After hitch-hiking to Alaska, go-go dancing in Fairbanks, and traveling the country in a car painted red, white, and blue, Nancy Williams York eventually decided to settle in Fort Collins – though her life hardly settled down.
York graduated from Colorado State University in 1960 and is one of the “LSC 7,” a group of student leaders pictured in front of the Lory Student Center’s 1960s ground-breaking photo. Along with participation in the photo, York was an active student leader and important voice in the development and movement of the LSC’s initial construction.
During her academic years at CSU, York was editor of Silver Spruce, the annual CSU yearbook. Silver Spruce featured important elements of each graduating year from recognition of Pacemakers, exceptional student leaders at CSU, to outlines of political and historical events. York vividly remembers the enormous time crunch required to put Silver Spruce into production. Working alongside her brother, who was in charge of layout, York oversaw an award-winning Silver Spruce in 1960.
A member of Gamma Phi Sorority, York studied occupational therapy and eventually used her degree to become an occupational therapist for the United States Army. She spent five years in the Army, though she now considers herself an anti-war protestor.
“I never thought of myself as a hippie or a flowerchild back then, but looking back, I was,” York reminisced. York used time in the Army to travel and continued traveling after leaving the military.
She ended up in San Francisco during the 1960s; due to the political atmosphere of the times, San Francisco completely changed her outlook on life. After further travels, York meandered back to Fort Collins to do some “independent study” of sorts. To feed her interests, she took classes in nutritional chemistry, film-making, and economics.
Through her exploration, York began to recognize the importance of culture and arts in Fort Collins. She worked diligently at the Lincoln Center distributing event posters for $5 per hour. Her work at the Lincoln Center also led to a close relationship with Jack Curfman, the namesake of the Curfman Art Gallery. Featuring art from nationally and locally renowned artists, the Curfman Art Gallery is located on the south side of the LSC.
Distributing posters at the Lincoln Center also led York to her current business as a professional poster distributer. York views event posters as works of art in and of themselves and feels she is promoting the art and culture of Fort Collins by placing them around the community. Now in business for 33 years, York rides her bike on a route around Fort Collins and distributes posters for various businesses and groups, CSU included.
When she’s not pedaling across Fort Collins, York engages politically in the community. Civic engagement is reminiscent of her experiences at CSU. She protested an unjust termination of a professor in the 1960s. During her independent study, York ran for election on the Board of Communications which oversaw the Rocky Mountain Collegian, KCSU radio, and other student media outlets.
“I recommend running for student office,” she advised. “It is one of the very best ways for a student to get involved.”
Reconnecting with York comes at a time when the Lory Student Center is preparing for a big celebration and big changes. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Lory Student Center. Following this celebration, the LSC will be undergoing a major revitalization project with plans to send it 50 years into the future.
When York was a student at CSU, the Lory Student Center was an important hub of student life and activity. This essence has traveled through 50 years of student commitment and excellence as the LSC continues to be a centralized location where students can meet, rest, study, eat, and regroup. With plans to enhance and rejuvenate this important building beginning Summer 2013, CSU can watch the Lory Student Center grow and travel through 50 more years of activity, culture, and student engagement.