Side-by-side classrooms in Monmouth College’s new Center for Science and Business Center Building were donated by 1955 graduates Richard Ameen and Alan Larson, who started first grade together at Monmouth’s Garfield School in 1939.
Neither knew the other was a room donor until the building’s dedication in May.
As childhood chums, they had graduated from Monmouth High School and entered Monmouth College in the fall of 1951. Following their time on campus, they entered graduate school at the University of Illinois, rooming together while Ameen studied mathematics and Larson studied physics.
Their first jobs were in Southern California in the U.S. space program. Larson worked for General Dynamics/Astronautics in San Diego, while Ameen worked for TRW in Los Angeles.
One Christmas, as they got together, with their wives, in San Diego, a surprising coincidence occurred. It was discovered that the wives had bought identical cosmetics gifts for each other. Over the next several years, Christmas greetings were exchanged, but that practice eventually faded away and the couples lost track of each other.
After five years as manager of data processing at the Iowa Department of Education and 15 years in other supervisory positions for the State of Iowa, Ameen served as a contracted consultant for the Iowa Department of Transportation, where he developed their online Driver’s License Issuance Program. He resides in Nevada, Iowa.
Larson retired after 30 years as a professor and associate director of mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he lives with his wife, Sally Smith Larson, a 1956 Monmouth graduate.
At their 55th Monmouth High School reunion in 2011, Ameen and Larson met once again and reminisced about their earlier years together, but Ameen was unable to attend the dedication ceremony for the Center or Science and Business. Larson, however, was delighted to find Ameen’s name as the donor of Room 177, a psychology classroom next to Room 178, a nuclear research lab that Larson had donated. Larson sent Ameen memorabilia obtained at the dedication and photos of their rooms.
It touches both men that adjacent donor wall plaques will symbolize, for many years, their special relationship, which dates back more than 70 years.