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Working at CSU

Celebrate! CSU Milestone: Dede Kliewer, 20 years

April 26, 2013
By Katie Salvato

CSU is honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2012-2013 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Dede KliewerWhen Dede Kliewer was a high school student in Nebraska, she thought she was going to grow up to be a lawyer.

“Just any type of lawyer because I didn’t know much about it,” Kliewer said. 

She graduated with 116 classmates, 112 of which had been together since nursery school, and began her journey in higher education.

“I went to school for fashion merchandising because I wanted that too,” she said. “I loved fashion and all of that. I worked in retail for a while, but that wasn’t really where my love was.”

Kliewer, now a coordinator with Resources for Disabled Students at CSU, found her love communicating with students through sign language.

Finding a Passion

After college graduation, Kliewer became a receptionist at a residential facility for developmentally delayed adults.

“I was a receptionist for about two months when they needed someone to fill in on the weekend working with the residents, and I volunteered,” Kliewer said. “I loved that more than sitting behind a desk, so I switched jobs to actually working with the residents.”

Soon after, Kliewer moved her family to Colorado and began working at Foothills Gateway Rehabilitation Center. Several of her clients were non-verbal and deaf.

“They would be upset, but we couldn’t figure out why,” she said. “I didn’t have a way to communicate with them.”

Determined to reach out, Kliewer begin to teach herself sign language; she spent her lunches learning from the audiologist who taught anyone who was interested.

“I found out about a sign language class at Front Range Community College, and I took that class. I met more deaf people and realized how much I loved the language,” Kliewer said.

Continuing Education

Kliewer made the decision to return to school and get a certification for interpreting at Front Range.

“I did a lot of odd jobs throughout school,” Kliewer said. “I cleaned out the City of Fort Collins buses; I cleaned houses. I did what I needed to do and it fit with my hours.”

Twenty years ago, Kliewer interned at CSU as an interpreter, and she hasn’t left since.

 “I love the students. I love the atmosphere here. I love interpreting classes.  I love going to classes, and seeing the students get the information and be successful,” she said.

Kliewer coordinates the interpreters’ schedules with the students’ schedules while also teaching the American Sign Language class and doing some interpreting herself.

“I think my greatest accomplishment is when the students graduate,” she said. “It’s not like it’s me who’s done all the work, but to see them get through that – that’s why I love to interpret graduations.  To see them go across stage and graduate, that’s so satisfying.”

To personally congratulate a Milestones honoree or group of honorees, please email your celebratory message to  no later than Tuesday, May 7. Your message might be used during the interactive portion of the Celebrate! CSU Milestones event on May 9.

Contact: Brent Waugh