May 6, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Like many of you, I’ve recently had reason to explore options for virtual celebrations, whether for a birthday, graduation, or other important milestone. Congratulating and recognizing someone remotely can be done with a simple swipe in your text app, to make balloons or fireworks appear, but in the past few weeks, I’ve seen or heard about many more creative ideas, from the ubiquitous “Zoom-bombing” to personalized memes and videos, and from coordinated costume parties on Teams meetings to more formal replications of awards ceremonies, complete with a red-curtain backdrop and virtual podium.

These past few weeks, we have been rightly celebrating colleagues and community members for their extraordinary contributions to our university during COVID-19. I believe that we need to celebrate the things that we would regularly celebrate too.

At CSU, the spring is also the moment in the academic year when we hear about and rejoice in the incredible achievements of our students on the national stage. I have shared the names of some of our student recipients of national scholarships in previous messages, but just haven’t had the opportunity to share them all … so I’m doing so now:

Caroline Dunphy—Boren Scholarship

Sydney Spiegel—Boren Scholarship

Thany Dykson—Critical Language Scholarship (program suspended for Summer 2020)

Natalie Montecino—Critical Language Scholarship (program suspended for Summer 2020)

David Atkins—Fulbright Scholarship

Hannah Hurlbut—Fulbright Scholarship

Raegen Petch—Goldwater Scholarship

Jessica Roberts—Goldwater Scholarship

Izabella Mastroianni—NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Bradly Burke—Life Sciences: Microbial Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Lily Durkee—Life Sciences: Ecology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Arielle Hay—Life Sciences: Microbial Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Kirsten Hein—Life Sciences: Genetics, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Grace Johnston—Life Sciences: Plant Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Ian Moseley—Chemistry: Chemical Synthesis, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Amanda Shick—Engineering: Mechanical Engineering, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Sarah Greichen—Truman Scholarship

Brianne Lauro—Truman Scholarship

Brianne Lauro—Udall Scholarship

These young people are—like so many of their classmates—exceptional. They are passionate, determined, and committed to changing our world for the better.

Many of these students have publicly affirmed what we all know, which is that our CSU faculty and staff are wonderful teachers, mentors, and advisors. In their offices, classrooms, labs, and out in the field, they model for our students how to go farther, push harder, and think outside the box. This past Monday, May 4, we announced the full slate of our annual CELEBRATE Award Winners, faculty and staff whom we honor and thank for the excellence and commitment of their teaching, research, service and engagement. Congratulations, all of you!

Even you don’t know these students, faculty or staff members, I still encourage you to read more about them, and to take pride in knowing that our community helped them achieve their success. And if you do know them, reach out! Send a text with balloons or a funny meme. How you celebrate them doesn’t matter so much as that you do, and that we all remember just how amazing our students and colleagues are, not just for what they are doing under these unusual circumstances, but for what they do every single day.