Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures
The Faculty Association and Utah State University Press
Six years ago, Charles Peterson and I received a carefully wrapped manuscript in the mail. An enclosed letter described in graphic detail the story of the water-stained box and its contents. The letter was from a graduate student who lived and taught in Sugar, . Idaho. This student had written a master's thesis of questionable merit, and we had rejected it in 1975 and had demanded a complete rewrite. The disgruntled and discouraged author had placed the ill-fated work in a box on the desk in his study. It remained there for nearly one year. Then onJune 5, 1976, the Teton Dam collapsed. The surging wall of water and collected debris swept the student's house away and decimated the contents. The desk, upon which the thesis rested, was never located, but three weeks later, the student was startled when a man drove into his driveway and presented the manuscript box and its water-damaged pages. The man had found the box five miles away on an irrigation ditch bank. Our student resubmitted the thesis, water marks and all, with the implied challenge, "Obviously, God wanted this story told or this too would have been destroyed!" Who were we to reject God's handiwork?
Peterson, F. Ross, "The Teton Dam Disaster: Tragedy or Triumph?" (1982). USU Faculty Honor Lectures. Paper 7.