Colorado State University Announces December Commencement Ceremonies on Dec. 14 and 15

Colorado State University will confer degrees on fall 2012 graduates at commencement ceremonies Dec. 14 and 15.

College ceremonies and ROTC commissionings will recognize 1,437 undergraduate and 439 graduate students, including 80 doctoral students. Fifteen students are candidates for distinction as summa cum laude, 35 as magna cum laude and 73 as cum laude.

Colorado State University will confer honorary doctoral degrees on Nan Stuart and Sophie Craighead at the Graduate School commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at Moby Arena.

The Stuart family is the largest supporter of the Animal Cancer Center, including establishment of the first Presidential Chair in oncology and support for the development of surgical teaching models for veterinary students. Stuart is receiving the honor five years to the day after her father, the late Hadley Stuart, received an Honorary Degree from CSU.

Craighead’s support of the Animal Cancer Center helped establish the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology and the first Cancer Biology Ph.D. program at the university. Her dedication to cancer research only intensified when she was diagnosed with leukemia, and she heard the news that her own bone marrow transplant was developed and perfected in dogs with cancer.

Commencement ceremonies, with the exception of the ROTC commissionings, will be webcast live. The ceremonies can be found at

Commencement speakers for this year’s ceremonies include the following:

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will speak at the College of Agricultural Sciences commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom. As part of USDA’s Research, Education, and Extension mission, Ramaswamy oversees NIFA awards funds for a wide range of extramural research, education and extension projects that address the needs of farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers.

Prior to joining NIFA, Ramaswamy served as dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station.

Tom Gunkel, chief executive officer of M. A. Mortenson Company, a U.S.-based, family-owned construction company and one of the nation’s top builders, will speak at the College of Applied Human Sciences commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at Moby Arena. Employing about 60 CSU alumni, Mortenson is a longtime supporter of the Department of Construction Management in the College of Applied Human Sciences. Mortenson’s latest gift to CSU Construction Management will create the Mortenson Center for Virtual Design and Construction and will be instrumental in training CSU students in the latest building technology being utilized in industry.

Victor Walker, president of Parallel Scientific, a company that focuses on combining mathematics, computer languages and hardware technologies, will speak at the College of Engineering commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom. He also serves as a board adviser to Leptron Inc., a manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicle helicopters. Walker has been a longtime adviser to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University, where he also received his bachelor’s degree.

William Butin, a consultant and executive coach for Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc., will speak at the College of Natural Sciences commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at Moby Arena. Butin grew up in Golden, Colo., and entered Colorado State University in 1960, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1964. Butin joined Shell Oil Company immediately upon graduation and began a long career with the company, ending with his retirement in 2000. He began as a research chemist in the Agricultural Chemicals Division but soon moved into management positions in Denver, New York, Houston, Chicago, London and finally Japan, where he was President and CEO of Shell Japan and the Royal Dutch Shell Group’s Representative for Japan. During his career, he held management and executive positions in Chemicals Manufacturing and Marketing, Refining and Marketing, and in Public and Governmental Affairs.

Jim Davidson, a climber, author and international speaker, will speak at the Warner College of Natural Resources commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom. Davidson, a CSU graduate from the Department of Geosciences, worked for 19 years as a hydrogeologist directing field projects and research teams on the investigation and remediation of petroleum spills. After founding his own environmental consulting firm, he advised major corporations, government agencies and various research groups.

During his career, Davidson also pursued his passion of mountain climbing and volunteered to rescue other injured climbers, which he has been recognized for by the National Park Services.

In 1992, Davidson barely survived his own climbing accident, and later co-authored his memoir, "The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier," which was selected one of the Best Books of 2011 by Amazon. His story has also been aired nationally and internationally through a TV episode of "I Shouldn’t Be Alive."

Following is a list of CSU commencement ceremony starting times and locations for each ceremony.

Dec. 14

– Air Force ROTC Commissioning, 8 a.m., Lory Student Center Theatre
– Army ROTC Commissioning, 11 a.m., Lory Student Center Theatre
– Graduate School, 3 p.m., Moby Arena
– Warner College of Natural Resources, 7 p.m., Lory Student Center Main Ballroom
– College of Applied Human Sciences, 7 p.m., Moby Arena

Dec. 15

– College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 9 a.m., Lory Student Center Main Ballroom
– College of Business, 9 a.m., Moby Arena
– College of Agricultural Sciences, 12:30 p.m., Lory Student Center Main Ballroom
– College of Natural Sciences, 12:30 p.m., Moby Arena
– College of Engineering, 4 p.m., Lory Student Center Main Ballroom
– College of Liberal Arts, 4 p.m., Moby Arena