50 Year Club
Welcome back to all graduates of 50 years or more.
What is the 50 Year Club?
The 50 Year Club is for anyone who graduated 50 or more years ago. Each new class to the 50 Year Club is inducted at the 50 Year Club Luncheon.
Outstanding Recognition Awards
The 50 Year Club honors two individuals at their annual luncheon with these outstanding recognition awards:
- The Career Achievement Award identifies and recognizes an alumnus/a who is recognized as outstanding in his or her occupation, field, or profession by peers in that industry, who has brought honor to Colorado State University and to him or herself.
- The Public Service Award identifies and recognizes an outstanding alumnus/a who is recognized by the University community and also by the alumnus’s community as someone who has contributed works of public service (e.g., government, clubs, charities, or organizations that are not industry or profession oriented).
2016 Award Recipients
Career Service Award: Don Rutledge
Donald S. Rutledge was born on his family’s homestead, which was built in 1894 in Yuma, Colo. Rutledge graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in animal science from the College of Agriculture. While in school, Rutledge was involved with the Future Farmers of America, where he served as a state officer in 1956 and was a State Star Farmer in 1957. He helped convert part of the family farm from dryland crop to flood-irrigated land, developed center pivot irrigation, and expanded their dairy operation. He started Yuma Manufacturing with a rubber-tired sprinkler system and began as an innovator in center pivot design for large-farm crop production. Over the next 20 years, Rutledge, with various partners, built and operated a 1,000-head dairy, a small feedlot, and a trucking company. He helped start Golden Plains Construction, and he and his family are the owners of Triple R Farms, which produces some of the best corn in the nation.
Rutledge is a member of the National Corn Growers Association, a charter member and past president of the Colorado Livestock Association, past chairman of the Colorado State Ag Commission and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee, and he served on the Colorado Pork Producers Board. He currently serves on the Colorado FFA Foundation Board.
The Rutledge family has hosted students from around the world and supported FFA internships. In 2014, Rutledge was inducted into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, joining only 87 other Coloradans.
Rutledge applied the education that he received at CSU to his everyday life. He has accomplished more than many in his field. He continues to support Colorado State University and its students, both financially and physically, through internships and mentoring.
Public Service Award: Polly Baca
Polly Baca graduated from Colorado State University in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. While at CSU, Baca served as secretary and president of the student body and as president of the Young Democrats. Baca received the Ford Foundation scholarship and was named a Pacemaker – the first Mexican-American woman to receive this award at CSU.
Since graduating from CSU, Baca has been a constant advocate for social justice and human rights, especially in the Latino and Chicano communities in Colorado and around the nation. Baca was the first Latina woman to serve in both houses of the Colorado General Assembly, representing Adams County. In 1994, Baca was a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and director of the United States Office of Consumer Affairs in the White House. Baca values equal housing, women’s rights, and Chicano rights, and she fights for these values every day.
Baca has served on the Alumni Association Board and was instrumental in forming the Alumni Legislative Liaison Program. Baca is a proud alumna of Colorado State University and shares her pride in her alma mater throughout the Colorado General Assembly. She has also been awarded the first Latina member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, is in the National Hispanic Hall of Fame, and has been included in the World Who’s Who of Women, Who’s Who in American Politics, and the Who’s Who in the West. In 2015, Baca was presented with the first Polly Baca Social Justice Award at the annual Bernie Valdez Award Dinner.
Distinguished Achievement Award: Ingmar “John” Olson
John Olsen was born Sept. 2, 1923, on a small dairy farm south of Littleton, Colo. He received his early education in the Bear Creek Consolidated schools and attended Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Colorado State University) from 1941-1943. His college career, however, was interrupted by World War II. He attended Northwestern University’s Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School and honorably served as a Navy officer, mostly in the South Pacific. By September 1946, Olsen returned to Colorado A&M and joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity, served as student body vice president, and received the Pacemaker Award. In 1948, Olsen graduated with a degree in agronomy. The following year, he returned for a teaching certificate in vocational agriculture and met the love of his life, Ann Fornara. They married in 1949 and were great partners until her death in 2014. They had four children, Mike and Dan Olsen, Kathy Sischka, and Marie Cobb.
An opportunity to develop a farm operation in Arizona came his way in 1951. It grew into a dairy heifer feeding and growing operation with 2,000 acres of irrigated farm land, 60 sections of rangeland, 2,500 heifers, and 300 cows and calves. His career shifted in 1972 to farm management and consulting. He spent 16 years as an elected county supervisor and, in 1979, with three of his children, opened Olsen’s Grain, a feed and pet food retail chain.
Olsen believes in giving back. From 1953 to the present, he has been a supervisor in the Chino Winds Natural Resource Conservation District. He also served seven years on the regional hospital board, 10 years on the Elks Opera House Foundation Board, 37 years on the board of Catholic Charities, and 12 years as a trustee for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His many honors include Prescott’s Man of the Year in 2005 and the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture award in 2013.
Criteria for the Career Achievement and Public Service Recognition awards are similar. Please review the criteria carefully to determine which award would most appropriately express your nominee's achievements.
We will recognize two alumni who are graduates of 50 or more years.
The CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD identifies and recognizes an alumnus/a who is recognized as outstanding in his or her occupation, field, or profession by peers in that industry, who has brought honor to Colorado State University and to him or herself.
The PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD identifies and recognizes an outstanding alumnus/a who is recognized by the University community and also by the alumnus’s community as someone who has contributed works of public service (e.g., government, clubs, charities, or organizations that are not industry or profession oriented).
All nominees must have graduated from CSU, Colorado A&M, CAC, or SAC at least 50 years ago.
The CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD candidate must also have:
- A demonstrated record of distinction in his or her field.
- Received recognition in his or her career through awards or honors locally, nationally, or internationally.
- Demonstrated a lifelong history of accomplishments and activities in his or her field.
- Demonstrated leadership in professional organizations.
The PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD candidate must also have:
- Provided outstanding public service to his or her community.
- Provided service to his or her charitable or religious organization.
- Provided service to local, state, or national government.
- Provided service to medical or environmental well-being of humankind.
- Provided service to Colorado State University.
1. Download nomination forms or submit an online nomination (see below). The nomination form must be completely filled out for full consideration. Please do not assume the 50 Year Club Board knows the individual that you are nominating.
2. If you would like to update or add to your previously submitted nomination, it must be resubmitted by the deadline.
3. Nominations are automatically rolled over an additional two years past the initial submission.
4. Be as specific as possible, and attach additional sheets as needed. Please type if possible.
5. Please attach up to five letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with the nominee’s accomplishments and service if available.
6. Please attach copies of up to three articles, photographs, or other supporting information.
7. Before you nominate someone, please be sure you are addressing criteria in the category for which you are nominating them. Each candidate may only be nominated for ONE award: either the Career Achievement Award OR the Public Service Award.
Select one of the following options to submit a nomination. Please be sure you read and understand the nomination information.
1. Nominate online. Use the online form to submit a nomination. We highly recommend using Microsoft Word (or similar program) to type your answers, then copy and paste them into the form.
2. Download and print a nomination form. You may fill in the form online and then print it; or save the file and e-mail it; or print the form and complete it by hand (please print clearly).
Return completed nomination via mail, e-mail, or fax by Friday, June 30, 2016 to:
Colorado State University Alumni Association
7114 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-7114
fax: (970) 491-0798
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If e-mailing, please be sure to include the appropriate attachments.
3. Request a nomination packet by calling (800) 286-2586.
1987: Raymond Kissock ('14)
1988: Bruce Thornton ('18, 27)
1989: Jasper French ('39)
1990: Stew Case ('41)
1991: Jim ('40) and Nadine ('41) Henry
1992: Larry LaSasso ('34)
1993: Lois Smith ('40) and Lola Case ('40)
1994: Cecil Hellbusch ('30)
1995: Cecil Staver ('30, '53)
1996: Charles Dale Rea ('36)
1997: John Toliver ('34)
1998: Wendell King ('30)
1999: Norm Cable ('38)
2000: Elizabeth Case ('42)
2001: G. Owen Smith ('47, '50)
2002: John Matsushima ('43, '45)
2003: Leona M. Heilman ('51)
2004: Robert Shideler ('48)
2005: Nicholas H. Booth, D.V.M. ('51)
2006: Dr. M. Joan (Ouderkirk) Cromer ('53)
2007: Cleon Kimberling, D.V.M. ('51, '59)
2008: Everett Richardson, Ph.D. ('49, '60, '65)
2009: Eugene “Gene” Markley ('47)
2010: Robert Phillips, D.V.M. ('59, ’61) Career Achievement Award
2010: Alvie Rothe ('57, '61) Public Service Award
2011: Anthony Sroka, Ph.D. ('51) Career Achievement Award
2011: Robert Briggs, Jr. ('59, '61) Public Service Award
2012: Dr. Carl Burtis, Jr. ('59) Career Achievement Award
2012: Robert Sweeney ('59) Public Service Award
2013: Jim Coleman ('56) Career Achievement Award
2013: Bill Erickson ('51) Public Service Award
2014: Karen Ostermiller ('59) Career Achievement Award
2014: Tom Nix ('50) Public Service Award
2015: Mike Rosser ('64) Career Achievement Award
2015: Dale Yonker ('63) Public Services Award
President: Carol (Michie) Alford'61
Vice President: Tom Skillman '57
Judy (Sherwin) Andersen '59
Colleen Blach Bates '60
Barbara Reid Erickson '62
Al Hornung '61
Fred Kerst '63
Jim Linden '64
Mary Ann (Salzman) Miller '60
Jo (Hamil) Ostwald '58
Mike Rosser '64
Bill Woods '58
Don Rutledge ('62)
Polly Baca ('62)
John Olsen ('48)