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HANG A DIPLOMA THAT ANNOUNCES WITH PRIDE THAT YOU ARE A GRADUATE OF METROPOLITAN STATE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER. The MSU Denver Alumni Association is offering diplomas and a wide variety of other items featuring our new name.

e t a r b e l e C



PACKAGE 1 $50 MSU Denver key chain MSU Denver luggage tag MSU Denver diploma MSU Denver DMV affinity license plate voucher PACKAGE 2 $75 Everything in Package 1 PLUS MSU Denver T-shirt MSU Denver playing cards

PACKAGE 3 $100 Everything in Package 2 PLUS MSU Denver license plate frame MSU Denver business card holder MSU Denver diploma frame Each package includes a donation to Alumni Scholarships.





Fall 2012 / Volume XXVIII / Issue I










The new Weather Analysis and Observation class wins raves for weather watching.

Professor Bill Carnes uses Dr. Seuss characters to spark discussions in his business management classes.

John Brackney, CEO and president of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, says the University offers degrees relevant to the business world.


DEPARTMENTS 2 Metro Vision President Stephen Jordan agrees it is a very good year for the newly designated University.

3 Metrozoic Era Students, faculty and staff salute the name change to Metropolitan State University of Denver.

4 Newsworthy Yum, broccoli! Kids at the Children’s Chalet are learning about nutrition with help from MSU Denver.

An MSU Denver professor’s project helps child-care centers serve healthier meals.

Read all the latest about MSU Denver, Colorado’s newest university.

24 Don’t Blink

16 Alumni Times Alumni news, new alumni travel and career services, advice on skydiving, the Homecoming schedule and more.

Faculty, student and alumni artwork graces the new Hospitality Learning Center and SpringHill Suites.

22 The Rowdy Report MSU Denver plans sports facilities on the southwest edge of Auraria.

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Metro Vision///Letter from the President Dear Alumni and Friends, To say this is a great year to be a Roadrunner would be an understatement. We have had so many successes that have enhanced the learning experience for our students and have strengthened our relationship with the Denver and Colorado community. As a graduate, you can be very proud of the dramatic accomplishments made by your alma mater this year. In March, we opened our Student Success Building, which is now buzzing with students getting the assistance they need in this one-stop shop for student services. And the CAVEA (Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis), a state-of-the-art decision theatre housed in the building, is providing exceptional opportunities for our faculty, students and the Denver community. Learn more about the CAVEA at In April, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation that enabled us to become a university and with the stroke of a pen, elevated the value of an MSU Denver degree. That same month, the Board of Trustees approved the fiveyear strategic plan that will focus our efforts to become one of the country’s preeminent urban universities. This summer, too, we made a bold move by becoming the first public college or university in Colorado to offer the state’s undocumented students the new Colorado High School/GED NonResident Tuition Rate. This rate, which includes no taxpayer subsidies, makes an MSU Denver education accessible to students who came to this country on their families’ initiative and have attended a Colorado high school for three years, ultimately graduating from that same high school or earning a GED. As controversial as this decision is, it’s also compassionate and consistent with our mission to provide a high-quality, accessible and affordable education to all of Colorado’s diverse students. We continue to increase the presence of the MSU Denver Neighborhood on the 2

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Auraria Campus. In August, we marked the opening of our state-of-the-art Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, one of the country’s few teaching hotels on a university campus and a first for Colorado. This facility represents an innovative partnership among MSU Denver, Sage Hospitality and Marriott International, a collaboration that not only gives our students unprecedented opportunities to gain experience in the hospitality industry, but also contributes to the economy and the city’s hotel infrastructure. And we’re on our way to building a new athletic complex on the south side of Colfax Avenue. As you can see, 2012 has been a very good year for your alma mater. It also has been a tipping point for this scrappy school, which got its start in a clutch of office buildings downtown. Today, we have our own campus “neighborhood” and have proved that the can-do Roadrunner spirit so common among our students and alumni can make great things happen. The implementation of our new strategic plan brings with it the chance to imagine and realize a preferred future for this great urban university. It’s a future that will bring increased partnerships and collaboration with businesses, organizations and governments as they seek us out for our expertise and innovation. And it will encourage more students to seek out the individualized, real-world urban education we offer. This is our time, Roadrunners. And we will make the best of it.


Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D. President MSU Denver

EDITOR Donna Fowler (’80) ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sandy Graham DESIGN/PRODUCTION Welch Creative Group COPY EDITOR Carol Rolland PHOTOGRAPHERS Jessica Taves Seth A. Baca Mark Woolcott Dave Neligh Julie Strasheim METRO MAGAZINE EDITORIAL BOARD Bridgette Coble, Director of Career Services Donna Fowler (’80), Director of Internal Communications Greg Geissler, Assistant Vice President of Development Debora Gilliard, Chair and Professor of Management Mark Jastorff, Director of Alumni Relations, Executive Director of the Alumni Association Cathy Lucas, Associate to the President for Marketing and Communications Ken Phillips, Chair and Associate Professor of Industrial Design Julie Strasheim, Art Director, Creative Services © 2012 Metropolitan State University of Denver. Metro Magazine is published three times a year by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Office of Marketing and Communications for alumni and friends of MSU Denver. All rights reserved. Address correspondence to: Metropolitan State University of Denver Metro Magazine Office of Marketing and Communications Campus Box 86, PO Box 173362 Denver, CO 80217-3362 Please send letters to the editor, editorials and inquiries to: Donna Fowler, editor, at the address above or Email alumni address changes and Class Acts submissions to The opinions expressed in Metro Magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies and opinions of Metropolitan State University of Denver nor imply endorsement by its officers or by the MSU Denver Alumni Association. Nondiscrimination Policy Metropolitan State University of Denver does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability in admissions or access to, or treatment or employment in, its educational programs or activities.

Metro Magazine is printed on recycled paper.

MSU Denver’s past, present and future



THE NEW Congratulations! You are now a proud graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver! As of July 1, your college became a full-fledged university—a change that will increase the value and prestige of your degree. What’s more, your scrappy alma mater is researching a new design and direction for these pages to match our new status. As much as we love Metro Magazine, it’s time to freshen up. When you see us in the spring, we’ll have a new look, new content and even a new name. We hope you’ll let us know if “U” like it! Send your comments and story ideas to

To view a YouTube video of the making of this picture, visit

Faculty, staff and students form a celebratory “U” for “University.”

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Newsworthy ///

University News Email/website goes to ‘U’ With the new name of Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University’s email address has changed to and its website is now

Guest chefs served up amazing fare to the more than 400 community and industry leaders at the Hospitality All Stars gala.

New Hospitality Learning Center one of only 11 nationwide MSU Denver’s Hospitality Learning Center (HLC) with the adjacent SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown opened this fall as a hands-on learning laboratory for the 635 students majoring in hotel, tourism and events management (HTE). There are only 10 other operating hotels on college campuses nationwide. HTE majors are developing a budget to ensure the hotel’s success. They will work with hotel staff to troubleshoot issues such as staffing, promotions and other elements of the day-today running of a hotel—all to prepare them for their careers. The HLC is financed through an innovative public/private partnership, and no taxpayer dollars were used for the $45 million facility. MSU Denver has already raised about $5 million toward a $12 million goal to cover a portion of costs associated with the HLC.


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The HLC was the centerpiece of a fall fundraiser, Hospitality All Stars, which featured Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock among the guest bartenders for the evening. If famous politicians were not enough, some of Denver’s best chefs prepared mouth-watering treats for guests. They included Frank Bonanno and Kevin Taylor. Taylor’s stepson, Cooper Mease, is a freshman in the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Program. The more than 400 attendees also were able to tour the HLC and SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown; take in lectures by a sommelier or an art historian; or shoot baskets with former Denver Nuggets player Bill Hanzlik, who is a University trustee. University faculty, students and alumni staffed and staged the event.

Love learning? Listen to lectures MSU Denver kicked off a new lecture series this fall entitled “Loving to Learn.” “I think all of us have a hunger to exercise our brains,” says University First Lady Ruth Jordan, who was instrumental in organizing the series. “Learning is the priority (of the project), and the secondary thing is to help people see MSU Denver and all that it can offer.” The lectures will be on Thursdays from 5-6:30 p.m. at various campus locations. The series is free and open to the public, although sponsors ask that participants register to ensure enough seats and refreshments. For information, contact Greg Geissler, assistant vice president of development, at 303-556-6819 or THE SPRING 2013 SCHEDULE INCLUDES: FEB. 7: “Green Marketing and Sustainability” at the Student Success Building. The lecture will be given by Darrin Duber-Smith, lecturer in the Department of Marketing. APRIL 11: A surprise grand finale with the lecture to be announced.


Newsworthy/// University News New mural graces art center A new mural, donated by Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey, now dominates the wall just left of the entrance to MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art (CVA) on Santa Fe Drive. Roughly 30 feet by 14 feet, the mural has the words “Bright” (with red background) and “Future” (with black background) above the images of two black Rolls Royce automobiles. The license plate of the car on the left says “Empire.” The plate of the car on the right says “Nowhere”—and it’s on fire.

Artist Shepard Fairey donated a mural to the University’s Center for Visual Art.

The 42-year-old Fairey’s work includes the “Hope” poster for then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama in 2008. Fairey was in Denver earlier this year as part of a group show. He and other artists in the show spoke with students, faculty, employees of the CVA and people from the community about their work.

Students enroll under new tuition plan Some 240 students, new and continuing, have enrolled at MSU Denver through the University’s new Colorado High School/ GED Non-Resident Tuition Rate. The new rate, approved by the Board of Trustees in June, is for students living in Colorado who through no fault of their own do not have the lawful status to be eligible for resident tuition rates. This unsubsidized rate is substantially higher than the resident tuition rate—by about $2,800 per year for 15 credits per semester—but is significantly lower than the standard out-of-state rate. No tax dollars or state or federal public benefit or subsidy are used for this special rate. President Stephen Jordan says it will be “truly unsubsidized” as there is even a $650 capital construction fee to account for the use of campus buildings that were built using state general funds.

Professor aids Mars mission Among the many scientists and engineers who helped NASA send the rover Curiosity to Mars is Aaron Brown, MSU Denver mechanical engineering technology professor. Brown helped build the tethering system used to lower Curiosity to the Red Planet’s surface when he worked at a Colorado-based space technology company. The tether helped ensure Curiosity made it down safely so it could spend a Martian year—98 weeks—investigating whether Mars ever had the potential to support a habitable environment. Curiosity isn’t Brown’s only connection to NASA. He also oversees the University’s NASA space grant, which encourages students to pursue aerospace careers. For that, he helped students build a robotic vehicle that placed first in NASA’s Colorado Space Consortium Robotics Challenge last spring.

To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria, beyond the existing admissions requirements:

• Attended a Colorado high school for at least three years.

• Graduated from a Colorado high school or received a general equivalency diploma (GED) in this state.

• Provide an affidavit that they are in Fairey says the mural was inspired by Jamie Reid, an artist who created designs for the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and Fairey’s and Reid’s shared interest in the environment and concern about wealth disparity.

good legal standing, other than their undocumented or unclassified status, and are seeking or intend to seek lawful status when eligible.

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Newsworthy/// University News

CREATE your Legacy

“I’m proud to say that I’m the first and only in my family of eight to graduate from high school and continue my education. I offer my sincerest gratitude for your generosity … for this great opportunity.” –Norma Diaz, accounting major Recipient of the Kingdom Enlightenment and Reisher scholarships

Thanks to generous MSU Denver supporters, Norma Diaz, a full-time student and mother of three, plans to graduate soon because her scholarships allow her to amass credits faster. Please visit ourdonors/honorroll to see the complete list of individuals, corporations and foundations that make up our Donor Honor Roll for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Stars of the show Scott Lubinski, assistant professor of theatre, and Jim Miller (’97, theatre) have been honored by the Alliance for Colorado Theatre. Lubinski was named Higher Education Theatre Educator of the Year while Miller, who teaches at Greenwood Academy in Denver Public Schools, was selected as Colorado Elementary Theatre Educator of the Year. Eleven years ago, Lubinski and Miller were both in the cast of the musical version of “Meet Me in St. Louis” at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton, playing father and son. Lubinski is in his 12th year at MSU Denver. He teaches classes in readers’ theatre, oral interpretation and musical theatre, and is coordinator of the bachelor of fine arts musical theatre program. He also directs two shows a year.

Coffee for a cause IIt’s t’s now possible to order a decaf latte and support MSU Denver students at the same time. The Dazbog Coffee Shop has opened in front of the Student Success Building. About 50 percent of store employees attend the University. Dazbog also has created an entrepreneurship scholarship for an MSU Denver business student. The scholarship will start in the fall of 2014. A portion of gross sales from the campus shop will support the scholarship fund. Dazbog has developed a special “Roadrunner” blend of coffee with a portion of its proceeds going toward the scholarship as well. Anyone looking for something to go with that cup of joe can stop at Red Robin’s Burger Works, which has opened in the new Hospitality Learning Center.


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Road show: Theatre Department, Kaiser Permanente partnership enters fourth year

MSU Denver’s Educational Theatre Internship with Kaiser Permanente has chalked up some pretty impressive numbers in the last three years: Theatre students have visited 113 elementary schools and reached an estimated 40,000 students and adults with a live-healthy message. The program is now in its fourth year with a new student touring company, new costumes and a new script. Rehearsals started in August and the troupe hit the road in October. Nationally, Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs (ETPs) have offered free performances to promote health and safety to youngsters for 27 years. The partnership between the University and the health-care giant started in 2010 when Kaiser Permanente approached Theatre Department Chair Cookie Hetzel about establishing a second troupe as its 11-member professional troupe couldn’t keep up with the demand for performances. The play, “Health Team 4: Mission 5210” (five fruits and vegetables each day; two hours or less of screen, TV and computer time; one hour of physical activity each day; zero sugary drinks) is performed by four actors, each of whom take on multiple roles. Troupe members are either juniors or seniors and must be theatre majors or minors. They receive $1,000 per semester, three hours of upper-division internship credit and experience working with professional actors in a real-world road show.

Univ •

‘Firing up’ the University Most people know the late composer Marvin Hamlisch for Hollywood and Broadway music such as “The Way We Were” and “A Chorus Line.” At MSU Denver, Hamlisch also is known as the composer of “The Fire of MSC.” Hamlisch, who died in August at age 68, wrote the song in celebration of the University’s 21st birthday in 1987. Hamlisch received an honorary doctorate from the University while in Denver to introduce the song—the first doctorate the prolific composer said he had ever gotten. Hamlisch also told the crowd that he agreed to write the song at the request of the late Sidney Schlenker, Hamlisch’s friend and the former owner of the Denver Nuggets who had been named a Plain and Fancy Person of the Year by MSU Denver.

Honorary degree goes to Jessica Ghawi Upon the recommendation of President Stephen Jordan, the MSU Denver Board of Trustees has voted to award Jessica Ghawi, an MSU Denver student who was killed in the Aurora theatre shooting in July, a posthumous honorary bachelor of arts degree at Fall 2012 Commencement. Ghawi was a junior broadcast journalism major and aspiring sports broadcaster. Her professors as well as Dean of Letters, Arts and Science Joan Foster and Provost Vicki Golich endorsed the award, given Ghawi’s outstanding academic performance and community contributions. Honorary degrees are bestowed by the board for outstanding public service and demonstrated proficiency in a field of endeavor.

/// College ‘camp’ draws high schoolers About 30 incoming Denver Public Schools (DPS) freshmen attended the 9th grade College Readiness Camp at MSU Denver in July. The pilot collaboration with DPS is meant to give students who are about to enter high school a preview of higher education in an inviting, culturally responsive and supportive setting. Participants were from Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, North and West high schools. Generally, they were from lower-income households headed by parents who didn’t go to college. DPS recruited the students for the camp based partly on recommendations of their middle school counselors.

Alumna becomes brigadier general Laura Richardson, the University’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, has been promoted to brigadier general from colonel. Her promotion makes her one of 29 currently serving female general officers in the U.S. Army. Brig. Gen. Richardson is deputy commanding general-support for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, the first woman to hold such a post. Brig. Gen. Richardson grew up in Denver and is a 1986 graduate of MSU Denver. Brig. Gen. Richardson’s decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal (seven) and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

“We wanted students who have the potential, but performance-wise and engagement-wise there was a disconnect,” says Eduardo Viezca, camp coordinator for DPS. “These are the type of kids who once they have that extra mentorship or that extra push, they perform a lot better. We want to start making those connections between where they are now and college.” The camp, funded by federal Title I money, included nine faculty members from three departments who led classes to develop critical-thinking, problemsolving, team-building and other skills. Mentors for participants were drawn from MSU Denver students who intend to be teachers.

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9Answers [ BY IVAN MORENO (’06) ] John Brackney is the president and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber. A lifelong Colorado resident, he is one of the founders of the city of Centennial, a former Arapahoe County commissioner and an avid supporter of Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Brackney served in the Colorado National Guard. He received the Meritorious Service Medal twice during a 12-year tenure that included service as company commander of the 147th Combat Support Hospital.


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What does the workforce of the future most need in terms of know-how?

What can businesses do to better support higher education in Colorado?

Everybody needs to have some certain expertise or specific skills. In today’s world, there are just too many people who know a little bit about everything. MSU Denver offers most of the degrees that are relevant today.

Really understand how our higher education works, where the good students are coming from, and look for those opportunities to partner. So the flip side of the coin is students need to go get an internship. Companies should also look to provide an internship so they can see what the upcoming trends are.

Do you see that Colorado’s overall economic outlook and that of the south area are improving? The analogy is location, location, location in the real estate field. Every businessperson who I know wants to hire people who are smart and problem-solvers. And if you look at the demographics of south metro Denver in particular, but also Colorado, we tend to attract those who have a worldliness about their viewpoints. When you’re in a difficult situation, which we’re still in economically, I want to be around smart people and hard workers and problem-solvers. We’re fortunate to have all of those here.

How would you gauge the strength and durability of the state’s institutions of higher education— and MSU Denver specifically? There’s a major CEO here in town who during a personal interview said that he would never consider departing Colorado. It’s one of those companies that could be in a location anywhere. And one of the reasons, when asked why, was specifically MSU Denver and the quality of students they hire in the aviation and aerospace (industry), and the training, the quality they get out of them.

What can a young graduate do to make himself or herself more attractive to prospective employers? What are you going to do for the company? Young professionals make such a strategic mistake: They’re in it for themselves. They go, ‘I want something’—money, a job, job satisfaction, a career path. But they forget that the person hiring has a need. They’ve got to flip their roles. A good employer is constantly thinking about what the employee is thinking and how to give them what they want to be more motivated. A good employee has to think, ‘What’s the niche that the employer is really looking for?’

The South Metro Chamber supported MSU Denver’s decision to offer a special nonresident tuition rate for young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Why? The key to our support is the desire for human potential. If you’re a young person who has completed a high school diploma, you’ve done what it takes. You’ve done the societal expectations of bettering yourself. If you’re here as a young person because of the decision of your parents, rightfully or wrongfully, what is the future for that young man and woman? We believe it’s best to honor those who are trying to make a difference. It’s a rational policy. It’s not without controversy. It wasn’t unanimous in our organization. It was a pretty strong majority. But we believe it’s the right thing to do.

As a longtime supporter of the University, how do you regard MSU Denver and the quality of education it offers? Metropolitan State is changing culture and opinions right before our eyes. It has gone from this sleepy little urban thing as part of Auraria with the other folks into a fullfledged university that has several unique selling propositions. One is its diversity, and another … its feistiness. Everyone should have the inspiration that Dr. Jordan (MSU Denver president) has to make it an institution that’s the first choice, or among the first choices, not just a college that you can go to if you can’t get to another college. I think that has changed right before our very eyes.

When were you last on campus? What struck you during that visit? I’m probably there two or three times a month. One of the last times I was there, I had the privilege of teaching a class on politics. What I admired was the professor let me have total control of the classroom. I tried to be very controversial. I wanted to challenge them on their entire thought process. I was very impressed with the students I met there.

What could the state do to support the higher education system to better meet the needs of the business community? Colorado is unique in a bunch of different ways. One (way) is that we value education, but not enough to pay for it. That’s a really interesting cognitive dissonance that most of us have as business leaders because we value education in our employees, we value it personally. But if you look at the funding level, it has continued to decline. We’re not putting our money where our mouth is. Leaders of all stripes are too fearful to lead by saying we should put our money where our mouth is. There’s no one out there going, “Raise our taxes.”

Ivan Moreno is a political writer for The Associated Press in Colorado, based at the state Capitol. His first reporting job was at the Rocky Mountain News after graduating in December 2006 from MSU Denver with a journalism degree.

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Up Looki L ooking


Taking the new Weather Analysis and Observation course at MSU Denver is a real pain in the neck. Students are always gazing up— enough to make their necks sore.

Usually when students look up in a class, they see a bland white ceiling and the dull, pale glow of fluorescent lights. But students in the weather class see, well, the heavens. Sky. Weather. Floating clouds—enough to eventually learn all their funny names: cirrus, altostratus, cumulonimbus and the everpopular nimbostratus. Students quickly learn, however, that the class can be a pain in the neck in a less literal sense, too. Sometimes they have to get up at 5 a.m. to get a jump-start on weather watching, driving off onto Colorado’s Eastern Plains—swirling dust melting in the air behind their 15-passenger van. 10

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Take Richard Wescoat, an aviation technology major who is minoring in meteorology. He is one of the students who took the inaugural class last spring and says he had to get up early a few times to meet the class at the Wal-Mart on Tower Road and I-70. “I’d have to be up at 5 at the latest to make it there on time,” he says. But to him, it was well worth the early yawns. “I’ll never forget watching this one supercell thunderstorm— it was a beast,” Wescoat recalls. “It developed east of DIA, and we tracked it all the way to Colorado Springs. The updrafts were incredibly strong and the storm took on a mushroom cloud shape just like an explosion … and at several points the storm began to drop a funnel cloud. The first time seeing this was surreal. It was amazing to experience it all firsthand.” Then Wescoat adds what Assistant Professor Sam Ng really likes to hear: “Going into the field made it possible to use what we were learning in the classroom … and see it firsthand rather than read about it in a book.” Ng likes hearing those words because his own experience of watching wild weather gave birth to the class. The memory of the first tornado Ng ever saw is etched in his mind.

“I felt this adrenaline rush— it was so thrilling. But at the same time it was a very surreal experience since it was my first tornado ever. I was excited but calm.”

Students in the Weather Analysis and Observation class taught by Assistant Professor Sam Ng and Affiliate Professor Scott Landolt (’99, meteorology) observe storms and cloud formations in the field.

Indelible experiences Ng explains while he was finishing up his first year of graduate work at Texas Tech University, he was out storm chasing with his housemate and another graduate student. “We sat a little way from a storm that was about three miles away and waited for Mother Nature to do her thing,” Ng recalls.

It gives us a natural connection with theories that can’t be taught in the classroom with still images.”

Then it happened: A tornado dropped from the black ink-blotted clouds near Altus, Okla., and touched down in an open field.

Over the last few years Ng and Scott Landolt (’99, meteorology), an affiliate professor who is teaching the class with Ng, discussed and created the course.

“I felt this adrenaline rush—it was so thrilling. But at the same time it was a very surreal experience since it was my first tornado ever. I was excited but calm.” Within 10 minutes, the tornado disappeared. But the effect on Ng was undying. Ever since that day, Ng says he has been mulling over the creation of a weather observation class. “I was hooked after that day. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to teach a field course. I knew students could get so much more out of theories from textbooks if they could see the weather processes occur in real time and in the field,” he says.

“As with any science profession, Sam and I agree that the best way to learn is in the laboratory,” Landolt says. “In meteorology, our lab is the atmosphere. We can teach the students the theory in the classroom, but they really start putting everything together when they can go and experience weather phenomena and see how the theory applies to practice.” continued on page 12

It might seem obvious that sore necks would be common among students studying weather. Not so. Ng says he remembers finishing up his doctorate at Saint Louis University and talking with a friend about the inability to get academic credits for storm chasing and writing up observations. “In my academic journey, I’ve learned that visual observation helps to correlate the difficult theories much better than reading a book,” Ng says. “I believe as meteorologists, we’re trained to be keen observers in and outside of our work environments. Seeing weather phenomena up close is a way to understand them better.

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Outside work complements inside Of course the class isn’t always outside. But even when they are in the classroom, students are having fun: up, moving around, talking, perusing computer screens (they meet in a meteorology computer lab that gives them real-time weather data and analysis software) and learning how to mold their own forecasts. Then the professors grill them about how they settled on those predictions. (Incidentally, the MSU Denver bachelor’s degree in meteorology conforms to the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Service recommendations.)

“As a meteorologist, nature is your laboratory. There’s no better way to understand the atmosphere than to experience it in real time.” In the field and in the van, students are armed with tablets, Internet access and high-tech weather sensor kits that measure winds, temperatures, humidity and pressure in a near-storm situation to help them decide how a storm might evolve. Once the storm forms, students stick with it for the rest of the day or until the storm dies—in which case, they target a new storm. Landolt says there are two key purposes to outside observations: Students learn how to identify storm structures, and they learn how to interpret the type of environment the storm is in based on its structure and what that structure tells them the storm might do in the next several minutes. Both Ng and Landolt say students tell them the class isn’t like any other class they’ve had. “None of them quite had an understanding of how you could interpret storm structure, and most of them found that they saw things that they never even thought were possible as far as cloud formations,” Landolt says. Karissa Sanford (’08, meteorology), the morning meteorologist for WMBD 31 News This Morning in Peoria, Ill., is aware of the course and gives it an “A.” She adds that she would have taken the course “in a heartbeat” if it had been available.


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“As a meteorologist, nature is your laboratory,” Sanford says. “There’s no better way to understand the atmosphere than to experience it in real time. It’s much easier to remember the feeling of outflow hitting your face or hail putting a dent in your windshield than it is to remember exactly what speed the wind was blowing or what the dew point was at that moment. When you combine the feelings with the raw data, you become much more intuitive as a forecaster.”

In the field, students from the Weather Analysis and Observation class see firsthand what they learn in the classroom.

Sanford says during her last summer semester at MSU Denver, Ng “went above and beyond” to create a forecasting class for her and a few of her classmates. “We took a trip to the National Weather Service office in Goodland, Kan., to meet the staff and learn the ins and outs of the business. Not many students get a detailed, behindthe-scenes look at their possible career, let alone forge relationships with their potential employer.”

Weather comes alive Ng was happy to do it. And he is particularly glad this new course is off the ground. “The most interesting part is taking the students into the field and letting them experience something you can never quite grasp in pictures or in a classroom,” he says. “They gain a true appreciation of the complexities of some of these storms.” That jibes with Bryce Verreyen’s time in the course. He is earning a dual degree in aviation management and meteorology, and says he took the class because he loves thunderstorms. “I’ll go out and watch them on my own—homework done!” Verreyen adds he thought that it would be a good chance to learn about what was happening in those storms on a deeper, more scientific level. “Being able to see the weather and visually witness how the meteorology comes together really helped me understand the processes,” he says. “It was an exciting class full of knowledge. I enjoyed getting to see and understand the storms better.” Sore necks and all, students have given Ng similar feedback. “Students are amazed at the power and the beauty,” Ng says. “I get a lot of satisfaction watching their faces when they get a grasp of the material. I saw several of these facial expressions. I hope they’ll learn as much as I did while wandering around from Texas to Illinois in search of these jewels of the atmosphere.”

GRADS LEAD NATIONAL WEATHER ORGANIZATION The National Weather Association has elected meteorology graduates of MSU Denver as president and vice president. Bruce Thomas (’86) is the association’s president. He is chief meteorologist and national spokesperson for Midland Radio Corp. in Kansas City, Mo. Earlier, he was a broadcast meteorologist. Wendy Abshire (’85) is vice president. She is a meteorologist and senior project manager at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Also, Sam Ng, an assistant professor of meteorology at the University, chairs the association’s Weather Analysis and Forecasting Committee.


D Seuss characters add spark Dr. to business classes

The Discussions

, They ll Have!




Carnes says diversity is a topic in all of his business management classes because people’s attitudes and perceptions affect the workplace. “I would like them to try and eliminate their biases. We all have them. Sometimes they pop up and sometimes they don’t, but they’re there,” he says. Discussions perk up when Management Professor Bill Carnes Discussions perk up when introduces Dr. Seuss Management Professor Bill Carnes introduces Dr. Seuss characters to his students.

Carnes says he came up with the idea of using Seuss characters in class about three years ago after his wife bought a copy of Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’’ for his children when they graduated from high school. Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, authored 46 children’s books featuring rhymes and unforgettable characters such as the Grinch, Horton the elephant and Yertle the turtle. Geisel died in 1991. “I was teaching a class one semester and having a difficult time getting students to engage,’’ Carnes says. “I prefer not to lecture for 75 minutes. I want to have a discussion. I got dressed up (as the Cat in the Hat) and when I walked into class, the cellphones came out and (the students) started taking pictures. I thought, ‘At least I’ve got their attention now.’’’

Metropolitan State University of Denver Professor Bill Carnes uses a novel approach to engage his business management students on the subject of stereotyping and prejudice. He brings popular children’s book author Dr. Seuss into his classroom. Dressed in a charcoal-colored suit and the Cat in the Hat’s trademark red bow tie, white gloves and red-and-white-striped hat, Carnes strolls into class and plays a clip from the movie of the Seuss book “The Sneetches,” which features yellow birdlike creatures. Now the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. Those stars weren’t so big. They were really quite small. You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all. But because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.’’ With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort, “We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!” The movie clip has perked up class discussions about diversity, Carnes says. “There is a lot more interaction and engagement,’’ the soft-spoken teacher says. “A huge improvement over before.’’

After he showed the clip of “The Sneetches” movie, students began to open up. “We can talk about the Sneetches and address all the biases and stereotypes and prejudices and discrimination. Then I tie it into black and white relations, brown and white relations, and Asian American relations,” Carnes says. His colleague Madison Holloway, also a professor of management at the University, says Carnes’ use of Dr. Seuss stories “removes some of the emotional hot buttons that people get tangled up in’’ when discussing discrimination. Carnes recently presented a paper, “Using Dr. Seuss Stories and Other Media in Teaching Management-Related Courses,’’ at the Intellectbase International Consortium education conference in Las Vegas. “The stories help bring some humor and better understanding to the topics we discuss,’’ he writes in the paper. “By using these types of supplemental materials, we can expose students to issues and have valuable discussions about the issues without having to choose sides because of our own biases.’’ Carnes says he uses several different characters from Dr. Seuss books to liven up his management classes and make students more comfortable talking about diversity, including “The Lorax,’’ an environmental fable about overuse of natural resources. “It helps them to recognize their own biases and where they may want to try to change some things,’’ he says.

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t h u g o h T





Project guides children’s centers to healthier meals Any parent will testify that getting a youngster to eat healthy foods can be confrontational at times. Imagine the scope of the challenge if you are feeding 85 kids at once. Alia Omer, director of Children’s Chalet in Aurora, Colo., and her staff do that not once but four times daily: The child-care center provides breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for about 85 children on a typical day. When it comes to providing the healthiest meals for her charges, Omer will take all the help she can get. Recently, assistance arrived through a project directed by Cynthia Gillette Dormer, assistant professor of nutrition at Metropolitan State University of Denver. The two-year-long project, titled Health Education and Health Policy in Early Childhood Childcare Environments, is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and continues through November. The first year of the grant, made to the MSU Denver Foundation, educated child-care providers about nutrition and physical activity. Now, Dormer and 14

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four graduate assistants in the nutrition program are working one-on-one with providers such as Omer. “It’s very good,” Omer says of Dormer’s project. “It really helps us a lot. When (advice) comes from a professional, from an MSU Denver professor with a Ph.D., it’s definitely going to be helpful.” Dormer, who has a doctorate in nutrition, has long been interested in preventing obesity, which is rampant in the United States. Even in Colorado, the country’s “thinnest” state, the adult obesity rate has edged up from 19 percent to 22 percent. Colorado children’s rates are growing even faster than adults’ rates. Five years ago, health surveys determined that 9.9 percent of Colorado children were obese. In 2009, the most recent survey, 14.2 percent of children were obese. Beyond the sometimesserious health impacts of being overweight or obese, there is a weight bias that heavy children and adults experience. “I think that’s tragic, just tragic,” Dormer says. “I think everyone deserves the chance to become the most productive and healthiest self they can. If we can get them started on a healthy trajectory in childhood, it can make a lifelong difference.” Omer, who became a child-care teacher in 1997 and has been director of Children’s Chalet since 2005, has seen the emphasis grow on serving healthier foods to children

in her care. Children’s Chalet has participated in several nutrition-related programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program. Gone are white bread, whole milk, canned meats and fried foods from the center’s child-size tables. Children’s Chalet serves lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and seasonal vegetables, and recently moved to 1 percent milk. The center is licensed for up to 104 children, ages 6 months to 13 years. Meals are served family style, and staff members try to make games out of experimenting with unfamiliar foods or sampling foods children say they don’t like. Green beans are probably the toughest “sell,” Omer says. Her teachers will pretend to “steal” the beans off a reluctant child’s plate while announcing, “Oh, I’m going to eat that yummy green bean and be really healthy.” “We just try to make food fun,” Omer says.

In Dormer, Omer has found a source of practical advice that the director can incorporate in Children’s Chalet policy. For example, staff members no longer eat foods they bring from home in front of the children. They either eat the same healthy foods as their charges or eat their personal choices while on their breaks. “Kids would see one of the teachers eat chips and say, ‘You are a teacher and you eat that. Why can’t I?’” Omer says. Several years ago, Dormer received funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to survey 84 child-care providers statewide and find out what resources they needed to support the health of the children in their care. One of the top needs was low-cost continuing education in children’s health and nutrition. With the Colorado Health Foundation’s grant, Dormer gathered more than 300 providers for an educational event called Building Blocks for Health, held in October 2011. During the six-hour-long session, providers learned about best practices in nutrition and physical activity developed by Let’s Move! Child Care, a national program supported by First Lady

Michelle Obama’s health initiative and several other organizations. Providers attending the event were invited to participate in the second phase of the project, which is to implement some or all of the practices in child-care settings with Dormer’s and her student assistants’ support. Roughly 10 percent of participants signed up for one-on-one help. “It’s very center-specific,” Dormer says of the individual help provided. For example, one center director wanted advice on healthier choices that parents could provide for birthday and holiday treats. “We’re helping develop wording for the center’s handbook so the center has something to pass on to parents,” she explains. Overall, the response from child-care providers has been great. “They’re all ears,” Dormer says. “It’s not a hard sell. They want to help with their kids’ health anyway, and I’m able to provide resources to help them follow through.”

Youngsters at Children’s Chalet in Aurora are learning about healthier foods. The center’s staff receives guidance in food policy and practices from the University’s Assistant Professor Cynthia Gillette Dormer.

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Seethe [


Richard Jividen (art history, ’00) sees travel in your future— travel with a Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni Association twist, that is. The former director of creative services for MSU Denver, Jividen is now heading up a new benefit for alumni, friends and family who have a yen to get away. After retiring in October 2011 with 30 years of state employment under his belt, Jividen hung out his shingle for his own design and marketing firm. It was a serendipitous conversation in 2011 between Jividen and Meghan Hartvigson (human services, ‘10), assistant director of alumni outreach and engagement, that planted the seed for an alumni travel program. The final program blossomed after much research and a detailed viability study. Now back at his alma mater as the alumni travel program coordinator, Jividen revels in the fact he has come full circle.




“This position is a perfect fit for me,” he says. “I have always loved to travel, and I enjoy all of the related details.” From the get-go, the offering was conceived as more than simply an alumni discount program. “The trips are done-for-you, deluxe travel adventures with many inclusive features, resulting in a stress-free travel experience,” Jividen says. “However, we will also be ‘kicking it up a notch’ with quality educational and networking opportunities that you won’t find with similar trips.” Far from the stereotypical tourist-bus rush to squeeze in as many sights as possible, the travel destinations for the program are targeted to a specific theme or unique aspect of one area, Jividen explains. Prime examples are the two trips on the books for 2013. The first, an eight-day golfing adventure in Edinburgh, Scotland, from July 19-26, promises a unique opportunity for golfing enthusiasts to hit the greens on some of the most enchanting courses in bonny Scotland. “As an added bonus, President Stephen Jordan and his wife, Ruth, will be hosting the Scotland trip,” Jividen says. Jordan is an avid golfer.

Lago di Como, Northern Italy

Links drews St . A n

The Scots take their golf seriously, as might be expected from a nation credited as the birthplace of the sport. Travelers will tee off on four of the seven historic St. Andrews Links courses, one dating from the 1400s. Accommodations are at the four-star Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, located within a sand wedge shot of the 18th hole of the St. Andrews Old Course. The second trip will tour Italy’s northern lakes district from Sept. 17 to 25. With a small group size, exclusive insider educational programs and a concentration on off-thebeaten-path outings, the seven-night trip is a great fit for the program, Jividen says. “Our studies show Italy is at the top of international travel destinations,” he says. The country is also close to his heart: “While at MSU Denver, I took a six-week Art of Tuscany study-abroad course. I looked at life through a new lens after that.”

For more information about the MSU Denver Alumni Travel Program, contact Richard Jividen at 303-556-6935 or email


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ASK AN ALUM Facing fear, living life [

Include MSU Denver in your will or trust today and create exceptional possibilities for tomorrow’s students. Including MSU Denver in your longterm financial plan allows you to: n Make a charitable gift while ensuring family is taken care of first. n Change your mind about your gift at any time. n Give a little or give a lot. n Support Roadrunners and their dreams for generations to come. To learn more about how you can invest in the future of MSU Denver, please call our Development Office at 303-556-8424.

Visit us online at



I was performing a tandem jump, attached to a first-time sky diver over Longmont, Colo. After freefalling from 12,500 feet, I deployed the main canopy. I knew right away something was wrong. It just didn’t feel right. I looked up and realized one of the main suspension lines was tangled in the parachute fabric, preventing it from fully inflating. “Damn,” I thought, “I’m not going to fix that.” I pulled the handle that disconnected my malfunctioning main parachute and then pulled the release for my reserve. It opened quickly and perfectly. My passenger and I were safely under a good canopy. Only five seconds had passed and my passenger hadn’t even realized what had happened. It was one of a couple close calls in my 25 years of sky diving, and I have to admit I was a little scared. Dealing with fear is part of any extreme sport, and how you handle it determines the outcome. In this case, I responded calmly and deliberately, and the outcome was fun and exciting for both my passenger and me. Mastering fear takes time and training, but it can be used throughout life. Milestones such as getting married, going on job interviews, traveling abroad—or maybe just being you—become a whole lot easier and rewarding.

If you choose to take the leap and try sky diving, here are a few suggestions: a tandem sky dive first to see if • Do you even like the sport. Sky diving is expensive and requires a substantial commitment. Try it first. with a friend, loved one or • Go family member. It is much more fun to experience sky diving with somebody else. the earliest appointment • Make possible. This could be 7:30 a.m., but you will avoid any delays that can occur later because of weather or other reasons. the $100 for video and stills. • Spend You only have one first jump. hydrated and eat a small • Stay breakfast. An empty stomach can make you feel woozy when the adrenaline hits. Whether you only jump once or choose to enjoy sky diving the rest of your life, I guarantee it will be an experience that will change your life.

David Boes (’10, land use) works for Freeport-McMoRan at the Henderson Mine. He has been sky diving since he was 17 years old and has completed more than 6,000 jumps, but still remembers vividly the intensity of that first sky dive.

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Alumni Times

CREATE your Legacy

David Boes jumps in tandem with his wife, Abby.

Come back for HOMECOMING

ALUMNI T AP 2013 career services l Roadrunners everywhere are invited to attend Homecoming Feb. 4-9, 2013.

EVENTS INCLUDE: FEB. 4 Battle of the Bands

FEB. 5 Amazing Race

FEB. 6 Spirit Day

FEB. 7 Bonfire

FEB. 8 Roadrunners men’s basketball versus Colorado School of Mines

FEB. 9 Alumni Recognition Ceremony and men’s basketball versus Colorado Christian University

For details, visit homecoming.



The Alumni Career Services Program, a resource for local Metropolitan State University of Denver alumni, has recently gone national. Living in Louisiana? Traveling in Tennessee? Hanging out in Hawaii? Not a problem, according to Lindsey Day, MSU Denver alumni career specialist. Day was hired by the University’s Office of Alumni Relations in 2011 to build the Alumni Career Services Program from the ground up. “My main goal has been to expand our current offerings with a focus on assisting alumni with their professional development,” Day says. “In these difficult economic times, we also want to keep our services affordable.” In addition to two complimentary inperson or phone consultations per year for alumni who are at least one year postgraduation, Day holds free workshops and other monthly sessions for all alumni via the Web. Simply sign up, log on and participate, says Day.

Individual appointments, by phone or in-person, can also reap benefits, with Day providing help with a specific job search, resume critique and negotiating skills. “We don’t do placement,” explains Day, “but alumni have access to JobLink, a free job-listing site exclusively for MSU Denver alumni and students.” In addition, the program is boosting offerings with a new online tool called Optimal Resume, a 24/7 career services software available now on the Alumni Career Services page at “Optimal Resume is a sophisticated resume-building tool,” says Day. “It also includes an interview module, which helps job seekers hone their interviewing skills online with various multimedia interview scenarios. You’ll be able to choose your questions and your interviewer, and record and review yourself in various mock interview situations. “We truly want to empower alumni to represent themselves well to prospective employers, both on paper and in person,” says Day.

Other career workshops delve into interviewing skills, resumes, how to use social media for job searches and other topics.

For more information about Alumni Career Services, visit

“If you are on the webinars live, it’s the next best thing to an in-person session. It gives Metro Magazine llllllllllllllll FALL 2012

you the opportunity to interact and have your questions answered,” she says.

“Our ‘Leveraging Your Alumni Network’ webinars are open to all alumni,” she explains. “In those, we cover such topics as job search skills, career transition, resources and networking.”

In the near future, the recorded webinars will be posted online. However, Day strongly encourages direct participation.



PRESIDENT Judy George (’01, Management) SECRETARY/ TREASURER Victoria Hannu (’84, Computer and Management Science) BOARD OF TRUSTEES REPRESENTATIVE Robert Morrill (’97, Political Science) FOUNDATION BOARD REPRESENTATIVE Scott Applegate (’96, Finance)

Piper Billups (’99, Marketing) /// Danyette Hardin (’07, Management) /// Antonio Ledesma, Ph.D. (’72, English) /// Hon. Chris Melonakis (’74, Economics) /// Angelo Miller (’06, Mechanical Engineering Technology)

Join us! ALUMNI ASSOCIATION EVENTS Check for the most up-to-date information about these and other activities.

NOVEMBER Thesis exhibitions at the Center for Visual Art, 11/16 through 12/13

DECEMBER Roadrunner Resumes Webinar, 12/5 Music Department presents “Holiday Card to the City,” 12/7 and 12/8 LinkedIn Webinar, 12/13 Fall Commencement, 12/16 Chicago Alumni Social, 12/19

/// Chuck Moss (’88, Finance; ’91, Accounting) ///


James Olejiniczak (’11, Finance) /// Anne O’Neill (’07,

Roadrunner Happy Hour, 1/15

Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management) /// Wendy Petersen (’89, Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management) /// Joe Rice (’89, History) /// Joseph Sanchez (’06, Mechanical Engineering Technology) /// Elisa Varela (’10, Speech) /// David Vaughn (’93, Land Use) /// April Washington (’93, Journalism) /// Metza Templeton (’07, Management), Classified

FEBRUARY Homecoming, 2/4 to 2/9 Alumni Recognition Event, 2/9 Theatre Department presents “Kiss Me, Kate,” 2/28 through 3/10

Staff Council Representative /// Aerospace Science Chair Jeffrey Forrest, Ph.D. (’91, Aviation), Faculty Senate Representative /// Matt Brinton, Council of Administrators Representative /// Laura Noe, Student Government Assembly Representative.

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MEET YOUR MSU DENVER ALUMNI RELATIONS STAFF: (l to r) Mark Jastorff, director of alumni relations and executive director of the alumni association; Janell Lindsey, director of special initiatives for alumni relations and enrollment services; Meghan Hartvigson (’10), assistant director, alumni outreach and engagement; Gini Mennenga, administrative assistant; Jon Hormachea, workstudy student; Heather LaCost, workstudy student; and Lindsey Day, assistant director for alumni career services. Not pictured: Lauren Cain, (technical communications, ’11); Richard Jividen (art history, ’00), Alumni Travel Program coordinator; and work-study students Stephanie Graham and David Straight.


OFFICE OF ALUMNI RELATIONS Student Success Building, Suite 350 Campus Box 11 /// P.O. Box 173362 Denver, CO 80217-3362 303.556.8320 Metro Magazine llllllllllllllll FALL 2012


Alumni Times



CLASS ACTS Class Acts highlights the latest news from MSU Denver alumni. To submit your information for publication, go to and click on Update My Profile. David John Blosser (’78, electrical engineering technology) is a senior software developer at Intellisource in Denver and is developing specialized software at Crocs. Howard Flomberg (’74, computer and management science) is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He has previously taught at MSU Denver part time and is now retired. Juan Ascidro Giron (’76, political science) is a U.S. military retired veteran pursuing a master’s in public administration. He works as a legislative aide. Lynda Heidi Primo (’76, early childhood education) trains primary teachers as an English language mentor for SMR HR Group in Malaysia. Roy (RC) Pyle (’77, computer and management science) is the owner of Wildfire Consulting, which provides business personal computer networking, training and support. He lives in Boulder, Colo. Paula J. Scanland (’72, English) earned a master’s in finance from the University of Colorado Denver and is retired. She recently wrote a novel titled “A Suffering Heart.” She lives in Fairplay, Colo. Lee Wimberly (’75, philosophy) lives in Renton, Wash., and is retired after 27 years of working for Boeing. He is promoting his book, “Exploring the Gap Between Science and Religion.”

Randall A. Espinosa, M.D. (’83, psychology) retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army after 28 years of active service, including 18 years in special operations. He works as an orthopedic hand surgeon in Spokane, Wash., and is involved in building schools in Iraq. James J. Garrett (’80, criminal justice) is retired from the U.S. Navy after 30 years in the Navy Reserve. He retired as a sergeant from the Denver Police Department in 2007 after 32 years of service. He lives in Broomfield, Colo. Chris Moulton (’89, education) is a senior pastor at Reformation Presbyterian Church in Sheboygan, Wis., and taught school prior to becoming a pastor.

Lisa Coe (Davidson) (’93, English) was elected to the Parker City Council in 2008 and works as a Spanish teacher in Douglas County, Colo. Lisa M. Farrow (’97, behavioral science) has a master’s in early childhood education from Wheelock College in Boston. She is a third-grade teacher in Kerrville, Texas. Eric D. Gomez (’94, aviation management) served in the U.S. Navy for 17 years and has lived and traveled throughout Africa. He plans to complete his master’s in global energy management. Gomez lives in Parker, Colo. Patrick Mire (’94, human performance) is a registered nurse in the psychiatric unit at Harris County Hospital District in Houston. Carrie A. Vogel (’90, journalism) works as a tutor and liaison in the education department of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. She is also a teacher at Ignacio Elementary School. She lives in Durango, Colo.

Connie Anderson (’02, land use) is an urban planner and environmental consultant in Pittsburgh. Ian R. Dougherty (’06, philosophy) is operations supervisor for tax payments and corrections for the City and County of Denver. A published poet, he has been a coach and member of the Mercury Café National Poetry Slam Team for the past five years. Daniel Garza III (’04, technical communication) is a U.S. Air Force veteran and automation engineer at Oxy USA Inc., an energy company in McAllen, Texas. Kristen Hines (’04, elementary education) is a fourth-grade teacher in Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colo.


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CLASS ACTS Alumni Times

Shaun Kruchek (’01, aviation technology) is the president and director of operations at Grande Aviation, a charter airline company in Knoxville, Tenn. Scott Montross (’01, biology) completed a master’s and doctorate in earth sciences at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. He is a research fellow in arctic hydrochemistry and geology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Joel R. Sayre (’04, land use) owns Sayre Building Performance in Oakland, Calif., specializing in green building. He earned a master’s in public administration from Golden Gate University. Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz (’04, English) is a freelance arts writer and coordinator of the online writing lab at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Her husband is William Radford Seitz (’04, behavioral science). Travis Teeboom (’06, criminal justice) is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He has worked as a juvenile probation officer at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice since 2006 and lives in West Palm Beach.

Jason Cordova (’10, aviation technology) is a U.S. Navy veteran and director of STEM Outreach at R.A.C.E. Educational Services in Denver. Chris Duran (’11, human services) is completing his first year as a GED Bridge instructor at the Intergenerational Learning Center at Adams School District 12 in Commerce City, Colo. Josh Jensen (’11, accounting) is an auditor at Richey, May & Co. in Englewood, Colo. Benjamin Koenig (’11, marketing) is a marketing associate at Swiftpage in Englewood, Colo. Joseph Aurelio Madera (’10, Chicano studies) is an assistant advisor for the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Lydia McKinney (’10, individualized degree program) is a Head Start teacher at Florence Crittenton in Denver. She is pursuing a master’s in global studies in education at the University of Illinois. Stephen A. Mercer (’11, hospitality) is a manager at Lala’s Winebar in Denver. Afton Rupert (’10, sport industry operations) is an administrative assistant at First and Goal, Inc., which operates CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.


Sherry Sanders (’12, social work) began the social work graduate program at MSU Denver in fall 2012.

‘WOODEN’ IT BE NICE? Dan Sjogren (’05, industrial design) once labored in website and graphic design. But the ephemeral “here today, gone tomorrow” nature of such work was unfulfilling. He wanted to make something of permanence. Enter Sjotime Industries (pronounced SHOW-time) of Denver. There, Sjogren designs and assembles sleek furniture, reminiscent of Swedish modern. His 3-year-old business also undertakes commercial projects such as the stunning birch-paneled counter with a cupcake-and-rolling-pin motif for Denver’s Sugar Bakeshop.




decided to develop his design capabilities through Metropolitan State University of Denver. The hands-on nature of the Industrial Design Program—as well as the “I can do it” nature of his fellow students—was inspiring. “I was in class with people who were making things happen in their lives,” Sjogren recalls. “I found that to be pretty impressive.” Another influence was his grandmother, a Swedish immigrant, who bequeathed a belief in hard work and self-reliance to Sjogren. Although she didn’t live to see her grandson’s business, Sjogren says, “She’s inspiring to me when I work.”

“There’s something about furniture … if you do it right, it can last and be useful for a long time,” says Sjogren, who is 45 years old.

In his tables, rockers, media consoles and other pieces, Sjogren uses laminate, maple, ash, cherry and more. He blends time-tested woodworking techniques with high-end digital production. His work is shown in a few Boulder and Denver retail stores and on his website,

Sjogren’s interest in furniture making was sparked by woodcrafters in Mexico. He built furniture designed by others for a while, and then

Sjogren has difficulty choosing a favorite piece. His newest creation tends to get his vote. “I guess I’m fickle,” he jokes.

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The Rowdy Report ///Roadrunner Sports




Turns out diamonds aren’t really forever—at least not the baseball kind. Metropolitan State University of Denver has announced plans to build new baseball, soccer and softball fields alongside eight tennis courts on the south side of Colfax Avenue across from the Auraria Campus.


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“This is the kind of facility that our students and student-athletes deserve,” says Stephen Jordan, the University president. “The complex will provide a new home for Roadrunner athletic competitions as well as be used for other University events. Also, we will be able to partner with the community to provide youth sports programs. This facility will continue the physical transformation under way on our campus.” The complex will undoubtedly be a very busy place. The University will hold student programming at the facility as well as activities for the community’s youth. These programs will offer new opportunities to serve the local community and continue the mission of the University as an urban land grant institution.

“This complex will be available for everyone at the school and in the community,” Director of Athletics Joan McDermott says. “These are going to be very nice facilities, and to have these kinds of fields will not only be fantastic for our athletes, our club sports, our academic classes and intramurals, but also for all of the community. The facilities will be easily accessible due to the great location off Colfax. And because we’re using stateof-the-art turf and adding lights, they’ll be able to be used a lot, from sunrise to late at night—really nonstop use.” The tennis courts will be the first phase of the complex to take shape with construction beginning late this year or in early 2013. The tennis program should be able to move into the new facility by April, says Sean Nesbitt,




Auraria Sports Aerial fromandSouthwest director ofView facilities planning space conceptual plans inCampus the summer of Complex 2010. management at MSU Denver.

Current Program It hired an architect, Davis Partnership,

“As additional funds are raised, the construction of the baseball, soccer and softball fields will begin,” McDermott says. “No interruptions (to sporting events) will occur, and no team will be moved until its new field is completed.” The fields could be built as early as the summer of 2013 or as late as 2015. “It all depends on how the fundraising goes,” McDermott says.

PROJECT NUMBER: 11618.00.000

DATE: 07.17.2012

to begin the full design in DecemberPAGE 2011.4 Saunders Construction, Inc. is the general contractor. Several alumni have already contributed toward building the tennis courts. “(Alumni have) been great, and we want that to continue and for everyone to get involved in helping this become a reality,” McDermott says.


Alumni who are interested in donating to the complex can visit

McDermott estimates that the total cost of construction could reach $12 million. According to Nesbitt, the idea of moving the athletic fields was proposed in 2008, and the University started looking at specific Metro Magazine llllllllllllllll FALL 2012


Don’t Blink ///A Last Look

Artists of MSU Denver’s past, present and future The Hospitality Learning Center and the adjacent SpringHill Suites by Marriott, which opened recently at MSU Denver, feature eclectic drawings, paintings, wall sculpture, photographs and mixed-media images by current students and faculty as well as alumni. The pieces were chosen from among submissions from 64 artists who answered a call for entries.


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“Field No. 12,” Porcelain, Tsehai Johnson , assistant professor of ceramics


25% BU Y A MEMENTO & GET A BARGAIN! A LIMITED SUPPLY OF MARKED-DOWN ITEMS with MSU Denver’s old name and logo is available if you stop in at the Auraria Campus Bookstore. No online or mail order purchases are available. First come, first served! Student models, l to r: Christian Caldwell, Lisa Walton, Seth Baca

off sele ct retro clothin g




Expand your mind and career with a graduate degree from Colorado’s preferred university. MSU Denver offers high-quality, high-value master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. Explore graduate-level urban education at its finest and most affordable at or call 303-556-2615 for information. APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR FALL 2013 Accounting – July 1, 2013 • Teaching (MA) – July 1, 2013 • Social Work – Dec. 15, 2012

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Permit 2965 Denver, Colo.

Metro Magazine Fall 2012  

For Alumni and Friends of Metropolitan State College of Denver

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