The award recipients gather for a group shot. Photos by John Eisele/CSU
The CSU Alumni Association announced its Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Oct. 15 at a ceremony in the Lory Student Center’s Grand Ballroom, where more than 300 people attended the annual dinner that celebrates Colorado State University’s best and brightest.
From relentless CSU supporters to an advocate for the aging and a former astronaut, 18 recipients were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards for demonstrating leadership and commitment to service as well as embodying CSU’s land grant mission.
Mary Cleave was this year’s recipient of the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. It is reserved for individuals who have excelled at a national or international level. Cleave worked for NASA for more than 20 years and flew on two space shuttle missions.
Longtime Health and Exercise Science professor and department head Gay Israel was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award. In a moving acceptance speech that received a standing ovation from the audience, Israel openly discussed his battle with cancer while describing his time at CSU and thanking his family and friends for their support. Israel is also the founder and executive director of CSU’s Heart Disease Prevention Program.
Other Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include J. Robert (Bob) Wilson (Charles A. Lory Public Service Award), Larry and Kay Edwards (Jim and Nadine Henry Award), Christine Nicolaysen (Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award), E. Michael Blasi (Distinguished Athletic Award), Laurel Kubin (Distinguished Extension Award), Terrance Unrein (Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award), Blanche Hughes (Distinguished Alumni Employee Award) and Ying Lee (Distinguished International Alumni Award).
Other Distinguished Alumni Awards went to Dale McCall (College of Agricultural Sciences Honor Alumnus), Gary Halley (College of Business Honor Alumnus), Desi and Lisa Rhoden (College of Engineering Honor Alumni), Patricia Kendall (College of Health and Human Sciences Honor Alumna), Yusef Komunyakaa (College of Liberal Arts Honor Alumnus), Rocco Fabiano (College of Natural Sciences Honor Alumnus), Mark Dewhirst (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Honor Alumnus) and Joyce Berry (Warner College of Natural Resources).