Gov. Ritter Celebrates 30-Year Anniversary as Csu Graduate by Delivering Commencement Address May 17

Note to Editors: Photos of Gov. Ritter’s graduation in 1978 can be found at News media are welcome to attend the commencement ceremony but need to RSVP by May 16 to Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Thirty years ago, Colorado Gov. Ritter graduated from Colorado State University. He will return to his alma mater this weekend to deliver remarks at the university’s College of Liberal Arts commencement at 7:30 p.m., May 17 in Moby Arena.

Ritter and four of his siblings attended CSU. The governor earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Colorado State in 1978 from the College of Liberal Arts. His former political science professor, John Straayer, taught Ritter when he was a freshman through 1974 and 1975. Today, Straayer continues to teach political science full-time at the university and has become a well-known political expert among national media outlets.

"Our governor’s successful career is a testimony to the value of public colleges and universities, and a solid liberal arts education. His story is one of hard work, humanitarian values and extraordinary public service – a story that may not have been possible in the absence of institutions like Colorado State University," said Straayer.

"However, the bottom line is the success he has had in his career is in part due to my teaching and his failures can be attributed to the lectures he missed," joked Straayer.

As a student, Ritter played intramural football, winning at least two championships. In one game, the governor broke his nose but continued to play the entire game. He worked part-time as a work-study as part of the campus cleaning crew and in construction as a pipe layer to help pay his way through college.

The College of Liberal Arts plans to award 936 baccalaureate degrees for the combined 2008 spring and summer commencement. Nearly 800 students will welcome Gov. Ritter back to his alma mater when he addresses them this weekend. At CSU, each college and school hosts its own commencement, unlike other universities that have one large combined commencement.

In 1978, Colorado State University’s total enrollment was 18,223 students including 3,708 in the College of Liberal Arts – then the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Thirty years later, the student population at CSU has grown to 24,700 students; the College of Liberal Arts has nearly 4,500 undergraduate students and more than 350 graduate students.

As the largest college at Colorado State, Liberal Arts has 12 departments and seven centers for scholarly research. Undergraduate students are enrolled in 14 undergraduate majors, 20 minors, and a variety of interdisciplinary study options. Students are taught by more than 300 full-time faculty members.

His address and the entire ceremony will be broadcast via the Web at

News media are welcome to attend the commencement ceremony. For interviews with CSU officials and students or to RSVP to attending the ceremony, please contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or For interviews with Gov. Bill Ritter, please contact Evan Dreyer at (720) 350-8370 or