Magazine Feature / People

Former chancellor lived life with zest even in old age

One of Lucien Wulsin’s more prestigious jobs was serving as DU’s chancellor, even if it was for only 11 days.

Wulsin, who chaired the DU Board of Trustees and served as interim chancellor for just over a week in January 1984 after Chancellor Ross Pritchard was dismissed, died Aug. 23. He was 92.

Colleagues and friends say he was a very happy and busy man right up until the end of his life.

Wulsin was partly responsible for dismissing Pritchard as chancellor of the University in 1984, and subsequently took over the position while finding a replacement. Dwight Smith was then appointed chancellor.

DU was looking for new leadership after financial resources and enrollments declined in the 1980s.

“[Wulsin] was a strong supporter when the board asked me to undertake a major restructuring of the University during a difficult period,” Smith says. “I remember him taking great pleasure in introducing me to the Denver business community and media.”

Lucien Wulsin was born in Cincinnati on Sept. 21, 1916, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his law degree from the University of Virginia. In between his degrees, he served as a first lieutenant in the Army in World War II.

In Cincinnati, he practiced law for 20 years before taking over his family’s business, Baldwin Piano and Organ Co., as president, chairman and CEO.

While president of Baldwin, he looked for ways to ensure the firm’s future. He turned to banking and acquired Denver’s Central Bank and Trust in 1968, traveling between the cities for years.

He served on the board of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, regularly skied and served on DU’s Board of Trustees.

Wulsin became interested in Buddhism after moving to Colorado and became involved with Naropa University, a private liberal arts school founded on Buddhist teachings in Boulder, Colo. He was the school’s first chairman of the board and helped the school gain accreditation.

He founded the Society for Creative Aging in 2002, which offers outreach and education for seniors and caregivers.

“He loved life, and he wanted to live as good of a life as he could for as long as he could,” says Jody Glasgow of Longmont, Colo., who worked with Wulsin at the society. “He wrote poetry and he did his own choreography for dances, and he just always wanted to be active for as long as he could.

“He never stopped living. He never gave up. He just kept on going. He might have danced a dance or sung a song on the day he died. He wasn’t someone who just sat around and got old; he lived life to the fullest. He was a unique man who never let age get him down.”

Wulsin was married and divorced from Eleanor Tubman, Joan Friedlander and Pamela MacDonald.

He is survived by five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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