It is rare for someone to have a building renamed after them and a $1.5 million endowed chair is established in their name all in the same day, unless they are CSU President Albert C. Yates.
With three months left before leaving the office of presidency, Yates was honored Thursday with an endowed chair donation by the Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation, the state-of-the-art Chemistry/Biosciences Building was renamed Albert C. Yates Hall and a reception was held in Yates’ name.
The endowed chair was announced this afternoon at the “Celebrate Colorado State” luncheon by the director of the foundation, Pat Stryker.
“Al’s legacy will live on through research,” Stryker said.
The Albert C. Yates Endowed Chair in Mathematics will support teaching research for the department.
“Humble and overwhelmed are the only two words to explain this extraordinary and personal honor,” Yates said. “I am overwhelmed at what it means to our university.”
Other awards were presented at the luncheon, including Magna Cum Laude graduates, an Outstanding Achievement Award and five professors were announced as new University Distinguished Teaching Scholars; Richard Feller, professor of counseling and career development at the School of Education, Kathleen Kiefer, English professor and assistant chair of the Department of English, Edward Redente, professor of rangeland ecosystem and interim head of the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship, Wayne Viney, professor of psychology and Lawrence Ray Whalen, professor of biomedical sciences.
“The exceptional contributions of these new University Distinguished Teaching Scholars reflect the ideals of scholarships, teaching and research typified by faculty members at Colorado State University,” said Provost Peter Nicholls, who served as master of ceremonies for today’s events. “Their valuable work consistently seeks new possibilities and innovations in teaching – in a wide array of disciplines – to meet the university’s fundamental goals of providing the best possible education to students.”
Later on in the rainy afternoon was the official dedication of the renaming of the Chemistry/Biosciences Building in honor of Yates.
Reginald Washington, president of the Board of Governors of the Colorado State System, spoke about Yates’ legacy and about the presidential search.
“Thank you to the campus for the support and patience (through the search process),” Washington said. “It’s not over yet but we are headed in the right direction.”
Washington, who earned his undergradate degree at CSU in zoology and pre-med, joked that CSU has become a better institution over the years because he is the boss of Yates, who earned his undergrad elsewhere.
“The Board of Governors unanimously agreed to recommend to the renaming of the building to stand forever in testament to Yates’ career,” Washington said.
Yates remained humble the entire day. With his wife and two children in the audience said he could not prepare a speech for today.
“Today is not a special day for me, but for our university,” he said. “I stand in great humility, I’m flattered. Faculty and staff deserve all the credit to achieving the goals of an institution.”
Yates thanked CSU staff, faculty and students too for their support of the success of the university. He also thanked the Board of Governors, deans, vice presidents and legislature for supporting and believing in him.
“Thank you for letting me serve you for 13 years,” Yates said.
Festivities ended Thursday in a campus and community reception for Yates and his wife in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.