CSU President Al Yates 2002 "Citizen of the West"
April 14, 2006
National Western Stock Show and Rodeo
Colorado State University’s President Al Yates will receive the 2002 “Citizen of the West” branding iron award on Jan. 16, 2002, at the Adams Mark Hotel in Denver.
The recipient of this award, selected by a committee of community leaders, is a person or persons who best exemplify the spirit and determination of the Western pioneer. The award dinner, now in its 24th year, benefits the National Western Scholarship Fund and is an annual highlight to the opening of the National Western Stock Show.
“Al Yates, a westerner by choice, owns no ranches, yet his impact on Colorado and the West is enormous, ” said rancher Ben Houston, National Western Stock Show chairman and the 1995 Citizen of the West.
“Under his leadership, CSU has become known for its commitment to the citizens of the West and to providing a quality education for the sons and daughters of Colorado in the modern land-grant tradition.”
“The Citizen of the West pays tribute to a person whose life and work embody the Western values we all hold so dear,” said Bill Coors. “With Al Yates, his word is his bond, and he’s dedicated his time, energy and integrity to building our state’s landgrant institution into a leader in the nation and a source of pride for Colorado.”
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Born in Memphis, Tenn., Yates was the third child of John and Sadie Yates, owners of the Yates Cafe.
Though his mother had very little formal schooling, she believed deeply in learning and worked hard to instill a love for knowledge in her seven children. She became her son’s greatest role model, instilling in him a strong sense of values and self-discipline, and encouraging him to seek the best in himself.
After high school, Yates enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served on the first crew of the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. His time in the military taught him discipline, focus and aspiration, and he returned to Tennessee determined to finish his education and with a desire to have his life make a difference.
He went on to graduate magna cum laude with degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Memphis, then earned a doctorate in theoretical chemical physics from Indiana University. He served as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and later completed the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard School of Business.
Yates served at Indiana University and the University of Cincinnati before moving to the West for a nine-year stint as executive vice president and provost at Washington State University. In 1990, the State Board of Agriculture appointed him Colorado State’s 12th president.
Over the next decade, he would oversee a dramatic transformation of the Fort Collins institution, visible today in a revitalized campus landscape, record levels of alumni and state support, significantly enhanced student success and learning, unprecedented athletic success, and a fresh sense of pride.