Message from Helen Hand, CFU President:
In March of 2004 my brother and founder of Colorado Free University, John Hand, was killed and the school was left without its guiding light. At that point I had worked as a psychologist for almost 25 years and had no background in business. Perhaps my naiveté was a good thing, for not knowing better, I agreed to step in as president of Denver’s oldest, and one of the country’s largest, lifelong learning centers.
The last twelve-and-a-half years have certainly been a wild ride. The learning curve has been steep and I credit my staff and the school’s business and marketing teachers for helping me to acquire the knowledge needed to lead the school. Once I began to learn the ropes, the nation was hit with the Great Recession and we struggled through some tough years. When people have less discretionary income, they’re more likely to make do with the other ways they can get information these days, and not sign up for a class. CFU receives no outside funding and is fully self-sustaining. During the lean years, CFU downsized, and became a leaner operation. I’m proud that we are able to continue offering quality, affordable, accessible classes to the community.
The longer I am involved with CFU, the more I see its value. My greatest pleasure is walking past the doors of our classroom, hearing and seeing the lively interactions going on inside. Something wonderful happens when people come together with a desire to take control of their own lives, learn about what is important to them, and push themselves to do new things. Grappling with new ideas, brainstorming possibilities, and trying out a new skill are all much more fun and invigorating when you do it with other independent-minded folks. CFU is truly a special resource. It’s my privilege to be a part of this remarkable place.
See you in class!
Helen H. Hand, Ph.D.