Willie Parson

     Most of my childhood was spent in the rural South.  I grew up in a small, quiet, rather typical (of rural communities)
town in Northern Louisiana. I attended schools in my home town and in another city some 20 to 25 miles away from my home.
School bussing was not and continues not to be an issue of serious concern on the part of those who do not, by virtue of color and priviledge, have to send their children to dis- tant cities every day. And so it goes on, blindly, un- justly.

             The cure-all for social ills and injustices, college, began for me at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1959. I majored in English, chemistry, biology, English, and finally bacteriology by the time I graduated in 1963.  I spent the first six months after graduation working as a cancer researcher for Greater New Orleans Cancer Research Foundation, in completion of a project which had been started a few months prior to graduation. In the Fall of 1963 I was hired as an instructor in bacteriology at Southern and spent the next two years there. It was also during this time that I began to think seriously about graduate school. My wife, Sylvia, (we were married near the end of 1963) graduated in 1965 and I decided to enter graduate school after she graduated.

            All of my graduate training was received at Washington State University in bacteriology.  The years I spent as a graduate student were perhaps the most trying, and on many occasions the most frustrating of my life. That's all behind me now. Good!

             While I was at Washington State I came to know about Evergreen, at first through the news media, and subsequently through a friend at Evergreen and a visit to the school itself.  I liked its philosophy and its ideals and knew that I could not work happily in the system that had left such a bitter taste in my mouth as a graduate student.  And so I'm here.

W.L. Parson

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