Chatting with Grandpa about USU,
then & now
By Kandice Crompton
April 22, 2009 | As a soon-to-be graduate I was recently
talking to Grandpa, the only other member of my family
to graduate from college, who also just happens to be
a USU alum. He has told me anecdotes about school for
years, and I finally decided to share some of his thoughts
Clifford Crompton attended USU from September 1946
until he graduated in 1951. He and my grandma, Fae,
were married just six months before he started attending
school and by the time he graduated the two had two
Crompton graduated with a bachelor of science in civil
engineering, and he says he majored in "highways."
"I took most of my classes in the old engineering
building on the south side of the quadrangle,"
Crompton said. "I took 18 or 19 credits a couple
of semesters, but usually only took 15 or 16."
The first year Crompton attend USU the couple lived
in Brigham City, in an old hospital that had been turned
into an apartment building. He took the bus to school
daily, riding through the canyon in the winter.
"I was going to school on the GI Bill, and they
paid for my schooling and gave us $90 a month to live
on," he said. While he can't remember how much
they paid for rent, he knows it wasn't much.
For the rest of his schooling the Cromptons rented
a government-owned trailer on the east side of campus.
Again Crompton said he didn't know how much the rent
was, but knew it was very little compared with today's
Fae worked at The Bluebird Restaurant while Clifford
went to school, although it was not the Bluebird as
the locals know it today. Fae said the restaurant was
on the northwest corner of campus, and this job brought
in some extra money to help raise the two boys.
Because the two didn't have a lot of money, Clifford
says he doesn't remember them spending a lot on fun,
although he did take a skiing class using old Army surplus
"The class was taught on the hill by Old Main.
After my class Granny (Fae) would bring her equipment
down to the hill and I would try and teach her what
I had learned."
The thing Cliff talked about most was the feud between the foresters and the
engineers. Many have heard of the giant Paul Bunyon
that the engineers steal from the foresters, and Cliff
has many stories of participating in this longstanding
"We hung his head off a flag pole one time. We
greased the pole so they couldn't get it down"
he said with a laugh. Ultimately firefighters had to
be called to get the head down. "Another time we
stole their wooden horse form a summer camp up the canyon,"
Crompton remembered. "We were up all night mixing
concrete to fill it, and left it in the middle of the
When asked how the horse was removed, Crompton said
a stick of dynamite had to blow it up, as it was too
heavy to move.
Yet another story that is too good to leave out is
the time a cow was stolen from the dairy and given a
"We took it up to the third or fourth floor of
the forestry building and left it there overnight."
Although he doesn't remember much about what the foresters
did to get back with the engineers, he said it was a
The Cromptons participated in activities current students
can relate with as well.
"We always went to basketball games," Crompton
Cliff said they would often go with other guys that
were there on the GI Bill.
"We would go into the games and one guy would
gather all our ID cards, take them outside, and let
our wives in." Although he admits that practice
was wrong, Cliff said he and Fae always enjoyed the
"We used to get ice cream at the creamery on
the north side of the quadrangle," Clifford said.
For those that aren't aware, Aggie Ice Cream used to
be on the first floor of the Animal Science Building.
Crompton said he remained friends with fellow students
for years. "I worked with one for a year after graduation
in California, and then for 30 years at Geneva Steel
in Orem as well."
Clifford says he has only been back to the USU campus
once since he graduated 59 years ago.
"I could find my way around!" Clifford exclaimed.
"I couldn't find a place to park without getting a ticket."
USU may have changed a lot in the last six decades,
but Crompton said it's still a great education. It's
important to remember those before us who made the school
what it is today. Who knows what those engineering and
forestry students would do for fun if my grandpa and
his friends hadn't kept that tradition going!