Colorado State University Student Leader Honored with Albert C. Yates Award

Travis "T.C." Ritz, president of the College Council for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, will be honored with the Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership efforts and contributions to Colorado State and the community at the university’s Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner April 29.

"T.C. Ritz is one of the most amazing intellectuals, critical thinkers, leaders, cowboys and socially-conscious, service-oriented students I’ve met in 32 years of teaching at Colorado State University," said Robert Keller, director of the university’s Honors Program.

Ritz is a Boettcher Scholar, a President’s Scholar, a finalist for the Truman Scholarship and a Rhodes semi-finalist. He has been the president of the Liberal Arts College Council since 2003. Ritz is associate senator of Associated Students of Colorado State University, the president of both the Philosophy Club and Philosophy Honor Society and is a participant in the university’s Honors Program. During the summer of 2003, Ritz had the opportunity to intern for Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., in Washington, D.C.

Ritz’ community involvement began in high school when he tutored younger, less advantaged students. Through his agricultural fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, Ritz implemented a mentoring program with a local rural middle school to teach the students about water resources and encourage them to go to college.

He has also been a volunteer for Ginny’s Kids International since 1997. This philanthropic group allows children who are terminally ill with cancer, along with their families, to take an expense-free trip to Disneyland. He took a leadership position within the organization and was responsible for designing a Web site and organizing an annual golf tournament that raises $15,000 a year.

"He has vision, values and the personality to attract others to his cause," said Heather Hardy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

When Ritz is not participating in an academic function or a community service project, he is playing rugby with an intramural team on campus or riding bulls in rodeos. His extraordinary commitment to service and leadership also shows that he is not merely a bookworm.

"T.C.’s intellectual curiosity and academic achievements, accomplishments in service and leadership, rural upbringings and values – coupled with broader perspectives gleaned from experiences abroad and participating in rodeos and riding bulls – are all part of what makes him unique and fascinating," Keller said.

Ritz will graduate in May with bachelor of science degrees in philosophy, economics and mathematics.