CMC Steamboat student Chris Richardson cooks up 2 bachelor’s degrees in 3 years |

CMC Steamboat student Chris Richardson cooks up 2 bachelor’s degrees in 3 years

'One-hundred percent is my only speed'

Christopher "Chris" Richardson, who will be the class speaker during commencement ceremonies May 6 for Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, will also be awarded with two bachelor degrees.

— When Christopher "Chris" Richardson graduates from Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs with two bachelor’s degrees May 6, he may confide to his fellow students that he was still finishing up his coursework about midnight May 3.

That's the life of an over-achiever, so driven to better himself through education that he signed up for 27 credits in the spring semester.

Richardson is the student speaker for graduation ceremonies at the Steamboat campus and he’s accomplished the feat of earning two bachelor degrees in the span of three years.

"My average credit load was 20 credits per semester," Richardson said this week.

Richardson has managed to earn both a bachelor of science in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and management a bachelor of applied science with an emphasis on restaurant and culinary management.

"That's just me," Richardson said Wednesday. "One-hundred percent is my only speed. It's bonkers, but we're in the final 24-hour push for the finish at midnight tonight."

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And that wouldn’t surprise CMC Steamboat chef Instructor Jess Guarnero, who said Richardson has “this crazy, contagious enthusiasm for any courses,” he enrolls in, but “certainly in the culinary program.

“What I talk about most is that as well as taking 20 credits, he’s my adjunct instructor as well, which is amazing,” she said.

When Richardson expressed interested in teaching community cooking courses, Guarnero said that students would want to have an “experience,” and that’s what they got. People left the classes excited but also retained what they had learned, Guarnero found.

As a result, Richardson will be teaching for his college instructor again in the fall.

Although Richardson has an undying passion for restaurants, the two degrees he will earn have allowed him to recognize other pathways to a fulfilling career that he'd like to pursue.

Richardson had a background in restaurant work in Texas when he first came to Steamboat in 2010 and went to work in the back of the house at the late, great Bistro CV.

"It was those four years at Bistro CV where everything happened for me," Richardson said. “Texas was the appetizer, but CV was the main course.

"Owning and operating restaurants does have appeal for me but part of going through the educational process has been a broadening of the horizons," he explained. "I don’t just have to work in restaurants. I have 12 ideas for things I'd like to do in Steamboat and the majority are not restaurants. It really is entrepreneurship, in service of the vision of making food in Steamboat better."

Richardson, 27, vows he'll stay here for the rest of his life. And a great deal of that conviction has to do with the institution that is Colorado Mountain College.

"This place, we don't even deserve it,” Richardson said. "It's disproportionately valuable for (a town of) 12,000 people. How did we get this place and why is everyone else not banging down doors to take advantage of it. I can't wait to start paying my debt back, not student loans, but a debt of gratitude."

Chris “is pretty great,” Guarnero said. “I’m pretty proud of him.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

If you go…

What: Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs’ commencement ceremony

When: 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., Saturday, May 6.

Where: Steamboat Grand ballroom, 2300 Mount Werner Circle

Notable: Keynote speaker former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will honor graduates during CMC’s 50th anniversary year, followed by lunch at the campus