Metropolitan Denver Magazine - Spring 2016

Page 1



> Th e Hu man Fac e of Mig r ation > After Great Stru gg le, Greater Succes s > Protect and Se rve


It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s your legacy! Transform lives for generations by including Metropolitan State University of Denver in your will or estate plans.

LEARN MORE 303.556.8424




MUSIC MAN MSU Denver got an awardwinning jazz virtuoso when Don Byron joined the faculty last fall. Now music students get to learn from a master. Read the full story on page 12. Photo by Mark Woolcott.





Through her work at a United Nations think tank, alumna Michaella Vanore is helping to develop sound migration policy on the world stage.

While the next 50 years are likely to bring challenges, MSU Denver will meet them with innovation, creativity and its inimitable “scrappy” style.

MSU Denver’s dramatic and difficult birth in 1965 helped forge a spirit of resilience and innovation that will serve the University well on the road ahead.

MSU Denver continues to have an impact on campus and off.


As CEO of Provident Healthcare, alumnus Bill Nooning considers communication powerful medicine.


On the occasion of MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary, two of the University’s earliest graduates recall how their transformative education – and outstanding professors – paved the way for their success.


ON THE COVER Illustration by Chris Huth, Betterweather Inc.

SOARING HIGH Alumna, donor and avid balloonist Janice Marie King calls MSU Denver her “launching point.” Now she’s helping others reach new heights.


Alumnus Hugo Teufel is safeguarding your privacy in today’s global information society.


Cristian Solano-Córdova had everything he needed to succeed in college except U.S. citizenship.


MSU Denver alumni share news and notes.


Telling MSU Denver’s story means showing how it transforms lives, communities and higher education.





While the next 50 years are likely to bring challenges, MSU Denver will meet them with innovation, creativity and its inimitable “scrappy” style.

It’s fitting that we examine “The Road Ahead” in the spring issue of Metropolitan Denver Magazine since springtime is about new beginnings and remarkable growth. You can see evidence of both at Metropolitan State University of Denver. The phrase “adapt or die” may be familiar to those who saw the 2011 film, “Moneyball.” For me, that phrase sums up the state of higher education in the 21st century. The challenges facing academic institutions are accelerating, and if we don’t evolve, we may be forced to shut our doors. But here’s the good news – thanks to its tumultuous establishment in 1965, MSU Denver has a “scrappy” quality that makes it highly adaptable in any landscape. One of the ways we’re adapting is through the creation of public-private partnerships. These partnerships have generated new revenue streams, while also supporting academic programs, adding scholarships and creating valuable community connections. Our Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center is a great example of how industry and public universities can work together for their own benefit as well as the economic betterment of the community. When we began the project we already had a successful hospitality education program, and believed a hotel was a natural fit because it fulfilled our goal of connecting to the community while creating

on-the-job training for students. Today, our Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events has grown substantially and is widely considered the best baccalaureate hospitality management program in the region. Since the hotel opened in 2012, average occupancy has been about 77 percent with more than 150 sell-out nights. To date, we are $700,000 ahead of our initial estimates. Another successful public-private partnership is our Aerospace and Engineering Sciences initiative. After hearing that Colorado’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies couldn’t find sufficient local talent to support their growth, I spoke with faculty from numerous disciplines, and we worked with industry leaders to understand their needs. The result is a first-of-its kind curriculum that will train the most skilled, workforce-ready graduates in the nation. Our curriculum is uniting multiple disciplines under one roof: the $60 million, cutting-edge facility will open in 2017. In addition, the AES Building will host Colorado’s only Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Sciences. We continue to search for new partnerships, including the one we established recently with the Detroit Institute of Music Education, an exciting endeavor that will offer MSU Denver students opportunities to take courses online and at the DIME Detroit campus. We‘re creating new academic programs in rapid response to industry needs. In light of

Metropolitan Denver Magazine is published three times a year by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Office of Marketing and Communications. © 2016 Metropolitan State University of Denver. All rights reserved. Address correspondence to: Metropolitan Denver Magazine, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Office of Marketing and Communications, Campus Box 86, PO Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217-3362. Email The opinions expressed in this 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. 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.



Colorado’s dynamic brewing industry – the state ranks No. 3 nationwide in its number of breweries – we introduced a brewing deg ree prog ra m l ast fall , offer i ng undergraduate degrees in brewing and brewpub operations. Looking ahead, the development of a health care institute that would serve as an umbrella for MSU Denver’s current medical academic programs is one of our highest institutional priorities (see p. 23). I encourage you to look ahead by saving the date of June 4, 2016, to attend MSU Denver’s “Summer Soiree.” The event is the culmination of our yearlong celebration of the University’s golden anniversary and it will be a festive evening recognizing 50 years of history and success. Join Denver community leaders, MSU Denver alumni and students to commemorate the impact the University has had on our economy, culture and society over the past half-century. The event will take place on the Student Success Building lawn with all proceeds going to benefit undergraduate scholarships. Look for more details as the date draws near. It promises to be a night you won’t forget. Sincerely,

Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D. President





On the occasion of MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary, two of the University’s earliest graduates recall how their transformative education – and outstanding professors – paved the way for their success.

Of course I remember the White Mule as the first unofficial student union. Looking at the pictures in the fall 2015 magazine, I also might be one of those students standing in line next to the building to register back in Metro’s earliest years. Looking in the rearview mirror, my life’s trajectory was profoundly influenced by Metro.

When I graduated from high school in 1967, I didn’t have the grades nor could I have afforded to attend another of our state’s schools. A draft was looming that eventually scooped-up lots of young men, such as myself, and sent them overseas to a foreign war. Graduating from Metro in 1971 was a stepping stone toward what I consider a successful life, including a couple of advanced degrees, a subsequent professional and teaching practice and career, and a family whose life was enriched by the options an education made available. And I remember now not only the mentors but all the faculty at Metro State who helped me on my way. Dr. Thomas Davidson B.S. psychology ‘71 “Let’s get you ready for graduate school.” The late Dr. Edith Comfort Tatnall, professor of medieval history, never made suggestions. She issued commands. I had just dropped out of another college as a music major, and was about to give up on a second try as an English major

at two-year-old Metro State. Mostly Cs, with a sprinkling of Ds. But there was something weirdly, wonderfully different about this professor, this course, this school, this faculty. All the other professors were saying the same thing to me when all I wanted to do was head for a safe career. So, between first and second quarters, I went to the library (the basement of the Cherokee Building) and looked up the course catalogue, checking up on these professors. Tatnall, a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder; Phillip Boxer, a Ph.D. from the University of Denver; William Rhodes, a Ph.D. from Harvard Divinity; John Spradley, a Ph.D. from St. Louis University; and James Merrin, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Younger generations have to understand this find. In 1967, it was unheard of to have Ph.D.s teaching freshman classes with 20 or so students! Graduate assistants drone on in large auditoriums. And at $300 a year in tuition?! It doesn’t take a presidential candidate to figure this one out.

With the encouragement of these professors and many others, I went back to that other University of Denver for a master’s in English and a rewarding career in writing and teaching. Thanks MSU Denver, and happy 50th! Craig Bowman B.A. English ‘70

Share Your Story: Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to hear yours! Tell us about your favorite MSU Denver class, program or professor. Brag about your accomplishments since leaving the University. Explain how the institution is contributing to your community. Share how MSU Denver helped change the course of your life. Whatever your story of transformation, we want to know! Sharing your story has never been easier: Email us at or write to us at Metropolitan Denver Magazine, Metropolitan State University of Denver, P.O. Box 173362, Campus Box 86, Denver, CO 80217.



Hotel Partners Boulder Broker Inn Hilton Garden Inn Denver Cherry Creek Holiday Inn Denver Cherry Creek

Holiday Inn Denver Lakewood Radisson Denver Southeast SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown




MSU Denver continues to have an impact on campus and off.

AFFORDABLE EXCELLENCE Students concerned about getting the most for their money can rest easy: ranked the University second in Colorado earlier this year for having the most affordable bachelor’s degrees, fourth in the nation for the most affordable bachelor’s degree in public relations, and 10th in the nation for the most affordable bachelor’s degree in

Fall Graduates

linguistics. Additionally, Best Value

MSU Denver celebrated its newest alumni at Fall

Colorado Mesa University.

Schools ranked MSU Denver ninth in Colorado for best value, ahead of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Regis University and

Commencement on Dec. 11 at the Colorado Convention Center. The fall 2015 graduating class numbered 1,375 undergraduate students – up from 1,287 in fall 2014 – and 40 master’s students. At 57 percent, the majority of graduates were women, while 31 percent of the graduating class consisted of students of color.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education




MSU Denver degree programs in

Other figures of note: 11 percent – or 158 students – graduated

the fall: two new master’s degrees in

with honors, 28 percent – or 382 students – were eligible for

business administration and health

Federal Pell Grants, and 27 percent – or 366 students – were the first in their families to graduate from college. The fall 2015





degree in advanced manufacturing sciences. MSU Denver could start

graduating class also included 17 students who attended MSU

offering classes toward the degrees in

Denver under the ASSET Bill, which allows eligible students

spring 2017.

without documentation to pay in-state, rather than out-ofstate tuition. This number represents a significant increase from the eight ASSET students who graduated in fall 2014. 04

New Degrees


BEST BET FOR VETS MSU Denver made Military Times’ annual “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” rankings as the top four-year institution in Colorado with a 49th place nationally. Additionally, the University’s College of Business was ranked 45th in the nation for 2016 on Military Times’ increasingly competitive annual list of top business schools for veterans. MSU Denver was among just four Colorado universities ranked on the

Case Study

“Best for Vets: Business Schools 2016,”

In late January, MSU Denver’s SpringHill Suites

factors that make an institution a good fit for

Denver Downtown Hotel and Hospitality

military veterans.

Learning Center was the backdrop – and a study

In related news, MSU Denver was included

in success – for a national conference on public-

in Military Advanced Education’s “Guide to

private partnerships.

Top Colleges and Universities 2016,” and U.S.

an editorially independent evaluation of

MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan presented

Veterans Magazine listed the University in its 2015 guide, “Top Veteran-Friendly Schools.”

at the conference on financing campus facilities through public-private partnerships, holding up both the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, and the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences initiative as successful case studies. Jordan





universities must have in order to develop successful industry partnerships, including an ability to think creatively; an entrepreneurial


spirit and a willingness to take smart risks;

MSU Denver’s One World One Water Center for Urban

a unified senior leadership; and a horizontal

Water Education and Stewardship hosted the American



Water Resources Association’s National Leadership

collaboration and aligning academic programs

Institute 2015 Workshop for state water officials

with the skill sets needed by a given economic

in November, following Gov. John Hickenlooper’s


release of the state water plan for Colorado. Institute



The conference closed with a discussion led by Jordan that focused on additional and potential partnerships,




relationship with the Detroit Institute of Music Education, its two new beer industry majors and the creation of a health care institute.

participants shared best practices surrounding water resources planning, conservation and stewardship. All presentations and facilitated discussions took place in MSU Denver’s Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis.





Cuban Agreement MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan was part of a delegation of higher education leaders from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities that visited Cuba last fall to explore the potential of future partnerships with Cuban universities. The U.S. representatives met with members

Last fall, the School of Education hosted education leaders from

of the Ministry of

across the state at a summit focused on the school’s role in advancing



pre-K through 12 education in Colorado, and teacher preparation as a

of Cuba, which represents the country’s

whole. The event drew nearly 150 school district superintendents and

universities and research centers. During

assistant superintendents, teachers, principals, representatives from

the visit – which resulted in the signing of

various nonprofit organizations, legislators and others with a vested

a memorandum of agreement focused on

interest in education. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock attended

academic collaboration between the two

as well. The summit showcased the School of Education, and MSU

nations – Jordan presented an overview of

Denver’s long tradition of teacher education, which dates back to the

the U.S. higher education system.

founding of the University in 1965.

TOAST TO EDUCATION Six students in the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events received the first Banfi Wine Scholars Annual Scholarship from the Banfi Vintners Foundation in December. The scholarship is part of a new three-year agreement with MSU Denver in which Banfi will award up to $12,000 per academic year to six HTE students. Each student will receive $2,000 to support his or her tuition. The agreement comes months after student Elizabeth Booth spent nine days touring Banfi and partner-owned vineyards in Italy as part of the Banfi Scholastic Tour program. MSU Denver was one of only 11 schools worldwide to participate.



GROUNDBREAKING COLLABORATION In January, MSU Denver was notified that it was among 44 institutions nationwide selected to participate in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Re-imagining the First Year of College initiative – or RFY. RFY is aimed at ensuring success for all students, particularly those who have historically been underserved by higher education: low income, first generation and students of color. AASCU has created a coalition of 44 member


institutions that will work together for three calendar years (2016-18) to develop comprehensive, institutional transformation that redesigns the first

In partnership with the University’s Office

year of college and creates sustainable change for student success. As part of

of International Studies, the Department

to help first-year students succeed: institutional intentionality, curriculum

of Psychology – with Scholar in Residence

its participation in the RFY initiative, MSU Denver will focus on four key areas redesign, changes in faculty and staff roles and changes in student roles.

Harvey Milkman as the driving force – hosted a delegation from Moscow in December on a five-day “study tour” of juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment in Colorado. Data shows increasing instances of substance abuse and criminal behavior among young people in Russia. The hope is to root out underlying problems associated with this uptick in juvenile delinquency and address them. The visit was made possible by a grant from

Roadrunners Give In December, Roadrunners proved to be a generous bunch when they helped raise a total of $8,301 on Roadrunner

the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue

Tuesday, handily surpassing the Alumni Association’s goal

Program, established in 2013 by the U.S. State

of $5,050 for a scholarship that will cover one year’s worth

Department to help foster good relations between the two nations. The program awards grants to unique projects that center on Russian-American collaboration, which

of tuition for a student in need. Roadrunner Tuesday is tied to a larger effort within University Advancement to raise $6 million for student scholarships by the end of 2016. The total amount raised included a single online donation of the full $5,050 from Sandra Sandoval (B.A. anthropology

often includes sharing best practices for

’02), with the remaining donations coming from faculty,

tackling various social issues.

staff, students and alumni.

WANT MORE? Keep up to date on MSU Denver news at

e c a f n a m u h e h T n o i t a r g i m of Through her work at a

Every time the phrase “European migration crisis” is bandied about in the media or by various political figures, Michaella Vanore (B.A. political science ’08) cringes.

United Nations think tank, alumna Michaella

“What we’re seeing isn’t a crisis of migration, it’s a crisis of policy,” said Vanore during a recent phone interview from her office at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “We have fundamentally flawed policies and we ignored warning signs. I find it incredibly difficult to think a government could look at a civil war that has been going on for four years and not realize there would be refugees,” she continued, referring to the far-reaching effects of the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Vanore is helping to develop sound migration policy on the world stage. STORY EMILY PATON DAVIES

To say that Vanore knows whereof she speaks would be an understatement. The MSU Denver alumna and Colorado native works as a research fellow at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and United Nations University-MERIT (Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology), a joint research and training institute that serves as a think tank for the United Nations. Focusing on issues related to migration and development, Vanore has worked on projects commissioned by UNICEF, the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to name just a handful of entities.




“A lot of what we do is produce reports that contribute to evidence-based policymaking,” she said. “We try to foster an informed debate about these larger issues by providing evidence.”

In addition to working at Maastricht University, Vanore holds two degrees from the institution: a master’s in public policy and human development, and a doctorate in public policy and policy analysis with a specialization in migration. She credits MSU Denver, however, with planting the seeds of her passion for policy. “At Metro I tried a lot of things before I figured out what I wanted to do – I took classes in journalism, American studies, even Japanese,” said Vanore. “As with many things in life, it was kind of an accident that I found political science. I think I was drawn to the complexity of it. There are so many things we do that are governed by bigger forces.” In many ways, MSU Denver runs in Vanore’s family: her mother, Ellen, is an alumna and her stepfather, Art Campa, is a former anthropology


professor who remains deeply involved in the University’s federally funded College Assistance Migrant Program. In addition to these ties to the University, Vanore was drawn to its urban campus and its nontraditional student body. “I knew I didn’t want all my peers to be in the same age cohort as I was,” she said. “I believe that you learn a great deal from the people you’re learning with by having meaningful discussions. The diversity of Metro gave me the opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t necessarily interact with in other circumstances.” This attraction to diversity serves Vanore well in her work as does her own status in the Netherlands. “I’m a completely unintegrated migrant – I can’t speak Dutch yet,” she said. “As a migrant and a migration scholar, I realize how emotionally isolating the process can be.”

Vanore also recognizes the intrinsically controversial nature of migration. “Many of the policies surrounding migration play on Europeans’ fears about their own sovereignty and identity,” she said. “Migration is an inherently confrontational phenomenon. “But it’s about more than just statistics,” she continued. “Many people don’t see the human consequence. I’ve done a lot of interviews with rejected asylum seekers and you look at their faces and hear their stories and you don’t forget them.” Vanore applauds the efforts of countries to admit asylum seekers but is skeptical about the sustainability and design of ad hoc policies relating to incorporating refugees.

“Offering asylum is the first need but then what happens? Refugees have to be equipped to set up their new lives in these countries,” she said. “You have to deal with the housing, education and health needs of these populations.” The current crisis may spur the development of new migrant integration policies and perhaps even an examination of the European Union’s current structure, according to Vanore. But ultimately, she says, it all comes down to human compassion. “With the state of the world as it is, you think, ‘my God, we’re such a mess,’” said Vanore. “But I believe that we’re all capable of great good and I think that should guide us. We are part of a bigger development industry, but we don’t have to be part of a negative industry.” SPRING 2016


Founding a health care company may seem like a stretch for someone with a background in accounting, but for Bill Nooning (B.S. accounting ’74), his decision was rooted in a very personal – and painful – experience. At 85, Nooning’s mother underwent quadruple bypass surgery – a particularly delicate age for such a major medical procedure. The real challenges came after the surgery, however. Nooning’s mother was admitted to a long-term acute care facility where a doctor told him, “She’s never going home. From our perspective, she’s going to be in long-term care for the rest of her life.” That statement contradicted what doctors had told Nooning at the original hospital. “Without any communication between the various doctors along the way, you’re at the mercy of the system,” said Nooning a decade later. “When you leave one place of practice, they wash their hands of you.” While in the long-term acute care hospital, Nooning’s mother was given an apparatus to help treat a leg



As CEO of Provident Healthcare, alumnus Bill Nooning considers communication powerful medicine. STORY ROGER FILLION | PHOTO MARK WOOLCOTT

Healthy dialog ue wound she received as a result of the surgery. The apparatus was too large to work properly, something Nooning told the doctor and the staff. Despite numerous visits by different doctors daily, the device sat unused for two weeks, until Nooning’s mother passed away.

This experience served as a catalyst for Nooning’s establishment of Provident Healthcare in 2005 following a successful career as a consultant to health care-related businesses. With a patient-centered approach to primary care, the Provident physician network serves individuals in the Denver metropolitan area, operates two clinics, and provides care in skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities and at Swedish Medical Center. The network’s 11 physicians and care providers follow patients from the clinics through Swedish to 10 skilled nursing and rehab centers. They have access to patients’ online medical records 24/7. They communicate. Nooning learned the value of dialogue at MSU Denver, which he chose to attend largely because

of its affordability and because major accounting firms were recruiting and hiring the University’s students.

With the help of two faculty in the Accounting Department – Russell Bean and Patricia Duckworth, both deceased – Nooning learned about the field and much, much more. “They taught me how to be an accountant but they also taught me about being a person in the business world,” he said. That meant networking and – you guessed it – communication, a skill Nooning advises today’s MSU Denver students to master in order to be successful in their careers. “Take a speech class. Students don’t do that and when they [graduate] they’re not prepared to put themselves in a position to address individuals – either in large groups, small groups or when networking,” he said. “It’s like putting money into Apple 40 years ago. It will pay off dividends the farther you get into your career.”

MM MSU Denver got an


jazz virtuoso when

Don Byron joined the faculty last fall. Now

music students get to learn from a master.

“Living legend” isn’t a term to be used lightly, but one need only consider the accolades Don Byron has racked up over the years to know that it’s not an exaggeration. Down Beat Magazine named him its “Jazz Artist of the Year” in 1992. He’s been featured in TIME magazine, SPIN magazine and on National Public Radio. He’s the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions, including the Guggenheim, United States Artist and Rome Prize fellowships, and he was among the first class of Doris Duke Performing Artists. His album “Ivey-Divey” received a Grammy nomination for best instrumental solo album in 2004, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. A clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and arranger, Byron is most known for his jazz chops and inventive improvisational playing. He draws influence from a wide number of genres in his performances and recordings, as well as in his musical compositions for ensembles, films, opera and dance.


usic an

“Mr. Byron is, without question, the most important jazz musician to teach here in Colorado,” said Jazz Studies Director Ron Miles. “The students, faculty and the Colorado jazz community are all benefitting from his excellence on the bandstand and in the classroom.” With prior teaching experience at institutions like Harvard, MIT and Columbia University, Byron is enjoying his work at MSU Denver – he joined the faculty of the Jazz and American Improvised Music Program last fall – mentoring students who are passionate about their art and have room to grow in their talent. “Sometimes it’s not so much fun to teach kids who can already do everything – you don’t really have any input,” said Byron. “Or you might have kids who don’t work at all or are not really serious about becoming professional musicians. That can be really disappointing. “It’s neither of those things at MSU Denver,” he said. “These kids are serious, they’re open and they listen to their contemporaries. You can

go out and hear a lot of them play now. They’re in the game. But at the same time [as a teacher], you know you can really make an impact.” Born and raised in the Bronx, Byron has long been an influential figure in the New York jazz scene. Byron’s father played bass in calypso bands and his mother is a pianist. Byron studied classical clarinet while also playing and arranging salsa numbers for high school bands on the side. He later studied at the New England Conservatory. While his music career spans a vast array of projects and interests, a common theme unites his work: a passion for his art and a drive for excellence. “If there’s a message I have, it’s that whatever you’re doing you have to take it seriously,” said Byron. “Professionally speaking, if you take it seriously and apply real musicianship to a project, then you know it will be good.”

LISTEN to an interview with Don Byron, and learn about his music and influences at




Alumna, donor and avid balloonist Janice Marie King calls MSU Denver her “launching point.” Now she’s helping others reach new heights. STORY TOM WILMES


h g i h g n i r a o S

When asked if she has any advice for current students, alumna Janice Marie King (B.S. land use ’78) replies with a single word. “Persevere.” That deceptively simple answer holds a world of meaning for King, who graduated from high school a year early and went straight to work at a bank. After a year of toiling in the file room and answering phones, however, King realized that a high school diploma alone would not get her where she wanted to go. “I wanted something else but because we came from humble means, I didn’t think college was economically available to me,” said King. That is until she heard about MSU Denver and its offerings for nontraditional and working students. King became the first person in her family to attend college when she enrolled at MSU Denver in the mid-1970s. “That was my launching point,” she said. “It opened my eyes to a world of opportunity.”

While King explored several areas of study, her attraction to earth sciences led her to major in land-use management. The program required an internship, and King was recommended for a position with Adams County’s planning department, working for an assistant planner who happened to be a former MSU Denver faculty member. The internship turned into a full-time position where, among other responsibilities, King was charged with running title searches with the goal of identifying a large chunk of open land on which to locate the proposed new Denver International Airport. King quickly transitioned to the booming oil and gas industry, working for a title company, using industry software and applying her experience in land work to “everything from a four-man operation to Exxon,” she said. She lived in places far and wide, including Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and even Russia. Along the way, King developed a love of hot-air ballooning and earned her pilot’s license. Flying balloons and officiating at numerous rallies is a passion that has taken her around the world, including to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico, the Great Reno Balloon Rally in Nevada and the Saga International Balloon Fiesta in Japan.

But Denver remains home for King, who moved back to the Mile High City in 1996, and is currently employed by Anadarko E&P as a senior staff land analyst. Although King says she’s struggled at times, especially with regard to the volatility of the oil and gas industry, she’s always persevered. “I credit my time at Metro for instilling a sense of can-do confidence,” she said. “But more than that, education is what gave me an opportunity to participate.” It’s this gratitude to MSU Denver that causes King to pay it forward – literally. She’s been a loyal donor to the University for many years simply because she wants to help others reach their highest potential. “I’ve been very fortunate and I want to share that with those who may be seeking that same opportunity,” King said. “Once you get a little confidence behind you and things start working, it’s so rewarding and well worth the effort.” FOR MORE INFORMATION about giving back to MSU Denver, visit

A F T E R G R E A T S T R U G G L E, GREATER SUCCESS MSU Denver’s dramatic and difficult birth in 1965 helped forge a spirit of resilience and innovation that will serve the University well on the road ahead. STORY DOUG MCPHERSON

LOOKING BACK If MSU Denver had been a newborn baby in 1965 rather than a fledgling institution of higher learning, it would have been rushed to intensive care immediately following its birth. But as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” MSU Denver is indeed stronger for what it endured in its infancy. Some say it’s a miracle it was born at all. “You can’t read the early history of MSU Denver and not think our strength began with the struggle of the legislative process and how hard it was for a core group of legislators who believed that Colorado needed an institution like this,” said MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan. “Our scrappiness comes from those lawmakers before the University was opened, and even after it was opened to keep it open. It set the foundation for the culture of the people at this University.” The idea to create MSU Denver was conceived in 1961 out of necessity. Harry Temmer, a supervisor at a growing business called the Martin Company, which would become Lockheed Martin, needed skilled workers and technicians. After searching the far reaches of every college in the state, he began making noise. “Nobody was training the people I needed, and half of them didn’t even understand what the hell I was talking about,” Temmer said years later. “Education in Colorado was antiquated and business was suffering because of it.” As it happened, Temmer wasn’t alone in his frustration. Hospitals, schools, police departments and scores of other organizations in Denver were all victims of an everwidening education-employment gap. The complaints eventually made it to a state legislative task force on education chaired by a state representative named Roy Romer, the man who would become Colorado’s 39th governor in 1987. That task force soon learned that the current colleges in the state were supplying less than half of all the skilled workers needed. And things were getting worse: One study showed that more than 116,000 jobs would be available before 1970 – jobs that needed an education beyond high school. Plus, the Denver metro area’s population was projected to double by the same year. The situation was so dire it made national news.



The school had no reputation or alumni, but the students formed a lobbying group and, within a year, they changed the image of the school, increased funding, fought off the attempt to close the doors, and got previously banned intercollegiate athletics approved. —Robert Bowen (B.S. history and political science ’71), author of “The Vision, The Struggle: The Beginning of Metropolitan State University of Denver”

But it was a brief article in the Nov. 25, 1962, edition of The Denver Post that got locals talking. A seemingly innocuous story noted that a committee of state lawmakers had recommended that the legislature fund a new four-year college.

outgrown that, we’ve all found our place, but … for a period of time – a year or two – this was a group trying to kill Metropolitan State College and our leadership of it.”

For many in the state’s education industry – and others who didn’t want the competition – those were fighting words. The war was on.

A headline on the front page of The Denver Post in 1964 screamed: “Metro College Killed.” One senator called students “a den of hubcap thieves.” Other lawmakers tried to financially starve the college to death by severely underfunding it – claiming there’d be no money for the school’s campus. CU Boulder representatives rolled out the idea for a technical institute, which would have negated the need for Metropolitan State College.

Robert Bowen (B.S. history and political science ’71), author of “The Vision, the Struggle: The Beginning of Metropolitan State University of Denver,” published in 2015, said former Gov. Romer told him getting MSU Denver off the ground was the toughest battle of his political career. “I know he had some tough battles, so I started to research the history and discovered he was right,” Bowen said. “Like my book’s title, it was his vision but also a big struggle.” While getting the funds lined up to open a school and hire faculty and staff was difficult, according to Bowen – it took two years of skirmishes and creative political maneuvering – the legislative process proved no easier. In 1965, an appropriation bill sat before the House to fund the college’s opening. The House Whip, Mark Hogan, knew he needed 33 votes and lobbied hard to hit that number, but during a second reading, one representative changed his mind and the bill died on a 32-32 vote. The House continued with its agenda, and Hogan whispered to the House chair that if he put his hand on the dissenter’s shoulder, it meant the vote should be brought up for reconsideration. Hogan went over for a heart-to-heart with the indecisive representative and, after much discussion, Hogan’s hand landed on the man’s shoulder. The bill passed 3332 on the next reading. Yet when it landed in the Senate, a committee killed the bill instantly. Romer, now a state senator, persuaded the chair of the Joint Budget Committee, the late Joe Shoemaker, to add the appropriation into another bill before opponents could react. Shoemaker and Romer immediately moved that the rules be suspended to prevent a third reading of the bill. The motion passed and so did the bill, with funding for Metropolitan State College to open five months later. The lobbyists of other higher education institutions fumed while Hogan, Romer and Shoemaker rejoiced. But even once it was established, Metropolitan State College still wasn’t safe. “I was the point person in the fight with a very good friend of mine, the University of Colorado. They tried to kill this institution multiple times,” said Romer. “Now we’ve all

And the hits kept coming.

That’s when students joined the fight. “The school owes a debt of gratitude to its first group of students,” said Bowen, who was among those lobbying at the State Capitol on behalf of the college. “I may sound biased, but honestly it was the role students played in the early days [that kept the school going]. The school had no reputation or alumni, but the students formed a lobbying group and, within a year, they changed the image of the school, increased funding, fought off the attempt to close the doors, and got previously banned intercollegiate athletics approved.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE Since those early days, and despite steady and strenuous struggles over the years, the College – now University – has woven itself into the fabric of Colorado. Clearly, the early scuffles helped develop a resilient institution that not only survives but thrives. But it’s not all smooth sailing ahead. According to Jordan, there are two immediate hurdles looming: closing the education attainment gap for Hispanics and AfricanAmericans, and funding. “We have to enroll these students and help them persist and graduate,” he said. “We’ve made tremendous progress and will continue to do so, but the environment we’ll be doing that in will be one of decreased state resources. Colorado is the second lowest funded state for higher education on a per capita basis and it’s going to get worse.” Steve Kreidler, MSU Denver’s vice president of administration, finance and facilities, agrees. “No matter what the predictions say about how good the future economy of Colorado will be, the way Colorado’s constitution is built, in 10 years the state will not provide MSU Denver with a single penny,” he said. This is where creativity comes into play.



G A M E - C H A N G I N G PA R T N E R S H I P S Under Jordan’s leadership – and that of MSU Denver’s Board of Trustees – the University has become something of a pioneer in forging mutually beneficial partnerships with the private sector. One prime example of this is the University’s Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, built in 2012 via partnerships with entities including Sage Hospitality, a leader in the hospitality arena. “MSU Denver was an innovator in its creation of the Hotel and HLC through unique financing tools,” said Walter Isenberg, Sage Hospitality’s president, CEO and cofounder, who also serves on the University’s Board of Trustees. “One hundred percent of the net profits of the hotel and restaurant flow to benefit the MSU Denver Foundation. I know of no other higher learning institution

that has used this innovative approach to combine, in a sense, a perpetual funding tool with an experiential learning facility.” This formula has equaled success for the University, which is $700,000 ahead of its initial revenue projections. Since the hotel — SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown — opened in 2012, its average occupancy has hovered around 77 percent with more than 150 sell-out nights. Rooms go for $178 per night on average, $3 more than initially planned. Additionally, the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events has become a magnet for students: The program currently has more than 540 students – a 25 percent increase since 2012 – and is widely considered the region’s best baccalaureate

The Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center has changed the landscape for us to educate the next generation of hospitality leadership in the Rocky Mountain West. —Walter Isenberg, Sage Hospitality president, CEO and co-founder, and MSU Denver trustee

hospitality management program, yielding graduates who are prepared to hit the ground running. “The Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center has changed the landscape for us to educate the next generation of hospitality leadership in the Rocky Mountain West,” said Isenberg. “MSU Denver created a world-class experiential learning environment that is one of a kind. Students have the opportunity to learn in state-of-the-art labs, while also being exposed to a real for-profit hotel, restaurant and catering operation.” Private partnerships also fueled the development of the University’s Aerospace and Engineering Sciences initiative, which has been crafted and fine-tuned in close consultation with industry leaders. “We asked them, ‘What are the hard and soft skills employees need today?’ and our faculty responded by designing 25 new courses to support these needs,” said Jordan. The resulting groundbreaking curriculum will include faculty and courses from multiple disciplines – as well as a new Advanced Manufacturing Institute (see sidebar) – under one revolutionary roof: The $60 million AES Building, which is currently under construction with an opening slated for 2017. While roughly 60 percent of the building will house specialized engineering, computer and design laboratories with high-tech machinery, the fourth floor remains empty by design – it will be open to companies who want to build components or complete products on site with the help of MSU Denver students. “Many companies are lining up to create new projects,” said Kreidler. “This obviously helps students but also aids companies in finding future employees.” “It will produce a skilled workforce ideally ready for day one,” said John Heyliger, director of staffing for Lockheed Martin’s Global Account Acquisitions, of the AES initiative. “MSU Denver will have graduates emerging who are fluent in the future relationship between technology, engineering and manufacturing. Historically, our business has been very siloed. Students who come in knowing the entire lifecycle of that digital tapestry – from initial concept and design to production and qualification – are very attractive as potential employees. These are the students who are prepared to help lead the future of aerospace.”

ADVANCED CURRICULUM There’s been a lot of buzz about MSU Denver’s Aerospace and Engineering Sciences initiative, which will unite numerous disciplines – aerospace sciences; civil, electrical and mechanical engineering technology; and computer information systems and computer science – under one roof: the $60 million state-of-the-art AES Building currently under construction, with an opening slated for 2017. The AES Building will also house Colorado’s only Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, which will serve as the hub for a new multidisciplinary degree program in advanced manufacturing sciences and offer new opportunities to engage the manufacturing community. Developed in close collaboration with industry leaders, the advanced manufacturing curriculum aims to fill a gap in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing workforce: non-engineering

Heyliger went on to cite the specific appeal of MSU Denver’s student population to Lockheed Martin. “Diversity and inclusivity are key to us, and this is opening up avenues for first-generation college students to work in a really cool industry,” he said. “The AES initiative will enable Colorado to grow talent locally.”

jobs that traditionally have been filled by engineers.

“We have to continue to create public-private partnerships that align our academic programs with key economic clusters by developing relevant curricula that fit the needs of the private sector,” said Jordan. “And we’re going to have

Colorado and across the nation.

As it trains students to meet the ever-changing demands of a booming field – and creates a local pool of talent for Colorado companies – the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing promises to raise MSU Denver’s profile in



to look to [the private sector] to help us fund those programs, which I think it will do because companies will get a product that meets their needs while helping to reduce their recruiting costs.” Just as important as partnerships with industry are those within the general community. MSU Denver continues to serve as a vital resource not only because of its programs, but also increasingly because of its facilities. Case in point: the University’s Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis – or CAVEA – which supports decision-making and complex problem-solving via the latest visual and analytical technology that includes stereo 3-D rear screen projection, 3-D printing capabilities and decision-support software.

BEER HERE! In fall 2015, MSU Denver expanded its brewing program, offering bachelor’s degrees in brewing and brewpub operations, as well as a minor in brewing and a certificate program. Roughly 30

In 2015, CAVEA hosted and helped some of Colorado’s top water officials address and analyze several complex planning issues and best practices prior to a larger convention on water resources. Kenneth Reid, executive vice president and CEO of the American Water Resources Association, said CAVEA proved to be “a unique venue” that was helpful to the group. “I would highly recommend CAVEA to organizations seeking solutions to complex, multifaceted issues,” said Reid.

students are currently enrolled in the program, many of whom want to open their own brewery or work in the brewing industry. “We’re really trying to take a holistic approach to the industry,” said Scott Kerkmans, an instructor and coordinator of the brewing degree program, noting that MSU Denver distinguishes itself in a rapidly growing field by focusing on operations versus fermentation. The University developed its program in response to Colorado’s burgeoning brewing industry, which poured $1.15 billion into the state’s economy in 2014. MSU Denver counts continued investments in the program among its top priorities. Having partnered with Tivoli Brewing Company to build a brewpub and brewery in the catacombs of the Tivoli Student Union – a space that doubles as a hands-on classroom for MSU Denver students – the University may soon take flight in a new location. Tivoli Brewing is working to develop a brewpub at Denver International Airport that would serve as an additional training ground for MSU Denver students.

Since those early days and despite steady and strenuous struggles over the years, the College – now University – has woven itself into the fabric of Colorado.



NEW DEVELOPMENTS Working with the Board of Trustees, MSU Denver leadership recently identified 17 priorities – narrowed from 27 – designed to address the ever-changing economic landscape. They include new colleges, schools and institutes; new academic programs; new publicprivate partnerships; new construction and renovation; and reinvestments in current programs. High on the list is the University’s brewing program designed in response to Colorado’s burgeoning brewery market. The Colorado Brewers Guild, which represents craft brewers, reports Colorado’s craft brewing industry poured $1.15 billion into the state’s economy in 2014. Colorado ranks third in the number of breweries nationwide, behind California and Washington. The University tapped its brewing program in fall 2015, offering undergraduate degrees in brewing and brewpub operations as well as a minor in brewing and a certificate program. About 30 students are currently enrolled in the program. “It was a mix of the school being proactive and seeing what a good industry this is – especially in Colorado – and the industry calling for a more educated workforce,” said Scott Kerkmans, an instructor and coordinator of the brewing degree program. Continued investments in the program will include remodeled space and equipment in the catacombs of the Tivoli Student Union but may also include a presence at Denver International Airport: Tivoli Brewing is working to develop a brewpub at DIA that would serve as a training ground for MSU Denver students.

Other University priorities include: • The creation of a health care institute that integrates multiple current health care and wellness programs to help foster an interdisciplinary approach to health care education. This will enable MSU Denver to better meet the high demand for employees in one of Colorado’s strongest economic clusters. • A new, stand-alone School of Hospitality, Events and Tourism that will help MSU Denver draw students from around the world while meeting a growing demand for degrees in a field that is mostly resistant to economic fluctuations. • The University’s partnership with the Detroit Institute of Music Education, which will include bachelor’s programs in commercial music performance, commercial songwriting and music industry entrepreneurship. MSU Denver students can take courses online and at the DIME Detroit campus. The partnership has the potential to grow to new locations, including Colorado and other states across the nation.

MASTER MINDS The University is also responding to employers’ needs for advanced degrees. It already offers master’s degrees in social work, teacher education and professional accountancy, and the Board of Trustees has approved master’s degrees in business administration and health administration. Other master’s programs being explored include: clinical behavioral health care, cybersecurity,



art education, public interest design, music education and speech-language pathology. And another plus for graduate degrees: they’re selffunded with no dependence on state money or undergraduate program funds. The current graduate offerings are drawing more students because of their relevance, flexibility and affordability. MSU Denver’s price tag caught Aaron Wamsley’s (B.A. history ’07) eye, but it was also the academic quality that left a lasting impression. Wamsley, a second-grade teacher in Pagosa Springs, was among nine students who graduated in 2012 with a master’s in teacher education with a concentration in elementary education. “While Metro had by far the cheapest program, the professors were amazing,” said Wamsley. “You could tell those people really cared about education. Metro did a great job of preparing me to be a teacher.”

SO YOU WANNA BE A ROCK ’N’ ROLL S TA R ? MSU Denver students can learn the ins and outs of the music business thanks to the University’s partnership with the Detroit Institute of Music Education. In fall 2016, students will be able to take MSU Denver courses online and at the DIME Detroit campus, working toward bachelor’s degrees in commercial music performance, commercial songwriting and music industry entrepreneurship. All classes will be taught by faculty in the University’s Music Department. “Offering a rock ’n’ roll music education at the institute’s location in Detroit is a great example of how we can create public-private partnerships to achieve our vision of providing relevant education beyond our state’s borders,” said President Stephen Jordan when the partnership was finalized in fall 2015. “We are excited to launch this long-term partnership with DIME and look forward to it enhancing the reputation of MSU Denver’s already notable Music Department.” The partnership has the potential to develop new DIME campuses in Colorado and across the nation.



MSU Denver’s graduate programs are also designed to meet students where they are, which in many cases, is at work. “A large percentage of our students are working,” said Social Work Department Chair Christian Itin, noting that the master’s in social work program is available as a fully online option. Itin said students can take classes online, in the classroom or both. “We allow students to move back and forth between the two. That’s fairly unique,” he said.

FORWARD THINKING Today, a full 50 years after its birth, MSU Denver continues to hear and respond to the community’s needs. It’s this responsiveness – coupled with the University’s past – that Jordan says keeps him optimistic about the future. “I go back to that scrappiness – it’s a cultural trait of the faculty, staff and especially the students who want to change their life’s condition. They know what it’s like to live without a college degree. They know the value of education,” said Jordan. “The trait allows us to be creative and innovative and do more with less and it will propel us forward and sustain us in the future.” For alumnus and author Bowen, the University’s success is about what some call the MSU Denver spirit. “Students, faculty and administrators all pulled together to make it work,” he said. “To succeed, that spirit needs to be marshalled like it was in the ‘60s to convince the legislature and the community to give this school the support it deserves, and reward a job well done. MSU Denver should never, ever forget its roots or lose sight of its original vision. It was that vision that won the day, and it will win the day again.”

Today, a full 50 years after its birth, MSU Denver continues to hear and respond to the community’s needs.

Protect serve and

Alumnus Hugo Teufel is safeguarding your

privacy in today’s global information society. STORY TOM WILMES | PHOTO MARK WOOLCOTT Hugo Teufel III (B.A. economics ’85) has enjoyed a distinguished career since graduating from MSU Denver, and the former chief privacy officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security credits several faculty with helping him onto the right path. “The chairs of Metro’s economics department were Ralph Byrns and Gerald Stone, who, at the time, had the nation’s No. 1 selling macroeconomics textbook,” said Teufel. “They got me focused on, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ Professor Gudrun Clay convinced me that I should minor in German. I never expected to use that language at work, but I did, years later.” Motivated by a broad ambition to work in government, Teufel moved to Washington, D.C., after graduation and worked in the State Department’s Procurement Division. He was the national coordinator for law students during the Bush/Quayle administration, and earned a law degree from Washington College of Law at American University in 1990. Teufel clerked for the U.S. Claims Court before moving back to Denver and working at a national firm in contract law. He was also active with the Colorado Republican Party and



the Federalist Society, and worked for Gale Norton when she was Colorado’s Attorney General. He joined the Interior Department when Norton was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Bush, and a few years later, Teufel was tapped to become the second-ever chief privacy officer for the newly created U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, Teufel and his team crafted privacy policy, and oversaw the flow and use of personal data through domestic and international channels. He helped write the rules about personal data and data protection just as the issue was coming to the fore. He worked closely with European regulators, legislators and government officials on the issue of transatlantic flows of personal data for security service use. “We live in a global information society and information is becoming the dominant economy,” said Teufel. “Personal data and information are flowing all around the world, and there is tension between the flow of information and the varying legal requirements that countries place on that information. What I found interesting on the policy side, especially within the DHS, is how to carry out the mission

of the agency in a way that is privacysensitive. How do you make it work? That was a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction.” Teufel issued a number of privacy policy memoranda during his tenure, including an i n fl u e n t i a l recommendation to administratively extend the protections of the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974 to non-U.S. citizens. “If you look at the President’s Review Commission Report on the National Security Agency after the Snowden affair, one of the commission’s recommendations to the president is that all executive branch agencies follow the lead of DHS on that policy. That was the policy that we put out when I was at DHS … and that’s the road that they’re going down,” he said. Teufel has held several positions since his tenure with DHS, including as a privacy consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, continuing to serve as a judge advocate with the Army National Guard and, currently, serving as global privacy counsel for defense contractor Raytheon. With each of these experiences, Teufel has furthered his goal of serving his country by implementing and upholding sound policy decisions. “Even with Raytheon, our customer often is the U.S. government – it’s another way to support the mission of defending the country,” he said. “It’s about doing good for the American people.”



Cristian Solano-Córdova had everything he needed to succeed in college except U.S. citizenship. STORY DAN VACCARO | PHOTO SARA HERTWIG

s s e c c u s g n i k c o l Un Cristian Solano-Córdova was always a high-achieving student. Throughout elementary, middle and high school he tested into advanced classes and excelled. Intelligent, articulate and bilingual, he seemed to have everything he needed to succeed in college. Everything, that is, except U.S. citizenship.

“When I finished high school, I felt like there was a giant locked door in front of me that I couldn’t open,” he recalled. “I’ve been in the U.S. since I was three years old and have always felt like I was a part of this country, but in this case, my country didn’t think the same of me.” Solano-Córdova took the advice of his high school guidance counselor and applied to a local private college. He got in, but money was a major obstacle. His mother worked in the service industry and he wasn’t eligible for government funds, so he needed to find other funding sources. Between scholarships and savings, he made it through his first semester. But by December, he’d spent his entire savings. He simply couldn’t afford it, he decided, and left. For a few years, he floated. He worked and waited, and honestly 28


thought he might never have the opportunity to go to college. But then something unexpected happened – the door opened.

In 2012, MSU Denver decided to offer a non-resident tuition rate for eligible undocumented students, paving the way for the passage of Colorado’s ASSET legislation in 2013. The University remains a leader in this arena, enrolling half of all undocumented students in the state. “I signed up the very first day,” said Solano-Córdova of MSU Denver’s special tuition rate. “I was inspired and encouraged that the people at this university cared enough to push me forward rather than hold me back.” Solano-Córdova has made the most of his opportunity. He studies modern languages and biology, and plans to graduate in spring 2016. His ultimate goal is to combine those two passions in the field of cognitive neuroscience with a specialization in language. He is currently exploring a yearlong internship after graduation with hopes of someday applying to a combined M.D./Ph.D. program.

Besides academics, SolanoCórdova keeps a busy schedule. He is president of the Student Government Assembly, among other extracurricular activities, and finds great satisfaction in organizing students, raising awareness of issues and working for positive change on campus. “I’m so proud to be part of a school where students are fighting and working for what they want,” he said. “Many of our undocumented students have to pay for their education almost entirely out of pocket. Some of our students are parents and many come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, so their families may not have the resources to help fund their education. I’ve personally learned a lot about perseverance, self-actualization and refusing to give up on what you want to accomplish.” Yet sometimes no matter how hard you work, you run into one of those giant locked doors. Cristian Solano-Córdova – a future doctor and leader – came very close to being left outside. Thankfully, he found the key and unlocked his future.

People Alumni News + Notes 1971

Jesus “John” Hernandez (A.A.S. aviation and aerospace science ’71) is the owner and employing broker of John Hernandez Realty, where he handles buying and selling transactions. After earning his degree from MSU Denver, Hernandez – a U.S. Army veteran – joined a Denver-based aircraft charter firm as an executive vice president, piloting planes for movie stars, record producers, singers, news organizations and senators, among others. Hernandez has also been a commercial jet pilot, an owner of a corporate jet charter and vice president of a Denver aircraft sales firm that sold executive jets and commercial aircraft. Outside of his pilot and realty history, Hernandez has worked with a Denver law firm for over 20 years.


Phil Goodstein (B.A. history ’73) is a Denver historian and author. After graduating from MSU Denver, Goodstein earned a master’s degree from the University of Denver and a doctorate from the University of Colorado. After earning his degrees, he worked as an affiliate faculty member in MSU Denver’s History Department. Goodstein has published over 20 books focused on Denver’s history, including his most recent, “How the West Side Won: The History of West Denver/Auraria,” which references MSU Denver in its beginning stages.


Daniel Marcus (B.A. elementary education ’77) is a math and film teacher at Elizabeth High School. Previously, Marcus was a tenured faculty member at Lewis-Palmer School District in Monument, Colorado, where he founded and managed a student-led broadcast and film production program that garnered national recognition. In 2009, Marcus received a letter of commendation from U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter for a veteran’s oral history project video created by his students, which is now archived in the Library of Congress. Other award-winning films Marcus and his students developed include a film about sexting and one about cyberbullying. Additionally, his film, “You are Beautiful,” about the effects of eating

disorders, won the Viewer’s Choice Award at the Colorful Colorado Film Festival for Youth, was named the best middle school film in the world at the Hero International Film Festival, and earned Marcus and his students a guest appearance on the “Today” show in 2013. In addition to his extensive work with students, Marcus’ volunteer work with at-risk youth earned him Colorado’s Big Brother of the Year award in 2010.


creative writing graduate student at Southern New Hampshire University. After graduating from MSU Denver, Lewis worked as a journalist and is currently a freelance author.


Rhonda Driscoll (B.S. IDP ’98) has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for nearly 20 years and credits MSU Denver for helping her career.

Toni Abernathy (B.S. computer information systems ’80) is the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Emergency Management Food and Nutrition Service. Abernathy and her team coordinate federal food and nutrition assistance during disaster and emergency situations. Abernathy is an avid traveler and resides in Arlington, Virginia.




Kip McBean (B.S. finance ’88) is the risk and insurance manager at Boise State University. McBean is married with two grown daughters.

Michelle Douglass (B.S. biology ’99) is a staff assistant at Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. In summer 2015, Douglass took a graduate course that allowed her to study key species re-introduction efforts of the Great Steppe in Mongolia. She is pursuing her master’s degree at Miami University.

Jim Stevens (B.A. English and publishing ’88) is an artist, specializing in scrimshaw and monofilament. Stevens, who is legally blind, won first place out of 3,300 entrants at the 2015 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival for two of his portrait pieces. His work was displayed at the annual festival in October 2015.

Tangia Al-Awaji Estrada (B.A. political science ’06) owns Hello Gorgeous Fitness in Aurora, Colorado, where she also works as a health and lifestyle coach. After graduation from MSU Denver, Al-Awaji Estrada worked in the nonprofit field, eventually co-founding a Colorado-based nonprofit organization. In 2014, after pursuing her own weight loss goal of losing 70 pounds in six months, Al-Awaji Estrada founded Hello Gorgeous Fitness. The company’s mission is to help over 10,000 women reach their lifestyle goals.



Alan Iannacito (B.A. contract ’94) is owner of ACI Associates Inc. and an author. Iannacito has been an industrial machinery and equipment appraiser for over 40 years. He is primarily an author of fiction and nonfiction. His work has also been published in procedures manuals and technical textbooks, and includes journal, newspaper and magazine articles. His most recent book, “Being Bonarelli,” is a fictitious, crime drama set in north Denver in the 1950s. April Lewis, nee Dierking (B.A. communications multi-major ’94), is a

Christin Hungerford (B.S. management marketing ’07) is a territory manager at Convatec, a medical device sales company. Hungerford manages hospital calls in four states: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas. Additionally, Hungerford works with the Denver Broncos’ medical team, providing information about preventative bracing for players. Amir Raj Thapa (B.S. environmental science ’07) is the senior program officer at International Medical Corps and an education consultant at Shanti Griha Nepal.

Thapa, a resident of Lalitpur, Nepal, and his employer, International Medical Corps, were the first to bring aid to the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region in April 2015. His volunteer work was featured in a video by Facebook, which contributed over $15 million to relief efforts through user donations.


Ali Edinger (B.A. sociology ’09) is an owner and operator of three uniform stores in Colorado. After graduating from MSU Denver, Edinger spent two years volunteering with children abroad. She is in the process of earning her master’s degree in counseling from Denver Seminary.


George Motoc (B.S. biology ’12) is a lab technician III for Tolmar Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. He recently became a registrant of the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.


Rachel Escobedo (B.S. marketing ’13) is a marketing coordinator at Applewood Plumbing, Heating and Electric in Denver. Escobedo has been with the company for three years, working her way up to her current position from an internship she held while a student at MSU Denver.


Elizabeth Kirkpatrick (teaching licensure, secondary science ’15) is a teacher in the Cherry Creek School District. Lacey Patterson (B.A. English ’15) is an English teacher at Columbine High School.


Email your class notes to or submit an update online at





Telling MSU Denver’s story means showing how it transforms lives, communities and higher education. STORY LESLIE PETROVSKI | PHOTO MARK WOOLCOTT A TV ad encapsulates MSU Denver’s brand promise in just 30 seconds: Former Denver Bronco Tyrone Braxton (MSW ’14) looks straight into the camera and describes how the University helped him figure out his second act in life as a clinical case manager at the Mental Health Center of Denver. “I reinvented myself at MSU Denver,” he says. “And you can do it, too.” The message isn’t new – MSU Denver has held out this promise of transformation since welcoming its first class in 1965 – but it has evolved over time. 30


“This institution is known for its courage, boldness and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Cathy Lucas, chief of staff and chief communications officer. “That we are now sought after as a leader in higher education and by businesses and industry interested in our expertise and graduates – that’s an aspect of our brand that wasn’t there 10 years ago.”

Robert Bowen (B.S. history and political science ’71) was one of those students when he enrolled at “Metro” in 1967. The author of “The Vision, The Struggle: The Begining of Metropolitan State University of Denver,” Bowen said that when he matriculated, the University was a place where under-represented students – poor kids, women and minorities – could get a four-year degree.

Or 50 years ago, when nearly 1,200 students started classes at what then Colorado Rep. Roy Romer called a “street-smart kind of school” where students would “rise or fall by their own wits.”

A former Colorado state representative and retired businessman, Bowen has seen MSU Denver’s reputation catch up with what was always happening in its classrooms. “From day one,” he said, “we had the

largest percentage of Ph.D. faculty in the state and one of the highest in the country. The education was always excellent, but that wasn’t the perception.” He credits the achievements of MSU Denver’s faculty and alumni – about 75 percent of whom live in Colorado – with helping to shift public views about the school. “There have been so many achievements by alums and faculty in aerospace and all kinds of fields,” he said. “That success in and of itself changes public perception.” So does a strong leader. Since President Stephen Jordan came to MSU

Former Denver Bronco Tyrone Braxton (MSW ’14) is among several high-profile alumni being featured in a series of television ads promoting MSU Denver.

Denver in 2005, he has pushed the institution to own its quality while also challenging it to become the nation’s preeminent public urban university. The last 10 years have seen MSU Denver achieve innumerable accomplishments, from attaining university status and constructing highly visible, award-winning facilities to championing undocumented students in higher education. The University has also dug into its brand over the past decade, working with the Denver-based company Sector Brands to refine how it presents itself, and developing memorable key

messages about its brand promise of transformation: MSU Denver transforms lives, communities and higher education. These days, market research shows that about 70 percent of Denverites know that its homegrown, urban university stands for personal and community growth. By 2020, “we want that number to be 85 percent,” said Lucas, citing the figure outlined in the University’s strategic plan. MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary campaign should help. In addition to a special 50th anniversary we b s it e (m s u d e nve r.

edu/50), which showcases a detailed historical timeline and photos, profiles of notable alumni, events and other items, the campaign includes television ads featuring high-profile alumni like Braxton; Rowena Alegria (B.A. Spanish ’91), chief communications officer for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; and Joe Rice (B.A. history ’89), director of government relations at Lockheed Martin. The TV ads, which are running on KUSA, KCNC and Telemundo, are being reinforced by billboards, bus shelter displays and light rail wraps featuring additional

MSU Denver alumni who are leaders in their fields. But the brand is larger than the advertising the University deploys to support it, said Lucas. The brand reflects the institution’s choices, outcomes and identity. “If you look at the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building we just broke ground on, that’s going to have a direct impact on enrollment, and industry will recruit MSU Denver students rather than from out of state,” she said. “This is transformational for us and Colorado. We are evolving, but we’re doing it in a scrappy way.” SPRING 2016


People In Memory 1960s

Alex Bulat (A.A.S. aeronautical engineering ’69) November 2015


Thomas Juniel (B.A. psychology ’72) December 2013 John Sharkey (B.S. management marketing ’70) October 2015 Marcia Shpall (B.A. history ’74) May 2014 Betty Trenchard (B.S. health professions ’77) September 2015


Lillian Velasquez (B.A. elementary education ’86) September 2015 Doris Lay (B.A. art ’87) December 2015 Jeffrey Marcec (B.S. computer information systems ’86) June 2015 Willie McWashington (B.A. political science ’80) September 2015 Timothy John Morgan (B.S. aviation & aerospace science ’89) January 2015


Nancy Orth (B.S. computer information systems ’91) December 2014

Robert Corolewski (B.S. accounting ’84) July 2013

Jay Hendricks (B.A. music ’99) June 2015

Peggy Goodness (B.S. health professions ’86) January 2016

Jerry “Jay” McEwen (B.F.A. art ’90) December 2015

Barbara Head (B.S. marketing ’83) August 2010

Gail Shaw (B.S. accounting ’94) December 2015


Candy Herring (B.S. computer information systems ’05) June 2010

Faculty and Staff

Hal Leith taught gemology and gold smithing at MSU Denver for over 20 years. He died in December 2013 at the age of 94. Prior to his time at MSU Denver, Leith was recruited by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, a predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency. His 33-year career included rescuing prisoners of war in Mukden and Hsian, Manchuria, near the end of World War II, experiences he recounted in his 2004 book, “POWs of Japanese Rescued!” During his retirement, Leith was head of the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado, where he helped children with disabilities learn how to ski. He was influential in Golden, Colorado, where he and his wife contributed to the development

of the Golden Community Center, the Buffalo Bill parade and the Olde Golden Christmas parade, among other town activities. Lori Morris worked in MSU Denver’s Veterans Upward Bound Program. She died in May 2013 at the age of 53. Morris attended MSU Denver as a student in the Human Peformance and Adult Fitness Department. She was a certified Wilderness First Responder. Henry Smith taught geography and was the chair of MSU Denver’s Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department from 1971 until his retirement in 1989. He died in September 2015 at the age of 88. Smith had an extensive career working in higher education. Prior to MSU Denver, he was a geography professor and later the registrar at Kansas State Teachers College. Smith also served as the registrar and director of admissions at the University of Wyoming, and as assistant for academic affairs for the trustees of the State Colleges of Colorado in Denver. Smith was a retired commander of the U.S. Navy Reserve having served 29 years. Linda B. White taught in the Department of Health Professions for 10 years. She died in February 2016.

Available online.



White was influential in developing MSU Denver’s integrative health care curriculum. Her love of teaching and advising students is immortalized in the Dr. Linda B. White Integrative Health Endowed Scholarship, created by former students in White’s honor in 2014. She authored numerous magazine articles, blogs, books and a college textbook on personal health. Her most recent science fiction novel, “The Orphans of Mirna,” was published immediately prior her death.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit 2965 Denver, CO

Campus Box 86 P.O. Box 173362 Denver, CO 80217




a r o f e t a ve the d


E E R I O S R ME June 4, 2016

Join community leaders, alumni and students to celebrate MSU Denver’s 50 great years. All proceeds will benefit undergraduate scholarships.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.