Current Issue


Lindbergh connection

I read Mike Flanagan’s excellent article “Remembering Lucky Lindy” in the magazine [summer 2004]. While I was aware of Lindbergh’s national tour following his famous transatlantic flight in 1927, I did not know of DU’s connection to his visit to Denver. With this in mind, I am compelled to mention that DU has another connection to Lindbergh that is not generally known. Since my graduation, I have been a member of the curatorial staff of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. Today, I am the curator responsible for the museum’s Lindbergh collection, which includes his Ryan NYP “Spirit of St. Louis,” which he flew into Lowry Field in August 1927. DU is everywhere.

F. Robert van der Linden, BA ’77
Washington, D.C.


Murray family

Thank you for publishing such an interesting magazine. Even though I graduated a number of years ago, it covers things I know about and people with whom I was acquainted. In the fall issue there were two pieces that caught my attention. In Editorial Notes, there is a fine letter about my father, Ellwood Murray, written by Charles Lovell. Dad was head of the School of Speech for 35 years and was nationally known. I’m finding out now that growing up in a professor’s home in University Park was a unique experience. He was constantly working on a book or article. We had students and faculty in the house many times, and I grew up with faculty children. We went to University Park Elementary School, which was the laboratory school of DU. The article by Nicole Branan [“Learning by Doing“] mentioned my sister Rosalind Meyer as a contributor to the new Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management building. She is giving money for the Richard and Rosalind Meyer Family Kitchen. Rosalind graduated in 1949 with a degree in psychology and speech and married Dick, who had a degree in hotel and restaurant management. He had a very successful business in college food management. I also want to thank Chancellor Ritchie for adding so much to a fine university. He has transformed the campus into a beautiful place.

Maurice “Buzz” Murray, BA ’54, MA ’55
Ventura, Calif.


Chancellor Alter

My memory of Chancellor Alter includes a day I spent with him — probably in 1963. I was “chancellor for a day” during “Petty Coat Reign.” This was a day that female students were chosen to spend a day with administrators across campus. It was an interesting day that included lunch in downtown Denver at the Rotary Club. In retrospect, I doubt that a “Petty Coat Reign” would go over today. The way women are treated is so different than when I graduated. It was the year before the Equal Opportunity Act was passed. I tried to apply for a position in the management training program with First National Bank of Denver. They told me they would not interview me because they did not hire women for that position, but I could apply the next year when they would be required to consider me. Luckily, Arthur Andersen had been told by the government that they must hire women or lose some government contracts. I was the second woman hired in the Chicago office in a staff position. They felt the tax staff was the only appropriate place for women because we would be in the office most of the time. How times have changed. Now, more than half of the accounting graduates are women. I am currently a sole practitioner CPA. Enough of me. I wrote because of my fond remembrance of Chancellor Alter. I much enjoyed the article in the recent University of Denver Magazine [“A Life Well Lived,” winter 2004]. He was a fine gentleman and treated me with the greatest respect. He did many great things for the University. It was a privilege to know him.

Ruth Gitzendanner, BA ’64
Angola, Ind.


Congratulations on the winter issue. I read it from cover to cover with pride in my alma mater and admiration for the dedication and capabilities of Chancellor Ritchie. Thanks to Steve Fisher for his tribute to the amazing and durable Chester Alter. When he came to DU in my junior year, he brought a fresh vision and leadership that literally changed the character of the University. As chairman of the student senate, I invited him to address the planning retreat of the newly elected student leaders. He talked about the distinctive role of an independent university, challenged us to independent thought and requested our partnership in shaping the future of DU. He surprised me by inviting me to give the Commencement address for the Class of ’54. He believed in students, more than we dared to dream of ourselves, and we tried to rise to his expectations. He fired our imagination and aspirations to contribute our best for DU, for our vocations and for public service. Chancellor Alter, thanks for coming and staying at DU. Your trust and confidence in students truly did change us forever. And thanks for your vision and dedication to open a new era in the greater educational service of the University of Denver.

Allen Jackson, BA ’54
Inkom, Ind.


I can remember Chancellor Alter in the locker room at half time of a Homecoming game, decked out in his red vest and urging the players for their best. I was sorry to read in the winter issue that both he and some of the student body felt that student athletes were pampered and shown favoritism. Eating in the Student Union was recognized as the room-and-board portion of a contract that was better known as a scholarship. That contract required the athletes to put in anywhere from 30 to 60 hours a week, depending on if we were in season or not. This, of course, did not include any classroom or study time, which was necessary to maintain your eligibility to keep your scholarship. We also were placing our bodies at risk of injury. We were, in some cases, looked upon as just “dumb jocks.” I cannot speak for my fellow teammates, but that scholarship was the only means I had to attend college and get a degree. I certainly recognize the financial aspects of Chancellor Alter’s decision [to cancel the football program] but do not feel we were given any special favors. We earned our scholarships. We just were not successful enough in the win-and-loss column. I was proud of the degree I earned and was pleased to represent the University of Denver on the playing field. Go Pioneers!

Charles Peters, BS ’61
Rockford, Ill.


We remember things in life. We learn things in life. Something I remember is Chancellor Alter taking a few minutes to talk to this Texas farm boy at a freshman open house in the Union in 1956. Something I have learned is the wisdom in his quoted words from the 1960 convocation: “May we in years to come … set always new goals that lie beyond our grasp.” Chisel these words above his name in marble in some prominent place on the campus. I cannot think of a better guy to be 98. I’m delighted he’s still around.

Laurence “Larry” Watson, BS ’61

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