“While I was not on campus during the shooting, I was a student teacher/grader in an architectural engineering design class the semester before, and Charles Whitman was one of my students. I was amazed to learn that he was the shooter. He was, in my then-opinion an all-American kind of guy – fairly good student, clean cut, personable, ex-Marine, Eagle Scout. I could not believe that he was the shooter.
My dad worked for the Bridge Division of the Texas Highway Department then, and he had an unobstructed view of the Tower from his office in the Greer Building during the event. I was on my first job with Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, OK.
When we heard about the Tower shooting I called my Dad who described the blow-by-blow events from his office perch.
It was several days afterward when my dad called and asked me if I knew Charlie Whitman – again, I was amazed.
I don’t remember much about the TV coverage of the event (all of our channels for Bartlesville were out of Tulsa), but I have seen the black and white clips of Neal Spelce‘s coverage on KTBC, and have discussed it with him briefly from time to time.
After that summer I returned to campus to take my last required course and to interview for jobs (which took me all over the country). I’m sure there was conversation about the event, but it was not significant enough for me to recall details.
We were all a little embarrassed that it happened at UT, just like we were all embarrassed that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas.”