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MSU Denver

Students registering for classes 1980sIn an effort to make things more convenient for students, MSU Denver became one of the first universities in the nation to offer registration by phone. Longtime staff member and innovator Tom Gray pioneered the initiative.

Gray spent more than 20 years with MSU Denver, arriving at the then-college in 1972. Over the course of his two-plus decades, he served in multiple high-level admissions and enrollment positions. He and his colleagues were known for employing the latest technology to improve services for students.

Among other innovations, Gray helped implement touch-tone phone registration. MSU Denver was the third college in the nation to make that shift.

“We actually did a survey to see how many students had a dial phone,” recalled Gray in a 2012 interview, “because dial phoning wouldn’t work with the touch-tone system.”

Prior to adopting phone registration, the process was far more complicated. The institution would rent out facilities for two to four days before each semester. Faculty sat at tables and students lined up to get advising on different class options. Students were given a card for each class they intended to take. When they had all their class cards, they submitted them at another station in order to pay tuition. According to Gray, this system was called congregated or barnyard registration.

One benefit of that process was the opportunity for faculty and students to meet in person. But the lack of efficiency ultimately prompted the University to opt for the phone system, an early example of the forward-thinking approach that has characterized MSU Denver throughout its history.