March 31, 2022 – Future of Work

Stowers: Utah State University “opened doors that helped me discover more about myself”


Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) Executive Director Ryan Stowers recently received the Distinguished Executive Alumnus Award from Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. 

In an award ceremony on March 23, Stowers discussed the power of individualized learning, celebrating the USU faculty and mentors who “opened doors that helped me discover more about myself.” That list included USU Professor of Political Economy Randy Simmons, who also is a professor at USU’s Center for Growth and Opportunity, a CKF partner that develops practical solutions to society’s toughest problem. 

“One lesson I’ve learned is you must constantly challenge the assumptions you make—to be willing to challenge the status quo and have the humility and intellectual honesty to recognize that we can always improve or do better,” said Stowers. “The world changes around us and so we need to be willing to change.”

Noting USU has been “an extraordinary partner” in CKF’s mission to expand the individualized educational opportunities that respect the dignity of all learners, Stowers also spoke directly to USU students about how to reach their unique potential. 

“Do what you need to do to discover who you are, your aptitudes and your interests, and then build a pathway of learning based on who you are,” Stowers said. “This approach will empower you to do great things.” 

The Distinguished Executive Alumnus Award is the highest honor the college offers. It recognizes alumni who have “shown great integrity, set a good example, demonstrated powerful leadership, and given valuable service to their community.” Stowers earned a Master’s of Arts in Political Science from USU in 2002 and his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1999.