Colorado State University will confer degrees on fall 2014 graduates at commencement ceremonies Dec. 19-20.
College ceremonies and Army ROTC commissioning will recognize 1,426 undergraduate and 454 graduate students, including 71 doctoral students and 6 Army ROTC Commissionees at Colorado State University. Ten students are candidates for distinction as summa cum laude, 29 as magna cum laude and 68 as cum laude.
Commencement ceremonies, with the exception of the Army ROTC commissioning, will be webcast live.
Speakers bring experience, insight to graduates
Commencement speakers for this year’s ceremonies include the following:
Paul Andrews, president and CEO of National Western, will speak at the College of Agricultural Sciences commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 at the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom. As President/CEO, Andrews is responsible for day-to-day operations, programming and administration for the National Western Stock Show and the year-round shows at the National Western Complex.
Within his first four years at Stock Show, Andrews implemented an array of promotions, special offers and customer service changes that resulted in strong attendance for each show, averaging around 635,000 people each year.
Andrews brought vast experience in marketing, sales, ticketing and entertainment to the NWSS. He began his career with the Denver Nuggets as an account executive in 1990 and rose through the ranks to executive vice president of Kroenke Sports. In his role at Kroenke Sports, Andrews oversaw the Pepsi Center, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, 1st Bank Center and the Paramount Theatre.
Daniel Gessler, vice president of Alden, will speak at the College of Engineering commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom. Since joining Alden in 2002, he has served as a senior hydraulic modeler using computational fluid dynamics and physical models to investigate a broad range of hydraulics and river mechanics problems, including complex sedimentation studies and spillway studies. He became director of numeric modeling and is now vice president and principal leading a team of about 20 numeric and physical hydraulic modelers. He is responsible for hydraulic modeling and testing using computational fluid dynamic models, physical models and prototype testing. Gessler also manages Alden’s Colorado, Washington and Oregon offices. Prior to joining Alden, he worked as a research scientist and assistant professor at Colorado State University, working on three dimensional hydrodynamic sediment transport modeling for the corps of engineers. He has more than 20 years of experience in numeric modeling.
Nate Easley, executive director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, will speak at the College of Health and Human Sciences commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Moby Arena. The Denver Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to inspire and empower Denver Public School students to earn a college degree by providing the tools, knowledge and financial resources essential for success. Easley serves on Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council. He also is a current member of the Community College of Denver Advisory Council, the National College Access Network Board, Colorado Latinos for Education Reform, Denver Public Schools Roots Charter School Board and CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences Executive Leadership Council.
Easley has extensive experience helping disadvantaged students realize their dream of a college education and securing grant funding to sustain student programs. His master’s and doctorate focused on how higher education can better support the academic success and college completion of Black and Latino students. Easley worked at the state, national and international levels to create opportunities for first-generation, low-income and ethnic minority students. He has more than 25 years of experience working with college access and retention programs and professionals.
Amelia Rose Earhart will speak at the College of Natural Sciences commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at Moby Arena. Named after the world-renowned aviator who disappeared in 1937 while trying to circumnavigate the world, Earhart has that same passion for flying. An avid aviatrix, she began flying lessons in 2004. Ten years later she recreated, and completed, her namesake’s flight, logging 24,300 nautical miles on her trip around the globe, becoming the youngest woman to complete the journey in a single-engine aircraft.
In 2013, she received the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award, given to a woman who carries on the Amelia Earhart spirit. Recently, she started the Fly With Amelia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides young women aged 16-18 flight training scholarships and fosters aviation and aerospace opportunities for people of all ages through flight-based STEM curriculum.
Earhart also is a television and radio news, traffic, and weather reporter at 9News. A self-proclaimed daredevil and do-gooder, when she is not flying around the country speaking, Earhart is on social media Facebooking and tweeting her latest news.
Andrew Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, will speak at the Warner College of Natural Resources commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom. Throughout his entire life, Wirth has been connected to the mountain resort and hotel industry. Now the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, Wirth brings over 25 years of experience to his current job to make the ski area one of the top winter tourist destinations in the world.
Born in Nuebrucke, West Germany, Wirth became involved in the industry when he began attending Colorado State University. During this time period, he gained experience as a backcountry ranger for Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as a wilderness ranger in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area. After completing college, Wirth began his career path as an intern at the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. in 1986. For more than 20 years, his official title changed until he eventually was promoted to the parent company Intrawest. The company purchased Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. in 2006, and he was quickly named the chief marketing officer, as well as the executive vice president of sales and marketing. His role included managing domestic and global marketing strategy for all of the resorts owned by the company. He also served as president of the Mountain Village Partnership, which aimed to help support local businesses. He remained with the company until he was named CEO of the Squaw Valley ski resort in 2010.
In his new role, Wirth was responsible for overseeing a $70 million upgrade to the resort, making the resort more competitive with other ski areas. Wirth also was involved with the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort merge.
At 49 years of age, Wirth continues to focus more on philanthropy in addition to his role as CEO, contributing to environmental and community service organizations in the Lake Tahoe area.
Complete CSU commencement ceremony starting times and locations for each ceremony:
- Army ROTC Commissioning, 10 a.m., Lory Student Center Theatre
- Graduate School, 3 p.m., Moby Arena
- Warner College of Natural Resources, 7 p.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- College of Health and Human Sciences, 7 p.m., Moby Arena
- College of Agricultural Sciences, 9 a.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- College of Business, 9 a.m., Moby Arena
- College of Engineering, 12:30 p.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- College of Natural Sciences, 1 p.m., Moby Arena
- College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 4 p.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- College of Liberal Arts, 5 p.m., Moby Arena