Published: Sept. 1, 2009

A tribute to Rozek

It is very rare in life to meet an intellectual giant. It is even rarer when that intellectual giant is also a person of tremendous character and integrity. I was fortunate enough to meet such a man. The saying goes when the student is ready the teacher will appear. For me that teacher was professor Edward Rozek.

At the start of every semester, Rozek appeared in his signature uniform — a stripped French-cuffed dress shirt, bow tie and sport coat. He explained the course syllabus and then said, “You can have a Harvard education here at CU. Our library has the same books as theirs; all you need to do is read. You see, when you read a book your mind travels the intellectual journey of the author. And once you finish the book, you are transformed.”

He brought in speakers who were living documents of history, such as Polish Col. Ryszard Kukliski, a Cold War spy who passed top-secret Warsaw Pact documents to the CIA from 1971-81, Sam Zakhem (CivEngr’80), U.S. ambassador to Bahrain from 1986-89 and Ahmad Ghoreishi (IntAf’57, PhDPolSci’65), a former adviser to the Iranian Foreign Ministry (both were Rozek’s students), among others.

Rozek was strong and at times intimidating, but underneath that exterior was a compassionate heart. Every year, he invited students stuck in Boulder for Thanksgiving to his house for dinner. For me that captures the true essence of a great man.

Rev. Bruce E. Pratt (PolSci’95)
Flower Mound, Texas

Painting the “U” in CU

Since Frank Ellis (CivEngr’56) has confessed to being the principal culprit in what would now be called the environmental crime of painting the “U” on the Third Flatiron, I feel I should also admit I was one of the gang who helped him get the paint and other equipment up there in the dead of night.

I won’t name the other miscreants but will say they were mostly “hashers” at Sewall dormitory. Luckily our misdeeds were not discovered at the time or we would have had to face the wrath of Capt. Bly (Mrs. Bly Curtis was the strict head of food service in the dorms at the time).

Glad to see Frank has maintained his irreverent attitude after all these years.

Leo H. Smith (Bus, EngrPhys’57)

Boulder’s birthday victim of typo

Mary Alice Cook Munger (DistSt’50) of Surprise, Ariz., called to note Boulder was founded in 1859, not 1849, as noted on page 20 in "Celebrating 150 years of Broadway Construction." She reports her 89-year-old sister Grace Cook Bond (A&S’42) of Denver also caught the typo.

Going nuclear

The article by Paul Danish (Hist’65) "Boulder should go nuclear" finally inspired this old pile of buffalo chips to respond. My response: when pigs fly. I cannot imagine Boulder ever generating the guts to do something this imaginative. They might talk about it.

I do give Sir Paul (he will be knighted by King William of England prior to Boulder going nuclear) explicit permission to graffiti my headstone with “I told you so” in Day-Glo orange, if the event ever occurs.

Bob Heller (MechEngr’58)
Omaha, Neb.

Paul Danish (Hist’65) writes that Boulder should go nuclear to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. His simplistic arguments neglect most of the nuclear problem. There has been a moratorium on new nuclear plants in the U.S. since the Carter administration for good reason.

Nuclear plants are very expensive to build, there is not enough U-235 to supply significant power for the U.S. for many years and the technology for recycling nuclear waste has not yet been sufficiently developed.

France recycles most of the U-235 and plutonium in spent nuclear fuel but they (and all other countries) have no good solution for what to do with the very dangerous fission products and the other long-lived actinides. Fast neutron reactors could use the actinides (including the abundant U-238) but the technology will probably not be available for many years, if ever. The plan for the radioactive waste has been to let it sit near the reactor for 20 or so years to let much of the fission products decay and then ship the rest to a long-term repository. Yucca Mountain in Nevada was supposed to be such a site.

However, Yucca Mountain and all other proposed sites have not proven to be safe for the thousands of years necessary to keep the long-lived waste and so recently have lost funding. There is now a great deal of highly radioactive waste (which could make many “dirty bombs”) stored in the U.S and nobody knows what to do with it.

Nuclear may have some short-term advantages but is not the answer to our long-term energy needs. Boulder should look ahead and be a leader in renewable energy generation.

John Woolum (Phys’60)
Pasadena, Calif.

Where are the club sports?

I wanted to comment on the articles about athletics in this most current issue [June Coloradan]. Most of the NCAA sports are represented, but nothing was mentioned about some of the excellent club sports teams at CU. There were national championships won by some teams, and the women’s lacrosse team made it to the national championship in one of the most competitive lacrosse leagues in the nation. I know that club sports aren’t all that interesting to some alumni, but for others it defined their time at CU. Thanks for listening.

Kaitlin Jennie Moore (Mktg’08)
Lakewood, Colo.

Editor’s note: While we wrestle with trying to fit all of the news of varsity sports on five and a half pages, we agree with Kaitlin that club sports deserve some space in the Coloradan. Read about club sports highlights in this issue on page 48.

Remembering Vetsville

Just now I looked again at my [March] issue of the Coloradan, as revisiting each issue is my habit. As always, I was transported to my halcyon days at CU and Edenic life in Boulder from 1949-57.

The snapshot on page 57 of the Quonset huts at 24th and Arapahoe stirred memories of the friends who lived there — short on comforts but very long on character and generosity of spirit. By the way, although the formal name for the settlement was “Vetsville,” it was more commonly referred to as “Fertility Flats” or often just “the Flats.” The convenient proximity of the “TT” (Timber Tavern) may have contributed to both the warmth of the friendships cultivated there and the genesis of the familiar title applied to the settlement.

The Coloradan is a treasure — keep it coming.

William E. Wright (Bus’51,MHist’53, PhD’57)
Deephaven, Minn.

Folsom Field on the Fourth

I’ve never seen a replay of the July 4th fireworks display in Folsom Field of either 1948 or 1949.

The display was erected immediately south of the scoreboard and extended across the football field. Fortunately as it would turn out, spectators were restricted to the horseshoe end of the stadium, northward to about the south 35-yard line.

Just as the show began, one of those early-evening thunderstorms blew in from the south; no rain but gusty winds. To start the show some of the smaller fireworks had been ignited, and they were turned northward by the unexpected winds right into the displays at the base of the scoreboard.

Pandemonium followed. The pyrotechnic waterfall ignited; skyrockets of various sizes shot into the nearby stands. The small pine trees adjacent to the scoreboard were burning. Silence fell over the stadium, and then over the PA system it was announced that nobody had been hurt. Everybody let out a loud and thankful cheer.

Russ Randell (MechEngr’49)
Ramona, Calif.

Ludlow massacre details

John Klemenic (ChemEngr’49) called to elaborate that male strikers, women and children were killed by the Colorado National Guard during the 1914 Ludlow Massacre [“Hot summer reads,” page 12, June Coloradan]. In retaliation, according to the book Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War (Harvard University), the strikers killed “at least 30 men, destroyed six mines, and laid waste to two company towns.”