DU has been home to excellent professors and notable scholars. Many made sacrifices to help the institution become what it is today. In the early years when funding ran low, many collected only partial salaries so that the school could remain open. Most of these faculty members were not fully paid until after 1900 when Chancellor Henry Buchtel was finally able to stabilize the university’s financial situation.
Herbert A. Howe (1880-1926) was born in Rockport, New York. He graduated from the University of Chicago at the age of 17 and went on to receive his Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati. In 1880 Howe moved to Denver to teach astronomy, higher mathematics, and mathematical physics at DU. The 1895 yearbook called him the “Patriarch of the Faculty” because he was the last remaining member of the original faculty appointed by Chancellor Moore and had been with DU almost from the very beginning. Howe was held in high esteem by both students and faculty and was described as “quiet and retiring” but with endless energy and “unfailing kindness.”
Ammi Hyde (1824-1921) was born in Oxford, New York. Ordained as a Methodist minister, he taught at Cazenovia Seminary for eight years and Alleghany College for twenty years before moving to Colorado in 1880 when his wife Myra took ill. Four years later he accepted the chair of Greek and Latin at the University of Denver. A prolific writer, Hyde published several books while teaching at the university including “Art Glimpses of Methodism” and a volume of essays. In addition, he regularly contributed articles to the Methodist Review and wrote a weekly Sunday School column. Hyde established the second iteration of DU’s yearbook in 1900 and christened it the Kynewisbok, which means “Royal Book of Knowledge” in Anglo-Saxon. In thanks for his many years of service, the university sent Hyde to Greece in 1891. His commitment to the students at DU was indefatigable. Even when he retired, he insisted on remaining “on call” as a counselor and often spent time in the library helping students.
Sidney A. Short (1858-1902) referred to as “Colorado’s Edison”, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Chancellor Moore offered him a position as vice president and professor of Chemistry and Physics immediately after he graduated from Ohio State with a Bachelor’s Degree in physics. Short also taught electrical theory and application and became an important contributor to DU’s intellectual life during the short time he was on the faculty. Short was a prolific inventor. He developed a loud-speaking transmitter, which he sold to Bell Telephone, and an electrical light that was purchased by Ohio businessmen for $100,000. He gave lectures to the Denver public that explained the “occult workings” of the newly introduced telephone “by means of projections upon a large screen.” Before 1900, Short returned to Ohio where he continued to work on street railroad construction until his death.
Mabel Rilling (1883-1972) was DU’s Director of Physical Education for Women and Associate Dean of Women from 1909-1964. At the time there was only one gymnasium available for practice, and female athletes had to compete with the men to use the facility. In a 1969 University Park News article Rilling remarked “I guess there are many prominent men in Denver right now whom I have personally chased out of the gym.” In 1935 she founded the DU square and folk dancing group known as the Pioneer Promenaders, and in 1940 the group was invited to perform in Washington D.C. In addition, Rilling lectured for many years on the Chautauqua summer circuit, an adult education program popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Ira Cutler (d. 1936) taught biology, geology, and zoology at DU from 1898 until 1934. Cutler’s interest in botany led to Chancellor Henry Buchtel’s gift of a cutting of a red and yellow “Austria Copper” rose, which shared the university's school colors. Cutler propagated the cutting and dubbed the result the “Denver Rose.” Cutler was also active in the Denver community: he oversaw the DU ROTC during WWI, organized the first Boy Scout troop west of the Mississippi, established a Glee club, and directed the choir at the University Park Methodist Church.