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Awards / Honors

Celebrate! CSU Milestone: Nancy Drennen, 40 years

May 1, 2013
By Enes Ozekin

CSU is honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2012-2013 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event, 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Nancy DrennenNancy Drennen, the daughter of a rural Michigan farmer, is very proud of the values her parents instilled in her. “Our family never cared about personal profit; it was always about what the family needs,” she said.

Her humble background taught her to be responsible from a young age, and she strives to share these values with her Design and Merchandising students. Drennen received her bachelor’s degree in home economics education at Michigan State University. Later, she attended Cornell University for her master’s degree, and then Michigan State again for her doctorate, focusing on finance.

Reaching high goals

Drennen says she always aspired to put her degrees into practice. In 1970, she was hired by CSU as a professor in personal and family finance, family resource management professor, and interior design, with an emphasis on functional use of space.

“I love hearing from students years down the road,” she said. “I really enjoyed the classroom experience.”

While at CSU, Drennen served on the National Advisory Committee on Poison Prevention in Packaging, chairing the organization twice between 1978 and 1981. One of her proudest accomplishments was putting the drug acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, under regulation for the first time. She also served on the Consumer Credit Advisory Council for the State Attorney General’s Office, where she had the opportunity to work with the honorable Ken Salazar.

She took a break from teaching in the mid 1970s to obtain her doctorate, but soon found herself returning to Colorado State.

Shifting Culture at CSU

Throughout her time at CSU, Drennen has seen many changes in the student and university culture.

“When I first arrived, there were a lot more cowboy boots walking around campus,” she said. “It was a much more agriculture-focused university, and it’s been good to see that other majors have grown in popularity. However, Extension education is still very important and it’s great that CSU still reaches out to the community to help it grow.”

Drennen has also seen a shift in course focus over the years.

“College used to be about getting general skill for living well, but now it is about getting a specific skill-set to meet individual job needs,” Drennen said. “It’s a two-edged sword, because on one hand, students are fitting into more niche-oriented careers. On the other hand, they aren’t always as well-rounded as they used to be.”

Drennen says one consistent part of her CSU experience is the good people this university attracts. An example of this occurred during the Flood of 1997.

“My office was underwater during the great Spring Creek flood. I had stored some sentimental paintings made by my mother in my office and was unable to get to them at the time,” Drennen said. “One of my co-workers took the time to go into my office and save them.”

Drennen says that after all of the years, CSU’s neighborly attitude is still exemplified when it matters most.

To personally congratulate a Milestones honoree or group of honorees, please email your celebratory message to CSUEvents@colostate.edu  no later than Tuesday, May 7. Your message might be used during the interactive portion of the Celebrate! CSU Milestones event on May 9.