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 86th anniversary. This stalwart group of Rams includes anyone who graduated 50 or more years ago from Colorado State University. The class of 1970 will be inducted into the 50 Year Club this year.

Outstanding Recognition Awards

The 50 Year Club normally honors two alumni at an 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).

This year however, due to pandemic precautions, the luncheon is not happening in person. Instead, we are celebrating our 50 Year Club members via well wishes by mail and email.

When is the 50 Year Club Luncheon?

Stay tuned for more information about the 2021 Awards, which take place during Homecoming & Family Weekend

2019 Award Recipients

The CSU Alumni Association congratulates the 2019 50 Year Club Award Recipients.

Career Achievement Award: Charlie Vail, D.V.M. ('58, '60)

The Colorado State University Alumni Association and 50 Year Club committee proudly present Dr. Charlie Vail, D.V.M. (’58, ’60), with the Career Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and his contributions to CSU.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Vail has been a prominent figure in the thoroughbred and quarter horse racing industry since 1958, including roles as track veterinarian at the Centennial Race Track in 1962 and as assistant veterinarian at the Colorado Racing Commission for two terms from 2007-2014. He also currently serves as a commissioner of the Colorado Racing Commission, a position he has held since 2007.

Vail has contributed numerous articles to professional journals, is deeply involved in his community, and has held prominent titles in numerous professional organizations, including the Animal Assistance Foundation of Denver, Western Veterinary Conference, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, which honored him with the Veterinarian of the Year Award in 1987.

He has been featured in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the West, and Who’s Who in the World. Vail has been married to his wife, Jean Williams Ebsen, for 56 years, and together they have two children, Ellen Marie and David Elston. In his spare time, Vail enjoys trout fishing and reading.

Public Service Award: Lt. Col. Robert W. Johnson, USAF (Retired) ('68)

The Colorado State University Alumni Association and 50 Year Club committee proudly present Lt. Col. Robert W. Johnson, USAF (Retired) (’68) with the Public Service Award in recognition of his impactful works of public service within his community and his alma mater.

Johnson was born in Bronxville, New York, but moved to South America at the age of 3. He spent 14 years living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he finished high school.

Johnson served in the Air Force for 21 years until retiring in 1990 as a lieutenant colonel. Since 1998, he has been helping France as a volunteer with their award programs for Allied World War I and II veterans. During this time, Johnson helped organize more than 95 Legion of Honor presentation ceremonies, recognizing an estimated 60 World War I and more than 260 World War II veterans. He’s received significant recognition for his work, including France’s two highest decorations, the Legion of Honor and the National Order of Merit medals.

Additionally, Johnson has devoted time to the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A, the American Legion, Trinity Lutheran Church of Hawthorne, his high school alumni association, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II, and more than 30 years as a Colorado State University admissions alumni ambassador supporting college fairs in the greater Los Angeles area.

Johnson resides in Lawndale, California, with Susan, his wife of 46 years, and their cat, Bailey.

Nomination Info


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).

Award Criteria

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: csualumni@colostate.edu. If e-mailing, please be sure to include the appropriate attachments.


  • Download Form (save as a word document and complete by typing or hand writing)


PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD nomination 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


Committee Members:

Bill Woods, '58

Mike Rosser, '64

Carol (Michie) Alford, '61

Judy Andersen, '59

Jim Linden, '64

Mary Ann Miller, '60

Jo Ostwald, '58

Tom Weimer, '66

Carol Marshall, ‘66

John Ostermiller, '65

Al Rohde, '66


.View of the Clark Building and Morgan Library from the plaza, 1969