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Celebrating Distinguished Alumni

The Colorado State University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards program recognizes CSU alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally, brought honor to the University, and have made significant contributions of time and/or philanthropy to the university and their community.

The Alumni Association looks forward to honoring these wonderful alumni and showcasing their talents and achievements! Help us celebrate these amazing individuals during Homecoming & Family Weekend, 2020.

Sponsorships Available

Please contact Lisa Hansen at (970) 491-3591 or Lisa.Hansen@colostate.edu to request information about becoming a Distinguished Alumni Awards sponsor. 

Nomination Forms & Award Descriptions

Check back soon for 2020 nomination forms.

2019 Recipients

The CSU Alumni Association would like to congratulate the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award

Don Law (B.S., civil engineering, ’75) and Susie Law (B.S., computer science, ’76)
Alumni Association life members

Don Law and Susie Gathers met in 1972 at Colorado State University. Having earned bachelor’s degrees, Don in civil engineering and Susie in computer science, they married in 1976 and settled in Denver. Don started his oil and gas company, Prima Exploration, in 1980. They had three children, Amy, Kelli, and Brian, and an active family life involving skiing, mountain biking, wind surfing, and waterskiing. As empty nesters, Don and Susie established Law Estate Wines, a boutique-sized, ultra-premium wine company in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles, California. Both Prima Exploration and Law Estate Wines continue to prosper, allowing the Laws their favorite pastime – donating treasure and time to nonprofit organizations. They prefer to focus on education-based groups that not only benefit the current recipients, but also their families and future generations. The Laws’ dedication to these causes, including investment in their alma mater, paint a picture of why they are so deserving of the Morgan Alumni Achievement Award. Some of the couple’s favorites illustrate the breadth of their impact – ACE Scholarships (private school scholarships to low-income families), the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado UpLift (benefiting low-income Denver youth), Colorado State University (engineering board, scholarships, engineering buildings, and football stadium), Boys and Girls Club (helping kids succeed nationwide), MUST! Charities (strengthening north San Luis Obispo County), Evans Scholarship Foundation (offering college scholarships to golf caddies), and Junior League of Denver (promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities).  

Charles A. Lory Public Service Award

Morris Price Jr. (B.A., speech communication, ’87)
Alumni Association life member

A native of Colorado and proud graduate of Denver Public Schools, Morris W. Price Jr. received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University in 1987. He is now the vice president and executive director of City Year Denver. Prior to his position at City Year, Price served as the district director for the 1st Congressional District of Colorado (U.S. House of Representatives), national program officer for the Gill Foundation, and director of university and college relations for the Daniels Fund. Leading up to his work at the Daniels Fund and Gill Foundation, Price spent 15 years in higher education including holding the position of associate dean and director of admissions with the University of Denver, among other titles and institutions. When coupled with his professional accomplishments, Price’s community involvement speaks volumes for his merit in demonstrating extraordinary public service. He currently serves on the Rose Community Foundation Board of Trustees, Colorado Nonprofit Association Board of Directors, First Baptist Church of Denver Board of Directors, Compass Academy Governing Board, Denver Art Museum Marketing Advisory Board, and the CSU LGBT Alumni Alliance (founding and current president). In addition to his 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award, Price has received a number of awards and recognition for his community involvement, including 2009 Professional Man of the Year Award (Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce), 2014 Paul Hunter Outstanding Community Leadership Award (Human Rights Campaign), 2015 25 Most Influential African Americans (Denver Urban Spectrum), 2016 Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership (Matthew Shepard Foundation), and 2018 Community Educator Leader of the Year Award (the Education Center of Colorado).

Jim and Nadine Henry Award

Ross Thompson (B.S., finance-real estate, ’78) and Sue Thompson
Alumni Association life members

A 1978 graduate of Colorado State University, and currently senior vice president of MidFirst Bank, Ross Thompson calls himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend his hometown University. Pell grants and an extreme work ethic put him through school and gave him the appreciation and motivation for all he and wife, Sue, do today to pay it forward. Upon graduation, Ross took a job in New Orleans, married Sue, started a family, moved to Houston for another job opportunity, and returned to Fort Collins in 1990. Athletics brought them back to Ross’s alma mater, and it wasn’t long before Sue became a passionate Ram in her own right. Both of their children, Andrew and Stephanie (’11), attended CSU without a thought of ever going elsewhere. The Thompsons’ involvement at CSU is wide ranging, including a stint for Ross as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as continued support of the Denver Ram Network. At last count, nearly 60,000 Colorado State University alumni call the Denver metro area home. As Denver-based Rams fans, the Thompsons see that number as 60,000 reasons to give back to CSU by donating their time, talent, and treasure during one of the University’s most exciting eras of growth and change. The two are avid athletics fans and College of Business scholarship supporters, and they play an integral role in the growth of the Alumni Association. Their impact can be felt across the University as a couple who embodies Ram Pride, demonstrates a strong commitment to the life of CSU, and holds a record of service to the University that is second to none.

Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Kareem Rosser (B.A., economics, ’16)
Alumni Association member

When he was 8 years old, Kareem Rosser began a journey that would take him, one of six children raised by a single mother, out of a community plagued by violence and crime to faraway places and extraordinary achievements. It started at a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia called Work to Ride– an organization that teaches low-income children to ride horses and play polo in exchange for their help with chores in the stable. By way of a polo scholarship, Rosser was able to attend Valley Forge Military Academy where he led the first all-African American team to win the National Interscholastic Polo Championship and was named the Polo Training Foundation’s Polo Player of the Year. Later, he was accepted to Colorado State University where he again led his collegiate club team to the national title in 2015 and was named the U.S. Polo Association’s Intercollegiate Player of the Year. After graduation, he parlayed his CSU economics degree into a career as a financial analyst and continues to play polo. Invitations to compete in tournaments have taken him to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and he’s been featured on 60 Minutes, ESPN, and other outlets. Rosser also serves as executive director of Friends of Work to Ride, and since 2015, he has raised more than $800,000 to support at-risk youth and the program that gave him a future in polo. Additionally, he’s secured a partnership with Polo Ralph Lauren to support the WTR foundation with a grant that will directly fund collegiate scholarships for WTR high school athletes – shoes he once filled himself. 

Distinguished Athletics Award

Christine Susemihl
Alumni Association member

Christine Susemihl retired in 2018 after 45 remarkable years with Colorado State University’s Department of Athletics. Athletics was possibly one of the most surprising paths for Susemihl to have taken in her career, as she was part of an athletic family growing up in Grand Junction but openly admits she had no interest in sports. Despite that, she rose to become one of the most important and influential leaders on campus. With no formal training in athletics administration – she has a business degree from Regis University and had attended Colorado College prior to that – she retired as senior associate AD/senior female administrator, one of the top positions within the department. Susemihl was also trusted twice with appointments as interim director of athletics during her career at CSU. Perhaps one of the greatest impacts Susemihl had on the institution was her role in leading the implementation of Colorado State’s first NCAA compliance program in the 1980s. Prior to that, she worked closely with Athletics Director Thurman “Fum” McGraw during his 10-year tenure to develop and operate long-standing CSU traditions such as the Ram Club, the Ram Good Time Auction, Ag Day, the Sports Hall of Fame, and many other initiatives. Susemihl watched some of the greatest athletes in school history – basketball legend Becky Hammon, six-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Amy Van Dyken, and a parade of volleyball All-Americans – make their marks at CSU. In recognition of the mark she’s left in her own right, Susemihl was inducted into the Hall of Honor by the CSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and remains one of just two female administrators to earn that honor.

College of Agricultural Sciences Honor Alumnus

Mark Swanson (B.S., agricultural business, ’86; M.B.A., ’04)
Alumni Association life member

Mark Swanson earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture business in 1986, followed by an executive M.B.A. He is a past president of the CSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, a member of the CSU CIS Advisory Board, and a past member of the CSU Institute for Entrepreneurship Board of Directors. In addition, he serves on the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council. Since 2008, Swanson has served as the chief executive officer at Birko, a leader in food safety, and he is passionate about offering innovative chemistry and equipment solutions, supported by the best in technical expertise, to help companies save lives, reduce risks, and protect brands. Food safety has been an integral part of Swanson’s professional experience while working with some of the most respected institutions in the protein industry, including Iowa Beef Processors, ConAgra Foods, and Swift & Company. He draws on that experience to lead Birko in its mission to help food-processing plants provide clean, safe fruits and vegetables, protein products, and beverages. He is a member of the North American Meat Institute Board of Directors and recently completed a term on the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Board of Directors Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Produce Marketing Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Swanson is part of the Association for Corporate Growth and is a frequent speaker at their events. He routinely presents on food safety topics to industry groups, government agencies, and graduate degree programs, including CSU’s College of Business and College of Agricultural Sciences.

College of Business Honor Alumnus

Frank Balog (M.B.A., ’03)
Alumni Association life member

Although technically in retirement, Frank Balog is still actively involved with several businesses as a member of their boards or executive committees or as a consultant. His focus is to help businesses generate insight into what drives value creation and competitive advantage. He is the owner of FTM Consulting – a company created to help both community-sized banks and independent payroll providers work together to offer value to their common small-business clients. Additionally, Balog is the former owner of Pre K Scholars, an enterprise that makes learning fun for children and helps level the playing field so that all pre-kindergarten students are ready to start smart and feel successful in school right from the beginning. Prior to his early retirement, Balog served as senior vice president and general manager of the $1.2 billion Western Division at ADP – a Fortune 150 company and the largest independent computing services firm in the world. Before ADP, Balog held several titles at Bank of America, including CFO of a $240 million business unit and regional vice president of a $120 million operating division. Balog began his career at KPMG in Denver, concentrating his professional experience in the energy and financial services segments. He subsequently entered the banking and telecommunications industry where he worked for First Interstate Bank and AT&T. He has guest-lectured on various business topics at University of California, Claremont Graduate University, Concordia University, and Colorado State University’s College of Business. He holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting, is a certified public accountant in the states of Colorado and California, and has a Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University.

College of Health and Human Sciences Honor Alumna

Karen Morris-Fine (B.S., food science and nutrition, ’67; M.S., food science and nutrition, ’70; Ph.D., food science and nutrition, ’78)
Alumni Association life member

Karen Morris-Fine grew up on a farm in a small ranching community in eastern Colorado. Due to her upbringing and childhood experiences, she understood where food came from and was eager to learn more about how it affected the body. As a first-generation student, Morris-Fine pushed herself to succeed and ultimately received three degrees from Colorado State University – all in food science and nutrition: her bachelor’s in 1967, her master’s with a focus on meat science in 1970, and her Ph.D. in 1978. Morris-Fine went on to become a prominent figure in the field of food science and led a successful career as a toxicologist for major corporations, including Coca-Cola, the Syracuse Research Corporation, and the Boeing Company. During her tenure at Boeing, Morris-Fine held a top leadership position in safety, health, and risk management. She was also inducted into the highly selective Boeing Technical Fellowship Program, where she was an associate Technical Fellow in toxicology. Boeing Technical Fellows represented less than 1.5% of the Boeing engineers and scientists, and only 1% of the Fellows were women. Morris-Fine largely attributes her CSU education as the foundation for her professional success. As such, she generously gives back to CSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. To date, she has established two research funds, the Karen Morris-Fine Graduate Student and Early Career Faculty Success fund and the Nutrition Research Leadership & Innovation fund. These funds provide support for FSHN graduate students and early-career faculty participating in nutrition science research programs.

College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumnus

Daniel Tyler, Ph.D. (M.A., history, ’67)
Alumni Association member

Having grown up on the Crystal River Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado, Daniel Tyler, Ph.D., is an professor emeritus of history at Colorado State University. After receiving a degree in political science from Harvard College, Tyler trained to become an instructor pilot in the United States Air Force, where he taught students to fly single-engine jets. The late John Pratt of the CSU English department was one of his instructors in the program. When the USAF closed down the base where Tyler was stationed, he sought a job teaching history in Hawaii. After five years at Punahou School (where former President Barack Obama graduated in 1979), he returned to his roots, ranching in Colorado. Ultimately deciding that he preferred teaching, Tyler earned his master’s degree from CSU, followed by a Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico. He was invited to return to CSU as an assistant professor in 1970 and taught courses on the American West, the Southwest, and the Mexican Borderlands. He took a particular interest in water law and water development and focused on research projects that resulted in several books, including The Last Water Hole in the West about the Colorado Big Thompson Project; The Silver Fox of the Rockies about Delphus Emory Carpenter and the Colorado River Compact of 1922; and Cowboy in the Boardroom, a biography of W.D. Farr, Greeley cattle feeder and water guru. Since retirement in 1999, Tyler continues to write (Love in an Envelope), consults in water rights cases, and supports students in need. At CSU, established the Gateway to Graduation scholarship – an endowment that enables juniors and seniors with financial need to remain in college and finish their degrees.

College of Natural Sciences Honor Alumna

Denise Rutherford (Ph.D., chemistry, ’89)
Alumni Association member

Denise Rutherford is senior vice president of 3M’s corporate affairs organization – a new organization that brings a strategic, proactive approach to advancing and protecting the 3M brand and reputation. Throughout her 30-year career at 3M, Rutherford has held various leadership roles in the company’s research and development, Lean Six Sigma, and business group organizations. During her tenure, she has been committed to building sustainably competitive businesses enabled by 3M’s core values and technologies. Rutherford joined 3M in 1989 as a senior research chemist at 3M’s headquarters. From 2004-2017, she held several international leadership roles, including president of 3M Japan, vice president of 3M Greater China Area and president of 3M China, vice president of 3M Latin America, and managing director of 3M Belgium. Prior to her international assignments, Rutherford served as vice president for 3M’s aerospace business, in addition to holding several technical leadership and Lean Six Sigma roles. Before being named 3M’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, she served as 3M’s Industrial Business Group’s R&D and commercialization leader. Rutherford is an advocate for strengthening STEM education within local communities. She is also an active supporter of 3M’s Women Leadership Forum, working to foster an environment of inclusion and advancement for female leaders at every level of the company. Rutherford serves on the board of directors of STARBASE Minnesota, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring youth in STEM. She attended Murray State University, earning a bachelor’s in chemistry and mathematics, as well as a master’s in chemistry. In 1989, Rutherford received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Colorado State University.

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Honor Alumnus

Marvin Beeman (B.S., physical science, ’55; D.V.M., ’57)
Alumni Association life member

Dr. G. Marvin Beeman has been a leader of veterinary medicine for more than six decades. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado A&M college in 1955 and his D.V.M. from Colorado State University in 1957. Immediately out of CSU, he went to work as an equine practitioner at Littleton Veterinary Clinic later buying into the practice. Under Beeman’s clinical supervision and with his business acumen, it’s now one of the premier equine specialty hospitals in the state. Throughout his career, Beeman has been instrumental in shaping equine clinical medicine and the veterinary profession. In 1958, he became veterinarian for the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association’s National Western Stock Show sale. His role expanded in the 1960s to official veterinarian, then later to director of the National Western Stock Show. He has served as president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, and in 2005, he was named Citizen of the West. Beeman has also served as honorary vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association, veterinary vice president of the Morris Animal Foundation, and trustee on the American Horse Council, among many other professional accolades. Colorado State University has a special place in Beeman’s heart. He met his wife of more than 60 years, Eunice, on campus as she walked past his fraternity house. The Beemans have been giving to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and other areas of the University for 33 years. Recently, Beeman and his wife endowed the Dr. G. Marvin and Eunice Beeman Family Scholarship, which supports a D.V.M. student with an interest in practicing equine veterinary medicine.

Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Honor Alumna

Tina Larson (B.S., chemical engineering, ’96)
Alumni Association member

As a kid growing up in Loveland, Tina Larson (then Marriott) wanted to cure cancer, and the CSU chemical and biological engineering alumna is definitely earning star power in the biotechnology field. In 2019, Utah Business magazine named her one of “30 Women to Watch” as chief operating officer of Recursion, a tech-first biopharma company that Fast Company dubbed one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” the same year. She is one of two women at the executive level of the Salt Lake City company where 400,000 weekly experiments continually expand the world’s largest dataset of biological images. Larson began her career at Genentech as an associate engineer of automation engineering – a job she earned because of meaningful, graduate laboratory work as a CSU undergraduate. For two years, she worked with James Linden on anti-cancer compounds in plant cells and developed sustainable pesticide alternatives for potato plants. Larson spent 20 years at Genentech (acquired by Roche) where she moved up the ranks to global head of technical development business operations, overseeing business operations in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States for an organization of 2,500 people. She received national recognition as a Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Rising Star in 2012. In 2016, she was recruited to Achaogen, a biopharmaceutical company that discovered and commercialized ZEMDRI for infectious disease, where she served as senior vice president of technical operations before joining Recursion in 2018. Her career has definitely been a dream come true for Larsen who still shares her passion for CSU as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

Warner College of Natural Resources Honor Alumnus

Jack Capp (B.S., wildlife management, ’65; M.S., fishery and wildlife biology, ’67)
Alumni Association life member

Jack Capp received his bachelor’s in wildlife management from Colorado State University in 1965, and stayed to complete his master’s in fishery and wildlife biology with specialized training in range ecology. The founding president of the CSU chapter of The Wildlife Society, Capp quickly established himself as a leader among peers. He joined the U.S. Forest Service following graduation, where he held numerous assignments throughout a distinguished 38-year career, including working on the personal staff of U.S. Senator, Harry Reid, serving as U.S. delegate to international conservation treaty conventions and international conservation Councils, and retiring as special assistant to the director of Forest Service International Programs in Washington, D.C. His important contributions to global conservation won him the U.S. Forest Service’s Global Stewardship Award and international Partners in Flight Leadership conservation award, among many others. Following his retirement and return to Fort Collins, Capp became deeply engaged with the University, serving as a stalwart ambassador for Athletics, the Warner College of Natural Resources, and the CSU Alumni Association. A former student-athlete, Capp helped establish “Football 101” and led the charge for “Basketball 101” through the Alumni Association to help international students learn about these American sports and find common ground with peers. For years, Capp has served as a mentor and role model to natural resource students and student-athletes. He has also helped students financially through the Jack Capp Natural Resource Conservation Leadership Scholarship and gifts to Athletics scholarships and programs. Through his humble yet determined advocacy for students – especially for those in need – Capp has left a legacy at CSU that has increased its inclusivity and strengthened a true sense of community. 

Nomination Forms & Award Descriptions

Nomination information coming soon.

WILLIAM E. MORGAN ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD


This award is named for Colorado State University’s 8th President, Dr. William E. Morgan, whose participation in and commitment to the life of Colorado State University for over 30 years has significantly contributed to Colorado State’s position as a premier institution of higher education. This award is the highest honor given by the Association and is reserved for alumni who have excelled at the national or international level. The purpose of this award is to recognize a graduate of Colorado State University who has attained extraordinary distinction and success in his/her field of endeavor, whose achievements have brought credit to Colorado State University and benefit to his/her fellow citizens.

The ideal candidate must have:
• a degree from Colorado State University
• a proven record of extraordinary distinction and accomplishment in his/her field
• demonstrated achievements that have brought credit to CSU
• demonstrated leadership and service to his/her community and society at large
• received national or international recognition
• made a significant contribution of time and talent to the University
• demonstrated value for the university’s commitment to research, education, extensionand service

CHARLES A. LORY PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD


This award is named for Dr. Charles A. Lory, 5th president of Colorado State University, whose leadership helped the university attain a vital balance of teaching, research and service. It is given to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in his/her community, professional field, or personal commitments, and has given a significant contribution of time and talent to the University. The recipient must be a Colorado State University alum.

The ideal candidate must have:
• demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in his/her professional field and/or personal commitments
• demonstrated extraordinary and exemplary public and/or community service
• made a significant contribution of time and talent to the university

JIM AND NADINE HENRY AWARD

This award is given in honor of Jim (’40) and Nadine (Hartshorn) (’41) Henry of Longmont, Colorado, who exemplify extraordinary service to Colorado State University and its academic, athletic, and alumni programs. This award is presented annually to a person who represents the highest goals of the Alumni Association and Colorado State University, and who has given significant support and service to the Alumni Association and the University. The recipient must be a Colorado State University alum.

The ideal candidate must:

  • adequately embody and demonstrate the four core values of the CSU Alumni Association: Pride, Tradition, Relationships and Diversity
  • demonstrate a commitment to, and involvement in, the life of the university
  • have given significant support to the CSU Alumni Association and the university
  • demonstrate a record of service to the university, the CSU Alumni Association and Athletics
GRADUATE OF THE LAST DECADE (GOLD) AWARD

The purpose of this award is to recognize a recent graduate for his/her accomplishments made in the area of career, service, and/or volunteer efforts that have brought honor to the individual and to Colorado State University. The nominee must have graduated from Colorado State University within the last ten years and must have received at least his/her undergraduate degree from Colorado State.

The ideal candidate must have:
• obtained CSU undergraduate degree within the last ten years from the nomination deadline (2006-2016)
• demonstrated contributions that have brought honor to the individual and to CSU in the area of career, service and/or volunteer efforts

DISTINGUISHED ATHLETICS AWARD

The purpose of this award is to recognize an individual for his/her outstanding commitment to Colorado State University Athletics, who has contributed to the goal of excellence in athletics, and brought honor to the university. The recipient may be a current or former Athletic Department staff member, former athlete, or dedicated volunteer and must be a Colorado State University alum.

The ideal candidate must have:
• evidence of outstanding commitment to CSU Athletics
• made significant contributions (as a staff member, athlete, volunteer or donor) towards the success of CSU Athletics
• demonstrated achievements that have brought honor to the university

COLLEGE HONOR ALUMNUS/ALUMNA AWARD

Each year, the Colorado State University Alumni Association honors an outstanding alumnus/a from each of the University's eight colleges. An Honor Alumnus/Alumna is a former student who, by his/her distinguished career and service to the University, state, nation, or world, has brought honor to Colorado State University and to himself/herself.

Ideal candidate must:

  • Be a former student from his/her respective college.
  • Have a record of distinction and accomplishment in his/her field.
  • Have demonstrated service to the University, state, nation, or world.
  • Have demonstrated achievements that have brought honor to CSU and to himself/herself.
  • Have demonstrated their pride in CSU through contributions of time and/or resources
NOMINATION RENEWAL

Nomination Tips

  • Write a paragraph for each of the criteria listed. Include a couple of examples of how the nominee "lives" the criteria.
  • Ask multiple people who can provide different points of view or are from different parts of the nominee’s life to address the criteria. Compile these notes into one nomination. This will make it a more comprehensive nomination.
  • Try to include a full picture (time wise) of the nominee’s actions. Include some examples from the nominee’s past and some more recent examples to show the continued demonstrated commitment and actions related to the criteria.
  • Use the forms provided and follow the directions carefully.
  • It is better to put information from external sources into the actual nomination than to include additional older newspaper articles or other documents.