The Office of Alumni Relations has identified a select group of alumni who exemplify the best of Western State Colorado University – our “Alumni Portraits of Excellence.” Honorees are chosen based on achievement and excellence in their personal and professional lives.

Alumni Portraits of Excellence demonstrates to prospective students and their families the value of a degree from WSCU. Our current students are always proud to learn that a Western education is one of their most valuable assets. Western graduates and friends of the University are also proud of the achievements of their fellow alumni.

Nominate a POE by submitting a POE Nomination Request Form to the Alumni Relations Office.

Honorees

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Sydney Andrews('52) received both his BA and MA in Physical Education here at Western State College. Sydney retired as Athletic Director and Head of Physical Education Department at Central Oregon Community College. His passion and love for physical fitness and education have allowed him to coach on both the high school and collegiate levels for football, baseball, golf, wrestling, and skiing. Sydney had the honor of being one of the first Physical Educators from North America to conduct a comparative P.E. and Athletic Study in China. Sydney, reflecting upon his years spent at Western, quotes, “For the outdoorsman or woman, the athlete, and the knowledge seeking individual, Western State College is a place to have it all.”

Frank G. Bauer('70 & '73) graduated Western with a Master's of Secondary School Administration and a Bachelor's of Physical Education. Frank, a highly respected football agent for over 20 years, is recognized by the NFL Players Association and Sports Illustrated as one of league's top ten agents. Frank is a former Division I Defensive Coordinator and coached 12 years at the college level. He is currently President/Owner of Sun West Sports & Associates in Stockton , CA. Frank says, “Coach Borah and other instructors at WSC demonstrated to me how important it is to help young people reach their goals and fulfill their potential. I have used these life lessons nearly everyday for the last 35 years working with young men, first as a coach and then an NFL agent.”

Honorable Judge Robert E. Blackburn('72), a speech and drama major, was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as a United States District Judge in 2002. No surprise for a man who started his political career as the student body president of Western State College in 1971-72. Judge Blackburn believes the individualized instruction he received at Western prepared him for his successful 27-year career in law.

Steven J. Borick('75), a business administration graduate, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Superior Industries International, Inc. and President and Chief Operating Officer of Texakota Inc. Steven travels extensively around the world observing different cultures, government structures, and business philosophies. Steven has always been ambitious and quotes, “ Western State College helped me define that energy and gave me a stable foundation to build upon.” Also reflecting upon his professors, Steven quotes, “I remember being taught that with a good honest moral heart, the answers will come.” Proudly, Steven made fiscal obligations to ensure the completion of Colorado and Western's first privately funded building on a public campus;the Borick Business building.

David Branch('69), a business administration major, is the owner and President of “Facilities Connection,” a HB/PZH Company providing all aspects of facilities services to businesses in both the United States and Mexico . David is also an accomplished wood turner whose art is being featured at various fine art galleries. David credits his skills as a wood turner to the flexibility of study at Western and his business success to the strong business administration foundation he received at Western.

Donald “Chip” Bromfield('82), a business administration major, has used what he learned at Western State College to develop a successful company. Chip is the President of Pro-motion Ltd., a comprehensive promotional and photography corporation. Chip chose Western because the College attracts individuals who are entrepreneurial in spirit, independent thinkers, and self-starters. Chip says, “Western provided me an environment that encouraged new and unique ideas through small classes and one-on-one attention.”

Travis Berry('92) Since graduating from Western with a degree in Biology, Travis has remained involved with Colorado and national politics. In 2002, he founded the firm Politicalworks, a full-service government and public affairs consulting firm. Travis built a very impressive client list, including Level 3 Communications, a Colorado-based telecommunications provider; CaremarkRx, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management company; and the Business Council on Healthcare Competition. Prior to starting Politicalworks he served as Deputy Legislative Director for Governor Roy Romer. Travis also served 4 years as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. Travis credits Western State College with nurturing his curiosity in everything from natural science to political science. He remembers fondly his days as student body President at Western.

Doug Carlson('81), an accounting graduate and Certified Public Accountant, is the founder and CEO of the FIJI Water Companies. FIJI Water is now available in some 45 states and 7 countries. FIJI is now the 2nd highest selling imported bottle water brand in the United States . Prior to joining FIJI , Doug was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for The Aspen Skiing Company. He also served as the President and CEO of Aspen's leading hospitality company, The Aspen Club Companies, a company that owned and developed the Hotel Jerome, the Aspen Club Lodge, and some 300 other units in Aspen.

Louis "Louie" Carleo('74) came to Western State College on a wrestling scholarship and earned a degree in Physical Education, starting his career as a teacher and coach. Louie is the CEO of LDC Properties, one of the largest property owners in the downtown Pueblo area. In 2003 Louie was appointed by Governor Owens, a trustee of Western State College . Louie says that the spirit of independence encouraged at Western State College made him what he is today.

Barry Clifford('69), a History & Sociology graduate, is a world-renowned underwater archaeological explorer. Barry's accomplishments are featured in numerous media outlets ranging from the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and 60 Minutes, to name a few. Barry and his team successfully located the first pirate shipwreck, the Whydah, ever discovered and authenticated . The collection remains intact at his museum, Expedition Whydah Sea-Lab & Learning Center in Maine. Barry is the author of a best seller, The Pirate Prince . He is currently searching for the remains of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria . Barry reflects on his time here at Western quoting, “My experiences at Western State have been invaluable to my career. Western State is unique in that it does not merely educate its students, but prepares them for lives of exploration and adventure—whether in the boardroom or the jungle.”

Chuck Cligget('73), a psychology major, is President of Cliggett and Associates, P.C., Attorneys-at-Law. While at Western State College , Chuck competed on the cross-country, Nordic-skiing, and track teams. Following graduation, he served in the United States Marine Corps before attending law school in San Diego . Chuck maintains that his academic and athletic experiences at Western, coupled with inspirational professors and coaches, greatly enhanced his personal and professional life.

Robert Costello('74), a business administration major, is President of Global Transportation at Earth Tech where he is involved in many transportation projects ranging from ferry terminals to rail systems and bridges. Mr. Costello’s experience includes more than 20 years of leadership for some of the largest global engineering consulting firms in the industry, where he has served as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Chip Creager('85) graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Western and later went on to receive his MBA from the University of Denver . Mr. Creager is currently the President of Creager Mercantile Company. Mr. Creager began his career as a CPA Public Accountant and later became a sales representative for numerous companies. Chip feels that WSC contributed to his success and enhanced his love for the outdoors. Chip says, “ Western State College gave me confidence that I could succeed and gave me balance in my life.”

Peter Dea('76), a geology major is President, CEO and founder of Cirque Resources LP. Peter served as CEO of two public NYSE oil and gas companies, Western Gas Resources and Barrett Resources following 10 years with Exxon. He serves on the Western State College and Denver Museum of Nature and Science Board of Trustees. Peter received an MS degree in geology from the University of Montana and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He co-founded the WSC Bartleson Prather Scholarship for Excellence in Geology. Peter says that Western “creates an environment for independent minds to thrive and prosper by providing a solid educational platform in a context conducive to great leadership”

Russ Dispense('70),  joined King Soopers in March of 1965 as a Courtesy Clerk. He has held many store level, warehousing, manufacturing and office positions, including Director of Produce Operations, District Manager, Vice President of Retail Operations, Vice President of Real Estate and Vice President of Sales and Marketing, before his 1999 promotion to President of Smith’s Food and Drug in Salt Lake City, Utah. In February of 2001, Russ was appointed to President of King Soopers in Denver Colorado. Russ holds a degree in Business Administration from Western State College and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Food Industry Program. Russ has served on the Board of Directors for the National Kidney Foundation; The Children’s Hospital and has served on the State of Colorado Governor’s Advisory Council. Russ quotes, “I thoroughly enjoyed receiving my college education at Western State. The course work and individualized instruction that I received, particularly in my Business Administration major, gave me an excellent preparation for my graduate work in California.”

Elva Dryer('96), a Business Administration graduate, is a self-employed pro-athlete runner, sponsored by Nike and PowerBar. Since her collegiate career, achieving 7 NCAA Division II National Champion titles, Elva has reached Olympic status and competed in the 2004 Olympic 10,000 meters and 2000 Olympic 5,000 meters. Elva won 3 bronze medals and 1 silver medal in the USATF World Cross Country Championship. She is a 2001/2003 USATF National 10K Road Champion, a 1997 USATF National 5K Road Champion, and a 3000 meters 1998 USATF Indoor Track & Field National Champion. She was also a member of the 1999, 2001, and 2003 USATF World Outdoor Track and Field Team, and 1998 USATF Goodwill Games Team. Elva reflects on Western, “It gave me the confidence to pursue my personal goals and prepare me for the future. I learned the value of hard work, good planning and the value of a good sport system.” Elva has her sights set on the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing , China .

Elinor "Ellie" Ferguson('85), earned her Master's Degree in Education at Western State College , further enhancing her excellence as an educator. Widely acknowledged as “one of the best teachers in the Gunnison valley,” Ellie was named Gunnison Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the year in 2001, District teacher of the year in 2003, and western Slope Math Educator of the year in 2001.

Carlo Gaines('72), Executive Vice President for Western Distributing Company, received a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Minor in Business Administration from Western State College . In 1974, Carlo worked as Graduate-Assistant Ski Coach under Ken Maclennan. Carlo cites his ski program experience as a major component to his personal success and quotes, “I attribute key ethnic principles I use everyday in my business and personal life to the faculty at WSC.” Carlo also quotes, “Due to the personnel attention offered by faculty, students are provided with the perfect learning environment.”

David Gorsuch('64), a double major in Business Administration and Industrial Arts, is president of Gorsuch Ltd., a specialty retail company started while he was at Western in 1962. Looking back on how special his education at Western State College turned out to be, David quotes, "I feel Western provided an environment of nurturing individual thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that has led to 43 years of successful business." David was also a member of the Western State ski team, 1958 Federation International de Ski and 1960 Olympic alpine ski teams.

Valerie Hastings('83), an accounting major, is President of Valerie J. Hastings, P.C., Certified Public Accountants and Specialty Plating, Inc. After graduation Valerie worked for a local CPA firm then moved to a national firm before opening her own practice in 1990. In 1993 she purchased Specialty Plating from her father. Specialty Plating has been in business for 32 years. She feels the student to professor ratio in addition to the concentrated accounting classes were very beneficial. This has had a very positive effect on her career. In her spare time she is a volunteer firefighter for the City of Golden .

Larry Hayes('70), an English graduate, is the Chairman of Ventura Distribution, Inc., one of the largest independent home video distributors in the US . After serving in the Air Force, Larry came to Western where he was fortunate to serve as the first program director and station manager of school radio station, KWSB. Larry's experience here at WSC went beyond that of an education and quotes, “I thought my experience at KWSB would be the foundation for a career in broadcasting; actually it gave me the contacts, relationships and background to begin a 21 year career in the music recording business.' ‘Western taught me how to continue to learn and teach myself as my career progressed and changed directions.”

Dr. Mary Hodges('58), a double major in Education and History/Political Science, served as the first (and only) female high school principal in District 60 of Pueblo, Colorado. She is an active member of the Assistance League of Pueblo, a program working to fit needy school children with new clothes. Mary believes that her Western State College experiences provided her with the necessary skills to excel both as an educator and at the doctoral level.

Roy V. Hood('66), a business administration major, originally co-founded Resource Investors Management Company “RIMCO” which later merged into RIMCO Production Company, Inc. “RPC,” a crude oil and natural gas exploration company. Roy currently serves as Chairman and CEO of RPC. Mr. Hood says, “Western provided a sound basis for developing my career.” He regretted leaving WSC when he graduated, but says that he left with “determination to put my experiences and education to good use.” Mr Hood also earned an MBA from N.Y. University.


Adam Howard('97), a Political Science major and Community Journalism minor, was supposed to be a ski bum. That's why he came to Western. But along the way professors Mark Todd, and the late Paul Laudenslager taught him how to idealize, and write about those ideas. From sports editor at the Top 'O the World, to an internship at Powder and Bike magazines, Howard embraced being a journalist, and especially the idea of traveling on someone else's dime. In 2002 after five years as a newspaper reporter, ski patroller, carpenter and tireless freelance writer, Howard co-founded Height of Land Publications and purchased Backcountry Magazine, where he became Editor. These days Howard can’t seem to go anywhere without finding a WSC graduate. "At our recent ski test in Utah nearly half the testers had Western State ties," he says. "Where there's a mountain community there's a Western grad. I'm proud to be one of them."

Greg Jenkins('79), a Business Administration graduate, is Executive Vice President / Business Development and CFO of Syntroleum Corporation.  Greg has represented the energy industry as senior executive with international and domestic experience across the energy industry, ranging from oil and gas production to LNG project development. Most recently, he served in several executive roles at the El Paso Corporation, including as President, Global Petroleum and LNG; President, El Paso Merchant Energy; and President, El Paso Global Networks.  Greg has successfully built several new business units and successfully turned around ailing companies. 

Janice (CORRIVEAU) Jacobs('72) Since graduation from Western State with a degree in Sociology, Jan has been involved primarily in the world of Quality Assurance in the engineering, manufacturing and construction arenas.  She spent 26 years with Bechtel Corporation as the Western Regional Supplier Quality Manager/Lead Auditor.  Following that career, she is currently the Supplier Quality Manager for Control Components, Inc., designers and manufacturers of severe service control valves.  She is known in the world of Nuclear power plants as an expert in the requirements of quality assurance and serves on the Steering Committee of the Nuclear Industry Assessment Committee. She lends credit for her success to the education and experiences at Western State. Jan quotes, “The excellent breadth of knowledge received and the confidence gained at WSC, both from the classroom and involvement in the Associated Student Body has helped move me continually forward.”

Michael O. "MOJ" Johnson('77) is CEO of Herbalife, a $2 billion company operating in 60 countries through a sales force of more than one million independent distributors. As a political science major and member of the student council, MOJ gained lifetime skills for his international business career. Experience as a disc jockey at KWSB serves him well when he speaks to audiences in upwards of 35,000 people with simultaneous translation into 23 languages. For MOJ, Western offered intellectual challenge in a majestic land. Michael quotes, “Western gave me the space and the place to be inspired, to think big and to dream.”

Stuart P. Kaplan('70), a Business Administration and English graduate, is President of Makuta Techics, Inc. Stuart, with his diverse background, had the pleasure of teaching, coaching and acting as Dean of Students at Tucson High School . Stuart has held various manufacturing management positions in the U.S. and Japan . Stuart also spent time here at Western State College as Director of Financial Aid, Student Activities Director and Director of Admissions. Stuart offers his advice for success at Western quoting, “The operative word, when attending Western, is Initiative . A student at Western must take advantage of the environment, the diversity of the student body, the professors and the community in order to truly receive ‘The Western Education.'”

Duane Kirkley('76) is the Founder and President of Paramount Distributors, Inc., in Aurora , Colorado . Mr. Kirkley received a Biology degree and has since spent 29 years committed to building the success of his premium pet food & supplies business based on the honesty and integrity of his leadership. He gives professors such as, Dr. Hugo Ferchau and Dr. Duane Vandenbusche credit for his core business values. He says, “Dr. Ferchau instilled a belief in me that no one else would.” He also says, “Dr. Vandenbusche's methods of instruction inspired me to be passionate and committed to my career.”

Kathleen Kregel('87) In 2007 Kathy contracted with the City of Fort Collins and the Colorado Bioscience Association to provide leadership for the Larimer County Bioscience Cluster.  In this position she is charged with implementing the regional Bioscience Strategic Plan and accelerating the development of the Bioscience Community in Larimer County. In 1998 Kathy planned and subsequently started the Fort Collins Technology Incubator. As executive director for 8 years, she enhanced the success rate of the top technology startups in Fort Collins. Prior to that, Kathy spent eight years as the executive director of the Loveland Center for Business Development. To further assist her clients, she developed Northern Colorado’s first Microloan Program. Kathy augments her practical business experience with a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Western.

Karla Kuban, author of critically acclaimed novel, Marchlands, published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., attended Western in the early 70's. After her time at Western, she was a student at the Johns Hopkins University Writing Program in 1994, a James A. Michener Fellow from 1994 to 1996, and a winner of a Pushcart Prize in 1997. Her book was published in 1998. Karla currently lives in Santa Fe , NM . Commenting on her education at Western, Karla said, “Philosophy classes at Western taught me to sit, think, question, open, and expand.”

James Lindner('66) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Accounting from Western.  James is Executive Chairman of the Board of San Diego-based Mitchell International. Lindner previously served as Mitchell’s Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board. Throughout his career, Mr. Lindner has distinguished himself in a variety of executive leadership roles, serving as President and CEO of Attachmate™, President of the Networks Group at Memorex Telex Corporation™, and as Chairman and CEO of ISC-Bunker Ramo Corporation™.  Upon reflection of his years at Western James says "Being at Western in the early 60's was quite the eye opening experience for this east coast guy.  Not only did I get what I would consider a first rate education, but being on the debate team was an amazing experience in helping me learn to think on my feet and to communicate verbally, two skills that have been cornerstones of my success in business".

Roger Long('70) graduated from Western with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Computer Science. Mr. Long is President of Omega LTD INC. and currently started Windwalker West Ranch. Still very involved at WSC today Roger lectures to Business Administration students giving tips in marketing. Roger says, “There are three primary principles that WSC facilitates; Knowledge, Attitude and Character.

Lisa Lyden('82), a Speech, Drama and Business major, is the evening co-anchor at KOAA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs . Lisa feels that her time at Western State College served as the launching pad for her career. Her involvement with KWSB, the college radio station, TV Lab and Debate team, opened her eyes and her “voice” to the world of broadcasting. Lisa expresses, “Faculty advisor and favorite teacher, Frank Venturo was a wonderful mentor and positive inspiration to me while I attended Western and to this day we remain friends.” Lisa feels her College life prepared her for the successful 24 years in TV News.

Eric Loewen('83), a Mathematics and Chemistry graduate, is currently working for GE in Wilmington, NC.  Prior to this he was with the Idaho National Laboratory, researching and developing the Generation IV nuclear power reactor advancing an idea he calls "energy-plex.".  Eric has received numerous research awards over the years and was chosen as one of Esquire Magazine’s "Best and Brightest" for 2005.  Reflecting on his education at Western, Eric states, "My liberal arts education from Western gave me the foundation for a creative future.’ ‘The confluence of academics and athletics at Western provided valuable lessons in self-discipline and confidence."  Eric is a busy person, involved in much more than reactor research.  When time allows, Eric enjoys marathons and is an Ironman tri-athlete.

Dr. Sean Markey('93), a biology major, served as Chief Neurosurgical Resident at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. Sean credits his success to his biology and chemistry professors at Western State College who pushed and challenged him, preparing him well for his graduate education. “I am incredibly proud of my undergraduate degree and my alma mater,” Sean says of Western.

Mark Muheim('75) graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama from Western. Mr. Muheim is the President of Muheim Motion Pictures, Inc. Mark began his career as a documentary film editor in 1975, and has earned many producing, directing, writing, and photography credits over the years, in addition to a long list of editing credits. Mark has won two Prime-time Emmy Awards, for “Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Special” (1997 and 1999).

Michael L. Matthews('79), an accounting graduate, is the Community Banking President and Area Manager for Well’s Fargo’s Business Banking team for the Suburban Denver market.  Michael has more than 26 years of financial services experience and is a 19-year Wells Fargo veteran. He serves on the State of Colorado Economic Development Commission and the State of Colorado Venture Capital Authority and is involved in many other organizations as well.  Matthews believes, “attending WSC established the base for both my personal accomplishments and my business career.  The individual attention allowed me to connect with the outstanding faculty and certainly enhanced my learning and growing experience.  The family nature of our student body provided a feeling of ‘never knowing a stranger’.  This is an attitude I have carried forward in all aspects of my life and contributes to opening innumerable doors.”

Bob Olsen('69), a Business Administration graduate, is Chairman of the Board of Systemation. As CEO of Systemation, Bob took this publicly traded company private and built it into a worldwide leader in corporate training. After failing at other universities, Bob phoned President Bryant begging for approval of his application to attend WSC. Bryant agreed to “one quarter on probation.” Outside of business, Bob is an active member of Ducks Unlimited, helping to preserve North America 's precious wetlands. This passion for the outdoors evolved while at WSC. Quoting Bob, “Without WSC and that ‘one more chance' I could never have achieved any of this. WSC was the perfect fit for me and others, who needed another chance. I think we would all agree that WSC is a very special place.”

Sherryl Hall-Peterson('83) received her Master's degree at Western State College in Communications and theatre. Ms. Hall-Peterson is the Vice president for Student Affairs & Dean of Student at Western State College and is an essential part of the Western family. In addition, Sherryl has served as President of the Gunnison School Board and on the Board of Chamber of Commerce. Sherryl says that her degree from Western greatly contributed to her campus and community leadership positions.

Gary W. Peyton('61), an education graduate, is Sr. Vice President with Colorado East Bank and Trust in Lamar, Colorado and serves on the Board of Directors.  While at Western, Gary competed on both the basketball and track teams.  Following graduation, Gary went to work at First National Bank in Lamar where he worked for 30 years (1961-1991) and served as President for 13 years (1978-1991).  Gary graduated from Colorado School of Bankers at CU Boulder in 1975.  When reflecting on his education here at Western Gary says, “Western State College provided me the experience of a lifetime.  The professors, coaches, counselors, and people of Gunnison prepared me well for the future.”

James (Jamie) Paul('69), a business administration graduate, has been the owner and President of Power distributing, Inc. since 1974.  Power Distributing distributes diesel fuel injection units and components for the World’s original manufacturers of diesel fuel injection equipment throughout the five Northwestern States, including Alaska. Jamie is a former Board member of the Association of Diesel Specialists, the leading international organization that represents sales, service and training professionals that promote today’s and tomorrow’s diesel systems.  At Western, he was a member of the WSC Alpine Ski Team and was Alpine Ski Racing NCAA All-American.  Jamie feels, “the effort of Western’s Administration and Faculty to work closely with the local community to get students involved in their businesses really helped me gain a practical application to my studies that developed my entrepreneurial sprit.”

Paul Rady('78) is the Chairman and CEO for Antero Energy in Denver , CO . After graduating with a degree in Geology, Paul spent ten years as a Geologist at Amoco in Denver , eight years at Barrett Resources in Denver as Chief Geologist escalating to CEO, then three years at Pennaco Energy as Chairman and CEO. Paul then founded his current company, Antero. Paul has given back to Western in an amazing way, providing funds for a permanently Endowed Chair in Petroleum Geology. Paul says that he loves Western—that his life is better because of this remarkable school and that giving back has been one of his great joys in life.

Peter Rodriguez('63 & '64) received his Bachelor's in History and his Master's in Social Studies from Western. Peter played guard and linebacker for the Western State College Mountaineers. Peter served as Head Coach at Western Illinois (1972-82) and Defensive Coordinator at Florida State (1974-75) and Iowa State (1976-78). Mr. Rodriguez, now 18 years with the NFL, has worked with the Raiders, Cardinals, Redskins, and Seahawks. He is currently the Special Teams Coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars where he is regarded as one of the top special teams coaches in the NFL. Reflecting back on his years as a player/student at WSC Peter quotes, “ WSC gave me the motivation to become a successful football coach.”

Mark Schumacher('82), an industrial arts major with a minor in business administration, is the owner of Three Rivers Resort. Mark is an active member of the Gunnison Valley Community, serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. Mark's successful outfitting company was named “Business of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce in 1995. Mark says that his education and experiences at Western State College gave him the foundation for success in business and in everyday life.

George Shaeffer('73), an industrial arts major, is President of George Shaeffer Construction Company located in Vail, Colorado, a company he founded in 1979.  His company is recognized as one of the premier custom homebuilders in Western Colorado.  George has always been active in his community by serving on boards of numerous organizations including the Vail Valley Foundation, founding director of The Youth Foundation and current director for Holy Cross Energy.  In reflecting back on his education at Western State College of Colorado George states, “Western allowed me the opportunity to gain a practical and meaningful education in an outdoor environment that I still enjoy today.”

Thomas Shrake('81) received his Bachelor's degree in Geology from Western. Mr. Shrake is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. Thomas has conducted exploration programs in the United States , Costa Rica, El Salvador , Chile , Argentina , Mexico and Peru . Thomas attributes his passion for geology to his professor's enthusiasm. Thomas feels that WSC and Gunnison are special places with a tremendous feeling of community and a long history of success. Thomas says, “I would be proud to see any of my three kids go to WSC.”

Roger Smith('80 & '84) received his Bachelor's degree in Accounting and his Master's in Business Administration from Western. Mr. Smith is a Certified Public Account specializing in mine financing, mergers and acquisitions, audits, taxes, and corporate accounting in international environments. He is currently the Vice President of Finance and IT at Luzenac America, Inc., an international talc and industrial minerals mining, exploration and manufacturing company.

Linda Squirrell('86) graduated from Western with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Ms. Squirrell has been in the real estate business for 25 years and is the owner/broker for Arrowhead Ranch Real Estate, LLC. Linda feels that the skills she has learned and the confidence she has gained in business is attributable to her coursework and her interaction with her professors. Linda says “Western is near and dear to my heart. I even married an alumnus! (Jim Squirrell, Class of 1963) Linda's love for the school previously motivated her to serve as a board member and on another occasion as President of the WSC Foundation.

Anne Flick-Steinbeck('51), an English graduate, has served her Gunnison Community, the State of Colorado and held national and international posts in leadership, all while being occupied in accounting, journalism, teaching, human services and being a wife and mother.  Reflecting back, Anne says, "WSC gave me a quality foundation to succeed in careers and the skills to achieve in leadership positions.  Western was a springboard for the appointments by four Colorado governors to state boards and commissions."  Among tributes to Anne were her induction into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame and named outstanding WSC alum.

Joseph Stengel('76), an economics and history major, served as Colorado State Representative for House District 38. Joe has also served as Chairman of the House Finance Committee, and has been a member of the House Appropriations and House Judiciary Committees. Prior to serving in State Government, Joe was President of Harvard Motors, Inc. and President & CEO of Universal Auto Wrecking, Inc.

John (Johnnie) Stevens('68) graduated with a history degree at Western and then went on to serve his country as the Assistant Chief of Staff in the Pentagon. John later returned here to receive his M.S. in Education before then moving back to his home town of Telluride , CO. He has since dedicated 32 years to the operating success, while embracing the environmental values, of the Telluride Ski & Golf Company where he sits as the Chief Operating Officer. John, reflecting back on his time spent at WSC states, “Western gave me an education and experience that nurtured the culture of work and fundamental life skills that have served me well.”

Jerry Traylor('00), graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Education. Jerry's story is truly one that captures the hearts of those who hear it. An imperfect man in a world demanding perfection; Jerry provides a real-life example of what success really means. His humor and heart leaves a permanent impact on many, as he teaches others that their uniqueness is a gift rather than a curse. Currently Traylor is a nationally know inspirational speaker. Jerry was recently privileged to be voted best speaker at the New Jersey State Quality Conference. This incredible man jogged from San Francisco to New York City, ran in 35 marathons, climbed to the top of Pikes Peak (14,110), and parachuted; all done while on crutches. Jerry is truly a remarkable Western State Alumni.

Jill Voss('76) graduated with a Recreation degree and then began working with Safeway Stores Inc. After working with the company for ten years she had discovered a new passion. This was to return to school and pursue a medical career. During her pre-med studying she gained some valuable experience at St. Anthony's Hospital, the Barbara Davis Diabetes Research Center and the University of Colorado Burn Center. Jyl acclaims her success and passion in the medical field to her experiences in assisting these hospitals. After completing her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1995 she began practicing in the South Denver Metropolitan Area." I will always credit WSC for showing me the importance of continued personal growth, and for instilling in me the self confidence to dream big and pursue those dreams.”

Connie Williams('72 & '84), an Art major and Business Administration major, is the owner of William's Orchards and the Appleshed Arts Complex. The Williams' Orchard is located west of Cedaredge and practices the latest state of the arts techniques for orchards. The Appleshed Arts Complex, a renovated 1920's apple packing shed, is known as one of Delta County 's historic jewels, serving as a center for concerts, art exhibits, craft fairs, and banquets. To her fellow alumni, Connie says, “Life is a challenge, greet it with interest and enthusiasm, the world awaits you.”

Leland Wines('67) received his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Western. Mr. Wines is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Bank of Walnut Creek in Walnut Creek , California . Leland volunteers his time to the Financial Services Volunteer Corporation teaching asset/liability management and international accounting standards to bankers in Russia and other former communist countries. While at Western, Mr. Wines says, “I learned that I could excel, given hard work and dedication to my goal.” He states, “That foundation is still with me and serves as my belief and guide.”

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