The Colorado State University Alumni Association and 50 Year Club Committee recognize alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago (this year, that’s 1973) for Career Achievement and Public Service awards. Career Achievement honors distinction in professional fields, including a lifelong history of accomplishments and activities that have been recognized locally, nationally, or internationally,; and leadership in professional organizations. Public Service acknowledges outstanding service to the community by participating in government or with charitable or religious organizations, providing humankind with medical or environmental well-being, and being of service to Colorado State University. The newest members of the 50 Year Club will be honored with a luncheon on Oct. 13 during Homecoming and Family Weekend. 

Career Achievement

Harry Williams “Bill” Ellis (B.S., ’64; CERT., ’64; M.Ed., ’68) 

Bill Ellis worked for decades to improve the physical health and wellness of CSU students, faculty, and staff. His vision and tenacity were key to the construction of the Student Recreation Center and other amenities that contribute to the student experience. 

Ellis came to CSU in 1960 as a first-generation student on a basketball scholarship. He worked part time in the men’s intramural sports program at a time when students had limited access to sports facilities. After graduating, he coached at Akron High School in Colorado before earning his master’s degree at CSU three years later. Ellis became the director of the recreation program at a community college in Livonia, Michigan, before returning to CSU as director of intramural sports when Bo Cowell retired in 1972.

Under Ellis’s leadership, the men’s and women’s intramural programs were combined, and oversight of club sports was added to his role. During the 1977-78 school year, he worked with students on a referendum to begin funding campus recreation through student fees; he continued to champion a recreation center with the University administration through the mid-1980s when the students voted to increase their fees to construct the 75,000-square-foot building that opened in 1989. Other student-initiated fee increases have renovated and expanded it into the national award-winning 102,000-square-foot facility it was when he retired in 2001.

During Ellis’s tenure as director of Recreational Sports, he also oversaw enhancements to the intramural practice fields, and installation of an inline hockey arena and basketball and sand volleyball courts. 

Beyond programs and facility improvements, Ellis mentored, counseled, and encouraged numerous students throughout his career, some who pursued careers in collegiate recreation nationwide. 

Ellis is a lifelong member of the NIRS Association, and in 1995 received the Merit Award, the organization’s second-highest honor. He is also a longtime donor to CSU, a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, and a member of the Frontier Society, which recognizes those who have made planned gifts to the University.

Public Service

Jo Ann (Hamil) Ostwald (B.S., ’58) 

Jo Ann Ostwald has a steadfast commitment to her local community that is more than something she does, it is who she is.

Since 1960, she and her husband, Don (B.S., ’55; D.V.M., ’57) have lived in Fort Morgan, Colorado, where Ostwald was elected to the Republican Precinct Committee, and later served as the Morgan County campaign chairperson for one of Hank Brown’s campaigns for the 4th Congressional District state Senate seat.

Ostwald taught language arts at Fort Morgan High School from 1976 to 1998. She served as a Cub Scout den leader, a 4-H Foods leader, and spearheaded one of the first 4-H Rocketry Clubs, designed to encourage careers in science and the aerospace industry. 

The Ostwalds have been active members of the Christ Congregational Church for more than six decades; Ostwald has volunteered in various capacities, including as an executive board member of Caring Ministries of Morgan County and working in the organization’s store.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Ostwald served for many years with the Colorado Plains Medical Center Foundation, which is improving health care in the county. In 1997, she joined the governing board for the Colorado Plains Medical Center (now St. Elizabeth Hospital) and served as president during her last year in 2006. 

In the late 1990s, she was an integral part of establishing the Morgan County Alumni Scholarship fund and creating the annual “Giovanni” Golf Tournament that supports it. Since the fund’s inception, 84 scholarships totaling nearly $100,000 have been awarded to students from Morgan County high schools coming to CSU. 

In 1998, Ostwald began volunteering as a driver for Meals on Wheels, and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, she became the site supervisor to keep the service going. 

In 2003, Ostwald received the CSU Alumni Association Charles A. Lory Public Service Award, and in 2007, The Fort Morgan Times honored her as an Angel Among Us.