Commencement speakers for this spring’s ceremonies include:

College of Engineering: Simon Prakash, Mechanical Engineering ’89.

COE Simon Prakash PhotoSimon Prakash has just started at AliveCor, a startup in San Francisco, where he hopes to make a difference in getting EKGs into the hands of consumers to help save lives.

Prakash most recently served as the senior director of product hardware development at Google, where he led the design and development of the current and future versions of Google Glass as well as defining other future products. During his tenure at Google he was responsible for product development, technology pathfinding, and started the reliability, battery, safety and quality teams within Google[x]. Prior to Google, Prakash was a senior director of product integrity in the hardware design group at Apple for almost nine years and was directly involved in developing the first iPhone, iPad, and many industry-leading laptops and desktops.

Prakash earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado. He has served and presented on a number of IEEE and ASME conferences including component packaging, thermal design and reliability.

College of Natural Sciences: Mary Taylor Young, Zoology ’77.

CNS Commencement speaker '16 Mary headshot Heidelberg 2010Award-winning author Mary Taylor Young has been described as one of Colorado’s best known nonfiction writers. She has been writing on the wildlife, landscape and heritage of Colorado and the West for nearly 30 years. Her 15 books include Land of Grass & Sky: A Naturalist’s Prairie Journey, Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years and The Guide to Colorado Mammals. Mary’s Words On Birds column appeared in the Rocky Mountain News for 16 years, and she was editor and writer of the quarterly Colorado’s Wildlife Company for 15 years.

She has published hundreds of articles in online media and national print publications including Outside, Wildlife Conservation, Colorado Outdoors and Ladies Home Journal, and she has written extensively for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service. Her many awards include recognition from The Wildlife Society, Colorado Humanities, the Colorado Authors League, the National Association for Interpretation, the Association of Partners for Public Lands and others.

In 2012, she was awarded a residency in creative writing by the National Park Service and was an Artist in Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park. She has worked with thousands of elementary school students as a resident artist, combining nature study with creative writing.

College of Business: Gary Howard, Accounting ’73.

Gary HowardGary Howard has over 30 years of experience in the cable television, satellite and telecommunications industries, most recently serving as the chief operating officer, executive vice president and director of Liberty Media Corporation, a $50 billion company headquartered in Denver.  Prior to this position, Howard had extensive experience in mergers, acquisitions, treasury and financial matters.

After working in Arthur Andersen & Company’s Denver office as an audit manager, Howard started his career in the cable television and telecommunications industry on 1984, when he joined United Cable Television as the treasurer.

He currently serves on the CSU College of Business Global Leadership Council and is the co-founder of Miracles on Ice, a youth hockey camp that has hosted 300 inner city youth since 2007. His Howard Family Foundation has provided college financial support to more than 160 young men and women to date.

Warner College of Natural Resources: Scott Gilmore, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology ’94.

Scott GilmoreScott Gilmore is deputy executive director of Denver Parks and Planning. Denver Parks consists of 250 urban parks of close to 6,000 acres and the Denver Mountain Parks system made up of 22 parks, 24 conservation areas (14,000 acres total) and two bison herds.

After Gilmore graduated from CSU with a bachelor’s in wildlife biology and minors in fisheries and conservation biology, he was recruited by the Colorado Division of Wildlife to help create a small urban fishing program that would introduce urban youth to the joys of fishing and conservation. In 2004, this program was recognized by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as having one of the most innovative and successful urban fishing programs in the nation.

In 1996, Gilmore and his wife co-founded the nonprofit Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK). Through fun educational experiences such as fishing, hiking, and camping, urban youth are inspired to become responsible, engaged citizens and stewards to Colorado’s natural resources.