The Lory Student Center Through the Years

Colorado State University alumnus reflects on fond memories:

Seated in the sculpture garden, which used to be the campus ice rink, Colorado State University alumnus Thomas Roberts shared the story of the first Lory Student Center microwave.

This new-fangled contraption could warm food at light speed it seemed, and provided an added incentive for campus-goers to swing through the student center, though it was already a popular stopping point for students, staff, and faculty.

New technology didn’t draw Roberts to CSU; rather he was enticed by the University’s forestry program.  He eventually changed his major to economics because one requirement of the forestry major was spending an expensive semester at Pingree Park, which wasn’t affordable for him as an out-of-state student. Instead he ended up pursuing a juris doctor and had a successful and interesting career in law. 

Roberts was very involved on campus and in the student center.  He worked for the Rocky Mountain Collegian, Student Center Info Desk, and Corbett Hall and he was a member of the Student Center Board. When he was a student in 1967, the student center was only five years old, so it was an exciting time to be involved.

“I was a freshman at CSU from Springfield, Illinois and knew exactly zero people when I started,” Roberts said.  “The Student Center was, from the start, a place where new students could feel comfortable and meet students other than those in just your dorms.”

In addition to the LSC being fresh in its youth, it was best known by the nickname “Student Center.” Also during this time, a passenger train ran right through CSU, dropping students off just outside campus.  Parents loved the idea of their students being safely dropped off at their campus home base. 

Alumnus Thomas Roberts and his wife in front
of the Government Board Alumnae wall

Fond memories like this run rampant for Roberts, who said one of his favorite parts of the student center was its ability to bring people of all kinds together. 

“Greeks, hippies, and hippie-wannabes ate in the Ramskeller; Cowboys ate in the cafeteria upstairs,” he joked.

The Rocky Mountain Collegian was a bit different back then, too.  The news room was much larger in the ’60s to accommodate organizing the paper by hand.  All editions were arranged in paper form, not digitally like they are now, and then shipped off to Golden, Colorado for print the same night.

Roberts, who basically lived at the student center when he attended CSU, now works part-time for the federal court.  He attended law school at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and has had the opportunity to move around a great deal in his career.

From the way he speaks, it is clear that Roberts was heavily impacted by the Lory Student Center.  As if coming out of the visions of Dr. William Morgan himself, who wanted students to use the building as a “home away from home” between classes and their residence halls, Roberts found a second home in the student center. 

After completion of the revitalization in 2014, the Lory Student Center will continue its legacy of innovative technologies, bringing people together, and creating a place to call home at CSU.