Alumnus Doug Kahn reflects on Air Force Academy Feather Rustling

Hidden in the Colorado Springs mountains, alumnus Doug Kahn and friends planned a friendly and competitive raid on football rival, the Air Force Academy.  After releasing chickens into residence halls, chanting the age-old fight song over the PA system, raising the CSU flag (and padlocking the pulley), the green and gold infiltrators politely left Air Force Academy grounds.

Colorado State University fervor runs deep in Kahn, an accomplished alumnus who graduated in 1972.  As a member of the Associated Students of Colorado State University, president of the Jewish Student Organization, and editor of the College of Business’ newspaper “The Blurb,” Kahn’s CSU career was centered at the Lory Student Center.

“The student center was an all-purpose building – it was a melting pot for students,” Kahn said.  

Kahn experienced this multicultural environment as president of the Jewish Student Organization.  During his time at CSU, only 200 Jewish students walked campus. Together they proudly hosted the first-ever Passover Seder at CSU in the Lory Student Center.  Kahn and his peers found LSC dining services accommodating and respectful of their culture.

A celebration of Jewish people’s liberation from slavery more than 3300 years ago, Passover must be kosher (kosher foods are those that adhere to strict Jewish dietary laws). Unleavened bread, egg, and other symbolic foods are considered kosher while other foods, like pork, are forbidden.

Alumnus Doug Kahn and Director of Lory Student
Relations Alexis Kanda-Olmstead

On the day of Seder, the first day of Passover, Kahn and his peers planned to use paper plates. According to Jewish tradition, separate sets of dishes and utensils are kept for preparing and serving milk versus meat products; using paper plates would ensure the dishes had never been improperly used.  However, LSC Dietician Gertie had exciting plans to keep the meal kosher. 

“Gertie didn’t want us to serve such an elegant meal on paper plates, so she opened up the new china that had just been delivered to the student center and we were the first ones to use it!” Kahn said.

Aside from being a haven for Kahn and the Jewish community, the Lory Student Center served as a gateway for meeting other students.  During his journey at CSU, Kahn saw construction of the beloved Ramskeller.  He used to venture to the hangout, meet new people, and study away from his residence hall.

Some of the most tumultuous years in the history of higher education happened during Kahn’s time at CSU.  Midway through his undergraduate education, the Kent State riots sent ripples across the nation.  At CSU, Vietnam protestors are suspected to have set fire to Old Main, the oldest and most historic building on campus. Kahn took part in Vietnam protests as well, but in a more amicable fashion.

“We kept watch all night long to help monitor the situation. I pulled an all-nighter in the Lory Student Center with other students. They provided food and then we marched from campus to Old Town and back to protest the Vietnam War. It was a very peaceful demonstration,” he said.

Kahn’s impact is lasting:  Aside from coordinating the first on-campus Passover celebration, he advocated for the addition of a business management concentration, now one of the most popular majors in the College of Business. In addition, he helped rework the legislative system in ASCSU. 

After graduating with a degree in accounting from the College of Business, Kahn became a CPA and worked for the State of Colorado Revenue Department. His work for the state government continued during his service as senior state auditor and chief of accounting for the Colorado Department of Health. His career shifted again when he accepted the role of controller for the National Jewish Nationwide Hospital in Denver. 

Kahn now lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, and serves as vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer for Advanced Processing & Imaging, Inc.