A University and Its Football Team
It's the classic American tale - rags to riches, downtrodden underdog makes it good. That's the tale sports columnist Douglas Looney told in "Lowly Colorado State Begins to Forget Its Place" (Aug. 14) on CSU's recent surge in football. It makes a good story, but like a lot of tall tales, it's not that simple. Reports of CSU's downtrodden past are, like reports of Mark Twain's passing, greatly exaggerated. The article did a good job of telling the story of a football program and an institution on the rise - which we are. It erred, though, in telling where we had come from.
There is, of course, more to a university than a football team. But somewhere along the way, the article loses sight of this. In fact, by its comparison to our neighboring university in Boulder, it seems like poor old CSU has never had any success in anything. That's just not true. Even if you look at the few examples given of the University of Colorado's superlatives (and I suppose, in the author's mind, our deficiencies by comparison) you have to wonder out loud if the article is even talking about the right school in his reference to us.
Something just like that could have easily been written about Colorado State University. CSU, too, has produced national figures in politics, including Colorado's Gov. Roy Romer, chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa; a WAC champion football team three of the last four years and 116 players for the NFL; and a bevy of astronauts, including the first veterinarian in space, Marty Fettmen, and current astronaut Kent Rominger.
There's even more to our story than that. CSU is a Carnegie Class I research university, with more than $135 million in sponsored research alone. Kiplinger's just ranked us 26th in the top 100 public universities in terms of educational quality and affordability - the only Colorado university ranked in the top third.
A lot is made our past as the agriculture school in the state. While we are justifiably proud of the success of our College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and our College of Agricultural Sciences, these two colleges are just part of the story. A full 35 percent of our graduates last year were from our arts and sciences colleges.
We couldn't be happier with what our coach Sonny Lubick and our student athletes have accomplished. But we didn't want your readers to misunderstand CSU, and we couldn't allow our proud history of accomplishments as a university to be brushed aside for the sake of a tall tale.
Colo. Provost, Colorado State University
Thanks so much [to Doug Looney] for writing such a great one. We are happy to be able to send it to our family and friends. I really appreciate your effort and it was a pleasure to talk with you.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Head football coach, Colorado State University
I read Godfrey Sperling's column "Skewed Press Priorities" (Aug. 18) concerning his sadness at having to cancel a Monitor Breakfast with Secretary of Education Richard Riley due to lack of interest from reporters. It seems the press is more interested in the current Washington sex stories, and Mr. Sperling states that he is unhappy about "this excessive preoccupation of the press with the Clinton scandals."
I would like to ask Mr. Sperling to go back several months and count the number of columns he has written which deal with the so-called "Clinton Scandals." He might find himself included among the excessively preoccupied.
Carolyn W. Gahr
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
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