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Alumnus professor continues helping students with his ongoing book series: Richard M. Gutkowski

Mar. 01, 2018
Category: Career

For years as a professor, Dr. Richard Gutkowski PhD’74 committed himself to teaching and helping civil engineering students hone their technical talents before they launched into professional careers. College can be a financial burden for many, and Gutkowski helped ease this burden by providing jobs, internships and graduate assistantships to students. Now retired, he has taken a side-step from civil engineering to continue to help them financially, but in a very different way.

In 2014 he undertook writing a book series on debt management. His purpose is to present the topics using everyday life viewpoints and experiences. Gutkowski converted his lifetime of bad and good experiences and subsequent growth to strategic college debt management in a powerful sequence of practical lessons. They compact many years of development into a set of compelling guides to help readers gain that knowledge and ability.

The first book in the series; DEBT is a Four-Letter Word, But it Need Not Be! THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE; deals with issues he’s seen many students struggling with: student loans and credit cards. The fictionalized story uses real life examples as it follows a young woman named Nicole and her advisor Dad. It explores how a young person encounters debt as she moves from high school into college and through to graduation. As her life proceeds she confronts realistic situations involving taking on debt. Readers will follow the caring, wise way Dad teaches Nicole concepts, methods and calculations needed to manage debt and steadily helps her achieve increased self-reliance.

In book 2, THE CAR FINANCING EXPERIENCE, the reader continues to walk along as Nicole faces a challenge not uncommon to young college graduates. Ever since her sixteenth birthday, she’s been driving a parent-provided, low-cost car. Now she needs to replace that long-used, undependable car. For the first time, she has to do it herself. Dad helps her learn about the car purchasing, car loans, car leasing and car brokering processes and car insurance. In the end, armed with that knowledge and acting on her own, Nicole makes an informed and surprising choice in acquiring her new car.

Gutkowski earned his doctoral degree in structural engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1974. He is an emeritus professor in civil engineering at Colorado State University. During his career he directed a structural engineering laboratory, two technology transfer and training centers in transportation engineering, and a regional consortium for transportation education and research. In those responsibilities he managed budgets totaling millions of dollars.

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Jeffrey Vande Leest ’75 retired June 30, 2021.

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