Centralia College wishes to honor Dr. Ross Galvin, one of Centralia College’s most seasoned alumnus. Dr. Galvin, 98, passed away July 13 in Olympia.
He was a 1938 graduate of CC and a longtime supporter of the college and the nursing program. He was 98 years old. He served as a doctor in Centralia for 35 years. He and his wife Pat celebrated their 75th anniversary in June.
Dr. Galvin attended Centralia Junior College in the days between the Great Depression and World War II.
Having grown up in Centralia, Dr. Galvin chose to attend Centralia Junior College because it was close, convenient, and financially affordable.
“I came from a family of six children. My mother was ill, and I had to do the cooking… those were hard times,” he described in a 2014 interview.
Galvin was only 17 when he graduated from Centralia High School and believed going to the junior college would help him transition between high school and university.
“I certainly enjoyed my couple of years at the college. I think I learned a great deal of humility and acquired a lot of good friends,” he said.
After graduating from Centralia Junior College, Dr. Galvin completed his pre-med studies at the University of Washington and transferred to the University of Louisville in Kentucky to finish his medical degree. (The University of Washington did not have its own medical school until after the war.)
During his medical studies, the US entered World War II. In order to stay in school, Dr. Galvin was made a private first class, making $120 a month, which was the most money he had seen in his life. He remembers paying only $750 a year for medical school tuition.
He returned to the Pacific Northwest to do his internship at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. However, his plans to go to Children’s Orthopedic were interrupted when he got orders from the war department. He went into the army as a first lieutenant, serving as a medical officer in Indianapolis, where he helped injured soldiers returning from the war.
After being discharged, Dr. Galvin and his wife moved to Oak Harbor, where he opened his first practice. When his partner retired, he came to Centralia in 1946 just “temporarily” but ended up staying for more than 35 years.
Opening a general practice in his hometown gave Dr. Galvin an opportunity to give back to his community.
“In fact, some of my former teachers were some of my patients,” he recalled.
Although Dr. Galvin had retired and moved to Olympia, he and his wife continued to give back to the community by supporting the Centralia College Foundation and giving generously to the nursing program.
“They got me going,” he said. “I appreciated all the things Centralia College did for me, so I donate to the nursing program.”
Dr. Ross Galvin’s investment has made it possible for many students to “get going” at Centralia College—the same way he did almost 80 years ago.