Sitting in William E. Morgan’s living room with a few of her peers, joking over cherries jubilee, Lory Tyler Runyan had no idea the impact she would be leaving on her university. Fifty years later, we are celebrating her legacy.
This year marks the 50th birthday of the Lory Student Center, hub of student-life and activity on campus. Named after Charles A. Lory, Colorado State University’s President from 1909 to 1940, the LSC is known as the center of campus life at CSU.
Runyan was one of the student leaders featured in a 1960 picture with the soon-to-be LSC. Since then, the famous picture has been used in conjunction with the LSC for a variety of activities and awareness projects. The students in the picture have gained distinction as the LSC 7 – the original students involved in the development of one of the most widely-used buildings on campus.
Runyan chuckled at the thought of being iconic: “This is the last thing that I would think would happen. I was just a common every day student.” Indeed, Runyan could be characterized as much like the students that walk our campus today.
When Runyan started at CSU, her status as a woman allowed her access to Associated Women Students. Beginning as secretary her sophomore year, she eventually ousted her competition and became president.
“I remember campaigning door-to-door to beat Liz, who also was running. It was a challenge because she was much prettier than I was,” Runyan joked.
Along with her involvement with Associated Women Students, Runyan was active in Kappa Alpha Theta, one of the top sororities on campus. The year she rushed, campus had come down with Asian flu. Much like the conditions that struck our campus a few years ago with the onset of Swine flu, Asian flu left the student body bed-ridden and very ill.
“Rush was difficult because many of the girls were very sick, but we still had to show up to the events looking beautiful and presentable,” Runyan said.
Runyan also was an Army Ca-dettes. She remembers many days going to the shooting range with girlfriends and practicing her shot. To them, it was just another day in the life of a CSU student.
Interestingly, Runyan truly epitomizes “MyCSU,” a campus-wide idea for each student to take CSU’s campus and college experience and tailor it to fit his or her own unique identity. Not only did Runyan take the time to get involved on campus, she also was among the first class to graduate under the CSU banner. Every class before had graduated under the name “Colorado A&M,” which stood for Colorado State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.
It was Runyan’s involvement at CSU that earned her a place to represent the student body in the 30-year master plan. The 30-year master plan was developed by Morgan, the namesake for the Morgan Library and President of Colorado A&M from 1949 to 1969, and outlined plans to expand and enhance the University for the increased rates of enrollment. Runyan’s role as a student leader allowed her to work side-by-side with Morgan. This involvement also led to one of her fondest memories at CSU: Runyan’s eyes sparkled as she recounted the night she was chosen as a “Pacemaker,” modernly referred to on campus as “Pacesetter.”
According to the ASCSU website, today the University awards the title of Pacesetter to students who “demonstrate an exemplary ability to balance a variety of extra-curricular activities in relation to their academics.” The website goes on to say that the student must exemplify what it truly means to be a CSU Ram.
“I was selected as a [Pacesetter] and it was magical and mystical; it was a culmination of everything that I had worked for,” Runyan remembered.
Runyan went above and beyond in many aspects of her life at CSU, an opportunity still available to students on campus today. Just like in the 1960s, when Runyan was a student at CSU, it was student feedback that directed the focus of the current LSC revitalization project.
When walking by the LSC, or any building, consider the voices and ideas that went into creating this building for CSU’s campus. Consider how a single student voice could shape this University for 50 years and beyond. Think about the unique stamp you too can leave on your University.