Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer to be Inducted into CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics Inaugural Hall of Fame Today

Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Bill Neighbors and CSU Professor Emeritus Jim Lewis will be inducted into CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics inaugural Hall of Fame today, May 16 at the Hilton in Fort Collins.

“We feel it is important to honor our alumni and faculty who have made an exceptional impact on society through success in business, education, government service or in their contributions to local communities,” said Gregory Perry, head of Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “It is with great pleasure that I announce the inaugural Hall of Fame to honor these outstanding individuals for the impact they have had in Colorado and beyond.”

About the inaugural honorees

Former Gov. Roy R. Romer is a 1950 graduate of Agricultural Economics at CSU. While at CSU in 1948 – then Colorado A & M – he was recognized as the “Sophomore Aggie,” the outstanding student in the class. During his senior year, Romer was elected student body president and served on the president’s advisory committee, the social committee and the student union advisory committee. Following graduation, Romer earned a law degree then practiced law in Denver before being elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1958 and 1960. He won a seat in the State Senate in 1962, and then served as Commissioner of Agriculture. Romer then served as State Treasurer from 1977 until 1987, when he was elected as Colorado’s 39th governor. After serving three terms as governor (1987-1999), he spent five years as Superintendent of the Los Angeles School District. When he stepped down as Superintendent, the school board voted to name a new middle school in North Hollywood the Roy Romer Middle School. It opened in 2008 and the school mascot is a ram. Since leaving that position, Romer has remained active in education reform efforts. In 2008 he became Chairman of Strong American Schools, a nonprofit organization that seeks to raise debate about America’s schools, and continues to serve in that role.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Bill Neighbors is a 1961 graduate of Agricultural Economics at CSU. Neighbors grew up on a farm near Hygiene, Colo. He was actively involved in many 4-H activities and his experiences led to him pursuing a career in agriculture. He entered the newly renamed Colorado State University in the fall of 1957 and became involved in the Livestock Club, Newman Club and Farm House Fraternity. Livestock judging was an important activity for Neighbors during his days at CSU. He attributes his later success in law to the critical-thinking skills he learned on the livestock judging team. As a senior, Neighbors was elected student body president at CSU. Following graduation, he pursued a master’s degree in Economics, which he completed in 1962 and then enrolled in the law school. Neighbors had a private law practice in Boulder from 1965 to 1971, followed by working in the public defender’s office for two years. In 1973 he was appointed as a district court judge in the 20th Judicial District, where he served for 10 years. He served on the Colorado Supreme Court from 1983-86. Neighbors has subsequently remained active in teaching law at various universities.

Jim H. Lewis served on the CSU Economics faculty from 1961 to 1983, then as a faculty member in Agricultural and Resource Economics from 1983 until his retirement in 1989. Lewis is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in Agricultural Economics. His education and research expertise focused on agricultural finance, agricultural marketing and natural resource economics. He won several awards while a professor at CSU, but his greatest legacy has been the many students he mentored as a faculty member.

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is part of CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. The Department centers its research, teaching and outreach activities on agricultural education, agribusiness management and finance, livestock systems, consumer choice and the economics of water, land and environment.