It is difficult to reflect on the many events and personal relationships without first expressing the school’s profound and significant impact on my personal development. The faculty of the school, each having a strong parental-like demeanor, instilled in students strong social values, and respect for others, in an atmosphere of small classes and personal interactions. These inspired a lasting character of self-esteem and disciplined self-confidence in students.
One of my significant encounters was with MAJ Russel Guernsey who advised me after I expressed to him my uncertainty, as a first-term junior to accept what would be a Quartermaster position in the rifle team or to strive for a leadership position as an officer in the corps. His advice to me at the time, and lasting for my life was “to accept a certain position would be an easy choice … the hard choice, as in life itself, would be to strive for a leadership position.” As it turned out, I became Cadet Major, as a Junior in the fourth quarter and then again as a Senior in my fourth year at St. John’s.
What wonderful memories I have of the recreational time “skits” put on by Dean Hargrove and Larry Rice; the travels of the Crack Squad to perform statewide at half-time basketball games; the Missouri State indoor rifle competition in which I won first place; and the travel by myself and AL Ransom to Kansas City to meet and invite former President Truman to be our commencement speaker.
After more than 75 years, of dual university master’s degrees, numerous corporate domestic and foreign business creations, and success, I fully credit St Johns, its faculty, and its student body for the positive impact on my life for my education and growth experience which cannot be overstated.
In 1971 Roger wrote a letter to Hazel Fonck and Keith Duckers. He included a photo of himself explaining that after all these years he still was able to fit into his uniform.
— Roger A Bigler 1955