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California State University, Long Beach
Alumni Association

Edward Boersma, ' 60 B.A. Social Science

Edward Boersma Graduation Portrait

Describe your college experience.

My family came from the Netherlands in 1947. We arrived in Paramount, Ca. which used to be known as Hynes. I learned to speak English when I was in the eighth grade. I dropped out of high school at age sixteen to go to work. At age twenty, I presented myself at the local junior college. Thus began my college experience.

I was granted an opportunity at Compton Junior College for which I am still grateful today. I graduated from Compton in February 1957 with precisely 60 transferrable credits which were accepted at LBSC.

My LBSC career began in the fall of 1957. To keep body and soul together for my family I was a truck driver. One day I stumbled into the Geography department and found a home. My college experience really began when I met the geographers, especially Dr. Burton Anderson, I loved it and experienced some reasonable successes. However, since I was a commuting student, I did not attend many of the student events such as dances and 49er days. Most social events were limited to the geography department. I was invited to join Gamma Theta Upsilon which is the National Professional Geographic Fraternity and was admitted in October, 1959.

What was your favorite hang -out on campus and why?

There were two spots. There was a little beer joint named the 49er, on 7th street and I would meet a few friends there occasionally. The other spot was a lobby near the professor's offices. There was always someone there to talk to and I enjoyed meeting the guys there.

Which professor(s) or staff made an impact on your academic or professional career and why?

There were 5 professors who had an impact on my life, four geographers and one sociologist. The geographers were Dr. Burton Anderson, Dr. Sheldon Erickson, Dr. Jim Wilson, and Dr. Rod Steiner, however, it was Dr. Anderson who impacted me the most.

Dr. Anderson approached me in class one day and asked if I would assist him in doing a research project dealing with the southern California dairy industry. I agreed. He asked me because I was well acquainted with the industry. The result was a published paper entitled, Changing Location Factors In The Los Angeles Milkshed, by Burton L. Anderson and Edward Boersma. Dr. Anderson was very generous with me because he gave me full credit when he in fact did most of the work.

The sociologist who impacted me was Dr. Nick Massaro. His lectures were absolutely fascinating, to me anyway. When we were about to graduate, he leaned over his lectern one day, looked every one in the eye, and said, "So you think you are so smart now that you are about to graduate? Let me remind you, for the rest of your life you meet people who know something of which you will know nothing."

What did you do after graduation?

After graduation I worked ten years for the ABC Unified School District. I taught the subject (geography) as often as I could. Even today I find folk who would not be able to locate countries such as Iraq on a map. I picked up approximately 50 additional graduate credits after graduating from LBSC.

What are you doing today?

Today I live in Visalia, California. I have been self employed since 1971 as a general contractor specializing in mobile home parks and modular home construction. I have also spent many years as a consultant in the municipal solid waste business. Much of my time has also been spent running our 300 acre walnut farm.

My wife Betty and I have three grown children and twelve grandchildren. Today I am mostly retired but Betty and I are avid RVers and we travel quite a bit. I also wrote my family story, entitled Courage Born of Faith.

Tell us something about the value and/or meaning of your CSULB experience.

Looking back over the last fifty years, LBSC had a profound effect on my life. I have a deep appreciation for education in general, but having sat at the feet of learned professors at LBSC has been very rewarding and gratifying. This ignorant Dutch kid was privileged to be given a chance at higher education and to be exposed to teachers who showed compassion and patience. Thanks!


Students in a classroom

Gamma Theta Upsilon in 1960 with the two-fold purpose of instilling greater interest in, and knowledge of geography. Edward Boersma, '60 is in row 3, second seat from the right.

Husband and wife standing in front of model A car.

Edward Boersma, '60 with his wife, Betty and their dog in front of a model A car.

Husband and wife on vacation on a ship.

Edward Boersma, '60 and his wife, Betty on their trip in Alaska.

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