Fashioning an Impressive Career

Alumna with students
Former associate professor Dr. Eulanda Sanders teaching in the Apparel Design and Production computer lab at Colorado State University in 2011

By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)

Eulanda Sanders (B.S., ’90; M.A., ’94) grew up in Lamar, Colorado. From a young age, she was a leader who was passionate about apparel design. She was involved in 4-H for 11 years, which took her to the CSU campus for various conferences and events. She also served two years as state officer in Future Homemakers of America, now known as Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Eulanda Sanders headshot
Dr. Eulanda Sanders

After attending Lamar Community College, Sanders came to CSU and enrolled in apparel and merchandising. She spent untold hours in the Gifford Building in labs, working on the annual Fashion Show and serving as an officer in the Design and Merchandising Club. During the summer prior to starting her graduate program, she worked at Rocky Mountain Clothing Company in Denver, commuting from Fort Collins. She explains the value of that experience: “I used what I was doing in industry in the classroom.”

The last semester of her undergraduate program she spent at an internship in Seattle with UNIONBAY. During the internship, she received an offer to return to CSU to pursue the M.A. degree and serve as graduate teaching assistant and coordinator of the Fashion Show.

Following the M.A. degree, Sanders was hired as a faculty member in Design and Merchandising. When Department Chair Antigone Kotsiopulos and Dean Nancy Hartley proposed to President Albert Yates a bridge program that would support outstanding faculty of color in completing a Ph.D., then return to the CSU faculty, Yates approved the program, and Sanders was one of the first chosen to participate. She took leave from CSU and enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Alumna teaching student at a computer
Dr. Sanders teaching in the Apparel Design and Production computer lab at CSU in 2011

She returned to CSU once the Ph.D. was completed and moved through the academic ranks, from assistant to full professor. She also served as program coordinator for Apparel and Merchandising as well as coordinator of the Apparel Design & Production Portfolio Reviews. From 2010 to 2012, she served as director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research. In 2012, she accepted a position at Iowa State University as the Donna R. Danielson Endowed Professor. In 2017, she became chair of ISU’s Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Department.

Her designs have received 20 regional, national, and international awards, including the Excellence in Fiber Art Design from the International Textile and Apparel Association. Sixty-eight of her designs have been in juried exhibitions and 15 in invited exhibitions.

She is not the only outstanding CSU alumna in the family. Her sister, Denise Caleb (B.A., ’94; M.Ed., ’03) earned a doctorate and PHR and SHRM-CP certification, parlaying those degrees into a wonderfully successful career. Currently she serves as executive vice president of strategic partnerships at Talent Plus, Inc.; previously she was vice president of human resources for the University of Kansas Health System.

Eulanda received the CSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate of the Last Decade Award in 2001 and is featured in the College of Health and Human Sciences Legacies Project, honoring outstanding former faculty and staff. A life member of the Alumni Association, she served on its board of directors. Although no longer on campus, she continues to help CSU students fashion their own outstanding design careers through the Eulanda A. Sanders Student Award for design students competing in national and international juried exhibitions.