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Note to reporters: Inspiring stories of some of CSU’s outstanding graduates of 2019 can be found at https://source.colostate.edu/outstanding-grads-fall-2019/
Colorado State University expects to confer degrees on more than 2,100 graduates from 167 majors during fall 2019 commencement ceremonies Dec. 20-21.
College ceremonies and the ROTC commissioning will recognize 1,479 undergraduate and 697 graduate students, and four Army ROTC commissionees. Eighteen undergraduates are candidates for distinction as summa cum laude, 54 magna cum laude and 69 cum laude.
The ceremonies will be held in Moby Arena and the Lory Student Center. An interactive map for locations and parking is available at maps.colostate.edu. Guest entrance maps for the LSC and Moby Arena, along with Moby Arena policies, can be found on CSU’s commencement website. Commencement ceremonies, with the exception of the ROTC commissioning and the honors recognition, will be webcast live.
Speakers to share insights with graduates
Brigadier General Antonio Munera will deliver the commencement address for the Army ROTC Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
Munera is the deputy commanding general for the United States Army Cadet Command. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the 30th chief of chemical and commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School from June 2017 to April 2019.
Munera received a Regular Army commission in May of 1991 as a distinguished military graduate from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degrees in theater operations and strategic studies. His military education includes the Chemical Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, the School Advanced Military Studies and the U.S. Army War College. In his 28 years of service, Munera has worked in a variety of command and staff positions.
Munera deployed in 1999 while a company commander in the 82d Airborne Division as part of Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo; in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served as the plans officer for the 75th WMD Exploitation Task Force; and, back to Iraq in 2015 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve advising the Iraqi Government on Security Sector Reform.
College of Business
Curt Richardson will deliver the commencement address for the College of Business Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in Moby Arena.
Richardson is the founder, chairman and chief visionary officer of Otter Products. A serial entrepreneur, Richardson was running his first business at the age of 21. In the following decade, he started and grew multiple ventures in the contract tooling and manufacturing industry. All would fail. Out of a desire to create his own product, Richardson made the first OtterBox waterproof box in his garage in the early ’90s. In 1998, Otter Products LLC was born. By listening and adapting to customer needs, Richardson evolved the company to create the first protective case for smartphones.
Today, the company has a diverse product line, ranging from protective cases for smartphones to temperature-controlled delivery containers. Global headquarters is still in Fort Collins, but the company has offices in San Diego; Cork, Ireland, and Hong Kong with more than 1,000 employees around the world.
Richardson currently leads innovation and culture initiatives for Otter Products. Additionally, he is co-founder and chairman of Blue Ocean Enterprises Inc. and Blue Ocean Holdings LLC. In these roles, he discovers, creates and invests in business opportunities and makes strategic investments in commercial real estate.
College of Agricultural Sciences
Kathay Rennels will deliver the commencement address for the College of Agricultural Sciences Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom.
Rennels is the special assistant to the Colorado State University System Chancellor for Rural-Urban Initiatives. She works to advance collaborative networks across the state and create economic development opportunities. She has significant experience in fostering public and private partnerships in regional and rural workforce development across the state.
Rennels previously served three terms as a Larimer County Commissioner and is co-leader of the Food and Agriculture Key Industry Network for the State of Colorado. Rennels helped initiate “The Value Chain of Colorado Agriculture” project, released in March 2013, co-authored the November 2014 follow-up study, “The Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agricultural Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range,” and planned and implemented the recent “Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation” summit held at CSU. She has served on the Northern Colorado Economic Development Council, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, El Pomar Foundation, The Matthews House, Larimer County United Way, and Colorado Youth Conservation Association.
College of Health and Human Sciences
Yvonne Myers will deliver the commencement address for the College of Health and Human Sciences Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena.
Myers graduated from CSU in 1978 with a degree in human development and family studies and a certificate in gerontology. Since 1983, she has worked with older adults in various settings including skilled nursing, assisted living and independent facilities, in-home care and an adult day program. She also was a volunteer with Hospice. Myers has been employed in various roles at Columbine Health Systems over the past 29 years, and since 1998 she has served as the health systems director. In that time, Columbine grew from five businesses to 24 and currently employs 1,650 people.
Over the past 40 years, she has been involved in numerous boards and committees regarding workforce development including the Larimer County Workforce Investment Board, Workforce Committee of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Colorado Health Sector Partnership. In addition, Myers enjoys being active in the community. She is currently a board member of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, chair of the UCHealth Northern Colorado Foundation Board, a member of the College of Health and Human Sciences Executive Leadership Council and co-chair of the Northern Colorado Health Sector Partnership. Myers has been honored by BizWest Women of Distinction as Outstanding Volunteer in 2011 and the Leading Lady in 2019. In 2005, she was the recipient of the College of Health and Human Sciences Honor Alumna Award.
College of Liberal Arts
Denise Apodaca will deliver the commencement address for the College of Liberal Arts Dec. 21 at 9 a.m. in Moby Arena.
Apodaca received her bachelor’s of music in piano performance from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a minor in Spanish. She later received her Master of Music in piano performance and a second Master of Music in piano pedagogy from Northwestern University. She graduated with honors from both universities.
Apodaca has been on the teaching faculties of The Chicago Academy for the Arts where she was the director of Instrumental Studies, Sherwood Conservatory of Music, De Paul University, Pasadena City College, Pasadena Conservatory of Music and Front Range Community College. She has served as a board member for Beet Street in Fort Collins. In addition, she founded and directed the Chicago Young Instrumentalist Program and served on the leadership council. She also was the director of Early Childhood Programs, director of Class Piano, chair of Group Instruction and chair of the Piano Department at Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. Apodaca also served as district coordinator for the California Association for Professional Music Teachers.
She has performed throughout the United States as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Demonstrating her expertise of Latin American music, Apodaca has given several concerts in Mexico. She has been an adjudicator for several area music teachers associations and has given several workshops on piano technology, piano pedagogy, piano performance and early childhood music. She serves on the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County and was the Spanish community health educator at Poudre Valley Hospital for Bright Beginnings, Colorado in Larimer County for over five years.
Apodaca is currently Piano Proficiency coordinator and Women’s Studies affiliate faculty at Colorado State University where she also serves on several committees and has received the following awards.
Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering
Kevin Petty will deliver the commencement address for the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom.
Petty is the director of science and forecasting and head of public-private partnerships for The Weather Company, an IBM Business delivering weather and climate services globally. He oversees research and development for weather solutions and is responsible for forecasting operations, including a global team of meteorologists across IBM’s Watson Media and Weather organization. Petty also manages the company’s relationships with members of the national and global weather enterprise that includes government agencies, academia, and other private-sector providers.
Before joining IBM, he served as the chief science officer for Vaisala. Prior to the CSO role, he also held roles as head of technology research and of U.S. Products and Technology as well as offering manager for surface transportation. Petty has also worked as a project scientist and scientific program manager with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and as an accident investigator and senior meteorologist for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Petty graduated with a Ph.D. and master’s degree in atmospheric sciences from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Illinois College.
College of Natural Sciences
Joe von Fischer will deliver the commencement address for the College of Natural Sciences on Dec. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Moby Arena.
A professor and the associate chair of biology, von Fischer is a native of Minnesota and graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a degree in biology. He then earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University where, as part of the program in biogeochemistry and global change, he studied the soil microbial processes that govern concentrations of methane in the atmosphere. He completed post-doctoral research at Princeton University, investigating the 400,000–year history of earth’s atmospheric oxygen budget by examining samples of the ancient atmosphere, trapped in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
Since joining the CSU faculty in 2003, von Fischer has led research to understand the human and natural forces that give the atmosphere its greenhouse gas composition. His lab has innovated the study of soil microbial processes that metabolize carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, yielding new insights into the greenhouse gas emissions by ecosystems from tropical forests in Panama to the Arctic tundra in Alaska. His group also has teamed up with Environmental Defense Fund and Google to deploy a new generation of highly sensitive methane analyzers on Google Street View cars around the United States. This novel approach, described in his recent TEDx talk, has been used by natural gas utilities to better map the size and location of natural gas leaks in 15 U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In his role as associate chair of biology, von Fischer helps to coordinates the undergraduate program, he teaches classes at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and he advises graduate students. He received the departmental award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring and is generally reviewed as an “energetic” and “engaging” instructor.
CSU Commencement Ceremony Schedule
Complete CSU commencement ceremony starting times and locations; ceremonies will be live-streamed at the links provided on the CSU commencement website.
Friday, Dec. 20
- Army ROTC Commissioning, 10 a.m., Lory Student Center Ballroom North Ballroom (no webcast)
- Graduate School, 11:30 a.m., Moby Arena
- University Honors Recognition Ceremony, 1 p.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom (no webcast)
- College of Business, 3:30 p.m., Moby Arena
- College of Agricultural Sciences, 4 p.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- College of Health and Human Sciences, 7 p.m., Moby Arena
Saturday, Dec. 21
- College of Liberal Arts, 9 a.m., Moby Arena
- Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, 10 a.m., Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom
- Warner College of Natural Resources, 1 p.m., Moby Arena
- College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2 p.m., Lory Student Center. Grand Ballroom
- College of Natural Sciences, 4:30 p.m., Moby Arena