The CSU Alumni Association will honor a very special group of Rams at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner, set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Lory Student Center.
Winners of the top three awards – William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award, the Charles A. Lory Public Service Award, and the Jim and Nadine Henry Award – will headline the evening. In addition, each college will honor an alumnus, and separate awards for distinguished grad of the past decade and athletic achievement will be made.
William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award
Kim Jordan embodies the characteristics cherished at Colorado State University: hardworking, innovative, and dedicated to making the world a better place. That’s why she was an easy choice to win the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award.
Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, is the most successful woman in American craft brewing. Since she, along with former husband Jeff Lebesch, launched the company from her basement in 1991, Jordan has vaulted New Belgium into the craft brewing stratosphere: NBB is the fourth-largest craft brewer in the nation and ranks 11th overall among American brewers in total sales.
Under her leadership, NBB has created some of the country’s most iconic beers, including Fat Tire, Voodoo Ranger, Trippel and Dayblazer. In 2017, NBB partnered with CSU to create Old Aggie Superior Lager, which has become tremendously popular despite being sold only in Colorado.
But while Jordan has enjoyed enormous success, it was her unique style of ownership that set her apart from other entrepreneurs. From the beginning, NBB has been dedicated to environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices. And unlike pretty much every other major brewer, NBB is 100-percent employee-owned.
Jordan, though, didn’t stop there. She is a dedicated philanthropist and, in 2013, she launched the New Belgium Family Foundation with her two sons as a way to continue to express their commitment to social and environmental impact through mission-aligned investing and philanthropy. And she is a passionate supporter of her alma mater, making significant contributions to CSU’s fermentation science program and to athletics. The New Belgium Porch at Canvas Stadium is an enormously popular gathering spot for CSU fans on Game Days and other campus occasions.
Jordan stepped down as NBB CEO in 2015 but remains chair of the board and oversees long-term strategy. She serves as secretary on CSU’s Board of Governors.
Charles A. Lory Public Service Award
Dennis Graham (B.A., philosophy, ’68)
Dennis Graham retired from the Colorado Court of Appeals earlier this year after serving for 16 years as one of the most respected judges in the state. His time in this position concluded a 42-year career in law rooted in his undergraduate experience at Colorado State University.
Graham grew up knowing he wanted to practice law. His experience at CSU, where he was mentored by influential faculty, only reaffirmed that commitment.
After receiving his B.A. at CSU, he pursued a Juris Doctor at the University of Nebraska’s law school, only to have his education delayed for three years by the Vietnam draft.
After completing his service, Graham finished law school and returned to Colorado in 1975 to begin his career clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit Judge Robert H. McWilliams. He spent the next 26 years in private practice in Denver, primarily focused on complex commercial law with an emphasis on securities.
In 2002 he was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals by Gov. Bill Owens and worked for the following 16 years building his reputation as a fair and knowledgeable jurist. In 2014 he received the Judicial Excellence Award by the Denver Bar Association; and in 2017 was honored with the DBA Judicial Excellence Award from the Denver Business Journal.
Always a proud Ram, Graham is happy to share his expertise with students at CSU and support the College of Liberal Arts. He has been a frequent guest speaker in classes and CSU’s Pre-Law Club meetings. Since its inception in 2008, Graham has served on the Rams Juris Doctor Steering Committee, promoting alumni engagement and philanthropic support of CSU students through the group’s annual networking event. Graham continued his legacy of support by serving on the Liberal Arts Development Council under former Dean Ann Gill until 2016.
“I can think of no one more deserving of the Charles A. Lory Public Service Award than Judge Graham,” said alumna Janinne Mohr, a senior associate legal counsel for the CSU System and a former clerk for Graham. “He represents the very best that CSU has to offer, and I am proud to add my name to his long list of admirers.”
Jim and Nadine Henry Award
Norm (B.S., veterinary science, ’77; D.V.M., ’80) and Ann Jorgensen
It’s difficult to imagine more ardent supporters of Colorado State University than Norm and Ann Jorgensen.
The Jorgensens not only love CSU and all things green and gold, they put their money where their heart is, supporting everything from Norm Jorgensen’s beloved College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to Rams athletics.
The Jorgensens were among the very first to throw their financial support behind the building of Canvas Stadium, pledging $2 million in 2013 – a move that inspired other donors to jump on board. They are also passionate supporters of the men’s and women’s basketball programs and the CSU men’s golf team.
And, in 2015, they made another significant gift, creating the Jorgensen Laboratories, Inc. Chair in Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. This endowed chair supports a faculty position in emergency and critical care at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Norm Jorgensen spent several years in private veterinary practice before returning to work for his father, Irvin, at Loveland-based Jorgensen Labs. With the help of his brother, Hans, and brother-in-law, Earle Sethre, Jorgensen expanded the veterinary supply company well beyond the garage-based business his father started. The company now employs more than 60 and distributes veterinary supplies all over the world.
Jorgensen has served on both the CSU Development Council Board and the Athletic Director’s Cabinet. He was also the 2008 recipient of the CVMBS Distinguished Alumni Award and 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Athletics Award.
Ann Jorgensen is a tennis enthusiast and retired flight attendant who worked for Delta and Western Airlines. The couple’s daughter, Annelise, is a CSU alumna (B.S., business administration, ’12) and current student in the online MBA program. Annelise lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a model and actor.
See full bios of all the 2018 winners at alumni.colostate.edu.