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Carlton Fordis Culmsee

Carlton Fordis Culmsee was a poet, philosopher, teacher and administrator at Utah State University. He served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 17 years, and continued to serve as Dean of the College of Humanities and Arts after it was formed until July 1970, when he retired from the Department of English. His career was full of accomplishments and included serving as a visiting lecturer at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan; working with state educational organizations in the 1940's-50's; a three year term on the Commission for Higher Education; Chairman of Utah's National Centennial Celebration for Land-Grant Colleges and Universities in 1962; and Chair of USU's Diamond Jubilee in 1963.

He was a beloved teacher and friend of thousands of students. He was the guiding light on numerous campus committees during his long tenure at Utah State University. His professional vision extended beyond the University to the community of writers, serving as President of the League of Utah Writers for two terms and President of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letter in 1963-63. Although he published monographs, numerous articles, and established himself as a free-lance writer, he was most proud of his poetry. A copy of “Old Juniper” hangs in the Juniper Lounge. His poetic scripts were read at special occasions such as USU valedictory services and the dedication of the Center for the Study of Causes of War and Conditions for Peace.

His life has been blessed with the love of two women: Edna Culmsee and Aileen Barker Culmsee. His first wife, Edna Ball Culmsee, was born in Springfield, Illinois. She later moved to Utah and received her Bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University where she served as valedictorian of her class. She was a member of the Logan Literary Study Club, past President of the Utah State University Faculty Women's League, and the USU chapter of the American Association of University Women. She was preceded in death by a son, Ralph M. Culmsee.

For fifteen years, Carlton's second wife, Aileen Barker Culmsee, shared his poetry, writing, and later years. Aileen worked with university Food Services, serving as the hostess at the Skyroom. With her considerable musical talent, she has sung solos and duets throughout the Valley at funerals and other special occasions. She conducts choral groups in her LDS ward. She is a member of the Logan Literary Study Club, USU's Old Main Society, Ex Libris, and several bridge clubs. She continues to enjoy music, poetry, and her memories.

Recipients of the Carlton and Edna Culmsee Scholarship must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need in the Department of English.