A passion for bones and natural history evolves into support for future students

Becky Roser, Barbara Stucky and Richard Stucky

From left: Becky Roser, Barbara Stucky and Richard Stucky.

When Richard Stucky was 16, he picked up a National Geographic magazine and was immediately pulled into a story by Louis Leakey on the discovery of a new fossil and the story of human evolution. Even at an early age, he knew those topics would eventually become his life's work and develop into a future philanthropic investment in CU.

Stucky and his wife, Barbara, have outlined gifts in their estate for CU Denver and CU Boulder because of the opportunities he was provided during his undergraduate and graduate studies and the outstanding faculty support he received as a student.

Their planned gift will support graduate student research in the Anthropology Department at CU Denver and the Geology, Anthropology, and Evolutionary Biology Departments at CU Boulder. The Stuckys want their future gift to pave a path for students that leads to passion and discovery.

"We want to provide future students with resources to inspire creativity and cultivate a deeper understanding of how a world with humans came to be," Stucky said. "We hope this seed funding will be the resource future students need to pursue their dreams."

He knew going to CU for his studies was his dream too. After two years of college in Kansas where Richard grew up, he finished his active service in the US Army Reserve at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver.

Richard completed his undergraduate and masters degrees in the Anthropology Department at CU Denver, and went on to get his doctorate from CU Boulder in 1982. During his senior year at CU Denver he laid the groundwork for a paper that would become his life's work: how climactic shifts affected primate and mammal evolution over the last 60 million years.

CU enabled Richard to receive a Rea Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History where he then worked as a curator. Eventually he became vice president and chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where he expanded research and discoveries in his studies of evolution, climate change and geology.

"Since graduating, one thing that has become clear is the excellence in the quality of both the students and faculty at the University of Colorado," he said. "Over time I came to an understanding of how strong CU is in providing a solid education for everyone."

Richard and Barbara's future gift reinforces the importance of supporting students who would not be able to pursue their passions without scholarships.