Sitzman Ramily establishes three scholarships

Four generations, ten graduates, and six College of Health and Human Sciences degrees. Meet the Sitzman family.

The Sitzmans are a truly stalwart Ram family. Their dedication and love for Colorado State University is rooted deep in their family ties. John and Judy both grew up on farms in Colorado. Judy’s dad, her husband John, their three children, and two of their granddaughters, all attended CSU.

Now, John and Judy have established three student scholarships in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences: in interior design, fermentation science and technology, and human development and family studies.

“Our goal is to promote positive impact and the development of individuals in these majors,” they explained.

Family legacy

The Sitzman family posing for photo
Sitzman Family October 5, 2017.

“Because we were both farm kids, agricultural sciences first earned our allegiance to CSU,” John said.

John graduated from CSU in 1960 with a degree in animal science and it seemed to snowball from there. All three of John and Judy’s children, Kelly Petty ’84, Jenny Seaton ‘86, and Mike Sitzman ’88, chose CSU and each of them landed in a major within CHHS.

“For several years in the 80’s, two or all three of our kids were at CSU at the same time in CHHS. It was occasionally a financial strain for us, so if our scholarships make it easier for students and families, then we are sincerely happy to help,” John and Judy said.

By keeping the multi-generational Ram Family going, the Sitzmans developed a deep love for the school and took the opportunity to support students. They also wanted to honor their three children – choosing to support the majors of their two daughters, as well as John’s love of the fermentation industry.

Their son Mike, majored in Industrial Technology, formerly a part of the Department of Construction Management in the College and was a student-athlete on the CSU baseball team from ’83-’87. “I loved, and still love CSU and support it through the Alumni Association and Athletics,” he said. Mike’s career path led him in an entrepreneurial direction, owning o2 Group, a web design and event production company. The brand signage for the Irving Brown Heritage Room is Mike’s design.

“We wanted the scholarship names to be a bit quirky and something that would be memorable for the students,” John and Judy said.

close up of beer being pouredBarley to Beer

John worked in the brewing materials department of Coors for 30 years and often heard Bill Coors say, “Barley is to beer as grapes are to wine.” Naming the “Barley to Beer” scholarship was a natural choice for the Sitzmans.

Once the fermentation science and technology major was launched, John and Judy along with her sister and husband, Debbie and Tom McCoy, a ’71 Construction Management graduate, were inspired to name the Heritage Room next to the microbrewery in the Lory Student Center after Judy’s father, Irving Brown. Now, by providing a student scholarship, they hope to continue the passion and creativity that stems from this major.

Lambs to Rams

ECC children caroling
Children from Colorado State University’s Early Childhood Center sing for President Tony Frank, parents and staff. Dec 6, 2017

John and Judy wanted to honor their daughter, Jenny Seaton’s devotion to teaching and her positive experience at CSU by providing a scholarship to students in the human development and family studies major.

“Jenny, our kindergarten teacher, came up with ‘Lambs to Rams’,” John and Judy said.

Seaton received her B.S. in HDFS in ‘86 with a focus in early childhood development. She has spent the majority of her career as a kindergarten teacher at Green Pines Elementary in Rockwood School District, St. Louis, Missouri.

“Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions around, but it can be exhausting. Make your passion for children as the driving force that inspires you to be the best you can be and never stop being a learner yourself,” Seaton said. “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning. Always be yourself and just have fun in the classroom.”

Dreams to Designs

John and Judy were inspired to establish a scholarship in the interior design program because of their other innovative daughter, Kelly Petty.

Petty earned her B.S. in interior design in ‘84, spending the first 13 years of her career at commercial architecture and design firms. The past 20 plus years have blended her love of the interior architecture field with manufacturing as a manufacturer’s representative and sales manager to her current role heading up USA national accounts for Florida Tile.

The Dreams to Designs scholarship is meant to support interior design students’ skills and talent for their future endeavors in the interior design industry. The scholarship will allow students to focus on developing their skills and to strive for excellence.

John and Judy Sitzman holding up quilt
John and Judy Sitzman showing off their ram quilt.

“My advice to students is to build and nurture your network, always, and pursue jobs where you find passion and the opportunity to learn every day,” Petty said.  “Connecting with people will come back to you in many gratifying ways!”

While these three scholarships are helping develop the next generation of teachers, brewers, and designers, the Sitzmans will continue to wear their Ram Pride on their sleeve, literally. “Once a Ram, always a Ram. Sharing Ram Pride gives us a common bond, and it’s helpful when shopping for Mom and Dad,” Seaton said.

“We are pleased and excited for the students receiving our scholarships. We wish you wise choices and successful careers, and hope that someday as a Ram you, too, can pay it forward,” John and Judy said.

Fermentation Science and Technology, Human Development and Family Studies, and Interior Design are all part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.