Spring Commencement Speaker will encourage undergraduate students to listen well and work as an "Outlier"


Lee White, Executive Vice President and Manager for George K. Baum & Company at its Denver Public Finance Headquarters, is the Commencement Speaker for the Spring 2012 Adams State College Commencement Ceremony. His address, "Why Intentional Listening and 10,000 Hours of Work on Your Passion Will Make You an Outlier,”" will justify listening as an important communication skill and what makes some excel when others just tread water.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 12, in Plachy Hall. Adams State will award 215 degrees, including 196 bachelor's degrees, and 19 associate degrees.

White said besides contributing to self-fulfillment, a college degree also provides better communication and leadership skills. "Earning a college degree provides graduates with the ability to participate more fully in public affairs and their community as well as become responsible citizens with an expanded world view."

White believes a college degree is a necessary pre-condition to successful employment in a sophisticated economy. "The process to earn a degree requires a roll-up your sleeves and work attitude, a rare but important value for a person to accomplish. Graduates should be proud of their success."

White is responsible for the following practice areas at his firm, Colorado Governments & Infrastructure Group, Higher Education & Non-Profit Finance Group, and Renewable Energy Project Finance Group. He has been in the investment banking business for 30 years and is responsible for underwriting over $10 billion of municipal bonds. Among other things he financed Coors Field, was the Denver Bronco's Investment Banker for the financing of Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver International Airport, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the new Colorado History Center and the new Colorado Judicial Complex and Supreme Court Building. At Adams State College, he has financed Rex Field, academic facilities, new recreational facilities and new student housing.

White came to investment banking with extensive cabinet level experience in state government for Governor Richard Lamm. He was executive director of the Colorado Department of Administration in 1979-80 and then Executive Director of the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budget in 1981-82.

White is active in higher education and is the nation's leading banker for non-recourse student housing projects. He has worked on transactions as senior manager or financial advisor for over seventy universities and colleges and has financed over $5 billion in bonds for higher education institutions.

He participates in numerous professional and civic organizations, including a trustee of the Colorado Historical Society, the Greater Denver Corporation and being a member of the Colorado Forum and the Mile High Club. He was twice a local elected official as an at-large member on the Denver Board of Education in 1996 and served for four years. White has served as co-chairman U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee’s Study on Infrastructure in the United States; co-chairman City of Denver, Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee; treasurer Colorado Martin Luther King Holiday Commission and chairman of the Clayton Foundation, and president and CEO of the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation.

He received a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Steve Valdez, chair of the Adams State Board of Trustees, will convey the greetings from the board, while Loraine Glidewell will deliver the 2012 class message. Dr. Christine Keitges, professor of music, will lead the singing of the Alma Mater. A reception sponsored by AS&F will follow the ceremony for graduates and their guests in the Plachy Hall Field House.