Note to Editors: A biography of Mr. Svedman follows the release. A print-quality photo is available by request.
Donald L. Svedman, Colorado State University class of 1960, will be recognized as the recipient of the Jim and Nadine Henry Award for alumni service at the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on May 7.
"He exudes a tremendous amount of energy when focused on promoting the Alumni Association and the university," said Fannye Belle Evans, Svedman’s friend. "He has brought distinction and notoriety to the university and the Department of Animal Sciences."
Svedman, an animal sciences graduate, was born in Windsor and raised on his grandfather’s cattle, sheep, hog and dairy farm. He has won numerous awards at the Larimer County Fair, Colorado State Fair and National Western Stock Show. Svedman was selected as outstanding 4-H male in Colorado in 1951 after winning top honors in previous years.
While at Colorado State University, Svedman was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, was on the junior and senior livestock judging team and wool team and was a champion beef showman. He also was a member of both the livestock and rodeo clubs and a 4-H leader.
After college, Svedman remained involved with Colorado State University Cooperative Extension as an assistant agent in Boulder County and was in charge of the 4-H program. In his first year, he increased membership from roughly 400 to 1,185 members. From 1963 through 1966, he served as Colorado State Cooperative Extension agent for Fremont and Custer counties, where he also increased 4-H enrollment and started multiple new programs including the 4-H county fair carcass contest, an intensive and expanded herd improvement program and a Fremont and Custer counties rancher-to-feeder tour in Longmont and Greeley.
In 1966, Gov. John Love named Svedman Colorado State Fair manager, where he made multiple changes including increasing the number of days the fair ran. Svedman also increased state and community involvement, improved the facilities, increased revenue and attendance and increased the number of 4-H and adult exhibitors. He started the Mexican Fiesta Day and the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows to exchange ideas among other fair managers. Svedman was recognized by the association in 1980 for his work and organization.
From 1970 through 1985, Svedman served as deputy commissioner of agriculture for Colorado, where he secured commitment to build two new 4-H dorms at the fair at no cost to the state.
In 1991, Svedman moved to Fort Collins and became more active with Colorado State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, athletics, Cooperative Extension and the alumni association. He is currently a member of the 1870 Club, the Greater Ram Club, a season ticket holder for football and basketball and a participant in the Send-a-Student program.
Svedman served as an alumni board member from February 1994 until July 2000 and also served on the finance committee. He was a member of the executive committee for four years and chairman of the Distinguished Alumni Awards program. Under his leadership, attendance at the event doubled. Svedman also added Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and athletics as categories to be recognized.
Svedman has worked closely with Colorado State Cooperative Extension’s adult and 4-H programs. He received the Cooperative Extension fraternity Friend of Extension award for outstanding public service in September 2000.
Svedman also has served in the U.S. Naval Aviation and the Naval Reserve, where he received good conduct, Korean service and honorable discharge medals after four years of service.
Donald L. Svedman
B.S. Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, 1960
A true local farm boy and active 10-year 4-H member, Don Svedman was born in Windsor and attended school in Timnath, Colorado. Although Don began his studies at Colorado A&M in 1951, he served four years in U.S. Naval Aviation during the Korean conflict where he received many honors. He returned to the university in ’56 and graduated four years later with distinction.
Don began his career as an Extension Agent, after which he took over the reins as the Manager of the Colorado State Fair. His success at the State Fair led him to be named the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for Colorado; a position Don held for 15 years. Don also served on the state Soil Conservation Board, Extension Advisory Council, Governor’s Emergency Management Team and worked closely with the National Western Stock Show.
Don’s life is literally intertwined with Colorado State as an advisor and donor, but perhaps his greatest service to the University was his six-year membership on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. During that service he earned the reputation of being the "God Father" of the Distinguished Alumni Awards program due to his tireless effort in helping to transform the event from its humble beginnings into one of the Universities’ premier events. In addition to his devotion to CSU, Don is also involved in many community service organizations.
Don and his wife Eleanor have five children, 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren and enjoy time with family, cooking, travel, and are avid sports enthusiasts.