Class Notes – August 2021

sheep in snow
Ben Griffiths (B.S., ’07) captured a snowy scene of curious sheep at the Littleton Historical Museum and his image won second place in the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s 2020 Best in Show Photography Contest.

Have you recently celebrated a wedding, baby, new job, promotion, or honor? Been published, moved into a new home, or welcomed a grandchild? Share your news with the CSU alumni family by submitting a class note. Approved class notes will be published here and in Colorado State University Magazine.


Bill Hammerich (B.S., ’69) will retire from his longtime post as chief executive officer of the Colorado Livestock Association in 2022. In the role, Hammerich has represented the state’s livestock industry in public dialogue and legislative initiatives and is a well-respected advocate for an industry that is critical to the Colorado economy is a cornerstone of Western heritage. He will dedicate a year to leadership transition. Hammerich was named 2017 Livestock Leader by the CSU Department of Animal Sciences.


Al “Bubba” Baker (attended 1974-1978) majored in social work and was a standout defensive lineman for the Rams football team; he went on to play professionally for four NFL teams over 13 seasons. In July, Pro Football Reference named him the NFL’s unofficial single-season sack leader of all time – with 23 confirmed sacks during his sensational rookie season with the Detroit Lions in 1978. The stat came to light after a close review of game film going back in time. The same year Baker logged the sack record, he was named the Associated PressDefensive Rookie of the Year. During his pro football career, Baker amassed 131 sacks, making it to three Pro Bowls, with an All-Pro selection. He and his wife later founded a popular catering business and sports-themed restaurant called Bubba’s-Q near Cleveland, Ohio, where he had played with the Cleveland Browns. The barbecue joint got a big boost in 2013, when Baker appeared on the entrepreneurial-themed television show Shark Tank with his signature boneless baby-back ribs, attracting investment that allowed him to significantly grow the business. In 2019, the restaurant closed; Bubba’s-Q continues to sell barbecue items online and in local stores. Baker, who is 64 and a member of the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame, said the widely reported confirmation of his sack record brought him to tears. Read more at Photo: CSU Athletics


Teresa Larada Horner-Miller (B.A., ’86), who lives near Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently self-published her sixth book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, which describes her spiritual journey during the pandemic and invites readers to reflect on their own experiences. Horner-Miller grew up on a family ranch in southern Colorado and worked for years as a beautician before attending CSU to earn her English degree; she was an educator for nearly three decades, then dedicated herself to writing. Most of her books have centered on life in the Southwest, and two have been finalists in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.


Autumn Bernhardt (B.A., ’01) was named 2020-2022 Fort Collins poet laureate by Wolverine Farm Publishing, a nonprofit literary and arts organization. In the role, she hosts workshops, readings, and other community events. Bernhardt has served as an instructor of environmental and social justice in CSU’s Department of Anthropology and Geography, drawing on her Indigenous background and her professional experience as an attorney working in American Indian and environmental law. As a lawyer, she has represented Colorado River Basin tribes in sacred land and water litigation and worked for the Colorado Office of the Attorney General on a number of complex water cases, including one successfully argued for the state before the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, she ran a Longhorn cattle operation for several years. Bernhardt contributed a chapter titled “Pastoral and Civilized: Water, Land, and Tribes in the Colorado River Basin” to the book Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and Reimagining the Colorado River Basin, recently published by University of California Press. She read her poetry and discussed its connections to her work and other experiences during the 2020 Fort Collins Book Fest.

Rendi Murphree (Ph.D., ’09), of Mobile, Alabama, was recently honored for her public health leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Murphree is an epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Disease Surveillance and Environmental Services within the Mobile County Health Department. The department recognized Murphree for leading efforts to reduce illness and death in the community. She started her job as bureau director in 2019, after working for many years with the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.


Angelina Howard (B.S., ’14) is a senior product manager at Amazon. She has launched multiple media products and owns the domain/roadmap across seven marketplaces for video game customer discovery, including the customer shopping journey from search, product detail page, and checkout. She has served as president of Amazon’s Black Employee Network, an employee resource group that advocates for diversity and inclusion. Howard has helped lead Amazon initiatives including BEN Startup Week, a week to highlight and support Black entrepreneurs, and the Black Excellence Gala, a scholarship event for organizations supporting underrepresented youth in STEM. She was named to the Forbes 2021 30 Under 30 list in the category of consumer technology.

Avery Buser (B.S., ’16) joined with his parents, Berenice and Tory Nelson, in becoming a new owner of The Mayor of Old Town, a nationally known beer bar in Fort Collins. The family also owns and operates Wapiti Colorado Pub, with locations in Estes Park and Loveland. They bought the business from Barb and Kevin Bolin (B.A., ’95). Buser additionally works as a broker associate and partner with The Group real estate.

Hope Cornelis (M.S., ’17) is the program coordinator for SART Peers, an acronym for Sexual Assault Resource Team. It is a school-based sexual violence prevention program with a peer-educator model and is part of the Poudre School District of Northern Colorado, run in partnership with the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center. Cornelis trains high-school student leaders to educate their peers about sexual violence prevention. She also trains school staff so they may better respond to student disclosures of abuse.


Shelby McClelland (Ph.D., ’21) recently became a climate change and soil health scientist with American Farmland Trust, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that works to conserve agricultural lands as a strategy in battling climate change. In her research, McClelland examines the ability of soils to store carbon. She was a featured scientist during 2020 World Soil Day; in promotions, McClelland described her farming background as the basis of her appreciation for healthy soils and her interest in their potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.