Hample was JC homecoming queen — in 1935Seventy-five years ago Helen Hample stood where the Raugust Library now sits on the James-town College campus, at mid-field during halftime of the homecoming football game. Then college president, Dr. B.H Kroeze, declared Hample Jamestown College’s 1935 homecoming queen — and placed a leather football helmet on her head.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Seventy-five years ago Helen Hample stood where the Raugust Library now sits on the James-town College campus, at mid-field during halftime of the homecoming football game. Then college president, Dr. B.H Kroeze, declared Hample Jamestown College’s 1935 homecoming queen — and placed a leather football helmet on her head.
Today, Hample, 95, will have another ceremony as she greets spectators during halftime at the homecoming game when the Jimmies take on the Hardrockers of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
“She’s an icon at the college and it’s an anniversary worth celebrating,” said Dr. Robert Badal, Jamestown College president.
Hample said there was a pep rally the night before the game and roller skating in the gym with a jukebox, except students needed to own their own roller skates to participate.
Jamestown College now has events planned throughout the week for homecoming, including a concert, a hypnotist and a dance.
Hample, who grew up in Casselton, N.D., has been a Jamestown College Jimmie for more than 90 years. Hample had her eyes on Jamestown College ever since her father, a Presbyterian minister, took his daughter to the campus for a ministers meeting.
“As a 4-year-old I knew Jamestown College students, so I knew all about athletics and choir when I was a child, and it didn’t help that my dad was a Presbyterian minister because this place was founded by Presbyterians,” Hample said of her decision to attend Jamestown College.
In 1935, there were about 350 students at the college. The campus consisted of a football field and four buildings, a library, a gymnasium, Taber Hall, and the chapel with the campus dinning room located in the basement, Hample said. Now, the campus has more than 17 buildings and about 1,000 students.
When Hample was a student, she served food in the dinning room, was president of the YWCA and lettered in athletics, she said. She believes this was part of the reason she was elected as the sole member of Jamestown College’s 1935 homecoming court.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1935, Hample took a job teaching in Edgeley, N.D., where she was promoted to principal in 1937, she said.
After Edgeley, she taught in Wahpeton, N.D., and Montevideo, Minn. She worked as an aircraft communicator for the Civil Aeronautics Commission in Huntington, W. Va., during World War II.
Hample married Ross Hample and moved back to Jamestown where she started working part time at Jamestown College in 1946. Ross was a salesman at Hample Signs and sold magnetic door signs in Jamestown. He died in 1986.
In 1954 Hample rose to dean of women at Jamestown College and in 1969 she became the dean of students. She retired in 1980 and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters and was declared a professor emeritus in 1981, she said.
“I enjoyed the students when they were in attendance and the alums when they returned,” Hample said.
Some of the people she was good friends with now have buildings named after them, like Kroeze, who attended her wedding in California, and Henry Taber, who brought in potatoes from a college-owned farm for the students to eat. But some of her old students also remember her as a good person.
“She was just the matriarch, she was everybody’s mom,” said Ed Nafus, class of ’63.
Nafus believes the students enjoyed having Hample around.
“Just the style and class she held herself with, she was someone to look up to,” he said.
At 95 Hample has a wealth of knowledge she shares with officials at the college.
Badal checks with Hample before going to cities he hasn’t visited to learn if anyone there has a connection to the school, he said. He said she has a great memory for names of people.
One person Badal had Hample keep tabs on was Ethel Peasgood, an alum from the ’30s who spent all her money to go to Alaska and teach, Badal said.
Peasgood ended up in Fairbanks, Ala., the same town where Hample’s daughter, Jamestown College alum Carol Hample-Switzer, moved to. Peasgood taught in Alaska for 40 years and became one of the state’s leading educators, Badal said. Hample kept Badal updated, he said.
Hample’s son, Steve, of Bozeman, Mont., is also a Jamestown College alum.
Badal said Hample stays loyal to the college partly because of the friendships she’s made.
“I think it has to do with the friendships that are made here, they’re lifelong,” Badal said.
Hample said she kept in touch with eight other graduates through a round robin letter from 1936 to 2006. She said it stopped because six of the nine women have died.
Nowadays Hample stays active in various clubs and groups in Jamestown, including the Jamestown College Boosters, she said. She also enjoys traveling and reading, she said.
The football game starts at 1 p.m. and Hample will be honored at halftime.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by e-mail at email@example.com