Professors remember their days as students of CSU

Seal of Colorado State University (Trademark o...
Seal of Colorado State University (Trademark of CSU) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many professors on campus are able to relate to CSU students in a truly unique way, as they were once students here themselves.

“I literally lecture in the same room that I took lectures in when I was an undergraduate … The same exact room that I defended my master thesis in is right next to where I lecture three times a week,” said health and exercise science professor Brian Tracy.

These professors come from different places and all have stories unique to themselves. Many say that they came to CSU because they were Colorado natives, had friends at CSU, or that it was the most affordable option at the time. The one thing they have in common is that after spending time here as a student, they didn’t want to leave this community.

“I’ve always felt that CSU has an extremely high quality to it, but it doesn’t have an attitude. As an institution, it is more down-to-earth and there’s a real integration between the community and CSU,” Tracy said. “Sometimes there can be disconnect between universities and the towns they’re in, but I think that community members here really value CSU.”

Even after traveling and working in other places, CSU pulls these alumni back.

“My wife and I have been all over the world, and Fort Collins is a great place. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather live,” said management professor and former student body president Jim McCambridge.

For many, it is the relationship between the university and the city of Fort Collins that is a major factor in the decision to stay and dedicate a career to CSU.

“Fort Collins is the best city to live in and the community of the university is pretty outstanding,” said agriculture professor Addy Elliott.

As a participant in recruitment of faculty and students, McCambridge said that, without a doubt, a major attraction for potential faculty members is the location of the school and the environment CSU creates.

The university has become a home for these professors that they share with the next generation, both as teachers and as parents of students at CSU. Two of McCambridge’s five children are CSU grads, and Tracy has a daughter that will be attending the university next year.

As former students themselves, these professors can often offer a unique and personal point of view when they give advice to current students.

“Get to know the people you’re going to school with; build a network. The people you’re going to school with may be the people who will run the companies you want to work for, they may know a person you need, or they may need your help. Engage in activities that the school provides because there are opportunities that you wouldn’t have anywhere else,” said management professor Burt Deines.

It seems that the importance of immersing oneself in the community cannot be stressed enough.

“Get involved in the community of the university and the city because the more people you know, and the more activities you’re involved in, the more depth of knowledge you’ll have to be able to pull from and brag about when you’re trying to get a job,” Elliott said.

McCambridge said he looks back now and never thought he would be here.

“It’s been a great experience to witness the changes that have happened at this school (and) what will continue to happen,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”

Collegian writer McKenna Ferguson can be reached at news@collegian.com.