‘It’s not good-bye, it’s just see ya later’
Director of Campus Activities, Scott Drummond, retires after 25 years at CWU
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Editor’s Note: McKenzie Lakey also works as a media assistant in the Publicity Center, an office which collaborates with Campus Activities.
As a young college student in the 70s, and known as one of CWU’s “Dance Kings,” Scott Drummond always knew that a piece of him was destined for a career that called for a spotlight.
What he never knew, was how he could get there. But after a few years of what he described as “couch hopping and job hunting” in California, Drummond found his way back to his early roots of entertainment at CWU.
Now, after putting on thousands of shows and training over 200 student programmers, Drummond is moving forward into his next act–retirement.
Key to Campus Life
The snow may have piled by the inches last week and the temperature sat well below freezing, but more than 50 staff members still gathered in the third floor of the SURC on Thursday, Feb. 2, to celebrate Drummond’s retirement after 25 years as the director of Campus Activities.
A handful donned their own khaki shorts as a nod to his unique 365-day work attire–just a small piece of Drummond’s big personality that he brings to the job every day.
“Outside of work I think he’s the same, which is why I think people are drawn to him,” said Sarah Grant, Drummond’s daughter. “He’s not trying to put on a mask.”
But as paper cutouts fashioned into masks that resemble Drummond’s well-known smile made their way around the room last Thursday, the real Drummond was standing in a corner, watching the spectacle of his own party unfold before him.
“I don’t know what to do at these things,” he said quietly, almost as though he was thinking out loud. “I’m always on the other side.”
Earlier in the afternoon Drummond was presented with a shadow box that featured Traditions Keeper lapel pins and a medallion, each highlighting a different career milestone.
Drummond also received a key to Beck Hall, the residence hall he managed while attending CWU in the late 70s, making him “forever an honorary member of housing.”
As the party carried on upstairs, a handful of boxes filled with over 25 years of paperwork and memorabilia sat stacked around his desk, some strapped shut with blue tape and others lying half open.
Several autographed posters from entertainers who have passed through CWU clung to the walls of the Campus Activities office, creating a timeline of memories around the room.
Bob Hope, Macklemore, Wayne Brady and several other campus entertainers have all left their mark on CWU and reflect just a fraction of Drummond’s experiences on campus.
But to Drummond, it’s not about the celebrities that he’s become associated with throughout his years on campus—it’s the personal connections he’s made along the way.
“It’s about the people,” he said. “It’s always about the people.”
Many of those connections and memories are shared with the student programmers Drummond has worked with throughout the years.
“I think that he brings a lot to CWU,” said Marissa Anthony, a student programmer who has worked with Drummond throughout this academic year. “I swear he knows everyone in Ellensburg, and cares about them all so much … that is something that I really admire about him.”
Rooted in Entertainment
Although CWU has been part of Drummond’s life for the past few decades, he still vividly recalls the first time the university caught his eye.
Teenaged Drummond was driving back home to Oak Harbor from Montana during a warm summer day when he made a stop in Ellensburg.
“My first impression was like, ‘Wow, it’s like college in the movies’,” Drummond said. “Central was just the place I wanted to go.”
Drummond took a two-year gap after high school and he enlisted in the reserves before he took the leap to college.
But Drummond decided that he wanted to pursue a degree in education while playing college-level football and baseball, and soon made his way back to CWU.
It was during his time as a residence hall manager when the event programming really took charge in his life.
Drummond helped transform the Bassettis into CWU’s own dance club with just a makeshift stereo system, hand-picked security, a quarter cover charge and a wide array of LPs.
“We had our own unofficial name of our dance company [called] ‘Dance Your Ass Off Productions,’” Drummond said. “We were considered the ‘Dance Kings of Central.’”
Drummond and his friends hosted several shows that were strictly alcohol-free with over 300 attendees at any given time—all with “no damages [and] no problems.”
He also developed other events, such as movie marathons and intramural leagues, during his time as the residence hall manager for Beck Hall.
“I didn’t realize it,” he said. “But that was how I was getting my start in programming.”
Back to the Beginning
With the first show of his career being held in the old Student Union Building’s (SUB) Pit, Drummond said it was only fitting to host his final show in the SURC Pit.
But his first show in the SUB Pit didn’t quite go as well as Drummond may have hoped for.
According to Drummond, the Seattle-based mime took the stage during the lunch rush and managed to clear the Pit of every student within a 20-minute period.
“He was horrid,” Drummond said.
Only one student programmer remained by Drummond’s side throughout the disastrous show.
“I told Jay (the student programmer) that he could go,” Drummond said with a laugh, “but he said, ‘Scott, I feel so bad for you, I’m staying with you.’”
But Drummond’s final show in the SURC Pit, with over 100 CWU community members surrounding him, was quite different from his failed first show decades earlier.
Drummond booked The Seafarers, an indie duo out of California, as the headliners for his farewell show.
Though California based, the band is local in every sense of the word.
Tyson Motsenbocker, both a guitarist and singer in the duo, is an annual performer on CWU’s campus and a close friend of Drummond’s. Drummond’s daughter, Sarah Grant, is the other half of the duo.
Drummond gave a brief introduction before the act started and was moved to tears as he thanked his student programmers who have worked alongside him this year and in years past.
“It’s not goodbye,” he said. “It’s just see ya later.”
Soon The Seafarers took the stage and performed their set list before adding a surprise medley of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancin’ in the Dark” and “It Is Well With My Soul” to cap the show.
A standing ovation, led by Grant and Drummond’s wife, Cheryl, closed out the evening.
“I just feel like so much of the culture around Central…and the inviting and hospitable environment here has been curated and cared for by Scott,” Motsenbocker said. “It won’t be the same without him.”
As for the laid back life of retirement, Drummond isn’t entirely sure of how to fill that free time just yet.
“There’s a plan out there, somewhere,” he said. “We just have to find it.”