Albert Yates, who left a strong, lasting legacy as the 12th president of Colorado State University, received the Founders Day Medal on Feb. 11 as CSU celebrated its 149th birthday.

The Founders Day Medal honors CSU’s best of the best for their contributions and highlights the values that have sustained the school and its enduring mission of service through teaching, research and engagement.

“Al Yates is certainly one of the greatest leaders in Colorado State University history – a president who used his tenure and influence to truly transform the institution in positive and lasting ways,” said CSU President Tony Frank.

Yates’ tenure was marked by some historic victories. He created the President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee and the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity. He hired legendary football coach Sonny Lubick, and helped transform the way CSU viewed athletics. He also led through tragedies including the 1997 flood, the 1994 Hourglass Fire, the Columbine High School shootings, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Yates guided the University through recovery and he challenged the community to draw strength from these hard times.

At the ceremony Yates said, “Did I say thank you enough, to the faculty, to the staff, to the students who made the university better? I always hoped that I did. … I have the opportunity today to say to you, and the extended CSU family, thank you. Thank you for believing in a dream, for accepting a hope, to get us to this particular place.”


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