Tidbits from the Archives: Be My Valentine

FEBRUARY 2004
By Jeff Sauve, Associate Archivist
Center for College History

In 1985, four sophomores (Bill Cayley, Jay Norton, Tom Owen and Ken Waisanen) took it upon themselves to design, print and distribute 3,200 valentines — one for every student and faculty member at St. Olaf.

The valentine note, printed on pink paper, read, “We just wanted to say, without any delay or silly cliché, that in some unique way, you’re a loveable, beautiful person. OK?”

“We were just sitting around talking about Valentine’s Day and how we used to give everyone in the class a valentine and then decided to do the same thing here,” said Norton at the time. “We thought it would be neat and would make everyone feel good — especially us.”

The gesture cost the four students $20 apiece. But it was worth it, they said. CBS Evening News and the Associated Press wire both carried the story across the nation.

The College Archives does not actually own one of the valentines — but do you? If you’d be willing to donate your valentine to the college archives, contact Associate Archivist Jeff Sauve at sauve@stolaf.edu.