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OJC Press Release ID: 2465

Monday, February 8, 2016

2013 Alum continues to grow on his OJC foundation

Growing up on a family farm in Fowler, Kurt Lieberknecht knew agriculture was always going to be a part of his life.  After graduating from Fowler High School, Lieberknecht spent the 2011-2012 year as a Colorado FFA (“Future Farmers of America”) State Treasurer.

Lieberknecht came to Otero Junior College during the 2012-2013 academic year to pursue an Associate degree in soil and crop science and compete on the Rattler Golf team. While at OJC, Lieberknecht participated in the inaugural year of the President’s Leadership Program.

After completing the soil and crop sciences program in a single year, a path not recommended for many, Lieberknecht transferred to Colorado State University Fort Collins. OJC was crucial for Lieberknecht to pursue more secondary education by receiving the Otero Junior College USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Soil and Crop Science full support scholarship to Colorado State University.  In May 2015, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Soil and Crop Science and Agricultural Business.

Lieberknecht recommends OJC as part of the path to a four year degree. “The environment of Otero set me up for success at CSU and life.  It was a fantastic place to start my secondary education.  Otero developed the person I am today,” said Lieberknecht.

“Being close to home and having time to learn what I needed as a support system to be successful at CSU was helpful.  If I had gone straight to CSU, I probably would not have made it through four years.  OJC was a huge building block,” said Lieberknecht. “The atmosphere is fantastic…the staff, professors, students. The golf tournaments were fantastic, too,” he added.

Asked to name individuals who had a significant impact on his life at OJC, Lieberknecht produced an impressive list. “Coach [Joe] McClain for sure.  He kept me on track. He was a great coach and mentor. I really enjoy staying in contact with him. Then there’s Samme Ormiston, Justin Osborne, Jeff Paolucci, Jim Rizzuto, Robert & Sue Samaniego, Warren McClure, Dr. Joel Gray, Lisa Gallegos, Wayne Beadles, Mark Korbitz, Ginger Davidson, Gary Addington, Kurt Long, Almabeth Kaess, Cody Long, Ashley (Watkins) Crowder …ha!  I’d have to name everybody,” he joked.

“Sorry, I know I didn’t mention everyone but all of the staff from the awesome tutors at the Student Success Center, to the amazing people like Casey Weaver and the facilities staff who keep the place looking and functioning great, to all of the professors that I had class with and others that I didn’t but supported me while at OJC… OJC felt like an extended family. It was a highlight of my 23 years on this earth,” Lieberknecht raved.

“It wasn’t only the people employed at OJC that had a very significant impact on my life, it was also a lot of my peers, classmates, teammates and group members. I made lifelong friends at Otero. I have to thank my awesome teammate, roommate and best friend, Taylor Schiffer. He kept me grounded. Also Braden Wilson and AJ Brown for making the trek up to Fort Collins with me and taking a leap of faith to join FarmHouse Fraternity. I can’t thank those two gentlemen enough,” said Lieberknecht.

Now working as a loan officer for Premier Farm Credit in Yuma, Colorado, Lieberknecht has plans to further his education in Agronomy or Water Law in the near future.

Press Release Photo
Kurt Lieberknecht