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WVC Icon Helen Van Tassel to be Portrayed at People of Our Past

WVM_PEOPvantassel1 “A lady to the tips of her toes ‘til the day she died,” is how Helen Van
Tassell is remembered by her colleagues at Wenatchee Valley College.

Van Tassel, one of five figures from Wenatchee’s past featured during the Wenatchee Valley Museum’s Feb. 28 People of Our Past program, was one of the first women to head a college west of the Mississippi. Among her titles at WVC from 1939 until her retirement in 1964 were dean of women, administrative dean, dean of students, registrar, instructor and personnel director.

“She definitely worked her way up the chain of command,” said museum education coordinator Selina Danko. “And she went right through the glass ceiling.”

Born in 1894 to a Dryden pioneer family, Van Tassel made a name for herself in higher education circles. At one point Van Tassel was picked by her all-male peers to serve as president of the organization governing the 10 junior colleges in Washington State.

Van Tassel’s monologue takes place in 1956. She is portrayed by Tracy Carlson. WVM_PEOPvantassel2

The rest of the People of Our Past lineup includes coaching icon Bill Penhallegon, award-winning artists and teacher Robert Graves, WVC faculty member and author John A. Brown and Kenneth P. Sexton. Sexton was involved in the founding of the college and the museum. Don Collins portrays Robert Graves, Bob Stoehr is Sexton, Eliot Scull is Penhallegon and Bill Murray takes on the part of Brown. Each actor will perform three times during the day with a culminating evening meetand-greet gala starting at 6 p.m. Performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are by donation.

Tickets for the evening event are $35 and include historically themed heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, live music and a chance to mingle with the characters following the performance.

For more information about the People of Our Past program, contact Selina Danko at 888-6240 or

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