50-Year Reunion

Sept. 15, 2022

A Time for Reflection and Celebration

Dr. Marvin Selke, Steve Pierce & Steve Todd

Steve Todd ’72 is an Animal Sciences graduate and fourth-generation Arizonan who comes from an agriculture family with deep ties to Phoenix and Prescott. Steve reflected on his connection to the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences as he thought about celebrating his upcoming 50th reunion at Homecoming.

Thinking about his senior year in the fall of 1971, a memory quickly arose. “I remember finding out that my grandmother, Mary P. Todd, was celebrating her 50th reunion that fall.” She received her degree in Home Economics in 1921, and he chuckled with amazement about her returning to campus for the golden celebration. Fast-forward to 2022, and Steve finds himself in similar circumstances. Like his grandmother, Steve was an involved student, participating in Greek Life (Phi Gamma Delta), the Rodeo Club, Livestock Judging, and the Bobcats.

The class of ’72’s senior year was a time of turbulence. “It was a very contentious and volatile time on the campus. The Vietnam war was going on, and I had a low lottery number for the draft. There were war protests going on campus, riots on Park Avenue, and the drugstore on University and Park got bombed.”

One lasting memory Steve shared was the time he was called into the Dean’s office and was handed a letter informing him he had been awarded a scholarship that would enable him to stay in school to finish his education. Just as importantly, it was an acknowledgement that one of his professors recognized his academic growth and believed in his potential. Steve never forgot how special the experience was and, in 2021, he decided to pay it forward by establishing a CALES scholarship to recognize students who are following a similar path. His hope is that one or more of those recipients will do the same to support future students down the road.

The lifelong friendship that Steve treasures most from his time at the university is the one with his wife, Melissa ‘72. Fellow Bobcat Jeff Derickson ’72 and Celaine “CeCe” Bartow introduced them. Small talk on the night they met led to a two-hour conversation that is Steve’s most cherished memory. “We will be married 50 years in March 2023, and it all started right there. It was pretty amazing.”

Steve looks forward to his golden reunion and waxes philosophically as he thinks about who he will see during Homecoming. “I’m not sure who will be there, but I do know who won’t be there, good friends who have passed. And it reminds me to appreciate the friendships I have had and to not take each day for granted.”

His grandmother would be proud.