Richard Lee Fullerton, Visiting Professor of Economics at Colorado College, passed away on Sunday Dec. 11 at the age of 55.
Fullerton began teaching full time at CC three years ago, following his retirement from the Air Force Academy after a distinguished 31-year career. While in the Air Force, Fullerton achieved the rank of Brigadier General.
Professor Pedro de Araujo, Chair of the Economics & Business Department, reflected on Rich Fullerton’s influence within the department and at CC.
“Every year we need to hire visitors, and the problem is that we need to find quality. We were very fortunate to have found Rich Fullerton,” said de Araujo. “He was pretty much a senior professor at CC… The students were taken care of, so Rich was, even though a visiting professor, one of us.”
Before teaching at the Air Force Academy, Fullerton attended the Academy as a student, graduating first in his class in 1983. Following graduation, Fullerton stayed in Colorado Springs, where he met his wife, Brenda Lee. For the last three years, Fullerton taught Block 2 through Block 7 and spent his time off traveling the world with his wife.
CC students and faculty will remember him for his compassion and dedication.
“Rich Fullerton was one of the most positive, supportive, and empowering professors I’ve had since I’ve been a student at Colorado College,” said senior Annika Kastetter. Kastetter took two classes taught by Fullerton, including this current block, Principles of Macroeconomics.
Senior Perry Fitz, Fullerton’s thesis advisee, remembers Fullerton for his commitment to CC students. “Rich cared deeply about your life beyond the classroom, and always loved to share his own experiences when you came to him with a problem,” said Fitz. “His passion was his students, and regardless of your experience with economics, he was a patient, understanding, and caring professor. Rich will be missed dearly because of the impact he had on his students through his conversations, jokes, and reminding everyone how great the simple things of life are—like his pizza.”
“He was upbeat and happy and would sit down with anyone and talk. But he was just a nice person, and really cared, deeply cared about the students,” said de Araujo.
Kastetter reiterated this sentiment, “He brought a certain light and humor to the classroom that made all students feel welcomed and valued. Whether it was taking an hour after class to ask students how they were doing or showing Onion videos to offset a challenging lesson, Rich cared about his students and their well-being. It is incredibly painful that Rich is no longer with us; however, I feel so deeply fortunate for the meaningful time I had with him and for the irreplaceable, positive impact he had on my life. He will be greatly missed by all, and I send all of my love and prayers to his family.”
When Fullerton’s son Daniel passed away this October, de Araujo said the Economics & Business Department gave him the option to take a leave of absence for Block 5, however, Fullerton refused.
“Actually,” said de Araujo, “the first thing he replied was that ‘No, I would love to come back. This is exactly what I need at this point. I need to be with the students, I need to be teaching. Please let me teach.’”
It is clear to the Colorado College community that Fullerton’s commitment to his students and teaching was profound. De Araujo said, “His love for teaching was contagious and he will be missed. He was a fantastic person and very hard to replace.”
Fullerton is survived by his wife, Brenda, and his children, Matthew and Sarah.