CSU Service 1950 to 2001
Faculty, Department of Design and Merchandising
Home Economics, Art Department, and Design and Merchandising, 1950 – 2001
Mother: Edith Emily Petty
Father: Roy Joseph Curfman
Brother: Robert Joseph Curfman
Sister: Virginia L. Curfman
Born and grew up in Maryville, Missouri. Attended Eugene Field Elementary School, Washington High School, both in Maryville.
Military Service: 10th Armored division, 5th Army stationed in Italy 1943-1944
- Attended Northwest Missouri Teachers College before and after military service
- Colorado A&M, General Science 1949
- Prior to graduate work, attended Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield, MI–one semester,
and Cornell University, Ithica, NY–one semester.
- Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, Masters in Art Education 1960. Thesis:
- “Flexible Display Units for Schools”
What brought you to CSU as a student?
My mother was raised in Fort Collins and my grandparents and aunts and uncles lived here. My uncle and cousins had graduated from A&M and suggested I look to see what courses were offered.
Why attend grad school? I needed a Master’s Degree in order to teach.
What courses: Primarily design courses, house planning and home furnishings (Cornell), weaving and industrial design (Cranbrook)
Why? To relate to courses I was teaching.
Employment and Research Interests
Employment Experience prior to CSU: I worked at a home furnishings store called Humbolls in St. Joseph, Missouri.
What brought you to CSU to teach? Clara Hatton recruited me to join the College of Home Economics. I was the first male hired in that college by Elizabeth Dyer Gifford.
What years were you at CSU? 1950-51 until 2001
Positions and Departments: Instructor, Associate Professor in College of Home Economics, Professor in Art Dept., then Design and Merchandising in College of Applied Human Sciences.
What did you do at CSU? I was initially hired to teach “Applied Home Furnishings” (partially for extension agents) taught upholstery, drapery making, framing, lamps. I also taught courses in Color and Design and House Planning. I always had an interest in theater, joined the drama club as a student and then designed sets for the theatre in Old Main (Ruth Jocelyn Wattles was the director at that time). I also designed sets for the Music Depts. — operas were performed in the Student Center Theater. I also designed and installed many art exhibits in many areas on campus. One of the earliest exhibit spaces was in the Industrial Science Bldg. Other display areas include Johnson Hall, the Eddy Bldg., and the Visual Arts Building as well as the Student Center.
Research Interests/Pursuits: My main areas of interest are design, art, and architecture. My two sabbaticals were in Europe and involved visits to design and art schools as well as museums and galleries. I became a member of the International Society of Art Educators and visited many schools and other society members.
What did you enjoy most about working at CSU? Working with students on a one to one basis was always the most rewarding part of teaching and I would consider it a highlight of my career at CSU. I have kept in touch with many of my students as they continued their lives beyond their student years.
Who were the people who had the greatest influence on you at CSU? Clara Hatton was the greatest influence, as well as Dagmar Gustafson and Elizabeth Dyer Gifford, who was willing to take a chance with me, not knowing me but going on Clara Hatton’s recommendation.
Other experiences/relationships that shaped your CSU experiences: Shelton Stanfill, who was
director of Cultural Programs in the Student Center, was a special colleague to work with. His dedication to the gallery and enthusiasm for bringing a variety of exhibits to the university always created an interesting challenge for me to design exhibits. Then beyond Shelton’s years at CSU, Mims Harris continued the support and freedom given to me to design exhibits as I wished.
Accomplishments, Successes, Highlights
In 1985, I was honored to have the Student Center Gallery renamed in my honor and I enjoy being involved in the current remodeling (2012) of the Curfman Gallery as part of the ongoing remodel of the Student Center. I was a founding member of the Fort Collins Cultural Resources Board.
Awards: Bonfils-Staton Foundation in the Arts – nominee 1994
Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts – nominee, 1993
1st Volunteer of the Year Award, One West Gallery, Fort Collins, 1993
Honor Alumnus, College of Applied Human Sciences, CSU, 1990
“The Man with the Golden Hammer” Award, Denver Art Museum
Buildings I worked in on Campus
Either teaching or exhibits installed:
Vet Bldg. Lecture Hall
Library Bldg. (later became Music Bldg.)
Ammons Hall (built stage sets in this building)
Forestry Bldg. Lecture Hall
South Hall (WWI building that was south of Administration)
Physics Bldg., (became Occupational Therapy)
Industrial Science Bldg. (on Laurel Street)
Humanities Bldg. (south of Eddy Bldg.)
Visual Arts Bldg.
Gifford Bldg. (Design & Merchandising)
Every building around the Oval, one way or the other!
After retirement, Jack kept active installing art, volunteering, and much more. He passed away on March 24, 2020.
Learn more about Jack’s Legacy at CSU including his support of student scholarships.