Avenir launches CSU apparel exhibitions to commemorate sesquicentennial

CSU attire at the Avenir

In honor of Colorado State University’s 150th birthday, the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising has opened two exhibits that have decidedly Ram-centric themes.

The first, “Proud to Wear,” features a collection of CSU apparel over the decades, from T-shirts to football helmets. The second, “Women Wear at CSU,” is a collection of items from CSU employees who identify as female, including a jacket on loan from President Joyce McConnell. It’s a nod to not only the sesquicentennial, but the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which secured women’s right to vote nationally.

For both exhibits, Avenir Curator Katie Knowles put out a call for contributions from the CSU community. And boy did people deliver. Dozens of CSU T-shirts of all stripes, from the final “College Days” shirt in 1987 to a “Fort Flood” shirt printed 10 years later, poured in. A sampling of the T-shirts that were received is on display in the Richard Blackwell Gallery at the Avenir, along with a host of other treasures.

There’s a 1950s football jersey and letter jacket worn by Frank Faucett and Lyle Stucker, respectively, who played with Jack Christiansen at CSU before Christiansen went on to a successful NFL career as a player and coach. Next to the apparel is a photo of the three during their playing days at CSU.

“There are some really fun connections in this exhibition,” Knowles said. “There are a lot of stories to tell.”

Athletic wear and more

One football jersey from the 1930s is a padded “onesie” that snaps under the crotch. From more recent years are a 2003 Bradlee Van Pelt jersey and an open mesh jersey used by Steve Anderson in 1977. A set of coveralls bearing the name “Frank” on the front and “Colorado State University Football” was worn by a facilities staff member who helped maintain the football field in the 1970s. A cringe-worthy pair of polyester green-and-white checked pants was worn by members of the football coaching staff in the 1970s.

There’s even an old orange and green striped leather helmet from the 1930s worn by John Mosley, the first African-American football player who lettered at CSU. That helmet is accompanied by three others from previous decades to show the evolution of safety advances, including the one worn in 1959 by Alan Ashbaugh. Ashbaugh liked his Longmont High School helmet so much that he painted it green and wore it in college. The faded words “State Champions 54-55,” for his high school team’s big win, can still be seen on the side.

Photos by Avery Martin

CSU logos over the years

Women’s wear

“Women Wear at CSU,” which runs through Dec. 28, is not limited to clothing.

“We have everything from evening gowns to T-shirts, and even a Mason jar,” Knowles said.

The jar was provided by Cori Wong, assistant vice president for gender equity and director of the Women & Gender Collaborative. Each woman who loaned something for the exhibit explains its personal meaning on a placard accompanying each item, and Wong says she began drinking from a Mason jar in college, and it just stuck. It became a conversation starter for the self-described introvert, and now it’s her trademark accessory.

Temple Grandin shirt

Other items from the women of CSU that are on display include a Western shirt worn by renowned animal sciences Professor Temple Grandin; a formal gown from Kim Tobin, vice president for university advancement; a Little Shop of Physics shirt from LSOP Assistant Director Heather Michalak; and a CSU dress provided by Corporate Learning Management System Coordinator Dianne Fromme.

Temple Grandin shirt

Shannon Archibeque-Engle, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives and assessment in the Vice President for Diversity office, loaned one of her signature red leather backpacks, while CSU Writes Director Kristina Quynn provided an Ann Taylor “camp shirt.” Housing and Dining Services Director of Communications Tonie Miyamoto submitted a “Green Warrior” T-shirt from the first year of the sustainability campaign.

The CSU community is encouraged to share photos and stories about their own favorite apparel worn by women of CSU’s past and present on Instagram using @AvenirMuseum and #WomenWearCSU.

The Avenir Museum is in the Department of Design and Merchandising, which is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

CSU’s Sesquicentennial

150th logo

This story is part of an ongoing series celebrating Colorado State University’s 150th anniversary. For more stories, an interactive photo slider and a quiz on CSU lore, visit csu150.colostate.edu.