Howard Bronson (BA ’75)
Once a shy kid trying to find his way, alumnus Howard Bronson is now an outgoing psychotherapist and the author of more than a dozen books on everything from love and grief to marketing and entrepreneurship.
His alma mater helped him find his voice and his confidence.
Raised in Massachusetts, Bronson (BA ’75) chose the University of Denver, at least in part, for its proximity to the mountains.
“My family—we were all skiers—so we wanted to be in ski country. That’s how I ended up there,” he says.
The mountains were more than a fun weekend getaway for Bronson. In high school, he brought wounded Vietnam veterans to Haystack Mountain in Vermont to learn to ski. After arriving at DU and struggling to fit in, he found a group of local veterans and continued, not knowing it would launch his career as an author.
“When I entered DU, I had no idea what I was capable of, if anything. I was just wanting to have the college experience. As I discovered that I was a writer, it was one of the few things I actually could do, I really developed a thirst for learning,” he says.
In his second year, Bronson recorded a 20-part instructional manual for visually impaired skiers, “Skiing Without Seeing.” He worked with the American Red Cross in Denver to develop braille diagrams to accompany the audiobook and distributed nearly 1,000 copies.
After DU, he would earn master’s degrees in journalism and in counseling psychology.
But it was at DU that Bronson realized writing was more than a natural skill.
“Writing was my vehicle. I really got into it. I could express myself effectively. I could compose myself,” he says. “When you’re writing, you can edit yourself, you can rewrite, you can really refine a phrase.”
Beyond the ability to express himself, Bronson discovered how powerful writing could be.
“I realized that when I wrote, I could effectuate thinking, I could effectuate change, I could inspire change,” he says. “Writing became my voice.”
Bronson’s major in psychology and minor in history inform how he writes to this day. His writing relies on an understanding of how and why people behave the way they do, and a knowledge of past patterns of behavior. But an important element in his writing draws from his own experiences.
Exploring everything from pet loss, grief and marriage to turning ideas into reality, Bronson has written 16 books and been published by Time Warner and Penguin Random House.
Despite the wide array of topics, Bronson says, “In all of my books, there is this common theme of wanting to help people heal.”
Whether in overcoming grief, mending a marriage or launching a career, he says, “the thing that people fear the most is rejection.”
Rejection, however, should not prevent people from achieving their goals.
“I think it’s incumbent upon each of us to kind of explore what gifts we’ve been given,” he says. “And whatever you want to be, if you have a sense that that’s what you are, it takes extraordinary courage to see the gift, to develop the gift and then to figure out how to share it.”