First homecoming queen hits the spotlight

Jackie Holmes

Wendy Holden, SFVSC’s first homecoming queen, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts in 1961. Courtesy of: Wendy Whitehouse

In 1957, Wendy Whitehouse attended a dance that would create a memory that she would never forget.

Whitehouse was crowned the first homecoming queen.

“It was really an honor,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Whitehouse (maiden name Holden) was part of the graduating class of 1961, of what was then known as San Fernando Valley State College. Her class was the first class to graduate in four years.

The theater arts major in the College of Speech-Drama was also involved in many different school plays.

It was also during this time that a children’s theater was built here. She said she participated in “Hansel & Gretel” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

With her already busy schedule, Whitehouse still had time to start a sorority on campus.

She also won prom queen during her senior year, which she attended with her husband. She refers to her husband as her biggest fan. When she had won homecoming previously she had not met her husband yet.

“I loved everything about it,” she said. “I loved the friends and the teachers.”

She was so involved in school, she and her husband still come back to help on the Founders Day committee even though the school is very different from what it used to be.

“It’s fantastic. It [CSUN] is so big,” Whitehouse said.

Coming back also has its perks for Whitehouse because she can run into people she has lost touch with over the years, she added.

Through her work with Founders Day, she has run into some of her sorority sisters and they now keep in touch through e-mail, which she describes as really wonderful.

“We all look like our grandparents now,” she said.

When she graduated college, Whitehouse moved to New York and was in a number of television commercials, she said.

Two years after graduating, she married her college sweetheart. The two met when she was a freshman and they started dating her sophomore year.  She said she saw him on campus and he introduced himself.  He was a few years older since he had gone to the Air Force. From then on, their love story continued to unfold. They moved back to California when they got married, and she still does a number of commercials.

After having her first child in 1966 she worked in an architecture firm as a secretary until the firm burned down and she moved. Sometime while working at the architecture firm she had her second child.

Whitehouse is a breast cancer survivor, she said.

She and her husband now of 47 years have “lived happily after,” she said.

Whitehouse can’t decide what she loved most about her college days, but she still has all the newspaper articles from her days of homecoming queen.