Puyallup: News

After 25 years, Pierce College Puyallup reveals contents of time capsule

The contents of a time capsule put inside a wall at Pierce College Puyallup are displayed on a table after being removed during a June 9 unveiling party at the campus.
The contents of a time capsule put inside a wall at Pierce College Puyallup are displayed on a table after being removed during a June 9 unveiling party at the campus. Courtesy

Faculty, staff, students and alumni of Pierce College Puyallup gathered on June 9 to experience the unveiling of a time capsule that was sealed in the Gaspard Administration Building 25 years ago.

When the Gaspard Administration Building was dedicated in 1990, the school board decided to put a time capsule in it.,

“They identified a spot in the wall and the capsule was put in on June 18, 1992,” said Marty Cavalluzzi, president of Pierce College Puyallup.

Many years later, Pierce College community members filled the Gaspard lobby, eager to see the items the time capsule held.

“None of us knew what the time capsule was going to look like,” Cavalluzzi said. “A plaque on the wall marked the location of the capsule so we had to unscrew the plaque, which took a long time, and then everything was in a square box between two beams.”

After helping to remove the plaque, Pierce College Chancellor Michele Johnson removed the contents of the capsule to show the crowd.

Marc Brouillet, son of Washington legislator Frank (Buster) Brouillet — who sponsored the bill to create a community college system in 1967 — also participated in the unsealing and held up each item as Johnson described them for everyone to see. The table in the center of the lobby was soon filled with pictures, magazines and many other souvenirs from the past.

The unsealing event was planned by Pierce College’s marketing and communications department in celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary and provided an important sense of community for the attendees.

“It provided an opportunity for us to gather and reflect on what I consider to be, a job well done,” said Brian Benedetti, director of marketing and communications. “It also is a historic cache of products and information that helps paint a picture of what it was like back then. It provides a valuable link to our history.”

The capsule included items such as copies of Time Magazine, People, The News Tribune and the student newspaper at the time. There were also aerial photos of the campus and photos of the faculty in 1992.

“All of the magazines were my favorite items, seeing old actors in what seems like a different lifetime,” said Cavalluzzi. “It was fun to thumb through some of the copies and see what was important to people back then.”

One of Benedetti’s favorite items from the unveiling was a VCR tape of the groundbreaking of the Puyallup campus, which he recorded during his time in the media department at the college.

Besides all of the fun and reminiscent items, what stood out the most to Cavalluzzi was how many people the time-capsule unsealing brought together.

“People were laughing and hugging. It was a fun and heartwarming community event,” he said. “It was amazing to see the difference this school has made in people’s lives over 25 years, and I don’t think we can do more than that.”

This is not the end of the time-capsule tradition, however. A second table was set up in the Gaspard lobby collecting items to be put in a new capsule.

“The plan is to create another space in the wall to put the capsule, which is set to be opened in another 25 years alongside the current capsule so that when they are opened again, one will be 50 years old and the other 25,” said Cavalluzzi.

There is no date set for when the two capsules will be placed back in the wall, but Cavalluzzi says they are waiting for the fall quarter to start so that more students can help decide what items should be in the new capsule. In the meantime, students have been asked to create a narrative predicting what they think the world will be like 25 years from now.