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Neill reflects on La Verne history

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Bill Neill presents his faculty lecture “Thirty Years of Filming La Verne” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Neill, owner of Lordsburg Productions and former assistant professor of communications at the University of La Verne, talked about the school’s early days as La Verne College. In honor of the 125th anniversary of the University , Neill donated 125 of his videos to the Wilson Library archives, managed by Benjamin Jenkins. The videos feature sports events, interviews with former presidents of the University, club events and student field trips. / photo by Berenice Gonzalez

Bill Neill presents his faculty lecture “Thirty Years of Filming La Verne” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Neill, owner of Lordsburg Productions and former assistant professor of communications at the University of La Verne, talked about the school’s early days as La Verne College. In honor of the 125th anniversary of the University, Neill donated 125 of his videos to the Wilson Library archives, managed by Benjamin Jenkins. The videos feature sports events, interviews with former presidents of the University, club events and student field trips. / photo by Berenice Gonzalez

Thandi Ware
LV Life Editor

The University of La Verne celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and with that comes remembering how far the institution has come since opening its doors in 1891.

Alumnus and former professor of communications Bill Neill, who attended La Verne College from 1955 to 1964 as an education major presented just some of the over 60 hours of footage he has shot of The University and its many events over the years to a packed room Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

“These are cherished moments, these experiences have been monumental in both their wonderment and their pain,” Neill said during his lecture.

Neill’s footage features everything from football games to 9/11 memorials on the University campus. Neill’s lecture featured him recollecting his time at La Verne and the many memories he made here, as well as a brief showing of two videos Neill shot and edited himself.

The first video was a short documentary on ULV’s centennial, which featured La Verne’s 14th president Harold Fasnacht speaking on the state of the country and how far the University had come in 100 years.

The second video took a look at how the events of 9/11 affected the campus when it happened and how the University remembered the events of that day the following year.

Neill mentioned how during his time at La Verne there were only 250 students and slinging around profanity was rare and frowned upon by students.

“You’re in college, can’t you express yourself better than that?” Neill said.

Neill spoke fondly of the Old Gym, which was torn down to make room for the Campus Center.

“I was on the basketball team and we played in that old gym,” Neill said. “It was one of the earliest buildings on campus.”

Professor of Communica­tions Mike Laponis spoke about Neill’s dedication and his experiences working with him.

“He created movie magic with little to no budget,” Laponis said. “And he always had this camera glued to his shoulder.”

Laponis also mentioned a time when they were shooting a video for La Verne, which featured two live and unleashed leopards wandering around Founders Hall.

At the end of the lecture, everyone made sure to pay their respects and thank Neill for what he has done for La Verne over the years.

Sophomore business administration major Austin Denison came to the lecture as a requirement for his honors colloquium class, but said he was glad he attended.

“I probably wouldn’t have come but I’m really glad I came. It was enriching, it was fun to see all the videos,” Denison said. “They give us a window into the past and it allows us to look back and think about the changes and why we’ve made them.”

The University of La Verne has certainly changed a great deal since the days when Neill graced the campus.

“Of course it’s bigger but I don’t think it has changed in its values,” Neill said.

Thanks to him however, the campus’ progress and transformation over the years is beautifully documented in film.

The more than 60 hours of film that Neill has donated is located on the fourth floor of Wilson Library and is slowly but surely being uploaded to the library’s YouTube page: ulvwilsonlibrary.

Thandi Ware can be reached at thandiwe.ware@laverne.edu.

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