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Using ground-penetrating radar, a DU anthropology professor explores the world underground

The first class of Distinguished Alumni

Lacrosse closes out a great season

Wayne Armstrong

Contents F E AT U R E S



Anthropology professor Larry Conyers is the world’s leading expert on groundpenetrating radar By Kristin Kemp


Big names in business, politics and law make up the first class of Distinguished Alumni By Daliah Singer (BA '09)

D E PA R T M E N T S 6 8 12 14 16 18 20 33


Cover photo of found artifacts by Wayne Armstrong Volume 17, Number 4

Publisher Renell Wynn, vice chancellor, marketing and communications Editor in Chief Greg Glasgow Senior Editor Tamara Chapman Art Director Miles Woolen Photo Editor Wayne Armstrong Editorial Board Armin Afsahi, vice chancellor for advancement Brandon Buzbee, associate vice chancellor for global networks Ed Rowe, director for projects and planning, office of the chancellor Sarah Satterwhite, senior director of development communications

The University of Denver Magazine is published four times a year (fall, winter, spring and summer) by the University of Denver, Division of Communications and Marketing, 2199 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO 80208-4816. The University of Denver (Colorado Seminary) is an Equal Opportunity Institution. Printed on 10% PCW recycled paper


The importance of ethical leadership By Chancellor Rebecca Chopp can’t rely on hierarchies or bureaucracies to secure power. We have to reimagine communities and organizations that are diverse, equitable and inclusive—and that provide deep purpose and meaning in a multitude of ways. And we have to create forms of ethics that address the big problems of the day and do so through new practices of collaboration and innovation. Our strategic vision, DU IMPACT 2025, is really a plan about leadership:

While Thomas Carlyle wasn’t wrong to say that the “true university ... is a collection of books,” I am more inclined to think of a university as a collection of people—an intellectual community dedicated to expanding human knowledge, educating the next generation and changing the world. Now concluding my third year at DU, and more excited than ever to serve as chancellor, I ask myself, What is it about DU that is distinctive? What is it that makes us so deeply proud to be part of this community? When pushed to give a single answer to the question of what makes DU special, my answer is that we are dedicated to 21st-century, engaged, pragmatic, ethical leadership in order to build communities in which people thrive. Some might think that “ethical leadership” is an outdated term—or that it is hackneyed. I disagree. As I look at the problems facing our nation and world, I think we need ethical leadership now more than ever. We have to reimagine what it means to be a leader in a world of complexity and rapid change, where you

As I look at the problems facing our nation and world, I think we need ethical leadership now more than ever.

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• We promise ethical leadership development for our students in an environment of deep, meaningful engagement in a diverse community. • We commit to expanding support for faculty members and strengthening infrastructure so that their scholarship and creative work can lead the future of science, arts, humanities, social sciences and the professions. • We pledge to help build our city and world through meaningful partnerships that match societal needs with DU’s resources. • And we will achieve this through the notion of One DU—leading the way for a diverse community of many perspectives that come together around common values and goals. When I say that the University of Denver is committed to 21st-century ethical leadership and community, it isn’t because I—or any one of us—decided that it’s true. It’s because so many of our stories—stories about colleagues across campus and our network for alumni, parents and friends around the world—speak to those values. You read about these stories in each issue of this magazine, and you know about them through your own life and the lives of others you know in the DU community. As you continue to read this and future issues, I encourage you to think about your own stories of DU ethical leadership in action. And, by all means, please share those stories with us!

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017


Wayne Armstrong

Students in DU’s Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management put their learning into practice in May by joining together to build a tiny house for the homeless. Students spent six weeks on campus constructing the house; it was then donated to the Colorado Village Collaborative, an organization that is building tiny home villages in Denver for the homeless. Each village will have about 11 homes, plus a communal kitchen, bathroom and shower. All the material and most of the equipment used on the project were donated by local businesses.


Men’s lacrosse slips to Maryland in NCAA semifinal

John Baker

The NCAA championship proved elusive for another year for the DU men’s lacrosse team, which lost 9-8 to the Maryland Terrapins in the May 27 semifinal game at Gillette Stadium outside of Boston. Maryland went on to defeat Ohio State in the championship game. This was DU’s fifth trip to the NCAA semifinals; the Pioneers beat Maryland in the finals in 2015 for their first-ever national championship. The game kept Pioneers fans on high alert. With only 15 seconds remaining in the final quarter, junior Connor Donahue took off for the goal, ran past his defender and scored on a dive shot. It appeared that

the Pioneers had battled back and tied the game against top-seeded Maryland. However, the goal was called off because Donahue landed in the crease, and Maryland was able to run off the final remaining seconds. “When we got to 8-8, I thought we had a chance,” said DU coach Bill Tierney. “Our kids just played like warriors. Couple bad breaks here and there; could have gone either way. But they played hard.” The Pioneers finished the 2017 season with a 13-4 record. In the individual honors department, sophomore midfielder Colton Jackson received the NCAA Elite 90 Award for men’s lacrosse. The award is

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presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships. “Think back on the great four years we had at Denver—three final fours and a national championship is obviously huge,” defenseman Christian Burgdorf told the Denver Post following the loss. “The great people we’ve met on the way and the lessons we’ve learned and developed as young men over the past four years—it’s a [heck] of an experience and something I wouldn’t trade.”

Victory lap

A new leader for women’s hoops

It was a huge year for DU athletics, with a national hockey championship, the dawn of a new men’s basketball era under coach Rodney Billups and final four appearances by the men’s lacrosse team and men’s soccer team. In between, no fewer than 11 other teams made NCAA tournament appearances, and 10 took home top honors in their league. It’s no surprise that in July, DU won its fifth straight Learfield Directors’ Cup, awarded each year to the top Division I non-football school. Here are some highlights of the year in Pioneer. • On April 8, the men’s hockey team defeated the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 3-2 to bring home DU’s first NCAA hockey trophy since the team won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. Coach Jim Montgomery, team captain Will Butcher and goalie Tanner Jaillet all received individual NCAA honors. • The men’s soccer team in November turned in its second unbeaten regular season. The team went on to win its fourth straight Summit League title and advanced to the NCAA tournament, where a victory over UNLV gave DU soccer its first tournament win since 1970. The team was eliminated in the semifinal round of the NCAA College Cup. The women’s soccer team claimed its first Summit League regular season title since the 2013 season. Wayne Armstrong

• In its first season under new coach Tom Hogan, the volleyball team won the Summit League championship and made it to the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, where the Pioneers lost to Stanford. • In women’s golf, DU won its fourth straight Summit League title and advanced to the NCAA tournament, where the team finished in 12th place. • The DU gymnastics squad advanced to the NCAA National Championship, where the team shattered the program record for highest team score at nationals and set new school records for team score in the national semifinals on bars, beam and floor. In April, DU was selected to host NCAA regionals in 2020. • On the slopes, the Pioneers ski team made its 25th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, finishing third in the nation. The team was just short of claiming its 24th national championship. • The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams and the men’s and women’s tennis teams all finished the season as Summit League champions. All four teams advanced to the NCAA Championships. Women’s tennis fared especially well at the tourney, beating USC and notching its first-ever All-Americans. • The women’s lacrosse team made it to the Big East Championship but fell in the title game to the Florida Gators. Pioneers Caitlin Derry, Julia Feiss and Emily Conway were named to the Big East All-Tournament team for their efforts.

Wayne Armstrong

Jim Turgeon, former head women’s basketball coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo, was named DU’s women’s head coach in March. Turgeon spent the last two seasons at CSU-Pueblo compiling a 54-10 record, the highest by any coach in school history. Prior to his time at CSU-Pueblo, Turgeon was head coach at Iowa Western Community College. He tallied a record of 191-65 in eight seasons, and in his last five seasons his team’s record was 80-8. Before coaching at Iowa Western, Turgeon was head coach at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. Turgeon graduated from Washburn University in Kansas, where he studied physical education with an emphasis in sports facilities management. His younger brother, Mark, is men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland.


Initiative will fund construction of new student center, residence hall

Wayne Armstrong

A re-imagined Driscoll Student Center, a residence hall dedicated to first-year students and a new career center for students and alumni all are in the planning stages, thanks to an April decision by the Board of Trustees to raise money for new construction to improve the student experience at DU. Funding for the new and redesigned buildings—expected to total $143 million—will come from philanthropy and partnerships, room-and-board revenue and a student fee once all buildings are open for use. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2020. “We believe these initiatives are foundational to key elements of DU IMPACT 2025,” board chair Doug Scrivner said in a campus forum announcing the “Denver Advantage” initiative. Chancellor Rebecca Chopp, who introduced the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan in 2016, said the new construction will help DU attract the “best and the brightest” in students and faculty. A new student center, known for the moment as the community commons,

will provide collaborative spaces and expanded dining options for the campus community. Conceived as a central hub where students can convene for socializing and cultural activities when the school day is done, the building will allow for informal encounters among students, faculty and staff. It is hoped that its design also will encourage alumni to return for community events and to mentor students. The new residence hall for first-year students will provide space designed in a “cluster” model—placing small groups of 20 or so students in “micro-cohorts” to support a sense of community and help students launch a successful college career. “This will also increase our ability to house more juniors and seniors, who are increasingly asking to live on campus to be better connected to the campus community and because rising Denver rents are becoming less tenable,” Chopp said. “Looking forward, we expect to address calls for more affordable housing for graduate students, as well as faculty and staff who wish to live closer to campus.”

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In response to DU IMPACT 2025 and its call to the University to prepare students for lives and careers of achievement and purpose, a new Career Achievement Center is expected to be more visible and more accessible to students, employers and alumni. “This important resource is not [currently] used by nearly as many students and alumni as we would like,” Chopp said. “We want to help students prepare for career achievement throughout their time at DU—and connect them with our network of 140,000 alumni living around the globe, as well as employers in Denver and beyond. [We] believe a new facility will help make this possible.” In addition to the Denver Advantage initiative, the University has embarked on a yearlong campus master-planning project, partnering with planning and architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross. The effort will find ways to enhance DU’s position as a vital resource within Denver and the surrounding community, promote diversity and inclusion, and improve the University’s sustainable practices.


Words of wisdom

Commencement Weekend, June 9–10, saw more than 1,200 undergraduates and more than 1,800 graduate students accept their diplomas in Magness Arena. Alumnus Jim Lentz (BA ’77, MBA ’78), who oversees all of Toyota’s North American affiliate companies, delivered the undergraduate address on June 10. Lentz explained to the graduates the importance of determining what they truly value most, and then working for a company that shares in those values and beliefs. “Find your North Star, find your compass, and let it be your guide,” he said. “Know who you are deep down inside, find out what motivates you, find out what makes you truly happy, and then pursue that with a single-minded passion.” Addressing graduate students on June 9 was Robert Smith, a graduate of Denver’s East High School who is now CEO of investment firm Vista Equity Partners. In his speech, Smith encouraged the departing graduate students not to be observers or followers, but instead to be thinkers and doers. “I believe there is only one way to approach this daunting task. Be purposeful,” Smith said. “Just a few years ago, the trendy advice to give in a commencement speech was to experience many different jobs and industries. That may be good advice for some, but one of the burdens of your advanced degree is that you don’t have this luxury.”


One Day for DU

The third annual edition of DU’s 24-hour giving blitz took place on May 24. It was the most successful to date in terms of dollars raised and contributions made.

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Stars on stage

In their words “I feel like the story of American chattel slavery and this incredible cultural tradition, built up within a community of people who were victims and often seen as incapable of standing up for themselves, is such a powerful story that I want the whole world to know about it. But apparently not everyone does.”

Fans of jazz and dance will find a lot to love about the 2017–18 Newman Center Presents series, which kicks off in September at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts on campus. Announced in April, the forthcoming season includes the debut of the Family Series, which will feature programming geared for children ages 6 and older, as well as their families. Scheduled acts for the Family Series include violin/viola duo Black Violin (Sept. 28–29); Erth’s DINOSAUR ZOO LIVE, a theatrical performance featuring an eye-popping collection

of amazingly lifelike dinosaurs and other creatures (Nov. 11); the Cashore Marionettes (March 23–24); and ODC Dance’s presentation of “The Velveteen Rabbit” on April 27. Families can arrive one hour early to experience the Newman Center KIDZONE, which will feature coloring, face painting and more. Another new offering, the Student Matinee Series, brings students in grades K-12 to the Newman Center for one-hour performances during the school day. Homeschool students are also welcome to attend.





13: Pedrito Martinez Group partnership

11: Tierney Sutton Band 26: Spectrum Dance Theater

with the Biennial of the Americas 28-29: Black Violin Family Series october

7: Martha Graham Dance Company 20: A New World: Intimate Music from

Final Fantasy november

4: Gregory Porter 11: Erth’s DINOSAUR ZOO LIVE

Family Series 17: Mavis Staples 19: The King’s Singers december

7: Spanish Harlem Orchestra 19: Windham Hill “Winter Solstice”


1: wild Up 22: Antonio Sanchez, BiRDMAN LiVE march

10: L.A. Dance Project 13: Sarah Chang 23-24: Cashore Marionettes Family Series april

6: Nrityagram Dance Ensemble 27: ODC Dance, “The Velveteen Rabbit”

Family Series may

3: Terence Blanchard & the E-Collective july

23-24: Presenting Denver Dance Festival

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—Art Jones, teaching professor at the Lamont School of Music and former director of the Spirituals Project, quoted in a March 7 New York Times article on the well-known African-American spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and its frequent use in England as a drinking song and an anthem to excite the crowd at rugby matches.

“After five years in power, there are no signs that the mercurial and corpulent Kim is mellowing. Since perp-walking his uncle out of a party meeting and having him shot soon after, Kim has been on a murder spree, executing more than 300 people, often in public with firing squads. Initial hopes that the Swiss-educated, thirdgeneration dictator would be a reformer and accede to international demands to abandon his nuclear program have long died along with his victims.” —Christopher Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, writing about North Korea leader Kim Jong Un for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People issue.


Shelf-Discovery: Great reading from the DU community

Wayne Armstrong

Making sense Ongoing turmoil in the Middle East is often attributed to “sectarianism”—a catch-all explanation popular with pundits and politicians worldwide. But in “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East” (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-editors Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel attempt to redirect the discussion, arguing that it’s wrong to blame conflicts in places like Syria and Yemen on centuries-old sectarian differences. “I think it’s a complete distortion to try to interpret the problems of the Middle East today to something that goes back to the seventh century,” says Hashemi, director of DU’s Center for Middle East Studies. “Our book is geared toward repudiating that simplistic and intellectually lazy argument.”

Pet theories Today it’s normal not just to own pets, but to treat them like members of the family. But as history professor Ingrid Tague explains in “Animal Companions: Pets and Social Change in EighteenthCentury Britain” (Penn State University Press, 2015), keeping pets wasn’t always acceptable. In the 1700s, in fact, it was considered morally wrong. That changed in the next century, Tague explains. “Over time, the natural

world stopped being seen as a threat that needed to be conquered and started to be seen as embodying God’s benevolence and love. In that context, people started to view affection for animals as a sign of a positive connection to nature.”

Back to the classics The late John Williams—the DU professor known for penning the cult classic “Stoner”—is back in the literary limelight, this time for “Augustus” (New York Review Books Classics). First published in 1972, it’s the only one of his novels to earn critical accolades in Williams’ lifetime, winning the 1973 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. Writing in the March 7 edition of Lithub, an online book news site, blogger and critic Scott Esposito reminds readers that historical fiction can highlight parallels with the present. “‘Augustus’ reveals the personalities behind the use of enormous, naked power, showing the exceptional challenges to wielding that power effectively, and the grave danger of it falling into incapable hands.”

Get happy! Poet Eleni Sikelianos, a professor in DU’s creative writing program, takes on everyone’s favorite pursuit in her latest volume, “Make Yourself Happy” (Coffee House Press, 2017). Combining poetry with photographs,

drawings and—improbably—displays of data, the collection doesn’t just explore different takes on happiness. It also ponders its price tag. In “How to Assemble the Animal Globe,” for example, Sikelianos laments the loss of creatures driven to extinction by humans seizing their pelts, horns and habitats—all in the interests of a happier existence. Sikelianos is not so much interested in providing a road map to happiness’ street address as she is in puzzling over the philosopher’s eternal question: How to live?

One dark day With his latest novel, “The Evening Road” (Little Brown and Co., 2017), creative writing professor Laird Hunt introduces readers to two women—one black, one white—on the day of a lynching in Jim Crow-era Indiana. Depicting the characters’ experience of the day, the book explores how they negotiate a world colored by fear and hatred. Widely reviewed and critically acclaimed, the book was inspired, in part, by time Hunt spent as a child on an Indiana farm. There, he learned about a notorious lynching reportedly attended by thousands of revelers. Find more books coverage and video interviews with DU authors at

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Tribal rhythms More than 100 tribal nations from eight states participated in the seventh annual New Beginnings Pow Wow on May 7. Presented each year by DU’s Native Student Alliance, the free campus event features Native American jewelry, crafts, food and traditional dancing. This year’s event also recognized four Native American students who graduated in June. photo by Wayne Armstrong


A new generation of Latino leaders By Curtis Esquibel

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Wayne Armstrong

By almost anyone’s account, Stella Peterson’s story was one of success. A first-generation college graduate, entrepreneur, triathlete and mother of two, Peterson already had an impressive resumé. But she wanted more—primarily to expand her network and to make contact with other Latinos in Colorado's business world. “I wanted to connect with others who looked like me and shared similar experiences,” says Peterson, 38, founder of her own PR firm, Stella PR + Marketing. “I wasn’t sure I would ever find that community.” She found that network of support, and then some, at the University of Denver’s Latino Leadership Institute (LLI), a program designed to elevate Colorado Latino leaders into positions of influence across sectors and industries. Through its LLI Fellowship—an intensive nine-month executive leadership development program that holds classes on one Friday evening and one Saturday each month—the institute prepares graduates to advance to the next level in their business, government, civic or nonprofit work. The organization also invites nationally recognized experts in business, film, media and politics to campus to share their insights on the Latino community. “We have Latino professionals throughout our state who are exceptional leaders in their respected industries,” says Joelle Martinez, executive director of the LLI, noting that LLI fellows have an average of 15 years of professional experience and nearly 70 percent hold an advanced degree. “They also possess a desire to grow individually while wanting to advance the Latino community and the state of Colorado.” The context of Latino leadership in Colorado is more important than ever. Today, Latinos make up 21 percent of the state’s population. By 2050, according to population estimates, nearly one in three Coloradans will identify as Latino. Yet, as Martinez says, “demography does not determine destiny.” This is because Latinos are underrepresented in executive leadership roles across all sectors, Martinez explains. Nationally, Latinos represent only 3 percent of trustees on Fortune 500 boards of directors and 2 percent of CEOs. In the nonprofit sector, not even 3 percent of foundation CEOs or presidents are Latino. Of Colorado’s 681 elected offices, only 7 percent are occupied by Latinos. “When fellows graduate from the LLI, they are

ready to serve on boards and commissions,” says Martinez, recently recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in Colorado by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “They also have a deeper understanding of public policy and how to work across sectors.” The impact of the LLI’s fellowship program is quantifiable. To date, the more than 40 individuals who have graduated from the program have joined 21 boards and commissions across the state. Recent graduates include Melanie Herrera Bortz (BA ’88), who recently was named to the steering committee for the Center for Health Equity at Denver Health Medical Center; Alejandra “Ale” Spray, a new addition to the Colorado-based board of directors at Bellco Credit Union; and Antonio Parés, who was named to the Colorado Charter School Institute board. After Peterson completed the fellowship, she joined the board of the Colorado Children’s Museum and was appointed to the State Lottery Commission, where she is the lone woman and the only Latina serving as a commissioner. “Being in the LLI helped me to realize I could do and be so much more,” says Peterson, whose clients include Solite International luggage and Lifetime Fitness. “Even though I was a business owner, the old me would have often chosen the safe route. The mentorship, network and fellowship course material helped to push me forward.” By 2020, the institute expects to have more than 200 fellows and alumni like Peterson, Martinez says. To support its mission and elevate Latino leadership, the institute also has created the Colorado Latino Hall of Fame. At its annual fall gala, the institute honors and recognizes the legacy of Latino leaders past and present in six categories. As the LLI grows, it plans to continue partnering with researchers to share data and provide a deeper understanding of issues affecting the Latino population. “Our efforts and outcomes are focused on one word—impact,” Martinez says. “By applying a blend of leading academic research and lived experiences to critical conversations, we can more effectively address issues that impact the everyday lives of Latinos in America with a leadership lens.” Learn more at

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Revisiting Sarajevo Story and photos by Keith Jones (BSBA ’97)

20 years ago

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Twenty years is a long time. Technology has changed drastically. Styles and fashions have evolved. New generations have been born. And life has moved forward. For me, 20 years means something different. Something a bit more special. Something more character-defining. Twenty years ago, I had the opportunity to do volunteer work in the former Yugoslavia following the breakup of that country. As part of DU’s Pioneer Leadership Program, I spent two summers working with kids who had experienced horrors I had only read about or seen on TV. On my first trip, I worked with other DU volunteers to run a day-care center for children at a refugee camp located on the island of Brač, near Split, Croatia. Over my second summer, I worked with DU volunteers to teach English and computer skills to teenagers in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia, I lived in the same building with refugees—people who had a new view on hatred and divisiveness. I ate with the children who were rediscovering parts of their childhood. I learned of their experiences and how war changed their lives forever. I heard stories about fathers, brothers, uncles, sons being killed. Stories about shelling, grenades and land mines at all hours of the day. Stories about homes being burned and destroyed and physical possessions being taken away. Stories about fleeing in the middle of the night to escape what was happening. These stories led me to want to do more, and I volunteered to go back to the war-torn country. This time, it was to Sarajevo. During my time there, I experienced living in a city that was once under siege. Blown-out buildings. Homes destroyed and burned. Fences and light posts riddled with bullet holes. It was a city of fresh wounds on their way to becoming scars. New stories emerged from the teenagers too: running for cover from sniper fire while trying to get water and bread; the constant and persistent sound of military fire on the city from the surrounding mountains. My time in Croatia and Bosnia changed me. I became more appreciative of life, grateful for the things I’d been given and the opportunities I had. I became more curious, with a tremendous desire to learn. I became more self-aware and conscious of the impact I can have on people—which ultimately led me to a career in human resources. In November 2016, I made a trip back to Sarajevo. I needed to see it again. I wanted to see how the people

and the city had moved forward. As the plane landed, I was glued to the window. I expected to see blown-out homes, burned-up cars and damaged buildings. Instead, I saw homes rebuilt, buildings restored and cars on the road. I saw a bustling city full of life. On the cab ride to the hotel, my breath was taken away on multiple occasions. Buildings I remembered as devastated or damaged had been repaired and rebuilt. Train cars were operational, carrying passengers. New buildings changed the skyline I remembered. The city was vibrant, with people out walking the streets and drinking coffee and beer in cafes and bars. Gone were the warnings for land mines, the soldiers with machine guns on each corner. It truly felt like a different place. Over the next few days, I was able to explore the city and revisit many of the locations and sights I had seen 20 years before. On the surface everything appears to have moved forward in Sarajevo, but a little more questioning and digging tells a different story. Yes, there is vibrancy and activity in the city, but a tour guide told me that much of that can be attributed to the high unemployment rate. As I learned, most students who go to university move away to find employment since jobs are scarce. During my return visit, I spent quite a bit of time in museums and on tours. I felt it was important to re-immerse myself in the area’s history. I made my way back to Mostar and was able to see the Stari Most (aka the Old Bridge) rebuilt. I experienced the old town in its restored beauty—once a tourist destination, then completely destroyed by war, and now moving forward as much as it can. However, the rest of the city, even just one block away from the beautiful restorations, still betrays a tremendous amount of damage. Signs around the Stari Most remind people to “never forget” what happened there. The trip was sobering. It was great to see how much the city has changed and moved forward from the destruction, but on the flip side, it was hard to hear about the divisions that still exist among the leaders of the country and its people. As I sit back and reflect on my 20-year journey in the former Yugoslavia, I’m very humbled and very grateful. Thanks to DU, I took my classroom learning to a new level and became part of the history that would one day be written about in books—a history that would become only a distant memory to many people even though their lives were forever changed because of it. I look forward to seeing Sarajevo in another 20 years and continuing this amazing chapter of my life.


University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017



Lessons in leadership By Madeline Phipps (MA '16)

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Wayne Armstrong

Emily Wolverton has taken on more responsibilities in her four years at DU than many people do in a lifetime. She graduated in June with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry, leadership and business administration. Throughout her undergraduate career she also volunteered in Denver-area hospitals and worked as a tour guide and orientation leader on campus. If there’s a common theme in Wolverton’s activities, it’s her involvement in DU’s Pioneer Leadership Program (PLP), a living and learning community that admits 88 incoming undergraduate students each year. From their first days on campus, PLP students form a tight-knit community, living on the same residential floor and taking leadership courses that give them the opportunity to engage in community projects throughout their time at DU. “The first-year living experience is part of what really gets you connected to your class,” Wolverton explains. “It’s a group of people who are different—a mix of majors and backgrounds—but who are similarly motivated to be involved and make change.” Wolverton decided to apply for PLP after serving on student council and leading other activities during high school. “When I looked into the program, I really liked all of the community involvement,” she says. “I didn’t want to come to college and be stuck in a bubble on campus—I liked the idea of getting out into the community.” As part of their volunteer activity, all PLP students work on a community-change project during their sophomore year. Wolverton’s group focused on the issue of body image, developing a curriculum for Englewood Middle School on body positivity. “The sixweek program culminated with outdoor affirmation activities, and we hung up posters where kids had written what they learned,” Wolverton explains. Wolverton is confident her participation in PLP has helped shape her future. She’s planning to attend medical school next year, and after graduation she headed to Guatemala for a combined languageimmersion and volunteering program for pre-med students. Through PLP, she has been connected with an alumni mentor who is currently a third-year medical student. “PLP really defined my college career,” she says. “This community has empowered me and given me confidence in myself to make changes in the world that I wouldn’t have believed I was capable of before.” University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017



A veteran finds his voice By Greg Glasgow

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Steven Dunn thought he was a painter until his girlfriend (now wife) pointed out the number of words he used in his paintings. That’s when he realized his true calling was writing. “I knew that I wasn’t doing what I needed to do with painting,” says Dunn (BA ’14). “I felt like I wasn’t getting something, and I didn’t realize that I was substituting that with words. I had always been a reader, and when I started writing, I knew it was what I needed to be doing.” So after 10 years in the Navy, Dunn moved to Denver, where he had once been stationed, and enrolled in DU’s creative writing program. A 28-year-old freshman in 2010, Dunn is now an alumnus whose debut novel—which started out as his undergraduate thesis—was nominated for a 2017 Colorado Book Award. Published by Tarpaulin Sky Press, Dunn’s “Potted Meat” is inspired by his childhood in an impoverished West Virginia town. In short, fragmented chapters, characters struggle with poverty, racial tensions, abusive parents and alcohol addiction. The book’s style, Dunn says, was born of a revelation that came from the fiction he read in classes taught by DU English professors Selah Saterstrom and Laird Hunt. “They weren’t very mainstream books, and they articulated concerns that I didn’t know I had,” he says. “I wasn’t exposed to that many books outside of the mainstream, so I was just tired of writing and tired of books. The books that they gave me gave me permission to do what I thought was possible.” Dunn participates in a writing group with

a number of his former DU classmates; he also appears regularly at the F-Bomb flash fiction series at Denver’s Mercury Café and at Don’t Yell At Me, a monthly reading series in Boulder County. With another military veteran, Lorenzo James, Dunn started a monthly reading series that focuses on giving space to writers of color. He also helps run the Denver Veterans Writing Workshop with fellow veteran Jason Arment. Dunn has fully embraced his life as a writer—and he is gratified that readers are connecting with “Potted Meat” in the same way he has connected with favorite books and their authors. “A lot of people have emailed me and said, ‘I really identify with this’ or ‘This happened to me, and now I have a way to talk about it,’ which felt good because I’ve gotten that from a lot of books before too,” says Dunn, who just finished a book about his experiences in the military. “It was like, ‘Wow, I get to contribute to this thing that I’ve already loved and gotten so much from.’”

Literary DU

Wayne Armstrong

Steven Dunn wasn’t the only DU-affiliated author nominated for a 2017 Colorado Book Award. Current creative writing PhD student Carolina Ebeid also was nominated for “You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior” (Noemi Press), her debut poetry collection. And winning the award in their respective categories were alumnus Mario Acevedo (MCIS ’98), who served as editor of the anthology “Found: Short Stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers,” and current creative writing PhD student Mona Awad, who won in the literary fiction category for “13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl” (Penguin), a “novel in stories” that explores issues of body image and self-awareness. University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 21

22 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

Undergraduate Commencement

Saturday, June 10, 2017

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 23







en miles inland from the coast of the Connecticut River, the landscape is punctuated by a picturesque horse ranch complete with leafy shade trees, white picket fences and expanses of bright green grass. But DU archaeologist Larry Conyers can show you an entirely different picture of the farm … underground. Conyers and two graduate students, Maeve Herrick and Jasmine Saxon, used groundpenetrating radar (GPR) technology to find out if an early 17th-century farmstead was once located at the site of the expansive ranch, which is now owned by a local family. The DU team ended up uncovering what may be the first archaeological evidence of cohabitation between early colonists and Native Americans. “This is arguably the most important historic period archaeological site to be identified in the state of Connecticut,” says Brian Jones, who, as Connecticut state archaeologist, is leading the investigation of the property. “The site documents an especially poorly understood period of colonial history as the first English settlers of the Connecticut River Valley adjusted to a new way of life.” Conyers, who chairs DU’s anthropology department, is the world’s leading expert on GPR, a technology that uses high-frequency radar pulses to create images of objects and architecture buried underground. GPR is critical to the field of anthropology because it allows

scientists to avoid the often irrevocable damage to buried materials frequently associated with excavation. Rather than spend months or years digging in the ground, Conyers can safely use GPR to view what is otherwise hidden to the human eye. Conyers and the two students determined that the Connecticut horse farm was once a multi-house colonial family settlement from the 1630s. Their research also revealed evidence that Wangunk Indians lived in or near the settlement at the same time as the colonists. “Very few 17th-century English settlements have been identified in Connecticut, and next to nothing related to 17th-century English settlement had been archaeologically explored,” Jones says. “The presence of Native American material on the site adds to our appreciation of the complex relationship between the English and their native neighbors at this time.” Archaeologists like Jones and historians around the world regularly ask Conyers to investigate their sites because of his masterful use of GPR technology. He has uncovered medieval Irish farming communities, African mass graves and buried pueblos. He selects projects, in large part, based on what would make good research assignments for his graduate students. Members of the Connecticut team contacted Conyers when their preliminary site work gave them reason to believe that historically significant artifacts were located at the horse

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 25

ranch. Locals had long believed the site was a colonial homestead. The property owners knew their ancestors were early settlers, and the family was curious about what might be buried there. “It was a perfect test site for GPR because the land had been relatively untouched—it’s been used only as a working farm by the same family for centuries,” Conyers says. He accepted the Connecticut invitation, and Herrick and Saxon had their thesis projects. In close partnership with the owners, state officials and community volunteers, Herrick and Saxon first conducted a large, magnetic, geophysical survey during DU’s spring break in 2016. This guided them to the general area of what turned out to be important buried features. Next, they collected GPR data that revealed exactly where the team should excavate to find artifacts: buried cellars of the earliest houses. Herrick and Saxon, both of whom came to DU to study GPR under Conyers, used the radar equipment to point to the location where a rare and fully intact Native American pot was discovered. Ultimately, hundreds of pottery fragments were discovered throughout the site. Curiously, they found the intact pot inside the cellar of a colonial home. Obtaining an intact artifact is particularly important because very few fragile artifacts are found wholly preserved. Finding it in the colonial home creates more questions than answers. In addition, the graduate students found a possible series of Native American dwellings about 200 feet southwest of the colonialist houses. There is some indication that Native American dwellings may have stood right in the middle of the cluster of colonial houses. “We just don’t know yet,” says Conyers as to why Native Americans and early colonists may have cohabitated. The DU team has dozens of working hypotheses that must be tested. With the artifacts already discovered providing what Jones calls “tangible proof of the close relationship between the colonials and the neighboring Wangunk people,” the Connecticut team expects to continue working at the site for five more years.

26 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

“The most memorable event was when we started to break ground at the site,” Saxon says. “Maeve and I had already run the GPR survey and had calculated the depth to the top of each cellar. When we later excavated, our measurements were exactly on. It was really exciting to take all of the GPR knowledge that we had learned and apply it to a reallife scenario, especially because we were so accurate.” Conducting GPR research is both taxing and time-intensive. As Conyers notes, “The students must spend time every evening on site, processing and visualizing their data from that day. But the really hard work is done back on campus. It can take up to a week of analysis and processing for every day of collection in the field.” Independent research by other archaeologists needs to be completed to verify the DU team’s findings. In the meantime, Conyers has asked his students several huge yet basic questions: “What was the pot doing in the cellar? What were the houses doing so close together?” Herrick and Saxon will attempt to answer Conyers’ questions in their theses. They also hope to abate the curiosity of the property’s owners. Conyers, meanwhile, is delving into other GPR projects around the world. He’s done roughly 400 so far. Recent projects include searches for Neanderthal remains in coastal Portugal; Aborigine graves in Australia; temples and tombs in the Middle East; medieval castles in Ireland; and ancient Roman sites in Croatia. In spring 2017, with DU undergraduate and graduate students in tow, he ventured to a Wheat Ridge graveyard at the request of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver. Conyers helped officials there discover the location of a woman’s body buried more than 100 years ago. The church is considering making her a saint. “All GPR projects are great. Every survey is different and a challenge, as the materials in the ground are unknown or only vaguely known,” Conyers says. “As the ground conditions are always different, what is found buried in that ground is always exciting.”

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 27

BY DALIAH SINGER (BA '09) ILLUSTRATIONS BY SAM KERR 28 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

Big names in business, politics and law make up the first class of Distinguished Alumni University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 29

When Crisanta Duran (BA ’02, public affairs and Spanish) decided to run for office at age 29, her dual bachelor’s degrees became powerful tools. “Being able to speak with people in their native language was very, very helpful” says the sixth-generation Coloradan who in November became the first Latina to be named speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. In May, the University honored Duran’s accomplishments and service to the community by naming her to the inaugural class of Distinguished Alumni. The new award, conceived by Advancement, recognizes a group of six alumni who are leaders in their fields and demonstrate DU’s far-reaching impact. Duran’s fellow recipients are just as distinguished: Debra Crew (BA ’93), president and CEO of Reynolds American; United Nations prosecutor Brenda Hollis (JD ’77); Imran Khan (BSBA ’00), chief strategy officer at Snapchat; Jim Kennedy (BSBA ’70), chairman of media conglomerate Cox Enterprises; and Craig Patrick (BSBA ’69), a former DU hockey player and athletics director who later managed the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. They each received a walnut-and-steel award—crafted on campus—depicting the topography of Mount Evans. “Crisanta’s leadership is a barrier-breaker,” says Brandon Buzbee, associate vice chancellor, global networks, adding that each award recipient personifies DU’s pioneering spirit. “In a lot of ways, these individuals are leaders because they’re doing things that others haven’t done before them.” A seven-member selection committee made up of alumni spent four months choosing the honorees. Committee members

(BA ’93, Spanish and international studies) Winston-Salem, N.C. In January 2017, Crew was appointed president and CEO of Reynolds American. She previously served as president and COO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and held senior management positions at PepsiCo, Mars Inc. and Dreyer’s. Crew, who was ranked No. 47 on Fortune’s 2016 Most Powerful Women list, served in the Army from 1993–97 and serves on the board for Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

(BSBA ’00, economics and finance) Los Angeles, Calif. Now chief strategy officer at Snapchat, Khan was formerly global head of internet investment banking at Credit Suisse. Prior to that, he was head of global internet research at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Born and raised in Bangladesh, Khan came to the U.S. to study at DU’s Daniels College of Business. He has a long history of working with internet companies and has advised several prominent firms, including Weibo and Alibaba, on their initial public offerings.

(JD ’77) Morrison, Colo. United Nations prosecutor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Hollis served as the lead prosecutor in the trial and appeal of the case against Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia. She also serves as the reserve international co-prosecutor for the extraordinary chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and works as a consultant in international criminal law and procedure. Hollis served as a U.S. Air Force officer for more than 20 years, retiring with the rank of colonel.

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(BA ’69, business administration) Columbus, Ohio A DU hockey player from 1966–69, Patrick was director of athletics and recreation at DU from 1987–89. Following an eight-year National Hockey League career, he landed the dual role of assistant coach and assistant general manager of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic team. Patrick later served as general manager of the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

(BA ’02, public affairs and Spanish) Denver, Colo. Duran ran for office when she was only 29 and is now the first Latina speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. As house majority leader in the 2015 and 2016 sessions, Duran marshalled strong bipartisan support for the legislative package known as Colorado Ready to Work. Her signature achievement during the 2013 session was a law making the in-state tuition rate at Colorado colleges and universities available to all students, regardless of immigration status.

(BSBA ’70, management) Atlanta, Ga. Kennedy, a former DU trustee, is chairman of media conglomerate Cox Enterprises, which in addition to newspapers, television stations and radio stations owns, Kelley Blue Book, and Valpak. In 2008, Kennedy gave the University a $10 million gift to create the James C. Kennedy Institute for Educational Success in the Morgridge College of Education. A noted conservationist and former professional cyclist, Kennedy was a leading force behind Atlanta’s successful bid to host the Olympic Games in 1996.

focused on shaping a class that represented a diversity of ages, programs, backgrounds and careers. “They’re very well-rounded individuals who all have been able to excel at the highest levels,” says Craig Harrison (BSBA ’03), University trustee and chair of the selection committee. “It’s leadership; it’s the ability to better the communities they’re in; it’s the philanthropic side. Every one of these people, we felt, had big impacts on their communities and showcased what it means to be DU alumni.” A new set of individuals will be recognized each year going forward. The University has honored individual alumni achievements since 1951, but Advancement wanted to start a new tradition this year, one that simultaneously applauds a group of luminaries, instills a sense of pride in the Pioneer community, and inspires current and graduating students to pursue their own ambitions. The award ceremony took place during the inaugural Alumni Weekend, designed to celebrate alumni achievements and to welcome new graduates into the alumni family. Students had the opportunity to interact with the honorees and other alumni during the award reception and at a dinner before the ceremony. “It’s meant to encourage the next generation of Pioneers to aspire, to dream,” Buzbee says. “[We want to] fundamentally challenge what our students thought they should or could accomplish.” Harrison agrees: “Done right, these award winners—this year and in future years—should serve as a huge inspiration to the students, [so] that they can eventually reach similar heights in their careers.”

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 31

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G O L D S TA N D A R D Share the love. We’ll share the gold—in your name. It takes the best and brightest to maintain our standards. Great candidates strengthen our learning environment, create a powerful Pioneer network and increase the value of your DU degree. No one is better suited to refer qualified candidates than graduates like you. Our alumni are the gold standard for excellence! REFER A GRADUATE CANDIDATE TO THE ADMISSIONS TEAM TODAY: DANIELS.DU.EDU/ALUMNIGOLDCLUB | 303.871.3416

32 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

Students line up for the 1956 Commencement ceremony in this photo from the DU archives. What do you remember most about your Commencement day?

Let us know at

Courtesy of DU Archives

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 33

Class Notes 1958

Don Coen (BBFA ’58) of Boulder, Colo., is an artist whose photorealistic paintings of migrant workers were on display this spring at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The series took Don 20 years to complete.


Allan Goldstein (BA ’71), a senior lecturer at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, was honored in February with NYU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award. Allan was recognized for his Disability Studies course,

the book contains stories and information about how to avoid the pitfalls of being a small business owner. Nanci and Karen are business partners in two ventures: APLS Group, a leadership, talent-development and human-resources firm; and Learning Illumination Center, a nonprofit serving studentathletes, their parents and educators. Both businesses are located in Raleigh, N.C.

1979 Freepik/Miles Woolen

MARK HOLLABAUGH (MS ’73) of Woodbury, Minn., is the author of “The Spirit and the Sky: The Lakota Vision of the Cosmos” (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), a nonfiction book about how the interest of 19th‐century Lakota in the sun, moon and stars relates to the tribe’s cultural practices and beliefs. Mark taught physics and astronomy for 25 years at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn., and is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Marlow Ediger (EdD ’63) is a member of the external examination committee for Mother Theresa University in India. His manuscript “Tutoring Pupils in Reading” has been accepted for publication in the journal Reading Improvement. Marlow also was reappointed as a member of the editorial board of Edutracks, an international journal for education professionals.

which facilitates partnerships among engineering students and consultants from United Cerebral Palsy of New York City and HeartShare Human Services, an organization that provides programs and services for adults and children with intellectual disabilities.


Nanci Appleman-Vassil (BA ’75) and Karen Parker (BA ’75) of North Carolina cowrote “18 Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make.” Released in December 2016,

34 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017


Jay Jesse (BS ’87, MCIS ’97) of Colorado Springs, Colo., is president of Polaris Alpha, which sells technology, software and solutions to defense and intelligence agency customers. Jay is the founder of Intelligent Software Solutions, which merged with Marylandbased Proteus Technology and Virginia-based EIOR Technologies to form Polaris Alpha.

Wesley “Wes” Howard (JD ’79) is president of Howard Law Firm in Denver. In October 2016, Wes presented a lecture on U.S. securities law and regulations to the law school faculty at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. Wes also is a regular lecturer on U. S. business and common law at the Panamerican University College of Law in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.



Michael Schaefer (BSBA ’90) recently purchased the Summit Conference and Event Center in Aurora, Colo. Founded in 1999, the facility features more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space and plays host to over 200 events per year. Michael spent much of his career working as a promoter and producer on events including the Denver Grand Prix, World Youth Day, the Summit of the Eight World Leaders Conference and the Imperial Tombs of China exhibit at the Denver Museum of Natural History. As a DU student, he worked on Winter Carnival for a number of years and chaired the event in 1990.

Helen Crary Stassen (MA ’80) of Prescott, Wis., in May was appointed to the board of directors at Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Helen worked at school libraries in St. Paul, Minn., for more than 20 years; served on the board of MetroNet, one of seven state-funded multitype library networks in Minnesota; and was a member of the Minnesota Educational Media Organization.

Matt Rotter (MBA ’89) in March was named CenturyLink’s regional president over Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Matt has worked for CenturyLink for more than 26 years, most recently leading the company’s global infrastructure operations.




Cheryn Netz (JD ’91) is assistant general counsel for the Texas State Securities Board in Austin. She previously was assistant secretary of state in Mississippi, where she was named by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the state's leading attorneys.

Andrea Mitchell (BA ’93) of New York is founder and CEO of Crew Up, a marketplace app that allows producers and directors to quickly find crew members for film, commercial, photo or video shoots.


Joseph Lubinski (BA ’00) has joined the Denver office of business firm Husch Blackwell as a partner in its real estate, development and construction industry group. Joseph joins the firm from Ballard Spahr, where he was a partner in the Denver office and co-led the firm’s insurance company and institutional investments team.


Oliver Sanidas (MOTM ’02) in February was named executive director of Arapahoe Libraries in Englewood, Colo. Oliver most recently served as director of digital and library material services for Arapahoe Libraries. Prior to his director position, Oliver was associate director of digital and materials services for eight years. He was named one of Library Journal’s 2015 Movers and Shakers and was awarded the 2015 John Iliff Technology Award by the American Library Association.


Lisa Sasaki (MA ’00)

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution



As the new director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), Lisa Sasaki has a long to-do list. One of the primary things she wants to accomplish is a change in prepositions. For too long, Sasaki says, museums have directed their programming “at” an audience. She wants to fashion programming “with” a community. That doesn’t mean replacing education priorities with fluff. “We don’t have to dumb things down,” Sasaki (MA ’00) explains. “But we have to meet people where they are.” The people in question are all over the country; they’re online and in line at exhibition halls. And they’re curious about the history, culture and art that qualify as Asian Pacific American. “We are a museum without a building,” Sasaki, a fourth-generation Japanese American, says, noting that APAC debuted 20 years ago “to help the Smithsonian tell more diverse stories.” To that end, APAC’s programming draws on Smithsonian resources for a range of online exhibitions and programs staged at sites around the country—a pop-up “culture lab” in Hawaii, say,

or a touring show examining the contributions of Indian Americans. Sasaki’s qualifications for the job include a master’s degree from DU’s Department of Anthropology and its museum studies program. “What really attracted me to DU was the idea that they are preparing people to work at smaller [as well as larger] institutions,” she says. Where other programs urged specialization, DU’s allowed her to learn about everything from conserving artifacts to educating visitors. It was her ticket to a host of different jobs at different museums—the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center in Pueblo, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and the Oakland Museum of California. At APAC, Sasaki is busy tackling a host of priorities, everything from engaging a national audience and helping develop programming to raising money. Long-term, she’s fixed on yet another goal: “Fast-forward 20 years,” she says, “our aspiration is for the center to have a presence on the [National] Mall.” —Tamara Chapman

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 35


Seven DU alumni were on the 2017 edition of the Denver Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 list. The honored alums are:

Ryan Boykin (BA '02), co-founder and partner at Atlas Real Estate Group

Chanda Hinton Leichtle (BA ’05), executive director of the Chanda Plan Foundation

Elizabeth Titus (JD ’06), counsel at law firm Hogan Lovells U.S.

Laura Giocomo (BA ’07), vice president of marketing and communications for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

Samantha Halliburton (JD ’07), owner and managing attorney at the Halliburton Law Firm

Matthew Cooper (JD ’09), senior associate at Squire Patton Boggs

Will Chan (MLS ’13), program director of the Denver Public Library’s New Americans Project 36 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

Rich Sinclair (MA ’02) of Chapel Hill, N.C., founded Leading Schools Forward, which works in partnership with People Ink to provide systems, processes and coaching for schools and school districts.


Amy Pason (BA ’03, MA ’05) recently was granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor in the department of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. With alumna Kate Zittlow Rogness (PhD ’08) and Christina Foust, an associate professor in DU’s communication studies department, Amy co-edited “What Democracy Looks Like: The Rhetoric of Social Movements and Counterpublics” (University of Alabama Press, 2017). The book includes chapters by DU faculty members Bernadette Calafell and Josh Hanan.


Jonathan Schaaf (MBA ’04) in May was named chief agency officer at media company Condé Nast, where he will oversee agency relationships and ad sales efforts. Jonathan previously served as president of enterprise partnerships for Omnicom Media Group.


Elizabeth (Anderson) Taylor (BA ’05, MA ’09) and Chase Taylor (BA ’05, MPS ’10) of Missoula, Mont., welcomed a daughter, Georgiana Elizabeth Taylor, on Aug. 30, 2016. Georgiana joins older siblings Hattie, 7, and Wally, 2.

Colby Elliott (MAC ’05) of Groton, Mass., is an audiobook narrator who was nominated for the 2017 Audie Awards—the Oscar equivalent in the field of audiobook publishing—in the short stories/collections category for his narration of “Coffee at Luke’s,” a collection of essays about the TV show “Gilmore Girls.” Jonathan Foster (BSBA ’05) of Suffern, N.Y., is co-founder of Staff Icons, a global staffing firm with a specialty in biotech recruitment. Annemarie Vaccaro (MA, PhD ’05) is program director and associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island. In February, Annemarie received the George D. Kuh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature and/or Research from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Annemarie co-authored the book “Centering Women of Color in Academic Counterspaces: A Critical Race Analysis of Teaching, Learning, and Classroom Dynamics” (Lexington, 2016).


Fawntain Casimir Spencer (BA ’06) is director of communications and public policy for the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, which provides housing, job training, education and medical services


for homeless and low-income women in the Los Angeles area. Fawntain previously was public information officer and spokeswoman for then-Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers.


Meera (Rawat) Meyer (BSBA ’07) of Denver is an associate at BSW Wealth Partners. She recently was awarded her certified financial planner certification.


Paul Carlsen (MPP ’08) in March was named president of Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland. Paul previously

served as chief content officer for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.


Kathleen Snow (BA ’09), an associate at Denver law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has been appointed to the board of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. Kathleen will advise the organization on sponsorship, membership, programs, webinars and other events, and she will provide periodic updates to include in the organization’s communications on changes to healthcare laws.


David Ward (MA ’12) is operations manager in facility operations within residence life at the University of Arizona. David has enjoyed returning to his hometown of Tucson to work at an institution of higher education that is an integral part of the community in southern Arizona.



Jackson Stevens (BA ’13) was recognized for his arts ambassadorship at the 30th annual Colorado Business Committee for the Arts luncheon in March. Jackson, a technology strategist at Commerce Kitchen, is chair of the Colorado Symphony’s Remix Young Professionals Board.

(MA ’11) is a director at Walking Tree Travel, a Denver-based student travel company that brings students to off-the-beaten-path destinations around the world. Walking Tree was recently selected by the Smithsonian Institution for its Smithsonian Student Adventures program, which offers high school students international educational immersion travel experiences in 17 countries.

A seed today, a legacy tomorrow. Change a student's life, leave an enduring legacy, shape DU for future generations. Establish a scholarship in your estate, and your generosity can be matched today through DU’s Momentum Scholarship Challenge. For more info, contact Steve Shineman, Senior Director of Gift Planning, at 303-871-2315 or University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 37



High-altitude investment for Daniels alums

Jeff Haessler Left to right, DU alumni Kyle Granowski, Peter Burwell and Fred Klaas at Echo Mountain ski area.

Their love for skiing and snowboarding and their entrepreneurial spirit are driving three DU alumni to take their education and skills to new heights. Peter Burwell (BSBA ’11), Kyle Granowski (BSBA, MS ’10) and Fred Klaas (BSBA ’11) became good friends while studying at the Daniels College of Business. That friendship has now evolved into a business partnership centered around Colorado’s Echo Mountain ski area. “We got to looking at the different value propositions,” says Burwell, president and CEO of Burwell Enterprises Inc. “Echo Mountain being the closest mountain to Denver and the population base growing in Denver, we saw a really solid opportunity to take something that struggled for so long and revitalize it by getting a good team and investing some money into it.” Echo Mountain, which used to be called Squaw Pass Ski Area, historically has struggled financially. The property has changed ownership several times. “The handful of us that were

involved early on basically sat down and really tried to figure out why has this failed, and we looked at the specific reasons,” says Klaas, general manager at Echo Mountain. “Basically, we said, ‘What’s the best option to try to make this work?’” The trio appears to be doing something right. The ski area just west of Evergreen opened last winter and attracted families, first-time skiers and those who want to avoid the crowds and traffic associated with visiting ski resorts further west. Burwell says the group’s success is directly tied to its members’ experiences at DU. “You meet people that you’re friends with in college, for college, and then you meet your lifelong connections,” Burwell says. “Fred and Kyle and I have stayed together, and when this opportunity came along, because of the DU connection, this whole thing came to be.”

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—Tamara Banks


Harriet (Conner) Hahn (BA ’48), Burlington, Colo., 3-11-17 George Stovall (BA ’48), Corvalis, Ore., 2-20-17


Max Coppom (BS ’50, MS ’51), Boulder, Colo., 4-13-17 Julia Ann (Thomas) Marion (BA ’50), Greeley, Colo., 1-29-17 Frank Dell’Apa (BA ’52), New Orleans, 3-14-17 Robert “Max” Willsey (BS ’57), Westminster, Colo., 1-31-17 Robert Bartholic (JD ’59), Littleton, Colo., 1-29-17 Anthony Perry (BSBA ’59), Vail, Colo., 1-21-17


Annabel Clark (MA ’68, PhD ’71), Denver, 3-3-17


Melinda Davison (BA ’82), Portland, Ore., 11-26-16






40 University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017

Splat! DU’s chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity held a “Pie a Pi Kapp” fundraiser in March to benefit the Ability Experience. Founded by the national Pi Kappa Phi organization in 1977, the Ability Experience provides fraternity members nationwide with opportunities to serve and raise awareness for people with disabilities. photo by Wayne Armstrong

University of Denver Magazine SUMMER 2017 41

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Miscellanea ALL THAT JAZZ

Photo courtesy of Abecedarian Gallery

“Bird’s Bar Mitzvah,” by Chicago-based bookmaker Michael Peven, was part of “Celebrate! a selection of contemporary artists’ books featuring food, music and dance.” On display at the Anderson Academic Commons this spring, the show was part of a series of satellite art exhibits at DU curated by Denver-based Abecedarian Gallery, which represents artists who use books as their media.

University of Denver Magazine Summer 2017  

University of Denver alumni magazine; includes stories on Larry Conyers and ground-penetrating radar, Distinguished Alumni Awards, Pioneers...

University of Denver Magazine Summer 2017  

University of Denver alumni magazine; includes stories on Larry Conyers and ground-penetrating radar, Distinguished Alumni Awards, Pioneers...