Before CBU cards, Wanda Price could match faces to student ID numbers. The woman behind the name of CBU’s coffee shop, Wanda’s Place, left a legacy on campus before
Price started working at CBU in 1958 and held many jobs on campus. Price worked at the student center serving food in 1974, and started working at Wanda’s Place in 1993.
“She worked here just over 40 years and she started out in the campus nursery, worked in the Registrar’s Office, she worked as an alumni consultant and worked at the cafeteria,” said Carrie Smith, alumni and parent communications manager.
Though Price had many jobs on campus, she was very social with the students.
“She would just step up wherever she was needed or wanted,” said Gail Ronveaux, director of alumni and parent relations in the Office of University Advancement.
“People would stop her in the hallway and say my grandma just died, and she would pray with them, or they would tell her that they had financial difficulties and she would introduce them to someone who might be able to help,” she said.
Because of her incredible memory, Price became popular on campus.
“She had gained a reputation as a person being very interested in the students and knew almost every one of them by name and even their student number,” said Vi Estel, archivist at CBU.
“She didn’t have an important position here on campus, but she was important to a lot of people because of the relationships she built with them,” Smith said. “She was a surrogate mom and grandma to a lot of these students. She was the one a lot of them went to when they had a problem. She was the listening ear. When you develop relationships with people like that, that’s what leaves the lasting impact. It’s not the job that you did or the fact that you were a vice president or janitor. That’s irrelevant. It’s the relationships, and that’s what people appreciated.”
Many current students do not know the impact Price had on campus.
“Today, in our university environment, to get your name on a building, you usually have to make a huge contribution financially,” Estel said. “But Wanda has got her name on a place on campus and I doubt that there was a financial contribution involved. It was the contribution of her life’s work.”
Price retired at the age of 86 and lives a few miles from campus. She still visits the school occasionally when she has a chance.
Trent Ward, senior marketing major and executive president of Associated Students of California Baptist University, was able to chat with Price at last year’s homecoming, where many alumni had been visiting with her.
“She didn’t say it, but by her being there, the amount of people surround her, the people wanting to talk with her and take pictures with her, that really just showed who she was and what her legacy means to our campus,” Ward said.