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Sports / Recreation

Student-athletes honored at Legacy dinner

August 27, 2010

Not many people get the opportunity to thank someone for providing them with a college education, while allowing them to play their favorite sport. Thursday night, 43 CSU student-athletes had that very opportunity.

Athletes mingle with sponsors

Women's Basketball Head Coach Kristen Holt, Legacy sponsor CJ Streit, student-athlete Bonnie Barbee, and Legacy sponsor Dee Streit.

The Legacy Program held their annual dinner at the Fort Collins Country Club, allowing athletes to mingle with their sponsors, enjoy dinner, and listen to what their fellow athletes and coaches had to say about the program. Since its inaugural year, the program has grown from 12 student-athletes to the present 43 student athletes. Overall, the Legacy Program is providing $2.15 million in scholarships to the Ram Club, totaling $430,000 each year.

"They are providing the invaluable opportunity for us to receive an education, while playing the sport we love," women's basketball player Bonnie Barbee said. "On top of all of this, they are helping to prepare us for a successful future."

Voicing appreciation

Barbee's Legacy sponsors are CJ and Dee Streit, who have been sponsors with the Legacy program from the very beginning. Former CSU football athlete Ben Stratton was also in attendance last night, as one of the first Rams to initially be involved in the program. A 2006 graduate, he took the time to voice his appreciation, looking back at his time at CSU.

"At the time, I don't think any athlete can fully understand the levity and importance that these sponsors have to CSU Athletics, as well as to the Fort Collins community," he said. "I remember sitting at this dinner while I was still a student, and all I could think about was the CU vs. CSU game we had that next week. It's very humbling now to look back and see how much bigger this is than me."

Jorensens are "double" Legacy donors

Stratton's sponsors are Norm and Ann Jorgensen, who are honored as Double Legacy Donors. While supporting two athletes, they have even more opportunities to build relationships and memories. Since graduating, Stratton has dinner with Norm and Ann every year.

Clearly it is not only the monetary value that means so much to the athletes. Many of them have developed close relationships with their sponsors, almost seeing them as surrogate families. Jesse Carr of the men's basketball team spoke very highly of his sponsors.

"It is a great feeling to know that someone cares and supports both CSU sports and academics," he said. "They treat me just like a part of the family, and have invited me into their home on several occasions. I even had the opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner with them one year."

Rewards of being a sponsor

After dinner, Legacy sponsors Rex and Vanessa Stahla took the time to say a few words about how rewarding it is to be a sponsor, and how special it is to their three boys.

"We knew it would be a blessing for a student, but we didn't realize what a blessing it would be to us," they commented.

Relationships formed are treasured

Once sponsors to Billy Farris, and now a sponsor to C.J. James, the Stahla's greatly cherish the opportunity they have to reach out to these athletes.

"You can't put a price on it. The relationships that we have formed from these athletes has been amazing."