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In memoriam

Remembering innovative former Dean Kenneth C. Curtis, Ph.D.

By John T. Reed

April 29, 2019

Kenneth CurtisKenneth C. Curtis, Ph.D., former dean of Admissions and Records for then-Metropolitan State College, died April 10 at Sunrise Assisted Living Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Curtis began his career in higher-education administration at the University of Denver, where he served as associate dean within the College of Business Administration. Following the completion of his Ph.D., he joined Metropolitan State College as director of Admissions and Records in 1969 — just four years after the institution was chartered by an act of the Colorado General Assembly.

Curtis was a lifelong resident of Denver. Having graduated from East High School, he went on to earn two degrees from the University of Denver. He also recognized the importance of establishing a city college in Denver, a school of opportunity for all citizens. His passion for MSC was almost immediately evident.

As director of Admissions and Records, Curtis was responsible for promoting the college, which he accomplished by building and empowering a team of admissions counselors. Enrollment increased rapidly from 1969 through 1974, and toward the end of the Vietnam War, several thousand veterans enrolled.

Equally important was Curtis’ responsibility to process and register students. He immediately formed a registration team, including a registrar and support staff — and was given full authority to develop the college’s data systems to improve student admittance and registration. While Curtis was not schooled in information technology, he quickly realized that computing was the college’s future.

Over the next 25 years, Curtis hired staff with the expertise to develop computing solutions for admission and registration and built a team of technical personnel to design and implement a sophisticated master file of all students — present and past. The initial file was designed in collaboration with IBM and was developed at the IBM data center as the college did not have a computer at the time. Curtis also helped develop a collaboration with Brigham Young University and Georgia State University to develop first-of-its-kind touch-tone telephone registration. He later promoted and implemented online registration using CRT terminals, which helped lead to the University’s current web-based systems.

In short, Curtis was a team builder. He fully understood that accomplishment relied on qualified and happy staff. He was a skilled manager who recruited and developed an outstanding group of people to support an organization he believed in passionately, and those who worked in Admissions and Records have fond memories of him.

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