Jacob Altgilbers’ journey that brought him to earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Colorado State University’s College of Business took a six-year detour around the world with the U.S. Army.
Altgilbers’ story begins in rural Illinois. When he graduated from high school at 17, he knew he wanted to leave the countryside where he grew up but couldn’t afford to attend college.
He decided to enlist in the Army, with the hope of making some money, traveling the world, and using his military benefits to go to college after his service.
His first two goals both came true. Altgilbers worked as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist – a member of the Army’s bomb squad. He was assigned to state defense missions, where he would travel with President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden to major events and keep the area and people around them secure. This role meant Altgilbers was on security operations at events like the Olympics and World Series.
After this high-pressure assignment, which resulted in a service-related injury, Altgilbers said he longed for a simpler and slower pace of life.
“I had military friends that moved to Fort Collins for business degrees, so I decided to take a chance and apply to CSU,” said Altgilbers. “I needed a change of scenery and change of pace.”
And then he achieved his third goal. Altgilbers made the jump to CSU and became the first in his family to attend college.
“Jacob is a model for what we would like our students to aspire to in regards to ethics,” wrote Eric Rapley, assistant professor of accounting, when recommending Altgilbers as an Outstanding Grad. “When we would discuss/debate ethical issues in class, he was always very passionate about honesty and ethics being of the utmost importance for the accounting profession.”
He’s already been able to apply his accounting and bookkeeping skills at his partner’s small business in Fort Collins and hopes to work for a larger firm in the future.
“I wanted to find a place that would set me up for after college,” Altgilbers said. “CSU has done that for me.”