Milestones: Carole Makela marks 50 years with CSU

When Old Main, the first significant building on Colorado State University’s campus, caught fire in May 1970, it burned classrooms, a cafeteria, and University offices.

One of those offices belonged to Carole Makela, who was in the Department of Consumer Sciences and Housing in the College of Home Economics, now the College of Health and Human Sciences. “Old Main burned on a Friday night,” said Makela. “We were back teaching on Monday morning.”

Makela has been part of CSU’s story for over 50 years, starting her teaching career in 1968. She eventually moved to the School of Education in CHHS, where she now focuses on graduate student research, methodology and familyand consumer sciences.

Celebrate! CSU Milestones

Colorado State University employees achieving a decade of service or more this year and retirees will be honored at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the LSC Grand Ballroom.

Carole Makela
Carole Makela

Former department head

She served as department head in Consumer Sciences and Housing, interim associate dean when it was called the College of Applied Human Sciences, and program chair for Interdisciplinary Studies in the School of Education. Working with community engagement and guiding student internships and research, she helped establish the local Better Business Bureau and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Colorado and Southeast Wyoming.

While there have been many changes to CSU’s campus over the last 50 years, Makela sees change a little differently.

“I think despite the perspective that many people have of change being slow in higher education, it’s not,” said Makela. “It is constant, but at the same time there are things that do not change; they recycle.”

She joked that one thing that ought to change is the time students and faculty have to get from one side of the campus to the other.

“Everybody has gotten busier, and some of that is related to size,” said Makela. “But I question sometimes how can we be expected, both students and professors, to get to classes in 10 minutes?”

8 out of 15 presidents

Makela has seen the continuous growth of Colorado State University’s campus, the growth in attendance, buildings, even the city of Fort Collins. The university will soon have its 15th president, and Makela has been here for seven of them.

“I’m going to have to stop saying I have been here for half of them,” Makela joked. “I haven’t been here for half anymore; I’ve been here for more than half, as we welcome Dr. Joyce McConnell.”

Makela is from Wisconsin and got her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in home economics education and textile chemistry. She came to CSU for graduate school and loved it so much she decided to stay.

Makela received the first Faculty Council Harry Rosenberg Distinguished Service Award, an award that recognizes outstanding individual service to Colorado State University’s Faculty Council.

Soroptimist award

She has also received the Soroptimist International of Fort Collins Making a Difference for Women Award in 2015. The award honors women who, through their professional or personal efforts, make extraordinary differences in the lives of women and girls.

“Soroptimist can only estimate the number of women, young and more mature, who have benefitted from Dr. Carole Makela’s contributions,” Robanette Catalano of Soroptimist International said at the time. “Counting students alone, her contacts have certainly been in the thousands. And, considering the pyramid nature of educating educators, her empowerment has reached hundreds of thousands.”

Makela said she has no plans to stop teaching any time soon.