Summer in Denver

One of my primary motivations for relocating from California to Colorado was to experience a winter season in the Rockies. I’ve been a snowboarder for as long as I can remember, and I finally felt in a place where I could relinquish my love for the Sierras to a range further east.. at least for the time being. All that being said, I was so fixated on the glory of the snow that I had completely neglected to explore what opportunities lie in a Colorado summer. Since completing my first year at GSSW, I have spent the last couple of months traipsing around this glorious city/state and it has been completely rejuvenating. Here is are some of the highlights so far

1. Steamboat Springs, CO

My first weekend of the summer, I headed west for what ended up becoming my favorite mountain town to date. Steamboat Springs is internationally renowned for its impressive ski resort, natural hot springs, and lively history of winter sports milestones. However, only in the early summer months does the entire town and surrounding peaks become engulfed with lush greenery and vibrant flowers, setting a gorgeous backdrop for various activities. While biking, kayaking, and river rafting are advertised as “absolute musts,” it’s truly a town for all interests-be it outdoorsy activities, art galleries, museums, theater, fine dining, etc. I actually participated in the Steamboat Springs Marathon (which by the way, up until a few years ago was deemed “one of the top ten most beautiful marathons in the nation by Runner’s Magazaine) which was pretty amazing. It was my first time pulling out 26.2 miles on foot, and while it may not have been my finest athletic performance, there was little to disrupt the serenity and beauty experienced in every direction of the race. 

SBS

2. Manitou Springs, CO

A sleepy little town just south of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs is home to the epic Garden of the Gods Landmark and the brutally steep, “Incline Hike.” Garden of the Gods is an accessible park comprised of incredibly beautiful red rock formations. While much isn’t to be said that can’t be better stated with pictures, I found this experience to be one of a kind in its opportunities not only to hike, drive, or horseback ride through the area, but also to climb atop and rummage around upon these gorgeous natural creations.  

GOG

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The Incline on the other hand, was mostly pretty painful. The hike, just shy of a mile, rises over 2,000 ft in elevation from bottom to top. Thank God the views are so breathtaking when it’s all over!

INCLINE

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3. All things RED ROCKS

Year after year, Red Rocks Amphitheater continues to be deemed the absolute BEST concert venue in the nation, as well as a great exercise locale, meditation site, and outdoor movie theater. That’s right… each week beginning in June this stellar venue provides showings of the some the finest flicks ever made, including but not limited to The Big Lebowski, Caddyshack, and my personal favorite, The Labyrinth. Whenever considering what a summer in Denver has to offer, this front range hot spot provides a plethora of too-good-to-pass-up happenings. 

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4. Denver PRIDE

While PRIDE Parades are not uncommon in most larger cities and/or state capitols, the Denver PRIDE celebration ranks among the top ten in the nation. It was a remarkable weekend full of celebratory parties, concerts, and delicious drag. The parade was also pretty spectacular, beginning at the heart of the city in Cheesman Park, winding through capital hill, marching down Colfax, and ending at Civic Center Park. The gorgeous weather and colorful people made for a truly memorable PRIDE weekend.

Pride

5. BASEBALL!

Rockies games are an absolute blast. PERIOD! And it was a heck of a way to spend my first 4th of July in the mile-high. 

rockies Rocks

6. Hiking/Camping/Anything Outside

It’s no surprise that one the fittest cities in the country is clearly one of the most active. What I  have been loving (and will continue to appreciate) about Colorado, specifically Denver, is the genuine enjoyment and NORMALCY of people being outside and loving all things active. Not to over-generalize too much, but it’s pretty incredible to see so many folks out and about on the weekends, experiencing the Rocky Mountains by foot, boat, bike, etc., and loving every minute of it. I fear that the summer will be over before I’m able to get all the camping/hiking/exploring in that will hold me over when school begins again. Some of my favorite trips have been up to Nederlands, Idaho Springs, and Mt. Bierstadt. Here’s hoping for another slew of gorgeous trips before the season’s end.

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GSSW Deans and Directors Series: Leverne McCummings, 5th GSSW Dean, 1978-1985

LEVERNE MCCUMMINGS (1932-)

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5TH GSSW Dean, 1978-1985

The first person of color to serve as director or dean of GSSW.

The first African American to serve as a graduate dean at the University of Denver.

LeVerne McCummings was born and raised in South Carolina, attending segregated elementary and secondary schools in Marion County. Although his family moved to Philadelphia when he was 19, McCummings returned to the South, attending St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1952 to 1960. (His undergraduate work was interrupted by two years of military service in the U.S. Army.) He graduated from St. Augustine’s (a four year liberal arts college for African Americans, operated by the Episcopal Church), majoring in social studies, with minors in psychology and urban mental health. As a college student, he was active in two national civil rights organizations. After graduation, he married Betty Hall, who later earned a doctorate in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

He began his practice career in the Philadelphia area, starting in 1960. Over the next 15 years, McCummings worked in various positions as a public school teacher; a public welfare caseworker; development director for the Lutheran Social Mission Society; community development director for the Wharton Settlement House; and held several administrative or executive positions in the Model Cities Program in Philadelphia. He also held administrative positions in public and private agencies in Columbus, Ohio, while completing his doctorate.

McCummings completed his MSW in 1966 at University of Pennsylvania. In 1973, he joined the social work faculty at University of Kentucky. He earned a doctorate in social work from Ohio State University in 1975, while also serving on that faculty as an assistant professor. His areas of expertise were group work, administration, health, and aging. He spent two contentious years as a faculty member at Syracuse University School of Social Work, battling what he perceived to be entrenched institutional racism.

He came to DU in 1977 as Associate Professor. Became GSSW Dean in 1978, at age 45. Later, was elected president of the Council of Deans and Directors (1982-1985). His tenure as GSSW Dean occurred during a period of prolonged severe financial crisis at the University. Much conflict occurred with the faculty over program direction, hiring, budget and spending priorities, and the threat of GSSW’s potential consolidation with the School of Professional Psychology and College of Education–which would have resulted in the loss of GSSW’s status as an independent academic unit. McCummings left GSSW in 1985 to become the President of Cheyney University in Philadelphia, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges in the United States, which was threatened with loss of accreditation because of its own prolonged financial crises and administrative turnover. McCummings served as president of Cheyney until 1991.

4th GSSW Dean – Kenneth W. Kindelsperger (1914-2000)

KENNETH W. KINDELSPERGER (1914-2000)
4th GSSW Dean (1971-1978)
Interim Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1978-1979)
Acting Dean, Colorado Women’s College, 1980-82 (supervising its merger with DU)
Recipient, Outstanding Service to the University of Denver Award, 1986

Kindelsperger pic

Ken Kindelsperger was born in Galesberg, Illinois. Ken received a B.S. and M.S. degree in social group work from George Williams College (Chicago) in 1942. He completed his doctorate at the Syracuse School of Social Service Administration in 1956. He held various social work positions in Chicago while attending college and graduate school. During WW II, Ken served as Lt. Commander, U.S. Naval Reserves, which included a stint as Fleet Morale Officer at Pearl Harbor. After the war, he was the Secretary for Planning and Research for the Council of Social Agencies at Syracuse, NY, and eventually joined the social work faculty at University of Buffalo in 1950. Subsequently, he served as dean of schools of social work at three universities: Syracuse University, University of Louisville (KT), and University of Denver.

Two major themes highlight his career as a social work educator and administrator. First, he was committed to international social work. He worked for two years in India, studying social problems and helping to establish schools of social work. Later, he made two visits to South Vietnam as a consultant for the Agency for International Development, studying social welfare conditions and making recommendations. He traveled to many other countries and served on numerous international committees at CSWE and other social work organizations. Second, he was deeply committed to the advancement of civil rights for oppressed racial and ethnic groups. As Dean of the Kent School of Social Work at Louisville, he participated in the march on the state capital to demand passage of civil rights legislation.

He came to GSSW during the time when student protests over the Vietnam War and racial discrimination were at fever pitch. Although faced with the loss of federal stipends for social work training, instituted by the Nixon administration, he nonetheless managed to increase significantly the number of MSW and doctoral students of color, and also increased the faculty of color. He was a widely respected administrator, known as hard working, compassionate, and fair.
Ken and his older brother, Walter, were both deans of social work at the same time–the only known set of “brother deans” in the history of the profession.

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