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Cal U names building for husband, wife

| Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A residence hall at California University of Pennsylvania has been named after Adelaide and Ivan Guesman, educators from Greene County.

The names of a Greene County husband and wife soon will be added to a residence hall at California University of Pennsylvania.

During a special meeting on Friday, the university's board of trustees unanimously renamed Residence Hall C the Ivan H. and Adelaide Ivill Guesman Hall.

Ivan Guesman graduated in 1941 from California State Teachers College, and his wife preceded him in 1938.

The couple, both in their 90s and of Jefferson, were notified by phone of the honor. A small, private meeting will be held to share the moment with the former educators, university officials said.

“Ivan and Adelaide Guesman truly embody our university's core values of integrity, civility and responsibility,” said Geraldine Jones, university interim president. “As alumni, Adelaide and Ivan are wonderful role models, in terms of both their careers and their exemplary service to others, including their alma mater.

“I am proud to have our university associated with this remarkable couple, and I am pleased to know that their names will become a permanent part of our campus landscape,” she added.

The recommendation to the trustees cited the couple's philanthropy among the reasons for renaming the residence hall.

“Their alma mater is indebted to them for their generosity and support,” it states. “Their donation to fund one of the guest rooms in the Kara Alumni House, dedicated in honor of their parents, is a wonderful accolade to the very special people who taught those values and instilled in them a love for others.”

Neither of the Guesmans was available for comment.

Ivan Guesman began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Greene County, an assignment he learned about two weeks before school started.

“I was sure that my professors prepared me well in all my academic areas,” he said in a 2009 Cal U Review article. “But there was no way they could have prepared me for how to actually teach 17 children in eight different grades — and keep the coal stove burning — all at the same time.”

He transferred to an elementary school in Pitt Gas, Greene County.

At the new school, he saw Adelaide Ivill, a fifth-grade teacher, and discovered they both had attended the teachers college. They were married in 1943, 10 days before Ivan was called to duty in Europe during World War II.

He went on to get a master's degree and served as West Greene School District superintendent. In 1968, he joined the faculty at California University of Pennsylvania, teaching for 13 years.

His wife retired in 1975, having taught for 35 years.

The couple sponsor scholarships for students, and they helped in other fundraising activities for the university, according to the Review article.

In 2008, they received honorary doctorates from the university.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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