CC Alumnus, Novelist and Humor Columnist to Welcome 527-Member Class of 2013 - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038


Three alumni to receive honorary degrees at Opening Convocation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Aug. 28, 2009 – Colorado College will welcome 527 new first-year students at its Opening Convocation at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 31 at Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave. The ceremony marks the beginning of Colorado College’s 136th academic year.

The Opening Convocation ceremony begins with faculty members, dressed in their academic robes, marching into Shove Memorial Chapel from the quadrangle directly west of the chapel. Colorado College’s approximately 1,975 students will begin classes at 10:30 a.m., immediately after the ceremony.

Marc Acito, a 1990 graduate of Colorado College, novelist, former syndicated humor columnist and former professional opera singer, will be the keynote speaker at Opening Convocation.

Acito is one of three alumni to be presented with honorary degrees at the convocation; he will receive a doctor of humane letters degree. Acito’s first book, “How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater,” was published by Broadway Books in 2004 and won the Oregon Book Awards' Ken Kesey Award for the Novel; his second book, “Attack of the Theater People,” is a sequel. Acito had his first play, “Holidazed,” which examines the joys and pains of Christmas holidays, produced last fall by the Artist Repertory Theater in his hometown of Portland, Ore.

Krista Smith, who graduated from Colorado College in 1986, will receive a doctor of humane letters degree. An English major, Smith joined Vanity Fair magazine in New York as a freelance fact checker in 1989, literally starting at the bottom, working out of a basement office. She subsequently moved up from that position to become associate research editor and then features associate. In 1993, under the leadership of editor Graydon Carter, she relocated to Los Angeles to become Vanity Fair’s West Coast editor, a position she currently holds.

Tijani R. (T.J.) Cole, a 1987 CC graduate, will receive a doctor of laws degree. He is juvenile and family court magistrate for the 20th Judicial District in Boulder and co-founder of Boulder Prep High School, Justice High School and Zoubida Cole Junior College, named in honor of his parent. The author of three books, Cole is known for his innovations in developing outreach programs for high school students.  He started an at-risk high school in the courthouse and has helped hundreds of delinquent students graduate and go on to college.

Nearly 5,000 students applied to Colorado College this year. The class of 2013 brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and talent to the campus.

The incoming class features:

  • Students who have studied more than 23 foreign languages, including Swahili, Quechua, Nepali and Urdu
  • A student who designed and marketed a memory-enhancing energy drink – before building a hovercraft for golf courses
  • A student who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat
  • 18 class presidents
  • Six Boettcher Scholars
  • A student who summited Mount Kilimanjaro
  • 11 Eagle Scouts
  • 178 captains of a varsity sport, with 32 of those being a captain of at least two sports
  • A student who coordinated fund-raising efforts for Invisible Children, collecting more than $10,000
  • Four black belts in martial arts
  • 109 students who performed as actors and dancers
  • A student who sings in a barbershop quartet, another who plays the bagpipes, and a third who founded an a cappella group
  • 30 NOLS and Outward Bound graduates

First-year students arrived on Aug. 22 and participated in a week of orientation activities, which culminated in a variety of community-service trips throughout the region. The new-student orientation trips included opportunities to work with horses at a horse shelter; assist at the New Mexico Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; work at the La Puente Home in the San Luis Valley; work at the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta; and at the Trinidad State Nursing Home, among many others.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,975 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.