Dedicated to Chris Ransick, retired ACC English Professor
April 14 th , 2019
I cracked a Double-IPA despite the time of day, nervous or perhaps scared, and what the heck, it was a
Sunday. We had a scheduled phone call at noon, and it would be the first time I’d actually talked to him
since his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, though we’d traded emails and texts throughout the past few
The world had recently learned through a devastating update on the Go Fund Me site (our nation’s
largest source of healthcare funding) for Chris that he had made it through chemo, but the surgery to
remove the tumor deep within was aborted when the doctors found that it had spread to his liver.
His voice was more gravelly than usual, but it was his voice, and it sounded to me like the same beauty
found in listening to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt.”
The Progenitor Literary and Art Journal is a national-award winning magazine produced by community
college students basically since the inception of Arapahoe Community College 54 years ago.
Chris Ransick, the former Denver Poet Laureate, and a retired English Professor from ACC, oversaw
Progenitor operations from 1991- 2011 when he retired from his storied career at the college. When
Chris assumed the reins in the early 90s, the publication immediately began winning awards on the
national scene, and a new level of excellence was established.
Ransick believes that the student-staff must have the room to grow in what he calls an “arena of
brinkmanship” in which they are given a large swath of control over the entire process of producing the
annual journal, with a barely-visible perimeter of security (my job now, this). He encouraged me to allow
the students an opportunity to experience the “chaos of creativity,” which will enable true jubilation
when they are holding the finished product in their hand, as you are now, reading this.
Ransick told me of his first day of his first class of his first go-round with the Progenitor, that it had two
students, and that he “begged” select students in his other classes to join him for his maiden voyage. I
could relate. I begged at least half of the students on the current staff to join me in my first foray—and
what a ride it has been.
In 1992, Progenitor won one of its first national awards under Chris Ransick.
Since then, the publication has pulled in many awards, most of them at the national level. The
Progenitor makes Arapahoe Community College proud, and demonstrates that our little college can do
great things—because of the support from the school, yes, but because of the dedication of the teachers
within its concrete towers, and most importantly, because our students rise to the challenges we set
before them. Our students are dedicated people, with diverse lives and lifestyles, but the one thing they
have in common is the vast potential within them.
This issue of Progenitor, issue number fifty-four, is dedicated to one of the best professors to ever walk
ACC’s halls, Chris Ransick, who has vowed to “surrender nothing” to cancer and who, in fact, has one
book coming out in June entitled mummer prisoner scavenger thief, with two more on the horizon.
Thank you, Chris, for your work over those decades, and for your guidance over our years together.
“Low summer sun/ marks a long day but there’s time yet/ to finish the course./ Ten thousand steps will
take you/ to evening, but also to another place. How will you ever say goodbye well enough?/ Now’s not
the time…” ~ Chris Ransick’s “High Mountain Disc Golf” in Lost Songs & Last Chances
Jamey Trotter, English Professor
Faculty Advisor to the Progenitor