Published: March 6, 2023

A Focus on Mental Health 

Magazine CoverAs the mother of an adult son with schizoaffective disorder and an aunt to several nieces and nephews who struggle with bipolar disorder and depression, I am so very thankful that awareness is increasing, stigma is decreasing and research is progressing. My son went through five painful years, several different doctors and many different medications. He is now working again part time and leading a fulfilling life. It takes a village, though, and many do not have supportive family members and friends to help them navigate this very difficult road. My son has a nursing degree from CU Anschutz, has taken extensive training in peer support and is hoping to someday be able to use his training to help others who struggle with severe mental illness. Keep spreading the message of hope to this community who so desperately need to hear it. Thank you!

Lori Black 
Longmont, Colorado 


In "Rethinking Mental Illness" [cover story, Fall 2022] it seems that we first must rethink using the term "illness," which is stigmatizing in itself. Choosing "mental health" as the topic of conversation versus “illness” not only promotes the need for maintenance and preventative measures like the dental health suggestion in the article, but normalizes the need and is more hopeful. Struggling with things like anxiety, depression or PTSD is part of the human condition. Not everyone who came back from Vietnam ended up with PTSD, but those with genetic vulnerabilities did. The same is true for many traumas that people experience on a daily basis. For some of us, the wiring might be off neurochemically, but many mental health conditions can be managed with the right support (education, therapy, nutrition, exercise and pharmaceutical assistance). The term "wellness" inspires hope as well as more personal accountability. Detecting genetic markers for mental health vulnerabilities like we do for cancer would help with early detection and treatment; however, changing the narrative from mental illness to mental health needs to be part of the rethinking. 

Brenda Currier 
Longmont, Colorado


Yes, it is good to talk about mental illness, and new ways of handling it. You say, though, that CU researchers are “finding new ways to help stem the growing crisis” [cover story, Fall 2022]. Maybe one way is to not always view the world as a “growing crisis.” Humans have lived through a lot: the fall of empires, the Mongols, the Black Plague, the World Wars, the Great Depression ... We now live in the best country in the world, at the best time in history: the most advanced education, medicine, the least people in poverty, the fewest wars and more. 

Maybe a good way to reduce mental illness is to approach the world with a “we can handle this” mentality, instead of always thinking that “the world is ending.” Certain people want you to always feel afraid and helpless ... so you will depend on them, and hopefully vote for them. But you don’t have to fall for that mindset. Instead, take a more resilient, optimistic view that people can solve the challenges ahead, as we always have. This alone should help lessen the mental illness “crisis” considerably.

Pamela Hale Anderson (Law’87)
[great-great-granddaughter of Horace Hale, 2nd president of CU]
Las Vegas, Nevada

Free Speech, Continued 

In the Fall 2022 issue [Feedback, page 61], I found the letter from Carolyn S. Kinsey (Edu’69) regarding free speech appropriate, especially amid the current censoring activities at campuses of our major universities. The inquiring mind should not be discouraged from seeking alternatives to even established methodology.

Robert A. Plack (ElEngr’61) 
Scottsdale, Arizona

Military Band

Thoughts on Our 1943 Photo 

I suspect (but am not certain) that this photo [THEN, Fall 2022] is not a drill for a military band on campus. Instead, might it be a photo taken in connection with the graduation of the Navy Japanese Language School, which occurred in July 1943 on campus? The naval students who were studying Japanese at CU could have congregated outside Baker Hall prior to marching to Macky Auditorium for their commencement ceremony. The ceremony is described on pages 52 and 53 of Deciphering the Rising Sun by Roger Dingman, which is available at Norlin Library.

Paul Albright (Jour’57)
Boulder, Colorado


I imagine that this scene was the last review for the graduating Army and Navy ROTC Cadets of CU's Class of 1943. There weren't any Air Force cadets at that time because the U.S. Air Force wasn’t founded until 1947. Army cadets are wearing olive drab green uniforms in formations in the background on the left. Navy cadets are wearing white uniforms in formations in the background on the right. An article in The Princeton Herald newspaper (pages 1 and 3) dated May 21, 1943, describes a similar ceremony which took place at Princeton in May 1943. 

This photo is meaningful to me because I was an Air Force ROTC cadet at CU from 1977 to 1981, served in the Air Force from 1982 to 1995, lived in Baker Hall in the summer of 1980, and my father was a U.S. Army WWII veteran. 

Fred Wolff (ApMath’81) 
Colorado Springs, Colorado 


The nation’s colleges and universities hosted accelerated courses for officer candidates. Some of these courses were degree programs and some of them were purely military related. They were basically called specialized courses — colleges and universities were chosen because of their facilities. These specialized courses were not the same as ROTC — they were purely military. I am fairly sure the photo in question shows men enrolled in these special courses or three-year degree programs. A military band is marching up and down the field in front of the formations of men — there are bound to be a lot more than are shown in the photo. The presence of a military band (this is not a CU band) means this is a formation either for a graduation ceremony for whatever course the men were enrolled in or it is an honor-type ceremony or a combination of both. 

Remember that in 1943 every facet of our society was mobilized for the war effort — the photo depicts part of that effort. I suspect a number of the men pictured went to the war in the Pacific and did not return. 

I took ROTC at CU as I entered in September 1963 and the draft was really ramping up for the war in Vietnam. ROTC was a vehicle that would keep me from being drafted so I could finish the whole four years. After two years of duty in the Cold War in Germany and one year of a hot war in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, I was one of the lucky ones who came back with two feet and two arms and about half a mind. 

Dave Hickcox (Geog’68) 
Delaware, Ohio 


Could the photo have been from the Colorado vs. Fort Francis E. Warren football game on Sept. 25, 1943? 

Derek Widmayer (Psych’96)
Parker, Colorado 


I know nothing personal about the “military band” in your 1943 photo, but as a graduate of the Navy ROTC program of the early 1960s, I can speculate. The entire parade may have been part of the NROTC detachment during that war year. The men in tan uniforms are midshipmen or officers, while enlisted men are wearing white uniforms. During my days there, the NROTC detachment held military drills in front of the Libby dormitory every Thursday afternoon. There we trained the freshmen in proper uniform dress, military courtesies and close-order drill. I think about once a month or so we were exercised in a pass-in-review parade in which the entire battalion would march past our senior officers and whatever visiting dignitaries happened to be present. 

James Mulholland (Geol’64) 
Arvada, Colorado  


I'm the historian for the CU Marching Band. The picture you provided shows a band marching past enlisted sailors in their summer white uniforms and several other men in khaki uniforms representing the probable ROTC personnel. The majority of the male CU students were affiliated with the military in some way. Although there was an ROTC contingent, the university had several schools to include ROTC, a V-2 program known as NROTC with most registered in either engineering or premed, a V-5 program which was Naval aviation, a Naval radio operators training school, Naval Training School (Oriental languages), a V-12 Unit which was a medical school and a Navy Cooks and Bakers School.

I did find a picture of the Navy/military review which happened on or near a Colorado tradition known as Colorado Days, which started in May 1927. There is a picture in William E. “Bud” Davis’ Glory Colorado on page 456 showing a formal military parade at Colorado stadium. This is important because it shows two bands in the north end-zone of the field, the CU men's and women's marching band. When you compare the photo on that page with that in your magazine on page 62–63, the band can be none other than the CU men's marching band.

I state this because they are wearing a uniform but there are no army markings, rank insignia, etc. There is a belt worn by the members but only officers of the Army wore the Sam Browne type belt, not enlisted.  In your photo the belts look white. You can see the drum major on the far right of the photo. He is wearing a standard Navy blue uniform and is either a chief petty officer or a junior officer. The university at the time had no Army contingent that I can find, but 99% Navy with a few Marines. Hence, it would have been very odd to have an Army band playing for the Navy. 

My best educated guess is that it is a military parade associated with the Colorado Days which would have taken place in May or June 1943, and the men’s university marching band is leading the way to the stadium which isn’t that far away from the men’s dorm, aka Baker Hall now.

Walt Blankenship (Hist’89; MA’02)
Westminster, Colorado  

Vetsville Memories 

My friends Ross (Arch’68) and Betty Cooney lived in one of the Quonset huts in the ’60s when I returned to Boulder to finish my degree. Ross had been in the Navy and was finishing his degree in architecture. They lived in the tiny half-Quonset with their daughter, Diana.

Thomas Turman (ArchEngr’66)
El Cerrito, California 


From fall of 1968 to spring of 1971, I lived in the Quonset huts with my young family. I was pursuing a law degree, and having those huts available was a blessing for us veterans that could not afford other housing. It was a great experience, and one that I still remember fondly.

Al Dominguez (Law’71) 
Windsor, Colorado 


Thanks for your retrospective on Vetsville. When CU was preparing to build the current family housing on the site, they needed to get rid of the remaining Quonset huts, so they sold them off in lots for what I recall as $23 apiece. My dad and our neighbor decided that was a good deal, so they bought a number of them. I got pressed into service helping haul appliances (which were included in the price), pull out plumbing and the like. Then they spent that summer holding what amounted to an ongoing flea market at Arapahoe and Folsom, meanwhile also trying to sell off the huts themselves. It turned out to be harder to sell a Quonset hut than they had expected, and CU was breathing down their necks to get the site cleared before construction.

My dad moved one of the last huts to land we owned near Haystack Mountain, on Oxford Road just west of 63rd Street. It’s still there, the property now owned by the City of Boulder as open space.

Kurt Nordback
Boulder, Colorado 

Cinnamon Roll Cinnamon Rolls and Peanut Butter 

In Oct 2001, my late husband C.W. “Bill” Peterson (A&S’53) and I visited the CU campus to reminisce and to have lunch at The Sink. It was a favorite as Bill was employed at the restaurant working mostly mornings while attending CU from 1952–54. He told of starting the tradition of covering the warm cinnamon rolls with peanut butter to give the students added protein for their day.

He was delighted to see the changes and additions and some things that never change, including the many artwork drawings.

Carol Peterson
Freeport, Kansas 



University Life 

I was a student at CU from 1964–70. University life and Boulder were far different then, more open and intimate. In-state tuition and fees were $186 a semester, a room on The Hill $35–$40 a month, marijuana was illegal but available. The Sink had a decent burger, 3.2 beer served in paper cups and the best jukebox ever. These were turbulent times shadowed by the Cold War, political assassinations, protests against the war in Vietnam and a hope that a better world was possible. It was a difficult, exciting time to be a student. The allure and glamor of power, wealth and war live on, but I do miss those days of connection and conviction.   

Robert Porath (Engl’69)
Boulder, Colorado 

Cover to Cover 

This is the one “periodical” that I faithfully read cover to cover. While my field is music and my husband’s is science/medicine, we find every article of great interest and always well-researched and written. I am amazed that I have not ever been bored by any of these, and instead have been fascinated by CU’s history, its research and, of course, the wonderful accomplishments by former and current students, faculty and even staff. 

Susan Olenwine (MMus’09)
Boulder, Colorado

Remembering Joyce Lebra 

I was amazed to see the photograph of professor Joyce Lebra and learn about the recognition she received late in life [THEN, Spring 2022]. As professor of Japanese history at CU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Lebra influenced my husband, George Bluh (Bus’58; MHist’64), profoundly as he undertook an MS degree in the CU history department in far Eastern studies. Much of his achievement was under Lebra’s supervision. She was the lone woman history professor at the time, and we were privileged to know her. 

Cynthia Hubbard Bluh (A&S’60)
Conway, Massachusetts 

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Illustration by Keith Negley; Courtesy CU Boulder photograph collection, Box 42, Item Univ 5191, Rare andDistinctive Collections, CU Boulder Libraries (historical photo); iStock/duckycards (cinnamon roll)