Curfman legacy lives on with estate gift to enhance scholarship fund and gallery

Jack Curfman, center, with two scholarship recipients at a past College of Health and Human Sciences scholarship recognition event.
Two Curfman scholarship recipients with Jack Curfman, center, at the CSU College of Health and Human Sciences Scholarship and Awards Brunch in 2015.

Jack Curfman was an internationally recognized exhibition designer and interior design professor with a successful career of 51 years at Colorado State University. Curfman designed and created hundreds of exhibitions at CSU. The Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center is named in his honor. Curfman sadly passed away on March 24, 2020, at the age of 95, beloved by many for his kindness, generosity, and commitment to making the world a better place. It is fitting that Curfman left funds to CSU through an estate gift to help support the scholarship and the gallery in his name.

Jack and Victoria at a restaurant
Victoria Keller, director of development, left, with Jack Curfman.

The Jack Curfman Creative and Visual Scholarship was created by Curfman, his colleagues, and his friends upon his retirement. This scholarship benefits outstanding students in apparel design, interior design, graphic design, or theater design and technology who show creative promise in design work.

“Jack Curfman was not only a gifted artist and teacher, he was one of the kindest, caring individuals I have ever known,” said Victoria Keller, director of development for CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. “He led with heart and soul, and had a genuine affection for students. Jack graced many lives and I am so grateful to have known him and to honor and record his story as part of the college’s Legacies Project.”

Recipient for the 2020-2021 academic year

portrait of Aaron Clausen
Aaron Clausen

This year, the Curfman scholarship was awarded to apparel design and production senior Aaron Clausen. Clausen wants to pursue a career in designing women’s evening wear and couture. He plans to accomplish his dream of someday creating his own brand and clothing line. With his passion to make women feel powerful in his own creations, he was rewarded for his hard work and determination.

Clausen chose CSU because of the proximity to his hometown of Denver.

“It has been the best decision I could have possibly made. I came to CSU thinking about pursuing nutrition and human sciences; however, when I discovered the apparel and merchandising major that lived just above nutrition on the third floor in Gifford, I knew that that was what I wanted to do with my life,” said Clausen.

Help from faculty

With the help from the Department of Design and Merchandising, Clausen has been able to feel supported to reach his dream career.

“Having such a supportive faculty at CSU, I have been able to expand my creativity and grow closer to making my career goals a reality. Specifically, my instructor, Kevin Kissell, has been a huge support in my desire for a career in fashion. Constantly being pushed to break my boundaries in design is exactly what he does for me. He knows my potential and wants the best for us as students studying apparel design,” said Clausen.

Filled with gratitude

Receiving the Jack Curfman scholarship has filled Clausen with gratitude and alleviated some financial stress.

“The Curfman scholarship has supported me and allowed me to finish out my career here at Colorado State ready to take on the world,” said Clausen. “Especially during this pandemic, having been awarded this scholarship has given me reassurance about my abilities in design and has also given me the drive to finish my degree stronger than ever. I couldn’t be any more grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship has motivated me into expanding my creativity and has strengthened my passion for design and fashion,” he said.

Five schematic designs of women's garments by Aaron Clausen, featuring a red dress, a blue pantsuit, a blue dress, a red corset dress, and a floral puff-style dress.

A board of sketched designs for Aaron Clausen’s senior collection.

Advice for future applicants

Be yourself and don’t be intimidated to apply for scholarships. You never know how your story will impact someone else. Everybody has a different and unique story; all you have to do is just tell it,” said Clausen.

Gifts in memory of Curfman to the Jack Curfman Creative and Visual Design Scholarship or the Curfman Art Exhibition Program in the Curfman Gallery can be made on Curfman’s online giving page.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.