The Argus’ memoirs and memories from the seventies

By Farah Bassyouni Sep 30, 2022

Homecoming weekend was filled with events, fireworks, food and, most importantly, Illinois Wesleyan alumni. For the first time in a long time, The Argus team from 1972 came to visit the current Argus staff. In the notoriously memory-filled office, we shared memories, laughs, a little bit of Tobin’s Pizza, and the salad nobody ate. 

“The Argus is a legacy I hope you carry on,” said Tom Wetzel’72 , listing 1st place awards The Argus had won during their time on staff that are still displayed on the walls of the office. 

Tom was the editor-in-chief of The Argus during his time at IWU he talked about offering free donuts to people who would write headlines for him, sleeping in the office on editing nights and how The Argus kick-started his journalism career. 

“I got bit by the journalism bug my freshmen year and I can’t go back,” said Wetzel. He said “you’re not gonna get rich doing it, but I love it and I’m passionate about it. That’s just who I am,” 

Dave Gathman ’74, the old features editor, was on his way to becoming a lawyer or a chemist, but then he met Wetzel, standing next to the jukebox at Tommy’s. 

“I was basically a wallflower. Then I was the features editor, managing editor and then editor-in-chief,” said Dave. He also met his wife, Sally Gathman, through The Argus. He excitedly looked over to her, almost as if he was asking permission to tell the story of how they met. 

“I was going to ask this girl out on a date when I had gotten back from the holidays, so I dropped my stuff off at Dolan, where I used to live, came through that door, and there she was sitting on the photo journalist’s lap,” Dave Gathman said. He ended up meeting Sally that day. “And we’ve been married for 40 years now,” she said. 

Dave Gathman carried out a career in journalism and his peers describe him as “a natural.” From his days at The Argus, where he used to get in trouble for running stories about IWU students streaking across the campus. He’s retired now and trying to get back into film criticism. 

“It’s fun for us to come back and spend time here. I used to spend 40-50 hours a week in this office,” said Wetzel. 

Back then, The Argus staff was about two dozen people, and they’d go door to door to give people the latest copy of the paper. They reminisce about feuds with the Student Senate and administration, as well as some of their largest stories, like covering the protests against the women’s lounge hours. 

“You guys probably can’t even imagine this right now, but women at IWU used to have restricted hours and curfews. Once, the managing editor had to get permission for me to stay past hours to cover a story,” said Kathy Andrews ’72, the copy editor of The Argus at the time. 

Andrews, who sported a sentinel Argus-themed shirt, went on to work at an in-house publication and also got a library degree. She said the current team has it easier now that we can use the internet. 

Standing together in the same room, generations apart, both Argus teams posed for pictures and took home some more pizza before the alumni left for the rest of homecoming weekend.

Wetzel left what remains of The Argus, who felt the honor of having such a history on their shoulder, with a few inspirational words. “There is such a hunger among young people. We knew back then that this was never just a student paper,” he said.

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