Colorado Mesa University

The Maverick : Fall 2018

The Maverick magazine is a great way to stay in touch with current events at your alma mater, old classmates and the bright future of Colorado Mesa University.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 35

24 I n 1936, a loaf of bread cost eight cents, the Hoover Dam had recently been completed and Franklin Roosevelt was President of the United States. That same year, a young man named Paul Foster enrolled and reported to Mesa's campus for the fall semester. This past August, more than eight decades later, Paul Foster joined President Tim Foster on campus to commemorate the centenarian's 100-year birthday while also celebrating his status as the longest living known alumnus. During the event President Foster listened as Paul described his service in World War II, his recollections of the 1936 homecoming game, his upbringing in the town of Mesa before electricity and a life that has spanned ten decades. President Foster communicated the gravity of the event to freshman students in attendance, reminding them that Paul actually attended CMU when Clifford Houston was dean of faculty and Mary Rait was vice dean of faculty. Both of these historic figures today are associated with prominent campus buildings bearing their names. In an unplanned surprise, Paul's 96-year-old sister, Verna, joined the celebration where students learned that she too is a CMU alumna and is also among CMU's longest living alumni. An interview with Paul before the event revealed modesty indicative of "The Greatest Generation." His stories reflected a rich and rewarding life. Paul was born in the Town of Mesa when riding a horse to school was more common than a car. After receiving his diploma in 1938, Paul's education was cut short as World War II and the needs of his nation took precedent. Serving in an artillery division, Paul was deployed in the European and Pacific theatres. After Hitler's surrender, his division was among the first to return to America where he was issued a 30-day window of military leave. Many returning soldiers celebrated in revelry. Not Paul. He took his reprieve from war as an opportunity to marry his wife — with whom he spent the next six decades making a family and a life of memories. From humble beginnings and unforeseen events, Paul's life reflects the joys and complexities of the American Dream and isn't so different than the personal experience of CMU students today — some who have also served the nation in times of military conflict. When asked about why the first interview about his life hadn't occurred until now, he replied, "I never thought of myself as being that interesting." As Paul rounds out 100 years of living, he reveals a life of meaning, one that includes intellectual curiosity, discipline and purpose. Paul's legacy demonstrates that the arc of higher education is a long and powerful continuum. • Editor's Note: Paul Foster bears no relationship to CMU President Tim Foster. Mesa's oldest known living alum returns to campus and shares stories from the past 100 years By David Ludlam CMU CENTENARIAN The 100-year-old alumnus, Paul Foster, was joined by his sister and fellow alumna, Verna, on campus for a celebration held in his honor.

Articles in this issue

view archives of Colorado Mesa University - The Maverick : Fall 2018