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Alumni Award recipients honored

September 30, 2011

The Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet, a new addition to the traditional Homecoming and Family Weekend festivities this year, recognized CSU alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and have made contributions to the university through their time or philanthropy.

Outstanding Colorado State University graduates and friends were honored at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner September 29.

William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award

Recipient: Stuart Conway (B.S. '83, Forest Management)
Current position: Co-founder and International Director of Trees, Water & People

The Colorado State University Alumni Association's top award, the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award, will be presented to Stuart Conway, who has a long history of working with people to improve their environments. He has served as a forest technician with the USDA Forest Service; community forester with the Peace Corps in Guatemala; director of The New Forests Projects, an international reforestation project; and co-founder of Trees, Water & People, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with the mission to improve people’s lives by helping communities to protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

From soil conservation to tree nursery management, Conway has worked with people in Mexico, much of Central America, and Haiti to plant trees, protect watershed areas, and build fuel-efficient stoves that are better for the environment and better for the health of those using them.

Conway has received numerous awards, including the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service (2010), United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Prize (2009-2010), and Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability (2008). In 2005, Prince Charles of Great Britain presented Mr. Conway with the prestigious Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, known as the Green Oscar,” for TWP’s innovative fuel-efficient cookstove project in Honduras.

He is a member of the National Peace Corps Association, International Society of Tropical Foresters, the Society of American Foresters, and Xi Sigma Pi (forestry honor society).

Charles A. Lory Public Service Award

Recipient: Gary J. Luckasen, M.D. (B.S. '68, Mathematics)
Current position: Cardiologist, Heart Center of the Rockies             

The Charles A. Lory Public Service Award will go to Dr. Gary Luckasen,founder and president of Heart Center of the Rockies, a partnership with Poudre Valley Health System that includes an outreach program in 15 cities and three states. He established his cardiology practice in 1977 and soon recognized the need for a cardiac rehabilitation program, which prompted his long-standing relationship with Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science as the medical supervisor for the Adult Fitness Program. This collaboration provides hands-on learning experiences for students and research opportunities for faculty.

Over the years, Dr. Luckasen continued to create better heart-health programs for the community, including the Attack Pack, a social networking and educational organization for heart attack survivors in Northern Colorado; the Healthy Hearts Club, a free service offered to all grade school and high school students in Northern Colorado; and the Women’s Heart Program, which focuses on prevention and early treatment of heart disease for women.

In 2009, he received the Community Service Award from the Sterling Regional Medcenter for bringing heart health to Eastern Colorado. He has served as chief of the medical staff at Poudre Valley Hospital, as a member of the board of directors for the Poudre Valley Health System, and as a member of the board of directors of the Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation.

Jim and Nadine Henry Award

Recipient: Thomas G. Field (B.S., ’80; M.S., ’87; Ph.D., ’90, Animal Science)
Current position: Executive Director of Producer Education, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

The Jim and Nadine Henry Award will go to Tom Field. Raised on a Western Colorado ranch, he attended Colorado State University with the help of agricultural, 4-H, and performing arts scholarships. After graduating in 1980, Field returned to the family ranch, where he managed the purebred herds of Hereford and Angus cattle. He returned to CSU to seek a master’s degree and discovered a passion for teaching and mentoring students combined with an intense interest in the study of agricultural management systems. He joined the faculty in animal sciences in 1990 and spent the next 18 years championing undergraduate and graduate students, advocating for innovation in the livestock industry, and serving rural communities. 

Field was a staunch supporter of school tradition, Ram pride, and building a sense of ownership among his students. He helped create international travel opportunities, case-study learning, and multidisciplinary approaches to learning and problem solving. He won the Best Teacher Award, a student-nominated award, in 2000.

His love for Ram athletics found Field on the sidelines, giving pre-game motivational talks, and offering up his hair for conference championships and wins against Wyoming. He served as president of the Ram Club and the Alumni Association during his tenure on the faculty, where he continued to work to raise enthusiasm and resources to support students.

Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award

Recipient: Mariah Kincaid
Current position: Medical student, Tufts University

The Albert C. Yates Award will go to Mariah Kincaid (B.S., ’11, Nutrition and Food Science). As a student, Kincaid was extensively involved in campus health-related initiatives. A transfer student from Alaska, she was the 2011 recipient of the College of Applied Human Sciences Outstanding Senior Award. She was a University Honors Scholar and graduated with a 4.0 GPA in nutrition and food science and a minor in French.

In addition to a demanding academic schedule, Kincaid had a rigorous extracurricular schedule. She was president of the Student Health Advisory Council, leading other health-minded council members and sharing a unique perspective into the University health system with fellow Colorado State University students; ER visit coordinator for Premedica, a group of pre-med students who want an inside look at ER medicine; student coordinator for the MCAT prep course; cultural mentor for incoming international students; and tutor for the human physiology course.

She is now in a four-year dual-degree program at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, pursuing both an M.D. and a master’s in public health. Her goal is to specialize in a pediatric field. Kincaid is passionate about helping low-income individuals and envisions working with the World Health Organization or Doctors Without Borders in the future, using her public health, nutrition, and language background.

Distinguished Athletic Award

Recipient: George Seward (B.A. '72, Political Science)
Current postion: President, Power Genetics

The Distinguished Athletic Award will go to George Seward. Seward has been a Colorado State University athletics fan since he was a student yell leader. He has continually provided support to the Department of Athletics and has assisted in the creation of outreach programs and funding sources, as well as provided individual support.

Seward started the Yuma Golf Tournament in 1995, which annually brings together Northeastern Colorado alumni and fans to visit with CSU coaches and University staff and raises funds to support athletics programs. He was also part of a small group of people who started the Beef Club, a unique giving program at CSU that supports the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Athletics.

Under Seward’s guidance, the Beef Club has generously donated more than $600,000 since its inception in 1998. Its support has funded scholarships as well as numerous capital projects for athletics, including the weight room, football locker room, video and communication equipment for the football program and, most recently, the Keli McGregor Memorial Endowment. Additionally, he spearheaded the Ram Football Leaders group, which annually supported the football program. Mr. Seward has served as a Development Council member to support University Advancement and is a member of the Athletics Director's Cabinet, which supports the campaign efforts for the athletics department.

Distinguished Extension Award

Recipient: Don Svedman (BS '60, Animal Science)
Current position: Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture (retired), State of Colorado

The Distinguished Extension Award goed to Don Svedman. Svedman has a long history with Colorado 4-H, starting as a young child, and he served as an Extension agent and leader of 4-H programs for many years. Through his leadership and interest in the education of youth, he significantly increased 4-H membership during his tenure. Svedman received the “Friend of Extension” award from the Epsilon Sigma Pi National Honorary Extension Fraternity in 2000. Through his many years of dedication and service in Extension, Svedman’s energizing passion shows in his support for Colorado’s agriculture industry, Colorado State University, and CSU Extension.

He started his career with Extension as an assistant agent in Boulder County in charge of the 4-H program, where he nearly tripled membership. While an agent in Fremont and Custer counties, Mr. Svedman started the 4-H county fair carcass contest, an intensive and expanded herd improvement program, and a “rancher-to-feeder” tour that led to many sales for involved individuals. 

Distinguished Faculty Award

Recipient: Professor Mary Littrell
Current position:  Emeritus Professor and Department Head, Department of Design and Merchandising, Colorado State University

The Distinguished Faculty Award goes to Mary Littrell.  Littrell is a pre-eminent scholar in the textiles and apparel field, with an international reputation for her research on the fair-trade marketing system. Littrell left Iowa State University in 2004 to come to Colorado State University to lead the Department of Design and Merchandising.

Through her commitment to socially responsible business, whether from producers', retailers', or consumers' perspectives, Littrell has greatly advanced programs at Colorado State University, especially for the students in design and merchandising, a field that is increasingly recognized for its importance in global trade and economic development worldwide. Her research on fair trade and social responsibility in the apparel industry culminated in the 1999 publication of the seminal work, Social Responsibility in the Global Market: Fair Trade of Cultural Products, published with co-author Marsha Dickson. She recently published a second book with Dickson, Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development.

In 1994, Littrell was named a Fellow of the International Textile and Apparel Association and, in 2007, she was named a Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Distinguished Alumni Appreciation Award

Recipient: Mary Ontiveros (B.S., ’73, Psychology; M.Ed., ’79, Education)
Current position: Vice President for Diversity, Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Access

The recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Appreciation Award is Mary Ontiveros. Ontiveros’s 35-year career at Colorado State University exemplifies great service to admissions, access, and diversity through innovation, commitment to equality and access, and a high level of professionalism. She has devoted her professional career to reaching out to students and providing the assistance and resources needed to make their dreams of attending college a reality.

Ontiveros has worked toward and challenged others to increase access to higher education, especially for those students whose personal and varied circumstances would have made it difficult for them to attend college. As the architect of the Alliance Partnership, she created an innovative program to increase college access in 10 communities across Colorado. These communities, high schools, and students have benefited greatly from high-quality pre-collegiate services and resources. Ontiveros has also provided critical support and leadership for pre-collegiate programs such as TRIO, Reach Out, and CSU Dream Project, which have extended the possibility of a college education to countless young students from underrepresented economic and ethnic/racial backgrounds.

In May 2010, Ontiveros was appointed the first vice president for diversity at Colorado State University. In this new and critical role, she brings her collaborative approach and excellent communications skills to develop programs and approaches to create a more diverse campus environment.

GOLD – Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Recipient: André Heller (B.A., ’03, Art)
Current Position: Head of Mission, Médecins Sans Frontieres

André Heller will receive the Graduate of the Last Decade Award (GOLD). Heller graduated with a degree in the visual arts with minors in philosophy and English, and was awarded two different outstanding achievement scholarships from the Department of Art during the course of his studies. Following graduation,  Heller worked at the Robischon Fine Art Gallery in Denver. During the course of his studies and early career, he was deeply involved as a political activist in human rights issues.

Heller broke from his background in the visual arts and began his career in humanitarian work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. This transformative experience left him convinced that his career should follow his unwavering conviction to assist populations in acute crises. In 2006, he began his career with Médecins Sans Frontieresas a logistician and later transitioned to program management roles in a host of different field projects, addressing the medical needs of conflict-affected populations.

Following assignments in Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, along with a stint working for the New York office’s Field Human Resources Department, he was named Head of Mission in Yemen in 2010. While managing emergency operations in Yemen, he was elected to MSF USA’s Board of Directors in the summer of 2010.

In the summer of 2011, he completed his studies for a master’s in comparative politics and conflict studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Concurrently, he was a regular guest lecturer at St. George's Medical School in London, speaking to graduating doctors about humanitarian medical interventions in emergency contexts, and he continued regular support visits for MSF field operations, including Yemen and Haiti.

College of Agricultural Sciences

Recipient: Scott Hoffman Black, (B.S., ’94, Horticulture; M.S., ’98, Ecology)
Current position: Executive Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Scott Hoffman BlackScott Hoffman Black will receive the College of Agricultural Sciences Honor Alumnus Award. Black is the accomplished director of both large and small science-based conservation groups and campaigns. He has an extensive background in designing and implementing programs to protect biological diversity and to conserve habitat for threatened and endangered species.

Since 2000, Black has been executive director of The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Ore. Mr. Black works to bring together scientists, farmers, wildlife managers, and landowners around the country and overseas, with the twin goals of economic and environmental viability. He has grown the organization in staff and budget, and the group’s research and advocacy work encompasses butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, crustaceans, dragonflies, worms, and other species. Mr. Black, conservation leader, scientist, and activist, also gives lectures, workshops, and educational presentations on a wide array of invertebrate issues.

As a student, Black co-founded Wildlands Action Group/Rainforest Action Group to help students learn more about protecting forests around the world. A few years later, he served as public lands chair for the Poudre Canyon Sierra Club, where he worked on a county sales-tax initiative to fund open space purchases. He co-founded Public Lands Watch of Northern Colorado and became its president. This all-volunteer organization significantly impacted ecologically and economically sustainable land-management policies in the state of Colorado that are still in place today.

College of Applied Human Sciences

Recipient: Susanne Jalbert (M.Ed., ’97, Vocational Education; Ph.D., ’99, Education and Human Resource Studies)
Current position: Senior Diplomat, United States Agency for International Development, Afghanistan, Herat Consulate

The College of Applied Human Sciences Honor Alumna Award will be presented to Susanne Jalbert, chief executive officer of Jalbert Consulting. Jalbert is an international business development consultant and economic activist. Her mission is equitable business development strategy and policy through institutional capacity building. To date, she has assisted the United States Agency for International Development on 88 assignments in 45 countries, economically touching hundreds of thousands of lives.

With sustainability and economic equity always in mind, she has founded business associations in the United States, Nepal, Russia, and Iraq and has worked with hundreds of business associations throughout the world. To this end, Dr. Jalbert was invited to present the workshop, “Entrepreneuring for Survival,” at the Beijing 4th United Nations Conference on Women.

Jalbert continues to lecture extensively worldwide, has written business columns in Colorado and Moscow and for numerous business and technical books, and works to advocate for economic parity for women business owners globally. Currently, Dr. Jalbert is based in Afghanistan as a senior diplomat for USAID.

College of Business

Recipient: Kent Anderson (B.S. ’77, Finance and Real Estate)
Current position: President,

Kent Anderson will be awarded the College of Business Honor Alumnus Award. Anderson is president of at Macy’s Inc., a position he has held since May 1998, when he was appointed to develop and implement the e-commerce strategy. In addition to continuing to develop and implement the company’s e-commerce strategy, he is also responsible for developing and integrating Macy’s online bridal registry program.

Anderson was the first employee of at its inception in 1998. Since then, the web-based business has grown to nearly 900 employees, who are based in San Francisco and New York. He began his retail career in 1978 at Dayton Hudson Corp., and joined Macy’s in 1983 at the Macy’s Kansas City Division.

He has held positions of increasing responsibility in operations, finance, marketing, and merchandising. In 1995, Anderson was appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer of Macy’s West.

Anderson is a member of the College of Business’s advisory board and the Global Leadership Council. He also serves on the board of directors for the YMCA of San Francisco.

College of Engineering

Recipient: V. Chandrasekar (M.S., ’83, Electrical Engineering; Ph.D., ’87, Electrical Engineering)
Current position: Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University

The College of Engineering Honor Alumnus Award will go to V.Chandrasekar, who has extensive experience in radar system design, radar network development, and DSP design, as well as RF communication systems. He has contributed significantly to weather radar and to applications to atmospheric sciences. He has organized and participated in six large, multiagency, national-level experiments involving radar, aircraft, and ground instrumentation.

Chandrasekar is currently a co-principal investigator of the CSU-CHILL radar facility, and plays an important role in maintaining it as one of the most advanced meteorological radar systems in the world available for research. He is a co-principal investigator and the deputy director of the NSF Engineering Research Center’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, where he serves as the research director. He has also been the director of the research experience for the engineering undergraduate program at Colorado State University.

He was elected a Fellow of IEEE, the American Meteorological Society, and CIRA in recognition of his contributions to quantitative remote sensing. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on “Future Radar Systems beyond NEXRAD.”

College of Liberal Arts

Recipient: Jim Sheeler (’90, Technical Journalism)
Current Position: Journalist

Jim Sheeler will be awarded the College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumnus Award.

Author and journalist Jim Sheeler established the highest record of distinction in his profession after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2006 for a series of stories in the Rocky Mountain News. His special report, Final Salute, was a 12,000-word feature story following Marine casualty notification officer Steve Beck as he informed family members of the deaths of their loved ones in the Iraq War.

Sheeler is the author of two books, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives, and Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Led Extraordinary Lives, each an examination of life and death. Final Salute won Publisher Weekly’s Best Book of the Year award in 2008 and was a finalist in the National Book Awards. During the time he reported for the Boulder Daily Camera, Boulder Planet, and the Rocky Mountain News, Mr. Sheeler won an award for his reporting and writing in the state of Colorado every year.

In addition to holding the Shirley Wormser Professorship in Journalism and Media Writing at Case Western Reserve University, Sheeler also travels across the nation serving as a panelist and keynote speaker at a variety of conferences. Due to the nature of his work with the military, Sheeler also has made media appearances on news programs such as Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NBC Nightly News, and NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Warner College of Natural Resources

Recipient: Robert Barbee (B.S., ’58, Zoology; M.S., ’68, Recreation Resources) Current Position: Superintendent (Retired), National Park Service

Robert Barbee will receive the Warner College of Natural Resources Honor Alumnus Award. After a tour in the U.S. Army, Robert Barbee spent 42 years in the National Park System. He began as a park ranger and moved into the position of park superintendent, where he spent most of his professional life.

His career track placed him in the Redwood National Park just as the park's boundaries expanded, confronting him with the challenge of land seizures and the development of a workable watershed plan. He was park superintendent in Yellowstone National Park during the devastating wildfires of 1988, which drew the largest firefighting effort in the United States. He also worked on the 10-year effort to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone.

Barbee's work has been acknowledged as a career defined by excellence, and he has been officially recognized with several significant awards including the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award, the Stephen T. Mather Award from the National Parks and Conservation Association, the U.S. Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Award, and the Presidential Award for a Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service.

College of Natural Sciences

Recipient: Duane Harris (’69, Biological Science)
Current position: Owner, Sea Georgia Adventures

The College of Natural Sciences Honor Alumnus Award will go to Duane Harris. Harris began his career with the Georgia Game and Fish Commission in 1970 and remained with the agency for 33 years. He retired after 18 years as the director of the Coastal Resources Division, where he managed the state’s marine fisheries, coastal marshlands, and shoreline resources.

Harris represented Georgia on the federal level by serving on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. He is a certified fisheries scientist in the American Fisheries Society.

After retirement, he started Sea Georgia Adventures, a charter fishing and environmental consulting company. He is a professional fishing guide, holding a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer 100-ton master’s license. Currently, he serves on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Environment and Energy Committee and was appointed by the governor of Georgia to serve on the Coastal Regional Water Council and the Governor’s Water Contingency Planning Task Force.

Harris has an offshore artificial reef named after him, the first in Georgia history.

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Recipient: Jerry Black, D.V.M. (B.S., ’67, Biological Science; D.V.M., ’71)
Current position: Director, Equine Sciences, and Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University

Dr. Jerry Black will receive the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Honor Alumnus Award.  Dr. Black, a well-regarded private-practice equine veterinarian, became the director of the equine sciences program at Colorado State University in 2010. Prior to that, he was co-founder, senior clinician, and practice manager of Pioneer Equine Hospital Inc., a regional equine referral veterinary center in Oakdale, Calif. (1973-2010); and resident veterinarian, owner, and co-manager of Valley Oak Ranch (1995-2010), a commercial performance equine stallion station and production facility specializing in mare and stallion reproduction.

His pre-eminent role as an equine veterinarian who focused on lameness resulted in many professional presentations and offered him the opportunity to train many young equine veterinarians. He has mentored 40 interns, written two book chapters, participated in four research projects, and authored six manuscripts, and has been invited to give 47 different presentations about equine performance horses.

The overall impact of his work on the effectiveness of veterinary education, research, and the quality of animal care are well known throughout the equine industry and the veterinary community.

Among his many awards and recognitions are the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame (2006) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners Distinguished Life Member Award (2010).