It’s only fitting to close out our Fun 45th Fact column – the items we've been running since last summer in honor of the College's 45th Anniversary – with a man who embodies the history of Metro State: Stephen Leonard.
And you guessed it. He’s a professor of history.
“I've liked history since I was in high school,” he says. "It gives us a good clue as to why things are the way they are, and if you want to fix them you need to know how they got that way."
And here from the beginning of Metro State’s history was … Stephen Leonard. Yes, he’s been here since near the start, arriving in 1966, just a few months after the doors of the College opened.
"Oddly enough, I remember my first day," says Leonard, who has first-hand knowledge of the scattered locations of College buildings during Metro State’s early days. "I had to go to a faculty meeting in the basement of the Forum Building. It was at 14th and Cherokee; it was the Administration Building for the College."
He says he’s stayed at Metro State all these years because students and faculty have always “treated me kindly” and because “I find it rewarding. Also, I am too lazy to move.”
To Leonard, there were many momentous events for Metro State, but near the top were:
- The shift from two-year to four-year status, begun in 1967 and completed in 1976. He believes if that hadn’t happened, Metro State would have ended up a community college.
- Selection of the Auraria site and the tri-institution campus model.
He says he would sum Metro State history with this sentence: “Metro State has always been like an amusement park—full of fascinating people and fun rides.”
As for plans for retirement, he has none. “I'm not good at planning so I don't do it."
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