Ken Wilhelm of Denver has been selected as the 2006 Distinguished Athletic Award winner through Colorado State University’s Alumni Association. Wilhelm will receive the award at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on Friday, Feb. 17.
Wilhelm graduated from Colorado State in 1952 with a bachelor’s in general agriculture. He entered U.S. Air Force pilot training during the Korean War and spent four years in the Air Force. He also spent two years flying in the Wyoming Air National Guard and 10 years in the Air Force Reserve.
In 1956, Wilhelm began his career with McCoy Caterpillar Co. He worked his way up from sales trainee to chief executive officer of McCoy Heavy Equipment Division, Engine Division and Forklift Division, in 1972. He left in 1977 to start Beco Equipment Co., which pioneered the "Rent to Rent" heavy construction business equipment that became the standard for all new equipment dealers.
Wilhelm retired in 2000, but continues to visit his office every day.
"Ken truly has all the qualities of a great Aggie and a great Ram," said Mark Driscoll, athletic director at Colorado State University. "Ken was an extremely active student during his time at CSU. Whether it was his highly successful sports career, various extracurricular activities, leadership in student government or his involvement in Silver Spruce, Ken took full advantage of his time here."
At Colorado State, Wilhelm participated in athletics and was a four-year letter winner for football and track. His athletic accomplishments include three years as starting running back for Colorado State football.
In addition to athletics, Wilhelm was president of "A" Club and Sigma Nu Fraternity from 1951-1952. He also served as a member of student council, the Livestock Judging Team and Silver Spruce.
Wilhelm is a devoted Colorado State athletics fan. He has been a basketball season ticket holder since Moby Arena was built. He continues to support Colorado State with commitments such as serving on the steering committee for construction of Hughes Stadium, the search committee for a new athletic director and the campaign for a new stadium. He also served three terms on the Development Council. He was a founding member of the Ram’s Horn Club, a member of the fundraising committees for the McGraw Athletic Center and the Jack Christiansen Track project and a lifetime member of the Colorado State University Alumni Association.
In 1959, Wilhelm served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is a member of the Morgan Society, which requires $100,000 lifetime giving to Colorado State University.
In addition to providing service to Colorado State, Wilhelm has played a strong role in the community. Wilhelm also is a member of Rotary Club and has served on the Weld County Municipal Airport Board and the Associate Members of Colorado Contractors Association.