Alvena Storm was born on March 10, 1902, in Pendleton, Oregon, where she grew up on a wheat farm. Her parents were immigrants from northern Germany who shared maps with their children, fueling Storm's early interest in geography. She earned a bachelor's and master's degree in geography at UC Berkeley. Storm joined the SDSU faculty in 1926 and taught here for 40 years, coming to be known as an expert on the geography of California and the West.
The west wing of the social sciences building on campus was renamed Storm Hall in her honor in 1986. In 1996, Storm received an honorary doctoral degree from San Diego State University, one of only five professors at the time ever to be awarded that honor. Storm died on June 11, 2003, at the age of 101.
1986 interview with Alvena Storm, SDSU Professor Emerita of Geography from 1926 to 1966.
In this interview totaling 2 hours and 12 minutes, Dr. Storm talks about her family and early education, and why she did not pursue a Ph.D. at Berkeley. She describes her teaching experience at the Umatilla Indian reservation, and her first impressions of the Normal School when she first arrived in 1926. Storm also describes the various students she saw and taught during that time, and student activities in the 1930s, and discusses the wildlife where Adobe Falls used to be. She also discusses the field trips she took her classes on, and some of the interesting anecdotes that resulted such as getting poison oak, killing rattlesnakes, and the time a student fell into a cactus on Banner Grade. Storm further discusses her colleague in the department, Lauren Post, and her service on campus committees and as chair of the Geography Department.
Interviewed by Lyn Olsson on audio cassette on 7/11/86.
Image credit: Professor Alvena Storm with student in 1958, University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections & University Archives.
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