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Honoring Phil Karsh

By Karsh Hagan | 

Honoring Phil Karsh

This past week, one of our fearless founders, Phil Karsh, received the George Norlin Award from the University of Colorado Boulder. The award recognizes those dedicated to the betterment of society and their community through work in their chosen fields. We are inspired by Phil and his life’s work, and by his words from his acceptance speech, below. Thank you for sparking our “flame of a life-long love of (this) industry.”


 From Phil Karsh

Thank you.

To my wonderful wife, Linda Love, who nominated me for this honor.

I want to also express my love and admiration to my daughter, Jill, and my grandsons, Josh and Jesse.

There are also many lifetime friends and role-models in this room and many more who couldn’t be here. No names, ‘cause I don’t want to leave anyone out.

You know who you are…and I’m thankful you’re all here­­—although I do want to say a special “thanks for being here” to my brother, Sid and his wife, Diane, who flew out from California to be with us tonight.

(Like the others) I’ve been asked to focus a few remarks on the important role CU has played in my life. To that task, I am thankful my dismal GPA level, that hovered somewhere slightly above 2.O, did not determine my destiny.

At this point I would like my grandsons, Jesse and Josh who are sitting right over there—guys—you can NOT use this story to justify bad grades. Just keep that in mind, okay?

Although my academic experience at CU was not my finest hour, my involvement in campus life and its government is where my CU experience became a foundation for my career, my community involvement—and for my life.

As ad ASUC student council member it was a “welcome to the real world” experience where I learned:

  • The fine art of negotiation—the intricacies of working within a bureaucracy . . . and the value of teamwork.

As vice president of my fraternity I learned:

  • The importance of listening—the strength of networking—and the power of leadership to accomplish change.


As a founding member of a newly formed student book exchange, I had my first taste of:

  • Selling a product and an idea through advertising—something that fueled the flame of a life-long love of that industry.


I even learned from failure, for it was when a group of us were attempting to find solutions to the parking problem on the Hill, that I learned some problems may never get solved. But you don’t give up trying.


At CU, you could say I learned how to live my life.


To Chancellor DiStefano and the Alumni Association, thank you for this honor.


To my friends and family who are with me tonight to help celebrate this honor, I thank you for your love and support.


And to all of you, I thank you for being here tonight.



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