Student body presidents

Thank you for the terrific article about the Bradley student body presidents in the last issue. It was fascinating to read up on a community of individuals who share a common experience, but who did not know very much about each other. Well done!

Cromwell, Conn.

Honoring a legend

I couldn’t agree more with KENT FARLEY ’63 regarding what I consider a snub of CHET WALKER ’62, one of the greatest athletes and men who has ever come out of Bradley. For those of us who were privileged to watch the battles between Chet “The Jet” and “The Big O,” Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati, from 1958 to 1962, it was such fun. I don’t think in Bradley’s basketball tradition you can find anything comparable. Just ask JOE BILLY McDADE ’59 MA ’60, BOBBY JOE MASON ’60, CURLEY JOHNSON ’58, and others who played with him. If Chet wasn’t the greatest athlete, he was one of the top five our school has ever produced considering the times and the fact the team competed against southern schools. 

I had the privilege of taking some classes with Chet. He was a great example. Give the man his due. 

Edina, Minn. 

I was pleased to read the letter by KENT FARLEY ’63 on “Recognizing CHET WALKER ’62.” I shared a lot of classes with Chet as we were both physical education majors. Chet’s years at Bradley were memorable in many ways. Besides being a two-time, first-team All-American (1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons), Chet led the Braves to postseason play each of his varsity seasons, including the NIT championship over Providence in 1960. In addition, the Braves were ranked #2 in the nation behind Ohio State, which had Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, and Bobby Knight. Probably the greatest college game I have ever seen was Bradley’s 91-90 victory over Cincinnati in 1960. The following week, the cover story in Sports Illustrated was “A Mighty Roar in Peoria.” 

I followed Chet’s career in the NBA, which included a championship with the Philadelphia 76ers. Chet was a class act and one of the most decent human beings I met at Bradley. 

Ardsley, N.Y.

The summer issue of your magazine had a letter from KENT FARLEY ’63 regarding CHET WALKER ’62. I agree wholeheartedly that Bradley needs to remember its superstars. I’ll never forget the night that Chet and the Braves beat Oscar Robertson and the Bearcats 91-90 at the old Field House. Having made the freshman team as a walk-on, it was a great honor to have been on the same floor with Chet “The Jet.” 

Naperville, Ill. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for an article about Chet “The Jet’s” induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7. 

Speech team memories

Reading about the Bradley forensics team’s laurels and history brought back memories for me. I was part of a Bradley team that went to the University of Missouri for a tournament in the mid ’50s. It was still a time when there was segregation in Missouri and many other southern states.

When we got to the motel, they would not allow a black team member to stay. Our coach, Dr. Norton, created a big fuss, and he was allowed to stay. The next morning, we could see people with fumigation equipment waiting to clean the room.

When we headed back to Peoria, one of the vehicles had engine problems, and we had to stop in a small Missouri town. My teammate and I walked down the street to get something to eat, and everyone looked at us. He noticed and said we should catch up with the others. They would not serve him at the restaurant except through the kitchen. We all decided to skip eating.

I always remembered this trip and ended up in 1994 founding a program to insure companies for discrimination and sexual harassment liability. I will be 77 this year and am grateful that these instances of segregation will never again happen in the open.

Shippensburg, Pa.

Let me say congratulations to the 2012 speech team for winning both the AFA and NFA — a great accomplishment that should be celebrated. Let me also congratulate Hilltopics for realizing what a great accomplishment it is and recognizing that for more than 30 years the speech team has been something to be celebrated at Bradley. Many share my opinion that this article should have been written years ago. I would love to see an article about alumni who have won individual championships and what they are doing today. 

Your article does an admirable job of recognizing the 2011–12 team and director Dan Smith. His 14 national titles in 16 years of coaching are a fantastic accomplishment. You also recognized two icons in the world of intercollegiate forensics. Laurence Norton and George Armstrong built Bradley into a national powerhouse and deserve every bit of credit the article gives them. 

So here’s my question — why did you ignore the other three directors whose teams won almost a third of Bradley’s national championships? 

Gary Dreibelbis was mentioned but not that he was director for three years and won six national titles. His teams never lost in national competition. I am not impartial when it comes to Gary (I was on those teams) or the director who followed him. My wife Katie Elton was director from 1991 to 1994, and her teams won all three NFA championships and two AFA championships. Katie and Karen Piercy, who was director in 1995 and 1996, were never mentioned. 

I know there are many alumni who would join me in thanking Gary, Katie, and Karen for their significant contributions to the Bradley speech team “dynasty.” 

Buffalo Grove, Ill.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you for giving Bradley Hilltopics the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Gary Dreibelbis, Katie Elton, and Karen Piercy.

I want to thank Bradley Hilltopics for shedding light on the speech team. When my friends and family saw the cover and the team picture inside, some realized for the first time that what I did on the Bradley University speech team was important. I have transitioned from a competitor on the team to a coach, and your article makes it easy to move forward this season knowing the Bradley community is behind us.

Germantown Hills, Ill.

My compliments to you on the excellent summer edition of Bradley Hilltopics. The spread on the speech team’s accomplishments over the years is very interesting. What an awesome double-page photograph of the Bradley campus. Such detail and clarity. Well done. 

Peoria, Ill. 

Goldin retirement

After receiving the latest edition of Hilltopics, I was so disappointed that there was not a farewell article on KEN GOLDIN ’64 MA ’72. The gala was such a terrific night, and his career is well worth the print. I am not sure why this event lacked the coverage.

Washington, Ill. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bradley’s longtime business manager was honored in the summer issue, at the top of page 3 on the inaugural Bradley Bits page. Visit to read more about Ken. 

Proud of women’s basketball 

After reading the recent article about Bradley’s athletic director, Dr. Michael Cross, I was left wondering if Bradley still has a women’s basketball team? 

As a former member of the team at Bradley, I found the article to be neglectful of the hard work and dedication that all athletes devote to their respective sports, regardless of gender.

In my senior year, our team set the school record for most wins in a season. A few years ago, when Paula Buscher’s team broke that record, it was bittersweet for me. That same year, the Lady Braves made their first post-season tournament appearance. I attended that game and was a very proud alumna of Bradley and the women’s basketball team. 

I am proud to have been a Lady Brave and want the very best for future generations of women’s basketball players at Bradley. 

Lebanon, Ohio 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Cross discussed every team during the interview, but space was limited. Women’s basketball is featured here