Colorado State University students clamoring to oust the football coach is a sentiment shared across generations. According to Bill Neighbors, a student here during the 1950s and one of the forefathers of the Lory Student Center, this sentiment is something he still remembers today. Reflecting on hot topics from when he was a student, Bill replied: “Same as always. We wanted to fire the football coach.”
Neighbors was one of the student leaders featured in a 1960s picture of the Lory Student Center ground-breaking. Since then, the famous picture has been used in conjunction with the Student Center for a variety of activities and awareness projects. Those students in the picture have gained Ram fame as the “LSC 7” – the original students involved in the development of one of the most widely-used buildings on campus.
Bill Neighbors with CSU alumna Melisa Panagakos.
Neighbors was a highly-involved member of his student community. He was president of Student Government and a member of the Student Union Board, Dean’s Advisory Board, President’s Advisory Board, and Farmhouse Fraternity. To honor this dedication, Neighbors was selected as a Pacemaker, modernly referred to as Pacesetter, which recognizes students who exceptionally balance academic responsibilities with student involvement.
Neighbors’ active student participation led to a well-cultivated relationship with Dr. William E. Morgan, CSU’s innovative President from 1949-1969. This, in turn, led to involvement in the 30-year master plan, which laid the groundwork for much of the University today, including the Lory Student Center.
Previous to Dr. Morgan’s presidency, CSU was Colorado A&M; “A&M” stood for “Agricultural and Mechanical,” and this was what drew Neighbors to the institution. When the University began its transition toward a new image, Neighbors was troubled that CSU might be losing its “A&M” roots.
Thus, Neighbors was pleased to hear from Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, Director of Lory Student Center Relations, that the revitalization of the LSC would involve highlighting CSU’s important agricultural history. In connecting with Neighbors, Kanda-Olmstead is continuing her efforts to reconnect with the “LSC 7” and bring Student Center history to the forefront. Kanda-Olmstead also brought with her Melisa Panagakos (featured with Neighbors above), a 2010 CSU alumna, to share with Neighbors her experiences with the Lory Student Center as it is today.
This year marks the celebration of the Lory Student Center’s 50th birthday. Over the last 50 years, the Student Center has become known as the hub of student life and activity on campus and has served as a vital focal point for student activity. The upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Student Center is an event to honor this history and celebrate the building’s future.
Since the LSC’s inception, CSU has launched itself forward on many exciting paths. Neighbors pointed out that CSU has gained a great deal of diversity among its ranks since he was a student. During Neighbor’s participation on the Alumni Association Board, he was impressed by the quality of faculty and students recruited by CSU. And although he was at first resistant to Colorado A&M’s name and image change, he is proud to see his alma mater develop into a “first-rate University with fantastic research.”
Today Neighbors resides in Boulder, though he still maintains close ties with CSU. Along with his participation as a student leader, he attributes his success in law to experiences with the College of Agricultural Sciences, specifically with the Livestock Judging Team, because it taught him critical-thinking skills. He employed those skills as a lawyer, district court judge, and Colorado Supreme Court justice. He continues to use those skills as a mediator/arbitrator with Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc in Denver and Colorado Springs.
Upon visiting with Neighbors, Kanda-Olmstead presented him with a framed copy of the iconic “LSC 7” photo. With this act, Kanda-Olmstead sent an important message: Though CSU is always looking forward, we will never forget the important voices and decisions that brought us to where we are today.