Whether you live in the area or will be traveling to Fort Collins for the weekend, we would love for you to join us in our homecoming festivities on October 16th. Come help us celebrate our return to the new and renovated Eddy! Drop by our open house between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the third floor of Eddy Hall, where there will be a band, tours of the new building, refreshments in the Whitaker Conference Room, and a special presentation at 3 p.m. Please RSVP to Louann.Reid@colostate.edu so we can be sure to have enough refreshments on hand.

In the days leading up to the English department’s “Homecoming Celebration” (October 16th from 2-4pm),we will be highlighting some special memories from our alumni. Here is a special memory from alumna Barbara Stimmel Fleming, (BA English 1967, MA Rhetoric 1970): 

Barbara Stimmel Fleming

My father, Les Stimmel, taught at Colorado A&M/Colorado State University from 1929 when he moved to Fort Collins until 1967 when he retired—almost 40 years. A tall, friendly man with a ready smile who wore a fedora over his abundant gray hair, he specialized in 19th-century American literature, mostly existentialists. He was known for his propensity to tardiness (his students used to make bets about how close to the last minute he would arrive for his classes) and his wry, ever-present sense of humor. (His master’s thesis was a study of humor in American literature.) He particularly loved to play with words.

Born to teach, he spent one unfulfilling year as temporary department chair, a position which took him out of the classroom and into having to hire (good experience) and fire (bad experience) staff. He could hardly wait to get back to teaching. His students liked and respected him, for although mild-mannered he held everyone to his own high standards of usage and grammar and one of his strengths was generating substantive discussions.

Whatever talent for writing I have came from him. He wrote essays, short stories, plays, and enough literary criticism to meet the “publish or perish” criterion in the department. One of his plays, If Men Played Cards as Women Do, was performed by the now defunct Town and Gown Theater.

His office was originally in Old Main. How well I remember its high, narrow windows, creaking floors, narrow stairways, and cavernous auditorium. When trains went by everything stopped until they had passed. Classes were suspended, actors froze in place, conversation was put on hold. My father had retired by the time that lovely old building burned to the ground, but he mourned it as did anyone who knew the building’s charms and eccentricities.

Willard Eddy was a colleague of his and a good friend, as were President Charles Lory and botany professor George Lane. My father would be pleased that the Eddy building has been renovated and that his friend’s legacy lives on.

To read more memories from our alumni in honor of Homecoming, you can find the whole series here. If you would like to share your own memory from your time with the CSU English department, please send a description of your favorite memory and an accompanying photo to Joelle Paulson at jpaulso2@gmail.com. We’d love to hear what you remember!