Chadron businessman Randy Bauer encouraged new graduates of Chadron State College to follow examples set by the institution’s exemplary alumni as they set out to make their mark on the world.
Bauer, who graduated from CSC in the 1970s and has assisted its fund-raising and athletics throughout his professional career, delivered the commencement speech Friday evening at Armstrong Gymnasium. During his presentation, he cited examples of CSC graduates of various degrees of prominence to inspire this winter’s class.
Among those mentioned were Walt Riehemann, who became executive vice president for a nationally known pharmaceutical company, Gretchen Glode Berggren, a medical doctor who has served as a medical missionary overseas, and Dave Sanders, a teacher who was killed trying to save students during the shooting at Denver’s Columbine High School in 1999. He also cited 1971 graduate Cheryl Adamson Ravenscroft, a Cherry County ranch wife and teacher who earlier this decade left retirement to fill a vacancy at an area rural school that was unable to hire a teacher.
“Cheryl will probably never be famous, but she certainly is the type of CSC alum we can all aspire to be,” he said. “It is Chadron State graduates like her who keep the communities in our part of the world functioning. Graduates from CSC are more likely to stay in the region to be the business person, teacher, police officer, or medical professional that are essential for each of our towns.”
Bauer also cited a number of statistics about this winter’s graduating class provided to him by Terie Dawson, CSC’s institutional research officer. Included in the statistics was the educational background of the student body.
“A little more than half of you are the first generation of your family to graduate from college with a baccalaureate degree,” he said. “I think this statistic more than anything defines the mission and value of Chadron State College. In so many ways, this college is serving students in ways no other college can.”
Bauer also spoke about the Chadron State Foundation's Vision 2011 Campaign. In addition to the campaign's objectives to boost scholarship and annual fund dollars, the project is seeking to fund construction of a new Rangeland Agriculture Pavilion and an addition to the Armstrong Building. Bauer, who has been a member of the Chadron State Foundation board of trustees for six years, is serving as a co-chairman of the fund-raising effort.
While noting that a graduation ceremony is not the place to request funds, he asked graduates and others in the audience to provide verbal support for the project as it advances in coming years.
“The Foundation Board of Directors believes strongly that too often the students in this end of the state are asked to make do with less than those students in other sections of the state,” he said. “We think it is time for students in this region to be provided with the facilities they deserve.”
He closed the speech by relating his expectations for the class.
“You don’t have to be a corporate lawyer or the next Albert Schweitzer to make us proud that you are a Chadron State College graduate. Just use your degrees to create worthy lives and work to make your communities the best they can be. That will do.”
Bauer, who has been a State Farm Insurance agent for 26 years, is no stranger to CSC. He was presented CSC’s Distinguished Alumni Award in fall 2006 and completed a term as chairman of the Chadron State Foundation Board of Directors this fall. He has been a member of the board since 2003 and now serves as the chairman of its nominating committee.
Prior to becoming an insurance agent, Bauer worked at CSC for nine years, the last five as director of admissions. He has been president of the Eagles Booster Club for 22 years and was the color commentator for CSC football radio broadcasts for 16 years.
The native of North Bend was a student leader and outstanding scholar-athlete while attending CSC in the early 1970s. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1974 and a master's degree in 1980. He was a member of Blue Key National Honor Society and was captain of the CSC chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He still holds the CSC record for interceptions in football.
During his career, Bauer has received the National Quality Award from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors 10 times. In addition, he has served on the Chadron Civil Service Commission 26 years, is past president of Chadron Rotary Club, has been a scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 201 and is active in St. Patrick’s church.
CSC conferred 183 degrees during Friday’s ceremony.
--Justin Haag, CSC College Relations