- Published on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:06
- Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff - Town Crier Staff Report
A respected and beloved coach, teacher and principal, Dushan “Dude” Angius Jr. left a legacy at Los Altos High School. However, there are few signs of that legacy on campus – though that’s about to change.
A steering committee comprising Angius’ biggest fans successfully lobbied the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees to name the Los Altos High gymnasium after him. The five-member board unanimously approved the move at its Jan. 28 meeting. An official dedication is scheduled May 3.
“We are pleased to be able to honor the legacy of Dude Angius with the naming of the LAHS gymnasium,” board President Joe Mitchner said in a statement. “This will help preserve his memory for future generations.”
“I’m so happy about it,” said Angius, 85, who received word by phone right after the decision.
During his 20-year tenure at Los Altos High – from the school’s opening in 1955 to 1975 – Angius served as chairman of the physical education department, director of athletics, director of student activities, counselor and principal, serving as the latter during his last 10 years at the school.
“Many (former) students are still benefiting from the lessons, skills and ethics instilled by their association with Dude,” according to a statement by the school board.
Angius is a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos, where he served a term as president. In response to the AIDS-related death of his son Steve, Angius founded the internationally renowned Rotary AIDS Project.
“He’s my hero,” said Mel Kahn, a 1959 Los Altos High graduate and fellow Rotarian, who led the 17-member naming committee.
The school board voted to approve naming the gym in Angius’ honor after Richard Henning presented a petition with more than 1,000 signatures in support.
Some might say it’s about time. The Los Altos High football field is named after Tom Burt and the track for Leo Long. Angius hired both coaches. A faculty-produced proclamation honoring Angius, intended for display in the gym lobby, never came to pass. A trophy case reflecting the Los Altos High powerhouse sports teams under Angius is no longer on display, and the school’s former team name, the Knights, has since changed to the Eagles.
“It really bothered me,” said Angius of how traces of his legacy disappeared. “We had some outstanding athletic achievements.”
When Kahn and other supporters had lunch with Angius six months ago, Angius expressed a desire to have that proclamation finally displayed at the school.
“(Kahn said) ‘Dude, we can do better than that,’” recalled Angius, now a Walnut Creek resident.
The naming committee will continue to work with school and district administrators on the process leading up to the May 3 dedication.
“We’re going to fill that gym up quickly,” Kahn said.
Testimonials flow for beloved principal
In addition to the 1,000-plus signature petition, the naming committee compiled numerous testimonials dedicated to “Dude” Angius, former principal of Los Altos High School.
“Dude Angius was the most influential person I knew my whole four years at LAHS,” stated 1960 graduate Jackie Johnson Dunnett.
“Dude Angius represented everything good as a role model and educator,” wrote 1961 graduate Jeff Eikenberry. “He was very serious about teaching his students scholastically as well as morally” but was known for his “dry sense of humor.”
Numerous testimonials recalled Angius’ support for students, even under pressure.
Alumnus Steve Anderson recounted how Angius “held off the FBI in his office, wanting my pictures of demonstrators at SRI. I said no, and Mr. Angius told them to leave. … Dude stood up for my rights. I will never forget that day.”
“There was really strong support (for naming the gym after Angius) by a large cross-section of people,” said Joe Mitchner, president of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees. “It was a pretty easy decision. You need to set a high bar when you award name recognition. Dude met that high standard.”
The naming committee has established a scholarship fund in Angius’ name to support Los Altos High students “demonstrating excellent leadership potential.”
To donate to the fund, send checks made out to “Los Altos High School,” with “Dude Angius Scholarship” on the memo line, c/o Mary Prochnow, 164 Main St., Los Altos 94022.