CSU Alumni Association Member Spotlight: Barb and John Messineo

Having seen a fire as he and Barb drove into Fort Collins one night in May of 1970, John took what may be the only and certainly are the best color photographs of Old Main burning. ©John Messineo

By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)

She grew up in Colorado Springs and enrolled at CSU to study modern languages. Her junior year, she attended World Campus Afloat (now Semester at Sea). He grew up in Rocky Point on the north shore of Long Island and came west to be a rodeo cowboy, riding bulls and bareback broncs. Along the way, he earned a degree in agricultural journalism.

John and Barb Messineo

Barb Field Messineo (B.A.,’70) and John Messineo (B.S., ’71) met on campus in a darkroom at the Collegian or maybe a hallway in the Social Science Building, depending on which one is telling the story. They have spent half a century together, using the outstanding photography, writing, and copyediting skills they honed at CSU to tell stories. These stories are about the University and community, about rodeo and farming, and about outdoor activities and wildlife.

Over the years, they worked in a number of places. John ran the University’s Photographic Services Department for a few years. He also was a stringer for Newsweek and freelanced photos and articles to magazines for forty years.  Barb, primarily a graphic designer and copy editor, was composing-room manager at the Triangle Review, worked at Printing and Publications on campus, and at the National Wildlife Research Center. They both did a great deal of freelance work, their photos and articles appearing in a large number of publications ranging from Successful Farming to Western Horseman to Backpacking Journal.

John took tens of thousands of photos over the years. In addition to their wonderful artistic quality, the photos make clear he would do anything to get the shot, including climbing into the arena during bull-riding competition. His most heart-stopping photographs appeared in the Denver Post in 1968. He was just outside the ring, shooting a circus performance in Fort Morgan, Colorado, when a lion attacked the lion tamer. John got a number of shots, including one taken while he was ducking under the neck of another lion.

Barb and John’s favorite memories from their college days are working at the Collegian, submitting photos and articles, as well as spec’ing type and laying out ads.  John also was a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. They have remained loyal Rams over the years. These two Life Members “really enjoy the events and activities sponsored by the Alumni Association,” including Alumni Night Out. A recent favorite was “More than Books and Bibliographies” at Morgan Library.

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