In September, I will celebrate 47 years of connection to the University of Denver (1965-2012), interrupted by a year at UCLA, a year at the University of Ghana, West Africa, two years at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and two years at Loretto Heights College in Denver. I am refraining from quoting Charles Dickens’ opening lines in A Tale of Two Cities.
My first day at DU started watching Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson (Ladybird) plant the Pin Oak tree north of Evans Chapel on September 10, 1965. In the same quarter, all the foreign students (we had not yet graduated to the politically correct name international) were invited to a reception at the Phipps House. We met with Chancellor Chester Alter and enjoyed pink punch and cookies. The Year 1967 brought excitement, when the Humanities Garden was completed. It was a great place to hang out on the lawn, listen to the waterfall and hold discussions on whether or not the mini skirt would take off in the fashion world. Other memories include, seeing Macbeth performed on the terrace of Margery Reed Hall during an approaching storm that gave the play an eerie reality. Another fond memory was my attendance at the presidents’ party at Dr. Korbel’s house. Dr.Korbel would always host a party on February 22nd in honor of the US presidents. My boyfriend, Roger, who was receiving his doctorate in international studies, had a standing invitation and was allowed to bring his “girlfriend,” a junior at DU. The year 1968, our graduation year, brought joy and sadness; joy because we graduated, sadness because Robert Kennedy had been assassinated the day prior to our commencement ceremony.
I left for UCLA and Africa and returned to DU in the fall of 1970, missing Woodstock by three months, seeing Penrose Library built and Science Hall demolished. On a fellowship for a Ph.D., I taught Freshman English, later became an instructor in the Department of English, and graduated from DU in the summer of 1976. I became a proofreader for the Office of Communication and joyously accepted the position of Admission Counselor in November 1977. For the next five years I “recruited” for DU on the West Coast. Often, while loading up my car in front of the Mary Reed building, I would run into Vice Chancellor Rice (Condoleezza’s dad) and we would chat for a minute. Dr. William Driscoll (Driscoll Bridge fame) challenged me to a recruiting task. If I recruited 40 students from California and 10 were Honors Program candidates, he would treat me to lunch. The lunch was delicious.
I again left DU in 1982 only to return in 1986. Many struggles and years later, DU remains imprinted on my heart. It is now the institution we dreamed about in the 80’s. My three years of “I’ll do this admission thing for now” have turned into 35. As I looked toward retirement, I am convinced that DU and I needed and found each other. After all, we share the same birthday!
Margret Korzus, Ph.D. - Associate Dean of Admission