Mary Dyar


Mary Dyar had been a stalwart supporter of the College of Applied Human Sciences for many years.

Upon her death on Feb. 8, 2008, at the age of 93, she provided a generous portion of her estate to the College. Remarkably, Mary never attended Colorado State University. Rather, it was through her sister, Elizabeth Dyar Gifford, that she held the College in such high esteem.

Elizabeth Dyar Gifford became a faculty member in food science and human nutrition in 1940 – later she became the first dean of the College of Home Economics in 1950. Upon her retirement in 1974, the Elizabeth Dyar Gifford Scholarship was established. The Gifford Building on campus is named in her honor.

Dean Gifford left a large bequest to the scholarship fund when she died in 1997. Inspired by the family connection, her sister Mary generously added to the scholarship at the time of her death in February.

Mary Dyar graduated from Carlton College in Minnesota, as did her sister Elizabeth. Mary went on to attend the University of Minnesota Library School and spent her entire career at the Minneapolis Public Library where she worked from 1939 until her retirement as associate director in 1976. At the time of her death, she resided in Burnsville, Minn.

Mary always enjoyed receiving correspondence from the College, especially thank you letters from the student recipients of the Gifford Scholarship. She regularly answered correspondence from the College with a thank you note, even as she became older and writing became difficult. She also wrote to the student scholarship recipients on occasion.

Of Elizabeth she wrote, "All her intellect and energy was devoted to the College of Home Economics. I remember her devotion and enthusiasm." Apparently Elizabeth's enthusiasm for Colorado State carried over to Mary. She wrote in one letter to the College, "I had noted with pleasure the CSU Rams win over the CU Buffs!"

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson, a professor of communication, media, and rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and Elizabeth and Mary's niece and namesake, said of her two aunts, "Aunt Mary and Aunt Elizabeth both loved the out-of-doors. Aunt Elizabeth was a wonderful fisher person, and Aunt Mary loved golf."

Mary Elizabeth's mother, Margaret Bezanson, was the third sister in the family. Margaret also enjoyed receiving correspondence from the College regarding the Gifford Scholarship recipients. Mary Elizabeth said, "My aunts and mother were indeed remarkable women. Every one of them was committed to learning, doing her best, maintaining high standards for themselves and others, and having fun."

Today, funds from the Gifford Scholarship endowment in the College of Applied Human Sciences provide five significant annual awards to students in the disciplines of the former College of Home Economics: Design and Merchandising, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Human Development and Family Studies, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Occupational Therapy. Because of the dedication and foresight of these remarkable sisters, students will benefit in perpetuity.