Best of the best: CSU announces 2019 Distinguished Alumni

DAA logo 2019Colorado State University will honor some of its most impactful alumni – and its 150th birthday – at the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The annual celebration is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Lory Student Center. The event, which honors thought leaders, history makers, and game changers, is part of Homecoming and Family Weekend, which is themed “Proud to Be 150.”

From humble beginnings as a class of three graduates to its place as a world-class research university with nearly a quarter of a million alumni, CSU been making the world a better place since its founding in 1870. Each year, the best of the best alumni are celebrated, with each of CSU’s eight colleges honoring an alumnus and the university reserving its highest alumni awards for truly remarkable men and women.

Winners of the major awards include:

William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award

Don Law (BS, civil engineering, ’75) and Susie Law (BS, computer science, ’76)

Named for CSU’s eighth president, who changed the university’s trajectory during his more than 30 years of leadership, the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. It is reserved for alumni who have excelled at the national level, and whose work has benefitted society and brought credit to CSU. Don and Susie Law certainly fit all the criteria.

Don and Susie Law
Don and Susie Law

The couple met in 1972 at CSU and married in 1976, settling in Denver. They had three children, Amy, Kelli, and Brian, and an active family life involving skiing, mountain biking, windsurfing, and waterskiing. Don started his oil and gas company, Prima Exploration, in 1980, and currently has drilling operations in eight states.

As empty-nesters, the Laws established Law Estate Wines, a boutique-sized, ultra-premium wine company in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles, Calif. Both Prima Exploration and Law Estate Wines continue to prosper, allowing the Laws to pursue their favorite pastime:  donating treasure and time to nonprofit organizations. They prefer to focus on education-based groups that not only benefit the current recipients but also their families and future generations.

The Laws’ dedication to these causes, including investment in their alma mater, make them deserving of the Morgan Alumni Achievement Award. Some of the couple’s favorites illustrate the breadth of their impact – ACE Scholarships (private school scholarships to low-income families), Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado UpLift (benefiting low-income Denver youth), CSU (engineering board, scholarships, engineering buildings, and football stadium), Boys and Girls Club (helping kids succeed nationwide), MUST! Charities (strengthening north San Luis Obispo County), Evans Scholarship Foundation (offering college scholarships to golf caddies), and Junior League of Denver (promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities).

Charles A. Lory Public Service Award

Morris W. Price, Jr. (BA, speech communication, ’87)

Morris Price
Morris Price

 The Charles A. Lory Public Service Award is named for CSU’s fifth and lonest-serving president. Lory’s leadership helped the fledgling Colorado Agricultural College achieve a vital balance of teaching, research, and service. The Lory Award is given to alumni who set the standard for service and helping others, and who do so while connected to their alma mater. Morris W. Price Jr. epitomizes all of those qualities.

A native of Colorado and product Denver Public Schools, Price studies communication studies at CSU. He is now vice president and executive director of City Year Denver, a program designed to keep kids in school and help them graduate.

Prior to his position at City Year, Price served as the district director for the 1st Congressional District of Colorado (U.S. House of Representatives), national program officer for the Gill Foundation, and director of university and college relations for the Daniels Fund. Prior to his time with the Daniels Fund and Gill Foundation, Price spent 15 years in higher education including holding various leadership positions at the University of Denver, including associate dean and director of admissions.

He currently serves on the Rose Community Foundation Board of Trustees, Colorado Nonprofit Association Board of Directors, First Baptist Church of Denver Board of Directors, Compass Academy Governing Board, Denver Art Museum Marketing Advisory Board, and the CSU LGBT Alumni Alliance (founding and current president). Price has received a number of awards and recognition for his community involvement, including 2009 Professional Man of the Year Award (Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce), 2014 Paul Hunter Outstanding Community Leadership Award (Human Rights Campaign), 2015 25 Most Influential African Americans (Denver Urban Spectrum), 2016 Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership (Matthew Shepard Foundation), and 2018 Community Educator Leader of the Year Award (the Education Center of Colorado).

Jim and Nadine Henry Award

Ross Thompson (B.S., finance-real estate, ’78) and Sue Thompson

Sue and Ross Thompson
Sue and Ross Thompson

The Jim and Nadine Henry Award honors the spirit of two of CSU’s most treasured alumni. It is given annually to those who champion CSU and its academic, athletic and alumni programs. Ross and Sue Thompson do all of that and so much more.

Ross, who grew up in Fort Collins, is senior vice president of MidFirst Bank and said he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend his hometown university. Pell Grants and an extreme work ethic put him through school, and today he and Sue honor those memories by creating opportunities for other students.

Ross’s career led him to various places before the Thompsons returned to Colorado in 1990 to raise their family. Ross quickly shared his love for CSU athletics and Sue was smitten, becoming a huge Rams fan. Their children, Andrew and Stephanie, caught the fever, too, and attended CSU.

The Thompsons’ involvement at CSU is wide ranging, including a stint for Ross as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as continued support of the Denver Ram Network. As Denver-based Ram fans, the Thompsons don’t hesitate to give back to CSU by donating their time, talent and treasure.

They are avid athletics fans and College of Business scholarship supporters, and they play an integral role in the growth of the Alumni Association. They have been passionate donors for more than 20 years.

For a a complete list of 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winners, visit the CSU Alumni Association site.

 The public is invited to attend the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner; pre-registration is required.