Families take pride in CU engineering legacy

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CU pride runs deep in some families—three or more generations deep. At certain family reunions, black and gold rule the field.

Engineering is no different, except perhaps in the passion CU engineers have for their chosen degree.

“Dad said we could major in anything we wanted in college as long as it was engineering,” jokes Frank P. Prager, vice president of environmental policy and services at Xcel Energy and a member of the college’s Engineering Advisory Council.

The Prager family has celebrated three generations of CU-Boulder engineering graduates, including Frank C. Prager (ChemEngr ’49), sons Nelson Prager (ChemEngr/BioChem ’80) and Frank P. Prager (ChemEngr/ Engl ’84), and grandsons James Prager (ChemEngr ’10, MS ‘11) and Benjamin Miller (EnvEngr ’11).

“When my brother and I were at CU, we had to use punch cards to get a computer program to compile data,” says son Frank. “Now, the kids have more computer capability in their cell phones than we had in the college’s old mainframes. It was a different time, but engineering is engineering. It’s still a great career path.”

Frank went on to law school, Nelson became an MD, and the elder Prager, who worked for the engineering firm Stearns-Roger for 37 years, established the Prager Family Scholarship with his wife, Virginia, to support future CU engineering students who go into a variety of fields.

The Hauser family’s legacy with CU engineering also has been an enduring source of pride—and one that leads to many family events peppered with technical talk.

Ray Hauser (PhD ChemEngr ’57) and his wife, Connie, a PhD candidate in civil engineering, co-founded Hauser Laboratories in 1961, a successful research and engineering company succeeded by Hauser Chemical Research.

Two of the Hausers’ four children, Beth Kelsic (French ’76, EngrDes& EconEval ’78) and Dewi Feaver (MechEngr ’93), and two grandchildren, Kristen Feaver (ChemBio ’11) and Nathan Feaver (MS ChemEngr ’11), graduated from the college as well.

The Hauser children established engineering scholarships in their parents’ names to honor their legacy. “They are inspiring people, professionally and personally for us all,” says Kelsic, a materials engineer at Ball Aerospace for the last 27 years.

Three generations of the Schloss family also have established a legacy with the engineering college, including the first father-daughter pair to receive the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

Their legacy begins with Charles Schloss (ElecEngr ’18) and continues with son Charles (Chuck) Schloss Jr. (EngrPhys ’52) and granddaughter Kristy Schloss (CivEngr ’86).

“Having a grandfather and a father who were engineers was critical because they exposed me to science and engineering concepts at an early age and encouraged me to pursue an engineering career,” says Kristy, who took over from her father as president of Schloss Engineered Equipment, the family business started by her grandfather in 1918.

Kristy and her father are both recipients of the DEAA, and Kristy currently chairs the college’s Engineering Advisory Council. “As an engineer, I see the difference I can make for people all over the world,” Kristy says.

Will Sinton (ElecEngr ’49), whose path to becoming an engineer started when he became interested in crystal sets and ham radios as a youngster growing up on a farm south of Colorado Springs, also feels strongly about the value of his degree.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone as far as I did in my career if I hadn’t had the engineering degree from CU,” he says. Sinton retired as a division manager with AT&T in 1984 after crisscrossing the country a few times with Bell Telephone.

He passed his legacy on to one of his three sons, Ron Sinton (EngrPhys ’81), who went as far as earning a PhD at Stanford and starting a Boulder-based business, Sinton Instruments.

The company, which makes and tests measurement instruments for researching solar cells, has hired four CU engineering students for summer internships in the last four years. One of those students is now in a permanent position there, Ron says—a legacy of which the college is just as proud.

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