Memories are Everlasting: Class of 1943 Memories

Class_of_43Colorado State University has come a long way since 1943, and while campus looked very different 70 years ago, there is something special about this institution that makes campus feel like home to graduates from any decade.

We sat down with Grace Hittle, Ken Ashley, and John Matsushima, all from the class of 1943, to hear more about their memories of being in college and we’ve contrasted some of those memories with facts and tidbits about present-day Colorado State.

About the Graduates

  • Grace Hittle (B.S. ’43, Home Economics) lived and taught overseas.
  • Ken Ashley (B.S. ’43, Natural Resources – Forest Management) served in the Marines after graduation.
  • John Matsushima (B.S. ’43, Agricultural Sciences: Animal Science, M.S. ’45, Agricultural Sciences: Animal Science) became an internationally recognized expert in the area of beef cattle and returned to Colorado State as a professor. More about Dr. Matsushima.

Like many graduates of CSU, these members of the Class of ’43 have fond memories of being a student. They recalled attending football games with more losses than wins (something the Rams are looking to change this year), late nights studying for exams, endless days hanging out with friends, and perhaps most endearing, meeting the loves of their lives on campus. Grace, Ken, and John all met their spouses while attending CSU.

The campus seems to be a natural place for love – see photos of people who incorporated CSU in their wedding day.

Living Conditions

As a professor’s daughter, Grace lived at home and found herself a bit more shielded from campus life. However, she fondly recalls her social life as a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and as an active member of her church.

“We lived like prairie dogs,” says Ken, referring to the large number of students who lived in basement apartments and only emerged to go to work or to school. Both he and John lived in off-campus housing (below ground). Modern college accommodations seem much more luxurious in contrast. Take a peek at Parmelee Hall, one of the recently renovated residence halls on campus.

Dollars and Cents

The cost of tuition for a Colorado resident was between $132.50-$133.50 for the year (not including special fees). Today, in-state tuition and fees are about $9,313. Watch a video featuring President Tony Frank and alumna Karina Mullen (’13) as they give a creative overview on the costs of tuition.

The three graduates estimate that a textbook cost them between $8 and $12, whereas today, a student could easily spend more than $100 on just one new book.

Loyal Ever Be

Just as the lyrics of the Alma Mater suggest, Grace, Ken, and John remain proud graduates of Colorado A&M, and still stand by their alma mater 70 years, one mascot, and one new name, later. Year after year, they’ve returned to campus as attendees of the 50 Year Club Luncheon, which is hosted specifically for graduates from 50 years ago and more. These graduates also still care deeply about one another. As their Homecoming reunion approaches, they have one message to their fellow classmates, “come back . . . or at least write to us and tell us what you’re doing.”

The campus population has grown from 1,637 students in 1943 to 30,700 students today. Imagine the stories the class of 2013 will have to tell at their 70-year reunion.

The Class of 1943 will be celebrated at the 50 Year Club Luncheon during Homecoming & Family Weekend and will also gather for a reunion dinner on Friday, Oct. 11. For more information, visit

Read more about campus during the 1940’s.

To submit a class note to tell us what you’re doing, e-mail and put “Class Note” in the subject line.

by Tanida Ruampant (B.A. ’01, M.S. ’11)

The Colorado State University Alma Mater

Hail to thee, our Alma Mater;
Colorado State.
Memories are everlasting
of this place so great.
May thy Green and Gold unite us,
loyal ever be.
Colorado State, our Alma Mater,
Hail, all hail, to thee.

Listen to the Alma Mater