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Awards / Honors

Margaret Hazaleus Patio rededicated to honor a 'woman of force, compassion, and wit'

July 12, 2013
By Tracy Kile Schwartz

Ceremony at Gifford Building attended by current and emeritus faculty from College of Health and Human Sciences.

John and Susan Hazaleus, children of Margaret, with the patio rededication plaque at Gifford Hall.Margaret Hazaleus, Colorado State University '41 Home Economics, '70 Sociology, earned the respect of those around her through her passion for students and advocacy for women's success. She also knew how to throw a party.

"She was a patio person," said her daughter Susan Hazaleus, '84, at a ceremony on May 3 to rededicate the Margaret Hazaleus Patio on the south side of the Gifford Building on campus. Susan Hazaleus went on to explain that the Margaret Hazaleus Patio was a fitting tribute. It served as an extension of Margaret's home patio, which was a place for people to gather, celebrate, and enjoy one another's company.

The rededication ceremony was attended by current and emeritus faculty members in the College of Health and Human Sciences (formerly College of Applied Human Sciences). Dean Jeff McCubbin acknowledged Margaret's impact: "Margaret left a large footprint on the nutrition program, the family and consumer sciences program as we know it today, and the college overall. We are proud to honor her today and look to continue sharing her legacy with others by offering this patio to our students, faculty and guests, and also through a scholarship in our college bearing her name."

Started at Colorado A&M

Margaret started her journey with CSU when it was Colorado A&M, as a student studying home economics. She graduated in 1941, and married Melvin Hazaleus. After graduation, she worked as a dietitian with a school lunch program in southern Colorado and later as a science teacher. She and Melvin had two children, Susan and John.

In the early 1960s, after Melvin's passing, Margaret returned to CSU and began teaching in the College of Home Economics. As a single mother raising two young children, she also earned her master's degree in Sociology.

Margaret taught at CSU until she retired in 1983. During her 24 years on campus, she became known as a transformative mentor for young female faculty.

One such faculty member is Kevin Oltjenbruns, professor emerita in human development and family studies, associate dean emerita, and past mentee of Margaret. Speaking at the patio rededication ceremony, Oltjenbruns shared some comical anecdotes to demonstrate Margaret's memorable presence.

"Those who knew her knew that she spoke her mind," explained Oltjenbruns. "The first time I met her in person, I wondered if she and I were ever going to hit it off. At the time, I shared an old, musty, strangely configured space in the basement of one of our older campus buildings. She came in, looked around, and loudly declared, 'What a pit!' While Margaret was clearly right, I thought she could have said 'hello' and introduced herself first."

As they got to know one another, Oltjenbruns says she came to recognize that Margaret "had a heart of gold as evidenced by the twinkle in her eye. Those who knew Margaret knew there was no stronger advocate for students on this campus. I was fortunate to have her as both mentor and friend."

Awards and honors

Hazaleus' work earned her the College's Outstanding Faculty Member award in 1969, the University's Outstanding Woman Administrator in 1973, the University and College Honor Alumni in 1977, the College's Very Important Professor in 1979, the University Service Award in Undergraduate Advising in 1980, and the College's first Blue Ribbon Award to the graduate and alumni who has contributed the most to the College in 1989-1990. She also served as the Assistant Dean in charge of undergraduate curriculum for the College.

McCubbin shared a quote from Margaret Hazaleus herself on her education at Colorado State University: "I felt that I received an excellent general education, as well as excellent preparation for a career in my chosen area. I have used much of this information as a wife, mother, dietitian, teacher, and administrator in this College and as a citizen in our nation. The other most important memory I have is of the many friends I met...their friendships are a reminder of how we all shared our college experience and how we have lived our lives."

Marie Macy was the chair of the original team who raised funds to create the patio. "I was here when the first shovels of dirt turned the soil to create this patio," she said at the rededication ceremony. "It is an honor to be a part of this rededication."

The newly mounted plaque reads:

Margaret Bennington Hazaleus
Class of 1941 and 1970
Woman of force, compassion, and wit. Respected
leader and mentor to young faculty. Advocate for
students and supporter of women's issues at
Colorado State University for 24 years.

Margaret empowered students, faculty, and staff to
succeed, leading to stronger lives for individuals,
families, and communities.

Hazaleus Patio
Dedicated 1982 ~ Rededicated 2013

To see photos from the rededication event, click here.

To view a photo show of Margaret, click here.

To contribute to the Melvin and Margaret Bennington Hazaleus Scholarship, visit

Contact: Tracy Kile Schwartz
Phone: 970.491.7525