Dr. Jeane Fair
Jeane Decline Fair was born to her parents Leonard and Anna in 1914 in Silt, Colorado. Although her parents did not complete college, they were an inspiration for her to continue her educational pursuits. Her parents endured many hardships throughout their lives. Leonard struggled through the years of World War I to find established work in order to provide for the family. He settled into his permanent job of 31 years, where he worked his way to the top until his retirement. He loved to travel and was very skilled with his hands. Anna suffered hardships, as well. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis when Jeane was around 11 years old, and through her fight against the disease, Anna made a full recovery with no further complications. Anna was the strength and center of the family.
Because of their inspiration, Jeane attended college and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder with her bachelor's degree in romance languages. She continued on to receive her master's degree in Spanish and ultimately graduated with her doctorate degree in French from Northeastern University. Dr. Fair traveled a great deal after she completed her formal schooling, always learning more about language and culture. Her teaching career began in 1940 with high school girls. Dr. Fair entered the collegiate field of teaching in 1942 where she taught at several Midwestern colleges, finally settling in Colorado. She taught for several years in Gunnison, Colorado and moved northeast to Denver in 1965. This move to Denver would be one of the most defining moments in her career because she was able to be apart of the development of the Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Dr. Jeane Fair helped to establish the Modern Languages Department at Metro State and was the department head for seven years. Additionally, she served as the Chair of the Division of Humanities for two years. She remained at the college until her retirement in 1972. Because of her attachment to the college, she established several scholarships in memory of her parents and their inspiration for her to achieve greatness. The Leonard A. and Anna B. Fair Memorial Scholarship and The Leonard A. and Anna B. Fair Memorial Diversity Scholarship support their recipients by providing financial assistance to qualified students. One requirement, among others, is that the recipients must seek a major in Modern Languages or Spanish and also seeking a teaching certificate at Metro State. The Fair Language Award is an incentive scholarship, awarded to the best student in each language as determined by the department. It was established to encourage other students to strive to be the best in their educational studies.
(The following article was written by Leticia Steffen, based on an interview with Dr. Fair, for The Metropolis Alumni Magazine, Fall 1998 issue, page 30. Reprinted with the permission of the magazine.)
'"Jeane Fair, Ph.D., Metropolitan State Emerita Professor of French and Spanish, feels very fortunate for the educational opportunities she has had throughout her life. 'A Lot of my schooling was taken care of by others,' she says, including a particularly memorable fellowship at Northwestern University that enabled her to travel to France.
"Not being able to go to college would have broken my heart, and I'm sure there are students out there who feel the same way,' she says. With these students in mind, the former professor developed two scholarships in honor of her parents: the Leonard A. and Anna B. Fair Memorial Scholarship and the Leonard A. and Anna B. Fair Memorial Diversity Scholarship. The annual scholarships, worth at least $1,000 each, are designated for students majoring in Modern Languages or Spanish.
"I like students, and I believe in education,' Fair says. She also believes it is important for today's students to take modern languages because there is 'more reciprocity and dealings between nations now than there has ever been.'
In 1965, Fair returned to Denver after spending several years teaching at Western State College and at colleges throughout the Midwest. Her return to Denver came at an opportune time. Metropolitan State was just being developed, and Fair had a chance to play a significant role in the crucial first years of the college.
"Being in at the very beginning of Metropolitan State gave me a special interest in the college,' Fair says. She helped establish the college's Modern Languages Department and served as its head for seven years. She also served as chair of the Humanities Division for two years.
"It was very exciting. None of us knew quite what to expect,' Fair recalls. 'Everybody was so thrilled that Metro was being established, because it was going to serve the whole Denver population, including minorities and people who worked full-time, not just traditional college-aged people.' She remembers that the faculty came from all over the country. 'A lot of people who liked Denver were attracted to apply,' she says. 'Teachers were delighted to be teaching. We weren't averse to trying out new things.'
Fair's memories of the college are overwhelmingly fond ones, and she chose to complete her teaching career at The Met, retiring in 1972. She established the scholarships to give back to the college that holds a special place in her heart."