August Ritter (B.S. ’08, M.S. ’12) began forming a global perspective before he could walk or talk. He spent the first years of his life absorbing the sights and sounds of Africa while his parents were missionaries running a nutrition center in Zambia.

The family returned home to Denver in 1990, where Ritter grew up exploring Colorado’s many natural wonders. Ritter credits his mom for sparking his lifelong love affair with the outdoors.

When it was time to choose a college, he looked at in-state options to stay close to his three younger siblings. His dad had earned an undergraduate degree at CSU before going to law school at CU Boulder, so Ritter decided to check out his father’s two alma maters.

“The Buffs were not friendly and the Rams were very welcoming,” Ritter says matter-of-factly. Both were good schools, but the down-to-earth Ram community made Ritter’s final decision easy.

However, Ritter credits CU with producing one of the most incredible things in his life: his wife Perri Ritter. “If a Ram and a Buff can survive dating through college, our marriage can survive anything,” he jokes.

Ritter says his college years were picture-perfect. “It’s unbelievable how well everything went and how amazing my experience was at CSU.”

He was no academic slouch, either. Ritter earned a B.S. in human dimensions of natural resources with an emphasis in global tourism in 2008. He also minored in both business and Spanish, and studied abroad in 2007.

A pivotal moment for Ritter happened after taking the “Impact of Tourism” class with Stu Cottrell. The class inspired Ritter to develop original course content that addressed global environmental sustainability. Ritter presented his syllabus to professor Mike Manfredo in the Warner College of Natural Resources. Manfredo paired Ritter with faculty member Paul Layden to teach Ritter’s freshman-level sustainability class “The Human Footprint.” Ritter was a senior teaching 20 eager freshmen about how they could help protect the planet.

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