In your words
On the occasion of MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary, two of the University’s earliest graduates recall how their transformative education – and outstanding professors – paved the way for their success.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016
Of course I remember the White Mule as the first unofficial student union. Looking at the pictures in the fall 2015 magazine, I also might be one of those students standing in line next to the building to register back in Metro’s earliest years.
Looking in the rearview mirror, my life’s trajectory was profoundly influenced by Metro. When I graduated from high school in 1967, I didn’t have the grades nor could I have afforded to attend another of our state’s schools. A draft was looming that eventually scooped-up lots of young men, such as myself, and sent them overseas to a foreign war. Graduating from Metro in 1971 was a stepping stone toward what I consider a successful life, including a couple of advanced degrees, a subsequent professional and teaching practice and career, and a family whose life was enriched by the options an education made available. And I remember now not only the mentors but all the faculty at Metro State who helped me on my way.
Dr. Thomas Davidson
B.S. psychology ‘71
“Let’s get you ready for graduate school.”
The late Dr. Edith Comfort Tatnall, professor of medieval history, never made suggestions. She issued commands. I had just dropped out of another college as a music major, and was about to give up on a second try as an English major at two-year-old Metro State. Mostly Cs, with a sprinkling of Ds. But there was something weirdly, wonderfully different about this professor, this course, this school, this faculty.
All the other professors were saying the same thing to me when all I wanted to do was head for a safe career.
So, between first and second quarters, I went to the library (the basement of the Cherokee Building) and looked up the course catalogue, checking up on these professors. Tatnall, a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder; Phillip Boxer, a Ph.D. from the University of Denver; William Rhodes, a Ph.D. from Harvard Divinity; John Spradley, a Ph.D. from St. Louis University; and James Merrin, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Younger generations have to understand this find. In 1967, it was unheard of to have Ph.D.s teaching freshman classes with 20 or so students! Graduate assistants drone on in large auditoriums. And at $300 a year in tuition?! It doesn’t take a presidential candidate to figure this one out.
With the encouragement of these professors and many others, I went back to that other University of Denver for a master’s in English and a rewarding career in writing and teaching. Thanks MSU Denver, and happy 50th!
B.A. English ‘70