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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. Winners of the top four awards – the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award, the Charles A. Lory Public Service Award, the Jim and Nadine Henry Award, and the Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade Award – are highlighted below, along with award recipients from each of the eight colleges and Athletics.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebration was Oct. 7, 2021. Stay tuned for info about the 2022 awards. 

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD SPONSORS

Ram Sponsors
UCHealth
College of Business
Athletics
Warner College of Natural Sciences
Enrollment, Academic and Student Affairs
Enrollment, Academic and Student Affairs and Vice President for Research
College of Agricultural Sciences
Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Green Sponsors
College of Health and Human Sciences
College of Liberal Arts
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Gold Sponsors
College of Natural Sciences

2021 Recipients 

The CSU Alumni Association would like to congratulate the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award

Debra Stencel (B.S., ’78) and Patrick Phillips (B.S., ’79) 

Debra Stencel and Patrick Phillips believe access to higher education is transformative. It was for them. They both grew up in Aurora, Colorado, and met while attending CSU. Stencel is a first-generation student who graduated from the College of Business. She went on to attend Syracuse University Law School in New York, and after graduating, became a partner in a Washington, D.C.-based law firm working on real estate, finance, and commercial transactions. From there, her career path led her through a series of commercial real estate companies before she began serving as general counsel and senior vice president for B.F. Saul Company, a major Washington, D.C., real estate development and investment firm.

Throughout his career, Phillips has been a passionate advocate for the creation of vibrant and sustainable cities. After graduating from the College of Agricultural Sciences, he completed graduate degrees in landscape architecture from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and in public management and finance from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. After a brief stint in academia, he began a career focused on urban development strategies for cities, developers, and investors.

Phillips later accepted the role of global CEO of the Urban Land Institute and president of the ULI Foundation. ULI is a global nonprofit research and education organization representing all aspects of land use and urban development. During his career he also taught development economics at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design as well as at the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University. Phillips is a frequent speaker on urban development issues, the author or coauthor of eight books and numerous articles, and serves on the advisory board for CSU’s Salazar Center for North American Conservation.

Since 1992, Stencel and Phillips have supported numerous funds and programs across campus. They personify the heart of the University’s land-grant mission. In 2018, they established the Phillips-Stencel First Generation Award, which provides scholarships for first-generation undergraduate students enrolled in any college at CSU, and the Phillips Program in Urban Conservation, which created a “practitioner-in-residence” position in the Salazar Center for an industry leader each academic year to advance the understanding and research of urban conservation.

About the award: Named for the University’s eighth President, Dr. William E. Morgan, this award is the highest honor given by the Alumni 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 who has attained extraordinary distinction and success in their field of endeavor and whose achievements have brought credit to CSU and benefit to their fellow citizens.

Charles A. Lory Public Service Award

Stacy (B.S., ’91) and Kevin (B.A., ’92; Ph.D., ’13) Unger

Hospitals are a great example of public service, and the name Unger has become synonymous with them in Northern Colorado. Kevin Unger is a Fort Collins native who was born at Poudre Valley Hospital. He earned two of four degrees from CSU (his master’s degrees in health administration and business administration are from the University of Colorado in Denver). Unger has been with PVH/UCHealth since 2001, and currently serves as the CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. He’s also been working with CSU on the Asia medical partnership, as well as the CU-School of Medicine/CSU Medical School relationship. As a catalyst in transforming the healthcare industry in Northern Colorado, Unger received the prestigious Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year in 2009.

Stacy Bond Unger moved from her hometown of Gibbon, Nebraska to Fort Collins to finish her degree at Colorado State. She also has a Master of Science in psychology from the University of Nebraska. The Ungers met at CSU and were married in 1993. After living in the Denver area for several years where Stacy Unger worked at the Aurora Mental Health Center, they returned to Fort Collins to raise their family. Stacy Unger is dedicated to improving her community, and serves on the boards of several local organizations that assist those in need, and was a founding board member of both the local Young Men’s Service League, Inc. (YMSL) chapter and Women Investing in Strategies for Health (WISH). YMSL is a nationwide nonprofit organization that teaches leadership and life skills to young men in high school while offering them and their mothers service opportunities to grow their relationship. WISH is a giving circle that educates, empowers, and inspires women philanthropists.

The Ungers live by the maxim that your career is about what you give back. Kevin Unger serves on the Executive Leadership Council for CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences, and the couple have been generous supporters of the University. In 2018, they established the Kevin and Stacy Unger Family Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to CHHS students who have been impacted by financial hardships that could prevent them from continuing their educations.

The Ungers are the proud parents of three children, Sydney (26) Mason (20) and Sophia (14). The family’s Ram Pride runs deep. Sydney has two degrees from CSU, currently lives in AZ, and is working toward her Doctorate degree. Mason also works for UCHealth as an EMT, and plans to attend CSU as well. Sophia is a freshman at Rocky Mountain High School.

About the award: This award is named for Dr. Charles A. Lory, fifth president of CSU, whose leadership helped the University attain a vital balance of teaching, research, and service. It is given to alumni who have demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in their community, professional field, or personal commitments, and have given a significant contribution of time and talent to the University.

Jim and Nadine Henry Award

Linda (B.A., ’70; M.A., ’72) and Bob (B.S., ’55; M.E., ’70) Cates

Born and raised in Lusk, Wyoming, Bob Cates loved playing basketball and played for CSU (then Colorado A&M) in the mid-1950s. After graduation, he began his high school teaching and coaching career in Sterling, Colorado, before going to Fort Collins High School.

When Linda Brooks arrived at CSU in the fall of 1967, she was captivated by the Department of Communication Studies (formerly the Speech Department) and never considered another major. After earning her bachelor’s degree in 1970, she became a graduate teaching assistant while earning her master’s degree. Linda Cates’s first teaching position was at Fort Collins High School where she taught speech and a variety of media courses. She also met Bob Cates there, and they later married.

Together, they moved to the Western Slope and worked at Fruita Monument High School near Grand Junction, Colorado. Bob Cates retired from teaching and coaching in 1980 when he became the Mesa County School District athletic director and served on two state boards overseeing high school athletics. In 1990, the couple moved to Denver after Bob Cates was hired as the assistant commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association, which organizes and hosts all high school activities and athletics for the state. In that role, he also ran the Student Council State Conference at CSU each summer.

Linda Cates finished her teaching career in the Cherry Creek School District where she taught English at Overland High School. When Bob Cates fully retired in 1996, they moved back to Fort Collins to support CSU athletics and academics. Their mutual careers in education nurtured in them a deep passion for their alma mater, students, and all those who help advance CSU’s mission.

Bob Cates served on the Former Athletes Association for five years. During that time, the couple established the Bob and Linda Cates Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to a Ram basketball player each year. The couple’s Ram Pride shines bright at Canvas Stadium as well, where you’ll find their names printed on the founding plaque outside for their generous philanthropic commitment and dedication to the green and gold. Linda Cates served on the College of Liberal Arts Development Council for more than a decade, and in 2011, given her strong connection to the Department of Communication Studies, she and Bob created the Linda Cates Communications Studies Scholarship. Three years later, they also established the Linda Cates Scholarship for Democratic Deliberation for student associates serving in the University’s Center for Public Deliberation.

The Cateses believe that “paying it forward” is essential. Their support of CSU is one of the most meaningful contributions to society and the leaders of tomorrow they have made.

About the award: This award is given in honor of Jim (’40) and Nadine (Hartshorn) (’41) Henry of Longmont, Colorado, to those who exemplify extraordinary service to the University and its academic, athletics, and alumni programs. This award is presented annually to alumni who represent the highest goals of the Alumni Association and the University, and who have given significant support and service to both.

Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade Award (GOLD)

Angelina Howard (B.S., ’14)

Angelina Howard is a first-generation student who was very involved in extracurricular activities: she was a College of Business mentor, vice president of the Supply Chain Management Club, member of Business Diversity and Leadership Alliance, student assistant in the Department of Management, and student coordinator in the Career Management Center. Outside the college, she was a student alumni associate, and a secretary and public relations officer for the Black Student Alliance. Somehow, she found time to add to her degree a concentration in corporate finance and supply chain management, both of which have served her well.

She is currently a senior product manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud provider. Howard works on early market development efforts for new AWS offerings. She transitioned into product management in 2017 and has been passionate about learning and building inclusive products, and about increasing the knowledge and representation of people of color in product management. In 2021, she was the opening speaker for the University of Washington’s inaugural Inclusive Product Summit.

Outside of her product manager role, she is the former president and current adviser for the Black Employee Network (BEN), one of 13 affinity groups at Amazon. Howard has played vital and multifaceted roles in partnering with Amazon’s senior leadership as the company navigates the racial issues facing the United States. From hosting an Amazon Town Hall with current and former Amazon CEOs, to launching BEN scholarship and mentoring programs, her numerous contributions and initiatives are accelerating the success of future Black leaders at Amazon.

Howard’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2020, she was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for 2021, and earlier this year, she was named a Black Enterprise 40 Under 40 honoree. In addition to her work at Amazon, she is a blogger, freelance instructor, adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas, speaker, and corporate diversity consultant. Howard is the co-founder of Spektrem31, a platform and apparel brand that launched this summer, enabling Black technical professionals to share their unique experiences.

About the award: The purpose of this award is to recognize a CSU graduate from the past 10 years for accomplishments made in the areas of career, service, and/or volunteer efforts that have brought honor to the individual and to the University.

Distinguished Athletics Award

Jim Detterick (B.A., ’96)

Jim Detterick is a managing director, institutional consulting director, and a corporate client group director for Graystone Consulting, a business unit of Morgan Stanley’s Corporate and Institutional Services. He is currently responsible for managing one of the largest advisory groups within the firm, and his outstanding performance has been recognized with numerous awards throughout his career. While earning his undergraduate degree at CSU in the mid-1990s, Detterick was also a linebacker on the Rams football team. He went on to earn an MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business in 2001, but Detterick has remained an active member of the CSU community. He began supporting Athletics and the University in 2003 and provided significant support for the on-campus stadium. As a loyal football fan, he has been a premium seating season ticket holder since Canvas Stadium’s inaugural season in 2017.

College of Agricultural Sciences Honor Alumni

Kristie (B.S., ’82) and Jim (B.S., ’83) Docheff

Kristie Dixon and Jim Docheff Jr. met at CSU in 1980 and built their lives on two shared passions: family and agriculture. They both come from fourth-generation agricultural families: Jim Docheff grew up on a dairy farm in Broomfield, Colorado; Kristie Docheff on a feedlot in Parker, Colorado. After graduation, Jim Docheff worked as a research associate at the CSU Dairy Research Center before he and Kristie Docheff bought 35 dairy cows of their own, and a few years later, purchased an 80-acre dairy farm in Mead, Colorado. Over the past 33 years, their farm has grown to 650 cows. Two of their three children work at the dairy farm, and one is a rancher in Yuma, Colorado. The couple serve on numerous boards, councils, and committees within the industry and the University, including the CSU Beef Club. Their goal is to have a role in developing the next generation of great agriculturalists.

College of Business Honor Alumnus

Rich Tinberg (B.S., ’72)

Rich Tinberg was recruited to CSU on a football scholarship in 1968. During his sophomore year, he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity where he became its president, as well as treasurer of the Interfraternity Council. Tinberg has fond memories of his fraternity experience and married his wife, Elaine, in the chapel of the fraternity headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. In 1975, Rich earned a master of management with distinction from Northwestern University, and later that year, became a certified public accountant. In addition to his CSU Distinguished Alumni Award, he also holds a Distinguished Scholar Award from the Management School at Northwestern. Tinberg is currently the president and CEO of The Bradford Hammacher Group, which includes The Bradford Exchange, the largest international marketer of affinity based art products, jewelry, collectibles, and gifts, and Hammacher Schlemmer, America’s longest running catalog. He and Elaine are generous supporters of the College of Business, and Tinberg has contributed his business acumen to other companies by serving on their boards of directors.

College of Health and Human Sciences Honor Alumna

Carla Dore (B.S., ’83)

Carla Dore is the owner and president of Workplace Resource, one of Denver’s largest office furniture dealers. The company is a Herman Miller Certified Dealer and has received a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Certification. Throughout the years, she has employed many CSU graduates and student interns, offering them mentoring and opportunities to embark on design-related careers. She is an inaugural member of the Executive Leadership Council in the College of Health and Human Sciences and an affiliate faculty member at the Nancy Richardson Design Center. As a fourth-generation Coloradan and proud mother of two children, Dore is active in the community and serves on volunteer boards for several nonprofit organizations. She is a passionate Ram who gives back to the University through her time, support of students, leadership, advocacy, and generosity.

College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumna

Karen Barker (B.A., ’71)

Karen Layton Barker is a third-generation Coloradoan. After graduation from CSU, she earned a Master of Arts in public broadcasting from Michigan State University and embarked on a career in broadcast journalism. Reporting mostly on educational issues, Barker’s chosen profession required her to travel widely while living in New York City and Indianapolis. She eventually moved back home to Denver to continue reporting on educational trends at KCNC-TV, Channel 4 News. In the mid-1990s, after 20 years in broadcasting, Barker retired to raise her son, Christopher. Using her journalism skills, Barker has remained active producing videos for global philanthropies, traveling from Rwanda to Guatemala. During her visits to Guatemala since 2005, she has witnessed the life-changing difference education has made to Indigenous Mayan girls and women whom she has helped through two organizations she supports. Barker’s experience inspired her to establish the Karen and Scot Barker Diversity Scholarship fund for promising Latina students attending CSU. Barker serves as a mentor to all of her scholarship recipients, providing resources and career counseling. It is her hope these students will become future leaders in our communities.

College of Natural Sciences Honor Alumnus

Tom Heidenfelder (B.S., ’74) 

Tom Heidenfelder is a first-generation student who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. One visit to Colorado State’s beautiful and welcoming campus convinced him to attend. He joined the U.S. Air Force ROTC program with a scholarship, and after graduation, spent four years in the Air Force as a computer systems officer. Heidenfelder married his high school sweetheart, Randy, while in the service. They later returned to Chicago to begin their careers, his in information technology and hers in real estate law. They became loyal donors to the College of Natural Sciences in 1990, and two years later established the Thomas J. Heidenfelder Scholarship for computer science students. In 2012, they created the College of Natural Sciences Aspen Scholarship to assist students who need financial support. Prior to retirement, Heidenfelder was the senior consultant with Galmont Consulting, working with clients such as CVS Caremark, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and U.S. Cellular. He and Randy visit campus annually to connect with their scholarship recipients.

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Honor Alumna

Diane Brown (B.S., ’83; D.V.M., ’86; Ph.D., ’95)

Diane Brown is a board-certified veterinary clinical pathologist. As an independent investigator and comparative pathologist, she has served as a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, as director of the Comparative Clinical Pathology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as consulting pathologist and adjoint curator at the University of Colorado. She joined the AKC Canine Health Foundation in 2015 as its CEO and chief science officer. Under her guidance, the foundation reached new highs in fundraising and number of grants awarded for canine health and OneHealth research. In April 2020, Brown stepped down from that role to return to her roots in clinical pathology with Labcorp in New York City. Since 2015, she is Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She previously served as CSO for Morris Animal Foundation and has held affiliate faculty appointments in the veterinary schools at Tufts, Colorado State, and Purdue University. Brown has worked in small-animal veterinary practice, as a volunteer veterinarian for service dogs, and has served on several postdoctoral research and scientific advisory committees, and nonprofit boards of directors. She has one son.

Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Honor Alumnus

Todd Filsinger (B.S., ’85)

Todd Filsinger is the senior managing director at Filsinger Energy Partners (FEP) in Denver, Colorado, as well as a registered professional engineer. In addition to his B.S. from CSU, he holds a master’s of business administration from the University of Colorado. Filsinger has worked in the United States power markets for more than 30 years and is recognized globally as an executive leader, disaster mitigation specialist, and turnaround specialist in the energy sector. He has assisted utilities across the country in the areas of strategy, regulatory compliance and filings, asset divestiture, capital allocation techniques, and interim management. He has also led and managed some of the largest energy companies in the U.S. and led FEP efforts in Puerto Rico after hurricanes Maria and Irma to restore power and restructure the island’s power company. Most recently, he has been working with a state governor’s office on assessing utility wildfire mitigation plans, as well as helping define policy and regulatory issues facing the state’s utilities. Filsinger’s wife, Lindsay, is the head of philanthropy and community outreach for Filsinger Energy Partners. They have three daughters.

Warner College of Natural Resources Honor Alumnus

Chris Lidstone (M.S., ’81)

Chris Lidstone is the founder of the engineering, geology, and water resource consulting firm Lidstone and Associates Inc., now part of Stantec, an engineering services company. He has more than 40 years of professional experience across a wide range of specialized, yet interrelated fields. Lidstone has conducted comprehensive geomorphic and engineering studies leading to the stabilization and restoration of rivers, including the Rogue River in Oregon, the Provo River in Utah, and the Yampa River in Colorado. As consultant to several small towns in Wyoming, he has been responsible for planning, design and construction of more than $25 million dollars of water and wastewater improvements. Within this role, he has secured funding to complete this work as well. Lindstone is a cherished member of the Geosciences Advisory Council and has served as both a guest lecturer and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Geosciences. In 2014, Lindstone and his wife, Kate Laudon, established the Chris Lidstone and Kate Laudon Scholarship in Geosciences, and in 2019, they created the Chris Lidstone and Kate Laudon Graduate Fellowship in Geosciences.

Award Descriptions

Nominations for 2021 are now closed.

WILLIAM E. MORGAN ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Nominations now closed.

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 their field of endeavor, whose achievements have brought credit to Colorado State University and benefit to their fellow citizens.

The ideal candidate must have:

• A degree from Colorado State University
• A proven record of extraordinary distinction and accomplishment in their field
• Demonstrated achievements that have brought credit to CSU
• Demonstrated leadership and service to their 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, extension and service
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

CHARLES A. LORY PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

Nominations now closed.

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 their community, professional field, or personal commitments, and has given a significant contribution of time and talent to the University. 

The ideal candidate must have:

• Demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in their 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
• A degree from Colorado State University
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

JIM AND NADINE HENRY AWARD

Nominations now closed.

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 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
• A degree from Colorado State University
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

GRADUATE OF THE LAST DECADE (GOLD) AWARD

Nominations now closed.

The purpose of this award is to recognize a recent graduate for their 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.

The ideal candidate must have:

• Obtained CSU undergraduate degree within the last ten years from the nomination deadline (2010-2020)
• Demonstrated contributions that have brought honor to the individual and to CSU in the area of career, service and/or volunteer efforts
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

DISTINGUISHED ATHLETICS AWARD

Nominations now closed.

The purpose of this award is to recognize an individual for their 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
• A degree from Colorado State University
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

COLLEGE HONOR ALUMNUS/ALUMNA AWARD

Nominations now closed.

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 their distinguished career and service to the University, state, nation, or world, has brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.

Ideal candidate must:

• Be a former student from their respective college
• Have a record of distinction and accomplishment in their field
• Have demonstrated service to the University, state, nation, or world
• Have demonstrated achievements that have brought honor to CSU and to themselves
• Have demonstrated their pride in CSU through contributions of time and/or resources
• A degree from Colorado State University
• Cannot be a current Colorado State University employee

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.