C. Michael (Mike) Elliott departed this world abruptly on July 2, leaving a huge hole in the universe. Professor of chemistry by occupation, Mike was also a loving husband, extraordinary friend, and mentor.
Mike never did things in a small way. He burst into life on August 1, 1949, and began a journey of accomplishment. His bachelor of science in 1971 from Davidson College in North Carolina, was followed with a Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He completed his postdoctoral work at Stanford University under JP Collman, and was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Vermont Burlington prior to joining Colorado State University in 1981. He served as the chemistry department chair from 1999 to 2003 and was the CSU Co-Director for the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion since 2008. His contributions to the literature in his field span close to 40 years, covering a variety of topics, most notably in the area of materials for solar energy applications. He also held U.S. and international patents on the novel materials he developed.
After coming to Fort Collins, he met Elizabeth Elliott in 1982 and married his first and only true love in 1984. They celebrated their 30 year anniversary just before his passing. But that’s only part of the story. His friendships spanned decades and especially notable was his continued relationship with a loyal group of beach friends from Davidson College. He loved his family, his job, his students, his gardening, his cats, the cabin, his friends and most of all, his Elizabeth, who took his life from black and white to Technicolor.
Mike loved spending time with students, and through his contributions to student education, he graduated over 30 Ph.D. and M.S. students and mentored countless others, including undergraduate research students as well as high school students who often spent time in Mike’s labs. He was well known for spending countless hours in the lab, performing experiments of his own alongside his students. He was always willing to talk to anyone about their science or his. Virtually every member of the department sought Mike’s scientific guidance at some point or another. His amazing passion for teaching and research has been recognized by numerous distinctions and awards including American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, College of Natural Sciences Professor Laureate, Outstanding Science Mentor Award, National Academy of Science Inter-academy Exchange Fellow, and Phillips Petroleum Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching.
In addition to his many contributions to science, education and service, Mike was well known for his forthright and honest approach to all things in life. He was not one to suffer fools with grace and aplomb but, rather, would point out foolish behavior or thinking as quickly as he would supply “ly” to poorly used adverbs. His wry sense of humor, intense dedication and no-nonsense attitude endeared him to those around him. And then, of course, there was that talent with a potato cannon. Mike’s style belied his content. While he exhibited a gruff exterior, his internal make-up was built on kindness, a great ability to love and appreciate those around him.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, who feels a great void with his passing. He also survived by his step-son, Trey Tanner (Jackie), grandsons Alex, D.J., and Nathan; and sister, Sally Sasser (Bill).
A memorial service will be held on 3:30 p.m., Friday, July 11th, in the Lory Student Centre Theatre with a reception to follow in the University Club.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the C. Michael Elliott Scholarship Fund on line at https://advancing.colostate.edu/CNS/CHEM/GIVE or with a check made out to the CSU Foundation, and mailed to P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1870. In both cases be sure to list C. Michael Elliott Scholarship Fund in the memo lines. Donations can also be made in Mike’s name to Opera Fort Collins at P.O. Box 503, Fort Collins, CO 80522 or www.operafortcollins.org.
Parking instructions for Memorial Service: Please be aware there is construction in progress at the Lory Student Center. Additional directions are below. Parking: Parking is available at the 425 LOT on the South side or the 310/315 LOT on the North side of the Lory Student Center (LSC). Meters will need to be paid until 4:00pm in these lots so please bring change ($1.25) or Visa/MasterCard/Discover for the meter. Additional parking is available in the 412, 505 and 515 lot with no charge.
425 Lot (closest to Theatre) From Prospect head NORTH on Meridian Ave and turn EAST onto South Street to gain access to this lot. From Shields turn EAST onto South Drive to gain access.
310/315 lot (closest to University Club) Take Laurel and turn SOUTH onto Meldrum Street.
MAX Shuttle http://www.ridetransfort.com/max Stops at the corner of University and Mason. Head West on University and the LSC Theatre entrance will be on the North side of the walkway.
The LSC Theatre access point is located on the south side of the building. The University Club is located in the NW corner of Lory Student Center on the second floor, in front of the Aspen Grille and next to the Cherokee Park room. As you leave the LSC Theatre, head east and north around the LSC to gain access to the University Club.
Greater CSU map: http://maps.colostate.edu/ Lory Student Center map: http://www.sc.colostate.edu/Data/Sites/1/UserFiles/Renovation/cg_lsc_revitalization_3dmaplsc_web.pdf