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Awards / Honors

Astronomy Professor Roger Culver celebrates 45 years of service at CSU

May 3, 2012
by Amanda Zupan

CSU is once again honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2011-2012 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones. The all-University event to commemorate years of service and retirement will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.

Before coming to Ram Country

Like many Colorado State University faculty members, astronomy Professor Roger Culver is not originally from the Fort Collins area. He was born in Utah and grew up in the deserts of Arizona and southern California.

As a child, Culver knew exactly what he wanted to be. “I wanted to be an astronomer,” Culver said. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the sky.”

Before arriving at CSU, Culver worked at 3M. “When I was at 3M, I was in the Duplicating Products Lab,” Culver said. “I worked with a team whose job was to make the copies that came out of the 3M copier white, as opposed to the brownish-amber color of the original copies.”

Coming to Colorado

Culver came to CSU because he was interested in living in Colorado. “It was back in the day when it was pretty easy to get a job. I really wanted to come to Colorado as I had never been here before and heard lots of neat things about it,” he said.

Culver received an offer from the chairman of CSU's Math Stats Department, Les Madison, who wanted to bring in an astronomer.

“I feel so lucky to be doing this. The thing I love most about being a professor is the freedom of motion to do what I have always loved to do in life: teach astronomy and do astronomical research,” Culver said. “Equally important is the opportunity to interact with energetic and enthusiastic individuals on their way up in life."

Culver has received numerous awards including the Charles A. Lory Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, College of Natural Sciences Teacher of the Year, and the CSU Greek Community Outstanding Faculty Award. “Probably the best accomplishment was when I received the Lory Award,” Culver said.

Students to the rescue

At one point during his career at CSU, Culver was going through a rough time. A few of his graduate students did something Culver will never forget.

“The LawyerBusters visited my class when I was in the middle of a divorce,” Culver said. “The ‘lawyer’ came up to the front of the class and issued a ‘subpoena,’ whereupon four graduate students dressed as the LawyerBusters drove the lawyer from the front of the classroom with smoking liquid nitrogen to the Ghostbusters theme song.”

Culver said that it was an unexpected morale booster during a tough time.

A look into the future

When asked where he sees himself after retirement, Culver says he looks forward to continuing to do his favorite hobbies including gardening, bowling, stamp and coin collecting, and woodworking.

“I also never see myself getting out of astronomy entirely. I have more than enough to do in this field if I want to continue on with it,” Culver said. “The only thing that will be different is that I will not be teaching once I retire.”

Celebrate! CSU Milestones

Join the university community in honoring employees during Celebrate! CSU Milestones on May 3. The event will honor Colorado State University employees who are celebrating retirement and those who have reached 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service to the University.

Contact: Office of CSU Events
Phone: (970) 491-4601