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Ingrid Gumpel: Her Memory written by Gunilla Hastrup

(1926 – 2011)


Ingrid, you were a very special person to many international students and faculty who passed through the International Desk office, giving advice, being a confidant and friend understanding special needs and interests challenging foreign scholars having immigrated to the United States yourself. A personal thank you, Ingrid, for your continuing support of international students,scholars and their spouses at Caltech.


Though not a student, I benefitted from your work at the International Desk by receiving a phone call after I arrived from Sweden in the mid 1950s. You invited me to join the InterNations Association (INA), an organization at Caltech in need of girls for programs and social activities at the then all-male university. INA met on Tuesdays for “tea” at the Greasy Spoon. Through the INA, I made lifelong friends and had opportunities to explore with this great group of students on trips from the desert to the sea, and in between. I met a “foreign” student from the Territory of Hawaii, Rolf (my husband to be), at one of the many INA dances. Dr. and Mrs. DuBridge were strong supporters, and their home was open to many of our functions.


Talking about support, you invited me to live with you and your husband, Bengt, instead of going back to Sweden after I had been here about half a year. I am still here and calling California my home. During the first dinner at your house, I discovered my parents and Bengt’s parents knew each other quite well and Bengt had met my parents!!! You both encouraged me to struggle with typing lessons at PCC in the evening and do odd jobs during the day until I could pass the test required by Caltech to work in the General Library, then located in Bridge. Later in my life, I worked in the Caltech Environmental Engineering Library.


The Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) has just had their annual Christmas Festival, and I met quite a few people who purchased some of your personal belongings, which Dr. Piko arranged to have donated to SWEA. They were very excited about the items they had bought and appreciated to know a little bit about you, so I can say everything is in good hands. . . . The Caltech Y is deeply grateful to be the recipient of your gift and will strive to honor your memory for many years to come for the purpose it was intended.


My memory of you will always be with me as well, and I appreciate our friendship and the important part you played in my life.

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