The People: Charles Branch

The late Charles Branch left an indelible mark on the School of Education.

Publish Date: April 22, 2013

Charlie Branch
Charles Branch served as chair of the Human
Services Department, coordinator of the Center
for High Risk Youth Studies and dean of the
School of Professional Studies.

‌Charles Branch, former dean of the MSU Denver School of Education, passed away on Feb. 11, 2013, after a long illness. He was 83.

Branch started his professional life as a jazz musician and high school band teacher in Kansas in 1952. He came to MSU Denver in 1978 as dean of the School of Education. Over the years he held several other leadership positions, including chair of the Human Services Department, coordinator of the Center for High Risk Youth Studies and dean of the School of Professional Studies. He was a tenured professor of both teacher education and human services.

After retiring, he was named emeritus professor of education. He returned to the University three times between July 2007 and May 2010 as special assistant to the provost for institutional development, temporary special assistant to the provost, and an affiliate faculty member in the Human Services Department. He also volunteered on the History Subcommittee of the 45thAnniversary Committee in 2010.

“He just loved the place — it was his world,” says Lucy Branch, a 1980 graduate in technical writing and journalism, whose daughter, Francheska Houlden, also is an MSU Denver grad (’01). “He just liked working, and that’s why I believe he kept going back.”

Lucy Branch met her future husband in 1983 while she was working in the University’s public relations office. He called the office, saying he would be meeting with a student organization, and requested that someone take a picture of the get-together. The regular photographer was out that day, so Lucy filled in.

“We did have a wonderful life together,” she says. “So many people I talk to at Metro State say they thought the world of him.”

Shawn Worthy, associate professor of human services, worked for and with Branch in the department. “I thought he was an amazing man — a true advocate for social justice.” Worthy recalls that Branch signed his emails with an optimistic closer that he still passes on to his son: “Make a great day.”

Sandra Haynes, dean of the school of professional studies, worked with Branch since starting her career at MSU Denver in 1994. “He was my colleague in human services and my chair,” she says. “He described himself as a company man and would do just about anything for the good of MSU Denver.”

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Did Charles Branch make a difference in your life? Honor his memory with a contribution to the Charles Branch Endowed Scholarship Fund.