People and Stories–Colorado State University Recovers from Flood (Number 3)

Professor Jim Boyd, who specializes in Asian philosophy at Colorado State University, has traveled to Morocco, Iran, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey, India, Tibet, and other countries around the world collecting materials he used for teaching and research.

"I lost 40 audio tapes I recorded of sounds from around the world, such as devotional songs from India and Buddhist chants. I also lost 30 video tapes of Japanese Shinto rituals as well as painted cloth tapestries and wooden musical instruments that cracked after they dried out."

Although Boyd salvaged some statues and other personal items, it will take some time before his office again welcomes students with its unique atmosphere.

"When students stepped into my office, they knew they were in Asia," he said.

Ron Williams, philosophy professor and friend and colleague of Jim Boyd, echoed similar losses from the flood. To keep his books and other teaching and research materials safe from fire or other catastrophes, he housed most of his 33 years of material in his office in Eddy Hall.

"Some people wondered how I could possibly have stored 2,200 books in my office, but I made special floor-to-ceiling bookshelves for them," he said. "About 80 percent of my books submerged in the flood are out of print. Others were large-format art books with color plates."

Williams also lost research material he collected in Japan, India and other countries, and artwork such as a painting he brought home from Tibet. Three filing cabinets, which housed decades of class notes, students’ files, graduate material and years of vitae, were damaged in the flood as well.

"I’m working 12 to 14 hours a day trying to salvage some of my material," he said. "It’s very labor-intensive work. There are bright spots in all this, though–some books were so tightly stacked that they didn’t get completely soaked.

"Overall, it’s a heartbreaking loss, but it offers us a chance for a new start. I’m staying upbeat. It puts a new perspective on what’s important, and I think we’re very fortunate to have come through the flood with no deaths at the university."