Marie's Biography (1933 - 2020)
CSU Service 1955 to 1973
Director of the Preschool (now the Early Childhood Center)
Human Development and Family Studies Professor
Marie was born and raised in a farming community near Longmont, CO. along with her four siblings. In her family, it was expected that she would go to college. Both her parents and grandparents attended college, which was rare at this time. Instead of sending their children to the country school, Marie’s parents paid tuition for all of their children to attend Longmont Public Schools, which provided the best preparation for college.
Education and Pre-CSU employment
Marie chose to attend Colorado A&M during its transition to Colorado State University. She remembers being given the choice to put Colorado A&M or CSU on her diploma. While she chose A&M, she wishes that she had chosen CSU, as it probably would have looked better on her resume. During this time, there was also a switch from a quarter system to a semester system with “departments” becoming “schools.” When she entered college, A&M had 5,000 enrolled students. By her graduation in 1955, the number of students had reached nearly 12,000 due in part to a number of veterans funding their degrees through the G.I. Bill.
Marie received her bachelor’s degree in child development in the School of Home Economics. She fondly recalls her consumer practicum course during her senior year, a required course for all Home Economics majors, requiring students to live in the practice house (then across from Guggenheim Hall) for six weeks. In groups of eight, students would learn how to prepare meals on a budget, household upkeep, and finances.
For Marie, she had already learned these practical skills at home. However, the challenge came with the cooking assignment, as each student was in charge of a meal and couldn’t serve anything previously made by their cohort. One day Marie was in charge of dessert. While making a batch of brownies, she realized that the oven was broken. Determined to do well in the class, she called her sister-in-law and went to her house to finish the brownies before racing back in time for dinner.
While Marie was attending CSU, there were two dormitories – Braiden Hall and Rockwell Hall, both still in use today. However, Rockwell Hall now houses the College of Business. All freshman girls lived in Rockwell together and knew each other well. Marie remembers that the dorm had strict hours and there were dire consequences for those who attempted to bend the rules.
As a sorority sister at Delta Delta Delta, Marie enjoyed working in a number of different leadership positions, building a float each year for Homecoming, and singing at the “Hesperia Sings” event. This program was held in the winter or spring quarter and was hosted by Hesperia, an honorary group for 13 selected junior women. Each fraternity and sorority had a choral group that was invited to perform at the Hesperia Sings competition in the Johnson Hall Student Union Large Ballroom. Marie was her sorority’s Hesperia Night song director the year they won the singing competition – even though Marie had never had a music lesson in her life.
She still considers her sorority sisters to be her best friends. A group of these CSU friends meet every Friday afternoon and at was known as “Sam’s” during their college years, but is now El Burrito. They have been meeting at this spot for at least 15 years.
CSU Work History
After graduating, Marie was asked to serve as the assistant director of the CSU preschool, which is known today as the Early Childhood Center. Two years later, the director left for a position in California, and Marie was offered the position of director by Dean Elizabeth Dyar Gifford. Marie credits Dean Gifford as an influential colleague during her tenure at CSU. It was Dean Gifford who submitted the request to give Marie the title of assistant professor along with her director position.
During her 18 years as director of the preschool, Marie enjoyed her days with the children and students. A typical day began at 9 a.m. when the children would arrive. They were served lunch and even had daily health check-ups upon arrival from the school nurse. The children’s ages ranged from 2 ½ to 5 years of age and the preschool enrolled 22 children. Classes were led by CSU undergraduate students, called “teachers,” who were supervised by Marie and her assistant during the practicum. The hours were 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, very different from today’s hours at the Early Childhood Center.
During playtime, Marie met with all of the children and still can list every child and student’s name to this day. She made many life-long friendships with both the children and their parents. She still sees many of these children who are now adults with children of their own.
In the afternoons, Marie taught CSU courses in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, as well as acted as an adviser to students from majors across campus. Classes that she taught included the child development practicum to students working at the preschool, Children’s Music and Literature, as well as night classes for local nursery school owners. The night course focused on how at-home nursery school owners could make a living while adhering to state rules and regulations to maintain licensure.
While working at CSU, Marie earned her M.A. in education from the University of Northern Colorado. Then, after many of her juniors and seniors showed interest in gerontology and nutrition, Marie was inspired to earn an M.S. in food science and human nutrition from CSU.
Work after CSU
After working as a CSU faculty member for 18 years, Marie was offered a position as a Nutrition Educator with Dairy Council, Inc. The company had recently opened an office in Fort Collins and Marie was responsible for the northern Colorado and southern Wyoming territories where she taught nutrition courses to Home Economics teachers, school nurses, P.E. teachers, and science teachers. She also taught programs to dental associations, hygienists, and medical office nurses, and hospital staff.
Marie was then “loaned” to the National Dairy Council in Chicago for two years where the N.D.C. developed and established nutrition education programs aimed at elementary and junior high school classes nationwide. She was given the opportunity to travel to almost every state to teach educators how to use these nutrition materials, which focused on a balanced diet. The teaching aids the N.D.C. developed are still very popular in classrooms today.
Maria passed away after battling cancer on Jan. 10, 2020.
Marie spends her free time with her CSU girlfriends, continuing their lunch tradition at El Burrito and holding frequent card game afternoons. She enjoys attending CSU functions, including the homecoming luncheon where she recently ran into a former student who was attending the 50 year alumni lunch. Marie may not have seen her in 40 years, but she instantly remembered her former student’s name. The student said, “Oh, Marie. You were my favorite teacher. I loved all of your classes because you threw in comical things. I wasn’t scared to death to come to class and enjoyed participating.” Marie is always thrilled to run into her former students.
Marie has enjoyed seeing friends, former students, and colleagues all featured in the Legacies Project. She had Jill Kreutzer and Wanda Mayberry as students in her Human Development and Family Studies courses. Jennifer Anderson and Pat Kendall were part of Marie’s cohort and they worked together often during her days working for the Dairy Council. Marie also knew Ellie Gilfoyle, as they were teaching at the same time.
She recently toured the new Early Childhood Center and was excited to see it housed in the old Washington School, where many of her friends went to grade school.