.

The University of Utah, Utonian (Salt Lake City, Utah: 1961), 203.

Joe Bauman, “King’s visits to Utah are chronicled,” Deseret News, January 19, 2009.

Secondary Sources

House, Dawn. “Civil rights speaker questions Utah’s History with Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 2012.

Clarke, Chris Gonzalez. “Rethinking Research on the Impact of Racial Diversity in Higher Education,” Review of Higher Education 36, no. 1 (December 2012).