Passion for Improving Lives Inspires Gift of Family Ranch

Karin Utterback-Normann

Karin Utterback-Normann

Karin Utterback-Normann, a third-generation Northwest Colorado rancher and Colorado State University alumna, has created her legacy at CSU with the donation of her family ranch.

Searching for a cure for tuberculosis, Utterback-Normann's grandfather found himself in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 1905. The following year, after being joined by his wife and infant son, he began building their homestead. Today, more than 110 years later, the ranch consists of a small portion of her grandparents' ranch, plus additional land that her father purchased and homesteaded. The picturesque ranch includes a large acreage of tall mountains, dense forests, meadows of native grass, and developed springs.

Utterback-Normann and her parents have had close ties with CSU through the years. In the late 1920s, her mother was the first woman to study animal science at the University, and her father received his degree in veterinary medicine in the 1930s. Following in their footsteps, Utterback-Normann received her Master of Agriculture in 1984.

Prior to coming to CSU, Utterback-Normann worked abroad for five years, focusing on agriculture and education. Being a "nontraditional student" in her 40s, Utterback-Normann was appreciative of the needed financial assistance CSU provided. Her course work covered the interaction among anthropology, plant sciences, and agricultural economics in developing countries.

"My professors provided an excellent academic education, which was reinforced by their years of successful international work," she says.

Following graduation, Utterback-Normann returned to southern Africa, where she worked for eight years with small agricultural producers on ways to increase their crop production.

In 1996, Utterback-Normann took over her family's ranch, focusing on land conservation and restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, and water development in dryland conditions.

Through a charitable remainder trust (a gift that pays you income) and an outright gift of land with mineral rights, Utterback-Normann is giving back to CSU.

Karin Utterback-Normann on her ranch

The gift of Utterback-Normann's ranch will help agricultural education.

"I want students to be able to cross disciplines as they study, and I also want to make sure students have access to financial aid," she says.

To that end, the gift supports several programs and colleges across campus.

"I always thought that whatever assets come from this ranch should stay in the agricultural field. I am glad this ranch is going to CSU to keep the University in the forefront of agricultural education."

Keep CSU at the Forefront

The Office of Gift Planning has experience with all types of gifts and will work with you to create the legacy that fits your passion, philanthropic goals, and tax needs. Contact us at or (970) 491-4254 to get started.