Colorado State University will confer an honorary doctoral degree on philanthropist Pat Stryker at the spring 2011 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14.
Colorado State President Anthony A. Frank will award the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Stryker in recognition of her accomplishments to the advancement of knowledge and artistry as well as to society. Stryker will receive her degree at Colorado State’s College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. in Moby Arena.
“We award traditional, academic doctoral degrees based on a substantial contribution to the person’s field – symbolic of the transformative impact we believe our graduates will have over the span of their careers,” said Frank. “We award honorary doctorates to those who have also had a transformative impact, either through their professional achievements or philanthropy. This year’s degree recipients have each had a profound, transforming impact on Colorado State University.”
“From the University Center for the Arts, to Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, to Engineering, to the community in which so many of our faculty, staff, and students make their homes, Pat Stryker’s generosity has funded facilities and programs that have fostered education, nurtured research and discovery, entertained us, and made our spirits soar,” said Frank. “With her characteristic grace and humility, she has, quite simply, made Colorado State University a better place for those of us here today and generations to follow.”
“I am truly humbled by and appreciative of this recognition,” Stryker said. “Much of my life has been devoted to understanding myself and my relationship to others. And most important has been my hope to use my talents and gifts to benefit others.
“My affection and support for CSU are rooted in the University’s contributions to people and to community. While you have honored me, my praise goes to the University for its continuing enrichment of our lives and community.”
After visiting Colorado during summer camps as a child, Pat Stryker moved to Fort Collins in 1980. By 2001, she had established the Bohemian Foundation, which continues the tradition established by her grandfather of making the world a better place through philanthropy and community action. Her grandfather, surgeon Homer Stryker, started Stryker Corp., a world leader in medical technology and equipment.
The foundation is named after the Bohemian movement of the early 1900s and emulates the creativity, imagination and spirit for which the Bohemians were known. Through the foundation, Stryker participates in community initiatives by awarding grants for local organizations to achieve their goals. She embraces the idea that music is powerful and adds to the vibrancy of the community by providing opportunities for musical expression and inspiration.
Stryker supports innovative solutions to the global issues of the environment, poverty, public health and natural disasters.
Stryker has contributed to the success of Colorado State on a variety of levels. Her support as an advocate for higher education is documented in numerous areas that have received transformational contributions, including:
• President’s Office for University Funds
• Albert C. Yates Chair in Math in the College of Natural Sciences
• Hughes Stadium enhancement and Ram Legacy Scholarships in Athletics
• Bohemian Complex at the University Center for the Arts, which encompasses the University Theatre, the Studio Theatre, the Black Box Theater, and the William E. Runyan Rehearsal Hall
• ELC Land Development Improvement in the Warner College of Natural Resources
• Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise and Rockwell Hall expansion in the College of Business
In all, since 1993 her lifetime giving to Colorado State totals more than $30 million.
“Pat’s philanthropy, support of the university and community and commitment to the people of Colorado are truly extraordinary,” said Ann Gill, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Through her leadership and support, Fort Collins is becoming a center for contemporary music and the university’s facilities and programs have been transformed, including the University Center for the Arts, the football facilities and other programs.
“Her generosity, her vision and her concern for her fellow human beings make her a truly deserving recipient of this honorary degree.”
The Bohemian Foundation also administers the Pharos Fund, which has given more than $9 million to Colorado nonprofits serving the Poudre School District.
Stryker, who is a resident of Fort Collins, is involved with the College of Liberal Arts’ “Great Conversations” series, which provides for public discussions with a wide range of university faculty members and provides faculty development funds.