Alumni veteran remembers special letter

Can you imagine sending for admissions info to a college and getting a personal letter from the university president, encouraging you to apply? That’s exactly what happened to George Sturgis in 1975.

He was nearing the end of his voluntary enlistment and decided he wanted to finish his education after he got out of the Army, so he sent for applications from Mines, Princeton, MIT and Rensselaer.

When a letter arrived at his post in Fort Hood from the Office of the President, Colorado School of Mines, he assumed it was a marketing piece. “I got ribbed and razzed mercilessly by my company, and my commanding officer told me to read the letter out loud,” said Sturgis. “As I read, they all stopped laughing and fell silent.”

The letter was from President Guy McBride, encouraging him to apply even before the applications arrived from the admissions offices. Knowing that McBride was passionate about the military, Mines’ admissions office told the president about Sturgis. McBride was moved to send the young man a personal letter, promoting the university and how it could help Sturgis on his life path. Sturgis applied to all four top engineering programs and was accepted at all of the schools.

He chose Mines for three reasons.

1.      The letter from McBride made him feel like someone truly had an interest in him attending and doing something valuable with his career.

2.      He was from Colorado and had an interest in returning.

3.      Mines had the reputation as a university you went to if you were very smart and knew how to work hard -- it was a challenge.

After Sturgis had been on campus about a year, on a lark, he stopped by McBride’s office to introduce himself and thank him. “I asked him why he sent the letter to me. He said he wanted a hard-working veteran on campus and wanted to encourage me,” said Sturgis. “He asked if I was happy I came to Mines. I replied, ‘Most of the time.’”

He confirms that Mines was a very demanding university. “I’d never given up on anything in my life, and I was not going to leave Mines as anything but a graduate.” said Sturgis. “The two events which most influenced my life as young adult were my military service and my education at Mines.”

A new recruitment tool for President Johnson?


Rachelle Trujillo, Foundation Senior Director, Marketing Communications | 303-273-3526 |
Anica Wong, Foundation Communications Specialist | 303-273-3904 |

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.