Colorado State University Commencement May 16-17

 Colorado State University will confer degrees on spring 2014 graduates at commencement ceremonies May 16 and 17.

College ceremonies and ROTC commissionings will recognize 3,044 undergraduate and 1,058 graduate students, including 90 doctoral students and 131 DVM students at Colorado State University. Forty-nine students are candidates for distinction as summa cum laude, 150 as magna cum laude and 260 as cum laude.

CSU will confer honorary degrees on alumnus Dennis Repp (Graduate School, 3 p.m. May 16, Moby Arena), Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent (College of Business, 8 a.m. May 17, Moby Arena), and local philanthropists David and Paula Edwards (College of Liberal Arts, 7:30 p.m. May 17, Moby Arena).

Commencement ceremonies, with the exception of the ROTC commissionings, will be webcast live.

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

Ed Goodman, chief experience officer at Spiral Experiences, LLC., will speak at the College of Agricultural Sciences commencement ceremony at noon May 17 at Moby Arena. In a career spanning 30 years, Goodman’s work has incorporated the fields of experience design, marketing, strategic planning, engineering, land planning, education, television/media production, entertainment and non-profit think tank management. Goodman has extensive experience with creative organizations including The Walt Disney Company where he was an expert consultant, think tank member, strategic planning advisor, marketing strategist, education product producer and television producer. He was a recipient of the global EXPY Award as the Experience Design and Stager of the Year for his work with the Fort Collins-based engineering and community planning firm TST, Inc., and he received a CINDY Award for the K-12 education product of the year for his series of music education programs called Disney’s World of Music Discovery.

Goodman is focused on helping people and organizations realize their dreams through creative collaboration and transformation. Using the principles of experience design, spiral thinking, functional creativity and organizational development, he helps create new world cultures and first-to-the-world experiences for his clients. He believes that together people can create inspiring strategies, produce unforgettable experiences, forge long-term relationships and create lasting legacies. He also has crafted inventive community designs, plans and activated experience plans for large scale communities, downtown revitalizations, urban infill projects, sports complexes, entertainment complexes and mixed use environments. Projects in northern Colorado include Old Town Fort Collins, Water Valley in Windsor, Centerra in Loveland, Mason Corridor in Fort Collins, and the Lory Student Center, Moby Arena renovation and Hughes Stadium fan experience at CSU.

Ellen Plese, director of Human Launch Services for United Launch Alliance, will speak at the College of Engineering commencement ceremony at 11:30 a.m. May 16 at Moby Arena. Plese is responsible for establishing and managing a new line of business to deliver crew to low earth orbit and to provide capabilities for NASA’s exploration programs beyond Earth orbit.

Plese also has served the organization in a number of roles, including the director of the Customer Program Office, the director of Human Resources Compensation & Benefits and the director of the ULA Transition organization.

Before joining ULA, Plese served in a number of management positions with Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Plese held positions as director of Atlas Program Operations, manager and deputy director of the Atlas Customer Program Office, manager of the Atlas Improvement program and manager of launch vehicle cycle time reduction activities.

Plese began her aerospace career with General Dynamics in 1985 as a flight test engineer for the F-16 program. Plese held several positions of increasing responsibility with General Dynamics before its Space Systems Division was acquired by Martin Marietta, which merged with the Lockheed Corporation in 1995 to become Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Reggie Bicha, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, will speak at the College of Health and Human Sciences commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. May 16 at Moby Arena. Bicha was appointed to this role in 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper, where he oversees eight offices and 33 divisions, including child welfare, youth corrections, the state’s mental health services, state veterans nursing homes, the state’s food assistance and temporary assistance for needy families programs, the state’s disability programs, senior services and early childhood services. In addition, Bicha oversees the delivery of state-supervised, county-administered services for all 64 Colorado counties.

Bicha is a social worker, administrator, educator and national leader. He has extensive experience working on child welfare, education, employment and health issues at the county, state and national levels. Prior to Colorado, Bicha served as the inaugural secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families where he increased safety and reduced fraud for child care programs and reduced the number of children living in foster care.

Bicha was recognized with Colorado Counties Inc.’s 2011 Local/State Partnership Award for his leadership on reducing administrative burdens and unnecessary mandates. The department conducted an administrative rules review and as a result, will revise or repeal more than 66 percent of their rules as outdated, unnecessary or overly burdensome. In January 2014, Bicha was awarded the Excellence for Children Award from Casey Family Programs.

Bicha serves on the American Public Human Services Association governing board, leading the nation’s top government executives to transform human services. In 2013, Bicha was selected for the Ascend Fellowship, sponsored by the Aspen Institute, to focus on approaches to move children and parents beyond poverty.

CSU alumnus John "Jack" Murray will speak at the College of Natural Sciences commencement ceremony at 3:30 p.m. May 17 at Moby Arena. Murray received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Colorado State University in 1957. He also was a member of the first Honors Program class and served on the Lory Student Center governing board. His father also was a CSU alumnus (Mechanical Engineering ’29), as well as his brother, Edward (DVM ’62), and many other extended family members.

Murray attended veterinary school before deciding to become a doctor. After graduating from the Baylor University College of Medicine with high honors in 1961, Murray received residency training in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and served as U.S. Air Force captain from 1963 to 1965. After completing his residency and cardiology fellowship at University of Washington in 1968, Murray served on the medical school’s faculty from 1969 to 1984. Even after entering into private practice in 1984, he continued to serve as a UW Clinical Professor of Medicine in Cardiology. Now a retired cardiologist, he has continued a longtime affiliation with the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Over his career, Murray also served as a visiting professor at the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and at the Chongqing Surgical Hospital in Chongqing, China. He also served as medical director for King County Emergency Medical Services and as a consulting cardiologist for the Veterans Administration.

Since his retirement, he and his wife, Nadine, split their time between Seattle and Hawaii, where they operate the Cloud Flower Protea Farm in Kula, Hawaii, on the island of Maui. They grow 43 varieties of Protea, Leucadendron, Leucospermum and Banksias and other exotic Hawaiian flowers.

Daniel J. Jirón, regional forester of the Rocky Mountain Region, will speak at the Warner College of Natural Resources commencement ceremony at 8 a.m. May 17 at the Campus Recreation Center main gym. As regional forester, he is responsible for the administration of more than 22 million acres in 17 National Forests and seven National Grasslands, as well as cooperative efforts with state and private landowners in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Prior to his current position Jirón served as the deputy regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses 20 million acres of National Forest System Lands in California and 18 National Forests as well as conservation programs in Hawaii, and the affiliated Islands of the United States.

Jirón served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forest service representative on the Board of Directors for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and as chair of the Lake Tahoe Regional Executives. In previous assignments, Jirón served as forest supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico and as a trustee for the Valles Caldera National Preserve also in New Mexico. He also served as the national press officer and agency spokesman in Washington, D.C.; director of Communications and Legislative Affairs for the Intermountain Region in Ogden, Utah; district ranger on the Salt Lake Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah; among others. Jirón also served as an aide to United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado.

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

May 16

  • Professional Veterinary Medicine, 8 a.m., Moby Arena
  • Air Force ROTC Commissioning, 8 a.m., Lory Student Center North Ballroom
  • Army ROTC Commissioning, 9:30 a.m., Lory Student Center Theatre
  • College of Engineering, 11:30 a.m., Moby Arena
  • Graduate School, 3 p.m., Moby Arena
  • College of Health and Human Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Moby Arena

May 17

  • College of Business, 8 a.m., Moby Arena
  • Warner College of Natural Resources, 8 a.m., Campus Recreation Center, Main Gym
  • College of Agricultural Sciences, Noon, Moby Arena
  • College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 12:30 p.m., Campus Recreation Center, Main Gym
  • College of Natural Sciences, 3:30 p.m., Moby Arena
  • College of Liberal Arts I: Art and Music, Theatre, and Dance, 5 p.m., Campus Recreation Center, Main Gym
  • College of Liberal Arts II: All other departments, 7:30 p.m., Moby Arena