Asked and Answered
Alumni explain how they were “Made at MSU Denver.”
Publish Date: June 23, 2015
Metropolitan Denver Magazine Summer 2015
How did MSU Denver help make you who you are today?
I entered MSU Denver interested in art education. Eleanor Huntley, who was an art professor and the advisor for art education at the time, encouraged me to take ceramics classes, saying that it would be helpful if I ended up teaching high school. My very first class I was hooked! I loved the feel of clay, I loved the process and I loved having the ability to make something functional and unique. I took every possible class I could. With the help of a grant, I was able to attend a national conference for ceramics where I met professional ceramic artists, learned about different techniques and the history of ceramics, and further fueled my interest in the medium.
After graduation, I worked a few “real” jobs but was never happy. I was happiest when I was creating, but as a single mom who worked full time, finding the time was difficult. After years of struggling, I realized that I just had to take a leap. My ceramic business, Mud Whimsy, was born. I work every day at it, sometimes until the middle of the night. I’ve had wild successes and major setbacks. I’m still learning and growing, but I have never been happier with my job. I discovered my passion at MSU Denver, and through my education I developed the tools to make my passion my career. I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I love to do.
B.F.A. art ‘04
I noted with great sadness the passing of Professor Emeritus Melvin Capehart in August 2014. I owe a significant debt to Professor Capehart for his skilled teaching and mentoring. Much of my professional success is founded on his efforts.
I remember one episode in particular: Midway through the fall semester, I was taking two classes from Professor Capehart, one of which was a course in introductory digital circuit design. I had just taken an exam on which I received a poor score. After class, Professor Capehart said, “You have demonstrated the ability to understand and use these techniques far better than this test indicates. I expect much more from you and if your later scores justify it, I will ignore this test in your final grade.” I was able to justify his assessment and trust by earning nearly perfect scores after that.
I went on to enjoy a long career in electronic engineering and computer science, and am now partially retired. I have designed many electronic hardware systems and computer programs. I have taught at technical schools and colleges, written several textbooks, given presentations and written articles and papers. Along the way, it has been my privilege to mentor a number of others. I have to thank Professor Capehart for being my model.
Richard L. Grier
B.S. electrical engineering technology ‘76