50 Year Club
Welcome back to all graduates of 50 years or more.
What is the 50 Year Club?
Started in 1934, the 50 Year Club is celebrating its 87th anniversary. This stalwart group of Rams includes anyone who graduated 50 or more years ago from Colorado State University.
Outstanding Recognition Awards
Each year, the Colorado State University Alumni Association and 50 Year Club Committee recognize two alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago for career achievement and public service.
The Career Achievement Award identifies and recognizes an alum who is recognized as outstanding in their occupation, field, or profession by peers in that industry, who has brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.
The Public Service Award identifies and recognizes an outstanding alum who is recognized by the University community and also by the alum’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).
An additional award was presented in 2021 for Exceptional Achievement for National Western Stock Show. This award acknowledges an alum who has been recognized as having made significant contributions to the National Western Stock Show and who has brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.
When is the 50 Year Club Luncheon?
The 50 Year Club Luncheon happens as part of Homecoming and Family Weekend each year. Stay tuned for more details around dates and times as those become available for 2022.
2021 AWARD RECIPIENTS
Congratulations to the following recipients:
Career Achievement Award: Thaine Michie (B.S., ’63)
Thaine Michie (B.S., ’63) began his lifetime career in the electrical power industry when he worked part time and summers with Fort Collins Light and Power while earning his electrical engineering degree at CSU.
He held several positions in Northern Colorado’s power industry before joining the Platte River Power Authority in 1982 as the operations manager. In 1987, he became general manager/CEO. He was well known throughout the industry for his forward-thinking expertise and humble leadership, as well as his willingness to work with individuals at every level of the organization.
During Michie’s tenure at the PRPA, he transformed the company from primarily a generation and transmission development utility to an efficient, low-cost wholesale power provider, and it became the first utility in Colorado to offer utility-produced wind energy.
His career came with plenty of pressures and responsibilities, but Michie’s family remained a priority. He and his wife, Marilynn, raised three children and supported their participation in numerous sports and 4-H activities. Michie continues to be involved in the community by serving on the board of directors for the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association.
Public Service Award: Vivian Lee Kerr (B.S., ’69; M.Ed., ’77)
When Vivian Lee Kerr (B.S., ’69; M.Ed., ’77) left Newark, New Jersey, to attend Colorado State in 1965, she encountered a student body and faculty who were nearly all white, as well as racism on campus and in the community. Inspired by civil rights protests around the country, she and other Black students set out to change things.
In 1967, they formed the Black Student Alliance, and together with other organizations, worked to provide a more equitable educational environment for all students. The following year, Kerr helped create Project GO, a program designed to recruit and retain more minority students.
She married Floyd Kerr (B.S., ’69; M.Ed., ’76) in 1969 and they left Colorado following graduation, returning in 1974 when Floyd Kerr became CSU’s first Black assistant basketball coach. Vivian Kerr worked in Financial Aid, the first Black person to so. She was the founding director of Black Student Services and wrote the federal grant proposal for CSU’s Academic Advancement Program, then served as director of both programs for two years.
The Kerrs currently live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Vivian Kerr has been the director of the Southern University Museum of Art for 21 years. In 2018, she was presented the Trailblazer Award for her courage and determination to make CSU a better place for all.
Exceptional Achievement for National Western Stock Show: Charles (Chuck) Sylvester (B.S., ’61; M.Agr., ’86)
Charles (Chuck) Sylvester (B.S., ’61; M.Agr., ’86) was raised on a fourth-generation family farm in LaSalle, Colorado. He actively participated in 4-H and credits that experience for his interest in livestock, which led to his career in animal agriculture.
In 1978, Sylvester became the general manager of the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, where he served in that capacity for 25 years. Under his leadership, it became the largest agricultural show in the United States. He tripled the annual attendance to nearly 650,000 by adding days to the show and attracting urban newcomers with new programs and events.
Sylvester also served as the president of the North American Livestock Show and Rodeo Managers Association. During the 1990s, he was one of the first major livestock show managers in the country willing to proactively address the issue of livestock show ethics. He gave six years to CSU as an Extension agent and four years as the assistant manager of the Colorado State Fair, where he helped produce its centennial year celebration.
Among his many accomplishments, Sylvester has served as the president/co-chair of CSU’s Ag Day, and is a charter member of the CSU Beef Club and CSU Wranglers, which provide scholarships for the College of Agricultural Sciences. He was inducted into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame in 2011.
50 Year Club Committee
The 50 Year Club committee is comprised of 10-14 RAMS volunteers who meet year-round to nominate and select the annual 50 Year Club Award recipients. They also assist in planning the 50 Year Club Luncheon. The CSU Alumni Association is grateful for their time and passion!
2021 50 Year Club Committee:
• Bill Woods, ‘58
• Mike Rosser ‘64
• Carol (Michie) Alford, ‘61
• Judy Andersen ‘59
• Jim Linden, ‘64
• Tom Weimer, ‘66
• John Ostermiller, ‘65
• Al Rohde, ‘66
• Charlie Vail, D.V.M., ‘60
• Chuck Van Cleave, ‘70
• Richard Bailey, ‘70
• David Harder, ‘65
• Jean Saltz, ‘56
• Barb Winter, ‘72
Stay tuned for 2022 nomination information as it becomes available.
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 alum who is recognized as outstanding in their occupation, field, or profession by peers in that industry, who has brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.
The PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD identifies and recognizes an outstanding alum who is recognized by the University community and also by the alum’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 or Colorado A&M at least 50 years ago.
The CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD candidate must also have:
- A demonstrated record of distinction in their field.
- Received recognition in their career through awards or honors locally, nationally, or internationally.
- Demonstrated a lifelong history of accomplishments and activities in their field.
- Demonstrated leadership in professional organizations.
The PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD candidate must also have:
- Provided outstanding public service to their community.
- Provided service to their 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 (print, complete, return via email) 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 Committee 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 two (2) letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with the nominee’s accomplishments and service if available.
6. Please attach copies of up to two (2) 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. Click HERE for more detailed nomination instructions.
2. Download, print, and complete a nomination form. Return via email or mail (contact info below).
Colorado State University Alumni Association
7114 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-7114
E-mail: email@example.com. If e-mailing, please be sure to include the appropriate attachments.
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD nomination form.
PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD nomination form.
- Online Form (link: https://advancing.colostate.edu/ALUMNI/50YEARCLUB/PS
- Download Form
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 Service Award
2016: Donald Rutledge ('62) Career Achievement Award
2016: Polly Baca ('62) Public Service Award
2016: Ingmar “John” Olsen ('48) Distinguished Achievement Award (special award given in 2016 only)
2017: Delbert “Kent” Nelson (’61) Career Service Award
2017: Franklin Anderson (’56) Public Service Award
2017: Robert Miller, D.V.M. (’56) Distinguished Achievement Award
2018: Kenneth Goldsberry (B.S., '54; M.S., '62) Career Achievement Award
2018: Jack Welch (B.S., '68; CERT, '68) Public Service Award
2018: Jon Larsen (B.S., '64) Achievement in Science Award
2019: Charlie Vail, D.V.M. ('58, '60) Career Achievement Award
2019: Lt. Col. Robert W. Johnson, USAF (Retired) ('68) Public Service Award
2021: Thaine Michie (B.S., ’63) Career Achievement Award
2021: Vivian Lee Kerr (B.S., ’69; M.Ed., ’77) Public Service Award
2021: Charles (Chuck) Sylvester (B.S., ’61; M.Agr., ’86) Exceptional Achievement for National Western Stock Show Award