A Never-Ending Gift: The Legacy of Judson and Patricia Harper

Dr. Judson Harper retired from Colorado State University in 2004, but his impact has had a ripple effect on the University. His time with CSU spans more than five decades, and at age 84, Harper continues to make waves.

“I held so many positions at CSU,” Harper says, laughing. “I like to joke I was the cleanup hitter. I just had the opportunity to do a little bit of everything.”

During his 34 years at CSU, Harper helped create the chemical engineering major and expanded research endeavors and capabilities in information technology. He assisted with faculty recruitment and facilities construction. He served as the interim president of the University in 1989 and was the special assistant to the president until his retirement. He and his wife, Pat, were effective ambassadors and staunch CSU supporters.

“The first time we were ever in Fort Collins, we were traveling west on one of our family camping trips. As luck would have it, our car broke down,” Harper recalls. “We limped into Fort Collins, and while our car was being repaired, we took the kids to play on the slides and swings at Library Park. I remember Pat loving the place and remarking we should move here someday. I remember thinking that would never happen. A few years later, it did.”

Harper began teaching at CSU in 1970. He and his wife were active in the community and often attended CSU’s sporting events. They had been married 52 years when Pat passed away in 2011.

“As time goes by, the focus has really been about giving back,” Harper says. “Being a former department head, I realized how critical it is to have good faculty. I really wanted to endow the budget of the department, so it could lead to more resources for hiring faculty.”

He was able to use the cash value of several life insurance policies to endow a professorship at CSU.

“The beauty of an endowment gift is perpetuity. It’s never-ending,” says Harper, adding that it’s encouraging to see the impact of a gift. “Overall, it feels good to give back to a program and an institution that has been really important to me.”

To explore how you can give back to a CSU program or area of special importance, contact the Office of Gift Planning at (970) 491-4254 or giftplanning@colostate.edu.