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Good Memories Surface, as 100-Year-Old Alumna Returns to Campus

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Lorne Fultonberg


Lorne Fultonberg


303 871-2660

Rosemary McGibbon graduated with the Class of 1940

Rosemary McGibbon, 100, looks over her class yearbook from 1940.
Rosemary McGibbon, 100, looks over her class yearbook from 1940.

Old editions of the Kynewisbok yearbook sat on a coffee table, put there, perhaps, to jog the memory of a special visitor.

As soon as she walked through the front door of the Leo Block Alumni Center, it was apparent recall wouldn’t be a problem.

“Did you know this used to be the Sigma Phi Epsilon house?”

So began the first history lesson from 100-year-old Rosemary McGibbon, who graduated in 1940 but describes her time on campus as if it were yesterday.

“I just remember the wonderful education you get at DU,” she said on her first visit to campus in at least 20 years. “It just brings back so many nice memories.”

McGibbon, née Collett, knows the names of every old building. She can clearly recall the day she delivered flowers to Chancellor David Shaw Duncan. Not only does she remember Professor Albert Recht’s astronomy classes, but she can still see the little pieces of paper he would pull from his pocket to tell students jokes “when things lagged a little bit.”

“I enjoyed everything about college. It was just my forte really,” she said. “I wasn't a scholar by any means, but I admired those that did do everything.”

McGibbon was determined to do the same, taking advantage of all DU had to offer — from the French Club to the Rifle Club. (“I wasn’t planning on shooting anybody,” she said with a laugh. “It was fun!”) For four years she wrote for The Clarion, editing the society section. The experience eventually converted her from an aspiring teacher into a journalism major. At football games, she cheered as a member of the Parakeets, a pep group based on personality, leadership and service. Today's students, she said, should strive to be just as involved.

McGibbon in her senior photo from 1940.
McGibbon in her senior photo from 1940.

“You don't have memories if you don't get in there and work at it,” said McGibbon, who still lives in south Denver. “You can’t do it by just listening to somebody else.”

McGibbon’s most meaningful memories were made in the Kappa Delta sorority, which she credits for a lifetime of friends and connections. She even met her husband at a sorority dance at a local country club.

None of it would have been possible without her four years at DU, she said. They were some of the best of her life.

The campus has only become more beautiful and more impressive in the 80 years since she attended, she said. She particularly loves the Williams Tower on the Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness.

And though her memory bank is seemingly brimming with good recollections, she made room for one more, as she finished a special tour of the office housing today’s Clarion staff.

“It’s been a lovely day for me,” she said. “I’ll remember this.”