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Larry Collette ’99, 2019 Alumnus of the Year

By Matthew Spillum
Posted June 9, 2020

Larry Collette

Larry Collette ’99, 2019 Alumnus of the Year: “As a teacher I like to give back by mentoring and coaching and offering my experience to other lifelong learners. I try to contribute to the success of our students and alumni."

This Alumni Spotlight excerpt will appear in full in the upcoming issue of Buzz magazine.


When asked, “What is the biggest idea you associate with Metropolitan State University?”, Larry Collette ’99, Metropolitan State’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year, doesn’t hesitate. “Metro State started as the university without walls and without classrooms, offering students competency-based education. The College of Individualized Studies carries on this value today. Metro, over the last twenty years or so, has seen a tremendous transformation. It has kept the opportunity for students the same, focused on competencies and individualized education, while it has expanded and transformed into a true university: From the great facilities we have to the great breadth of degree programs, to certifications, and offering great diversity, all for the adult learner. It is just a great lifelong learning environment.”

Collette may be as connected to Metropolitan State as anyone could be. As a student, community faculty, mentor, and Alumni Association Board member and past-president, Collette could be said to have done it all. While he himself came to Metro as an adult—after years in the business world—he had been aware of it long before that. “A lot of folks in the business community were looking at Metro State for its flexibility of programming and its competency model. Also, my next oldest brother is a ’79 graduate.” Following some time focusing on his business career, he “decided to look at refreshing myself and so I applied to the MBA program at Metro. It hooked me right from the beginning, with the flexibility, the course offerings, the interaction with other adult learners, and particularly the faculty—both practitioners and resident faculty.” Like many alumni, Collette recognizes that he has a lot to be grateful for.  “I want to thank my family and especially my wife Dianne for supporting me in my education journeys. And I thank my MBA mentor, Carol Borman Young and my Department Chair Marcia Hagen for nominating me.  I also thank the Alumni Board for their consideration and awarding me this honor.”

Collette’s passion as an alumnus, advocate, instructor, and, indeed, lifelong learner is as strong as ever. He looks at the Metro State of today as a well of potential. “There was a time when we were the best-kept secret, but I think that President Ginny Arthur, in particular, has done a great job of making sure that we are well known for our educational offerings. Our graduates are in so many businesses and industries in the metropolitan area and throughout the country. We could do so much more with their support. Whether it is through financial contributions, which are always welcomed, or finding ways to give back through time, talent, and resources, we alumni should be giving back.”