Alumni Council

Mission Statement

The Council is dedicated to serving the DU alumni population and fostering a lifelong relationship of mutual and enduring benefit between all present and future alumni of DU and the University. The Council’s mission is to support the overall advancement of DU by:

  • Engaging all alumni for life
  • Building a culture of philanthropy among the DU family
  • Nurturing strong intellectual and emotional connections between the University and members of the DU family
  • Striving for the welfare and advancing the endeavors of the University
  • Being the representative voice for all DU alumni to the University.

The Council, in partnership with the University, will accomplish its mission through excellence in communication, coordination and collaboration. This mutually beneficial relationship serves as the premier go-to global home for engagement of the DU family of current and future alumni.

  • As Alumni of DU, we believe
    • Alumni, students and DU will benefit from a strong alumni association.
    • A lifelong relationship between Alumni and DU will support and sustain personal and professional growth of all Alumni and DU.
    • The Alumni Council will have the skills, commitment, time, and enthusiasm necessary to represent the entire Alumni community.
    • The Alumni Council will be the key resource for advising DU on the use and appropriation of DU resources for its Alumni affairs.
    • The Alumni Council’s strategic direction will be consistent with the vision, goals, and policies of DU.
    • The Alumni Council will continually improve its effectiveness by setting, measuring, and assessing its goals and objectives.
    • The Alumni Council will reflect the broad diversity of the DU alumni base.
  • Subcommittees

    Executive Committee 
    The members of the Executive Committee include Mike West, Chair; Brian Peagler, Chair Elect; and Tracie Sheppard, Secretary.
     
    Nominating Committee 
    The Nominating Committee of the Council will be charged with implementing the goal of having the Council reflect the broad diversity of the University’s alumni base (including, but not limited to, current and past schools, geography, demographics, gender, race, ethnicity, undergraduate and graduate degrees, affinity groups, and other affiliations).

  • Alumni Council Nominations

    The Alumni Council welcomes nominations for DU alumni to join our efforts to serve the alumni population of DU. We seek to expand the Council in a way that accurately represents the vibrant diversity and breadth of our alumni community, so we welcome alumni from all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, career fields and more. Together, we foster meaningful lifelong relationships among alumni and our University, and we work together to advance the vision and goals of DU.

    As you submit your nomination, please note that Alumni Council members are required to attend three annual meetings each year and be committed to supporting the core areas of impact: growing the DU network, supporting philanthropy across campus, and engaging the community. Please contact Brandon Buzbee with any questions.

Campus in the evening

A letter to our community

Dear fellow alumni:

As a member of the University of Denver alumni community, you have an important stake in the future of DU.

Today, DU is working harder than ever before to deeply engage our alumni, bringing a sustained commitment to its outreach in nearly every corner of the globe. This commitment is coming to life through a visionary plan for delivering what our alumni want from DU and our global network on Pioneers. Let us provide three examples:

  1. The DU Alumni Council has been recommissioned, by vote of the DU Board of Trustees, after a long hiatus. Consisting of alumni in all stages of life, the council is now working on a strategic plan. Our plan will dovetail with the University’s “Global Networks” approach to engaging and connecting DU alumni, students and families.
  2. The University is investing in a new home for our alumni. Opening in the early fall of 2020, the 23,000-square-foot Burwell Center for Career Achievement will serve as the home for DU alumni as well as the University’s best-in-class career and professional development programming.
  3. In 2018, DU launched an exciting regional engagement program, with offices in major markets across the U.S. The response by alumni in the regional markets has been strong, with Pioneers connecting at gatherings of all kinds, from “Pioneering Conversations” about topics such as sustainability to networking events, days at the ballpark and much more.

There is much to be excited about, but DU wants to do even better—and this is where your voices as alumni are needed. In the fall of 2019, you may have received a survey from DU asking for your opinions in a few key areas. Thanks to thousands of you who responded, the results are in, and we are excited to share them with you.

While many of the survey results were encouraging and affirmed that the University is heading in the right direction with our alumni strategy, there was also feedback highlighting areas of opportunity for DU. Some of the headlines from the survey:

  • About two-thirds of survey respondents felt DU was either improving or at least staying the same. A fifth had no opinion, highlighting an opportunity for increased quality communication from the University.
  • Alumni graduating since 2010 feel less positive, less likely to recommend, less loyal and less connected to DU than pre-2010 alumni. While many universities are seeing similar trends, this is nonetheless concerning and points to the need for more meaningful connections with younger alumni.
  • Fortunately, the survey shows younger alums want to engage with the University, especially on career and professional development and networking. Overall, the survey showed 54% want to maintain their current level of engagement and an additional 39% want to be engaged more.

Those are just a few of the many interesting findings in the survey.

In closing, we have three asks for you to please consider:

  1. Take a few moments to review the survey results and, if you would like, provide your ideas and feedback to us. What should DU be thinking about in bringing greater value to you as an alum?
  2. Feel free to share the results with your fellow DU alums and start a conversation around how we can come together as a community to create connections and support each other.
  3. The Alumni Council represents you. Please share your input with the Council so we consider it in our planning.

Thank you for being a member of the University of Denver alumni community.

Sincerely,

Mike West (BSBA ’75, MBA ’81)                         Brandon Buzbee

Chair, DU Alumni Council                                   Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Networks

Alumni council on a building tour

Alumni Council Bylaws

Read the Document

Members of the Alumni Council

  • Mike West (BS ’75, MBA ’81), Chair
    Michael West

    Michael D. West spent twenty eight years with Arthur Andersen, the last ten as Director of Human Resources, Administration and Recruiting for the Denver office. He was responsible for administrative and financial operations of the office as well as recruiting all new and experienced hire personnel and dealing with employee personnel related issues.  His final act with the Firm involved finding opportunities for almost all of the remaining 600 Denver Arthur Andersen employees, closing the Denver office facility, and having the distinction of being the last Arthur Andersen employee in Denver. Subsequent to the Arthur Andersen experience, Mr. West co-founded a firm providing project and permanent placement opportunities for senior level individuals in finance and accounting.  Moving on from that opportunity, in 2006 he joined Cheyenne Capital/Millennium Bridge Capital and is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of that $1 billion private equity fund of funds and Registered Investment Advisor based in Denver.

    Mr. West is a CPA and his business and professional activities include memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants. Civic involvement includes past service on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of Colorado and on the Board and as Chairman of the Board and Treasurer of Historic Denver, Inc., past service on the Board and as Chairman of the Board of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants Educational Foundation, past service on the board of the Colorado Society of CPA’s including serving as its chair, on the local and previously serving as chair of the regional board of the American Lung Association-Southwest and at the University of Denver with past service on the Board and as Treasurer and President of the University of Denver Alumni Association, and current service on the School of Accountancy Advisory Board previously as its chair, past service as Treasurer of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity House Corporation and as a current Board member of the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association. He was appointed by the mayor of Denver to the Lower Downtown Design Review Board and served from 2007 to 2014 and to the Denver Union Station Project Authority Board (DUSPA) in 2008 serving as a board member and as the secretary of the organization during the entire term of its existence. DUSPA was a public/private partnership responsible for the financing and build out of the $450 million Union Station redevelopment project.  For his involvement at the University of Denver, Mr. West was the 2003 recipient of the Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni. 

    Mr. West was co chair and completed a capital campaign to build a new $3.4 million Kappa Sigma Fraternity house at the University of Denver as well as a $1.2 million campaign to build the scholarship endowment base of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants Educational Foundation, and served recently as a member of a capital campaign committee raising over $2 million for Historic Denver. Mr. West was the chair for the inaugural Run the Register, an innovative stair climb event raising $125,000 for the American Lung Association –Colorado. He also chaired the second year event attracting over 1,700 participants and raising over $220,000.

    Mr. West received a BSBA degree in accounting from the University of Denver.  Upon graduation he joined Arthur Andersen in 1975 and began his career in the audit practice. He returned part time to the University of Denver and obtained and MBA in 1981.

    His outside interests include sports, especially baseball and the Colorado Rockies, golf, traveling, real estate, and investing.  His interest in historic preservation led to active involvement with several other partners as pioneers in one of the first redevelopment projects involving conversion of a warehouse space in Lower Downtown into residential lofts and commercial space.  He and his wife Etta reside in another historic Lower Downtown loft project where they were involved in the original design and renovation of their residence.  In 2000, they satisfied a lifetime dream building a log cabin in a remote and scenic setting outside of Fraser in Grand County, Colorado. 

  • Sarabeth Berk (PhD ’15)
    Sarabeth Berk

    Dr. Sarabeth Berk is a TEDx speaker and a hybrid professional who researches hybrid professional identity. She calls herself a creative disruptor because she blends her artist/researcher/educator/designer identities to lead and create innovation strategies that radically connect resources and people in new ways. Berk is the founding director of Futurebound, an innovation ecosystem focused on solving challenges in early childhood for young children in Colorado.

    Berk obtained her PhD in Curriculum Studies and Teaching from the University of Denver, and has degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design. Her background includes leading innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives in K-12, higher education, and in community programs. She often mentors startups who are building social impact ventures of all varieties.  In 2019, she was recognized by Colorado Inno as one of 50 “Inno on Fire” recipients, people in Colorado who are doing incredibly innovative work. Berk is also a member of the Denver County Cultural Council, and she loves to mountain bike, ski, travel, do word puzzles, and get lost in nature.

  • Theo Chapman (MBA ’08)
    Chapman

    Theo Chapman is a Colorado native who earned both his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver in 2008. He graduated from the University Honors Program and earned a minor in Leadership Studies from the Pioneer Leadership Program.  He serves as a Boettcher Foundation Alumni Ambassador, providing scholarship presentations at high schools and college fairs, and he is also an Alumni Board Member for the Programming Committee.  Chapman is a member of the Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) Board as well as the Denver Kids Development Committee.  

    At DU, he is the President of the Black Alumni Affinity group (BAA), a Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (E-STEM) Volunteer, a Young Alumni Professional Advisory Board Member, and he was recently accepted to the Pioneer Leadership Program Alumni Board.  Chapman is a 2009 Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado Chamber Connect Graduate, a 2017 New Leaders Council Fellowship Alum, and a member of the 2020-2021 Colorado Governors Fellowship Program.  In his free time, Chapman enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, mentoring, cooking, and playing video games, basketball, tennis, and flag football.
     

  • Katherine Easter (BA ’19)
    Easter

    Katherine Easter is a 2019 graduate of the University of Denver (B.A. Communication Studies and Socio-Legal Studies). After graduating, she joined City Year Denver, a national service AmeriCorps program aimed to lower the drop-out rate in the United States. She currently serves in a middle school in North Denver. After City Year, Katherine hopes to continue to work within the education field in Denver. 

    Katherine is passionate about civic engagement and helping young people make change within their communities. Her previous experience includes working with The Blue Bench, a nonprofit located in Metro Denver, and DU’s own Ritchie Center. Outside of work, Katherine enjoys skiing, hiking, and seeing all the beautiful sights Colorado has to offer.
     

  • Leslie Fields (BA ’78, JD ’81)
    Leslie Fields

    A graduate of the University of Denver’s undergraduate college as well as the schools’ Sturm College of Law, Leslie Fields is the Executive Director of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national business association consisting of the leading eminent domain and takings lawyers in the country. OCA members devote a significant portion of their practice representing and defending private property owners in various eminent domain and taking cases across the country. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of OCA, Leslie practiced in Denver at Faegre Baker Daniels (now Faegre Drinker), where she served on the firm’s management board and became a national legal expert on eminent domain and property rights issues, co-chairing for many years the longest running ALI-ABA conference on eminent domain and land valuation, and presenting on the subject in locales as distant as Tsinghua University in Beijing China, where she spoke at the law school’s first property rights conference.

    Over a span of some 33 years, Leslie was involved in every major governmental project in the state of Colorado including: the Denver International Airport, the Colorado Convention Center, Highways C-470 and E-470, the I-25 Transportation Expansion Project (T-REX) and the Fastracks Lightrail project. She has argued many precedent-setting cases before the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court, resulting in numerous published decisions. Additionally, Leslie has testified as an expert witness, presented before Colorado judges at their annual Colorado Judicial Conference, published extensively on eminent domain law and procedures matters, and in 2007, authored the leading textbook on Colorado Eminent Domain Practice.

    In recognition of her trial experience and expertise, Leslie was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2014 the Sam Cary Bar Association awarded Leslie the King Trimble Lifetime Achievement Award for her professional achievements and in 2016 Leslie was honored as a Law Star by the Sturm College of Law for her alumni and professional achievements. Leslie has been a longtime member of the Alumni Council for the Sturm College of Law and in 2019 served as the Chair of the Alumni Council.

  • Kay Fillingham (MA ’06)
    Fillingham

    Kay Fillingham participated in the 4+1 program through the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, receiving her BA in International Studies and Spanish and her MA in International Development in 2006. She was a member of the Pioneer Leadership Program and a Puksta Scholar, and she has been active in DU alumni groups in nearly every city she’s lived since graduating.

    Fillingham is a senior product manager at BMO Financial Group in Chicago, overseeing use of treasury products by clients in specialty industries, including Canadian cannabis entities, money services businesses, third party payment processors, and virtual currency exchanges. She previously served in a range of national security, intelligence, and policy roles in the US Government, most recently as an economic officer at the US Department of State. 

    Fillingham is actively engaged with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a non-partisan think tank focused on international issues and policy. She is in the Chicago Council’s current class of Emerging Leaders, and she serves as a mentor to first-generation college students through Chicago Scholars. Since leaving Colorado, she’s replaced her snowboarding habit with road cycling and never passes up the opportunity to explore a new place by bike. You’ll otherwise find her hosting a dinner party, catching up on a long list of policy-focused podcasts, or reading the latest noteworthy fiction.
     

  • Gayor Geller (JD’04, MS ’08)
    Geller

    Gayor Geller has been a resident of Colorado ever since arriving at the University of Denver as an undergraduate scholarship baseball player. At DU, he earned a BSBA Finance and several post graduate degrees: Masters International Management, MS Real Estate Construction Management and Juris Doctor. 

    For over a decade, Geller has been active in Colorado’s Real Estate Industry both as a broker and as an investor (residential income and commercial properties). One highlight of his real estate career included his conversion of a 1950s garage into one of Denver’s most beloved neighborhood establishments, Maddie’s Restaurant. Today, Geller enjoys a practice that has grown throughout the Front Range and Summit County.

    Prior to entering the real estate industry, Geller managed and tour managed national musical acts, promoting special events throughout the country. He was also an adjunct professor at both CU Denver and at DU, teaching Music Business and Sports & Entertainment Contracts respectively. Geller continues to be active in the Colorado music scene with his annual productions of the Last Waltz Revisited, benefitting the Denver Rescue Mission.

    A dedicated family man, Geller loves spending time with his wife, Stephanie, their daughter, Maddie, and their son, Asher. He also enjoys Colorado’s outdoor activities such as golfing and skiing.
     

  • Craig Harrison (BSBA ’03)
    Craig Harrison

    Craig Harrison is the Managing Director of Teton Partners LLC, a diversified investment firm focused on water and natural resources. Prior to Teton Partners, Craig co-founded and sold Hydro Advisors – a water infrastructure firm, HouseFront – a real estate technology company, US Capital – a financial services firm, and Scout Cleaning – a residential and commercial cleaning company. Craig serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Denver, the Advisory Board for the Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art, the Metro Council for the El Pomar Foundation, the Advisory Committee for the Coors Western Art Exhibit, the Board of The Center for Expeditionary Economics, and the Executive Advisory Board for Millennium Bridge Capital and Cheyenne Capital. Craig received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Denver.

  • Tim Hartwig (BS ’97, MBA ’01)
    Tim Hartwig

    Tim Hartwig joined ERES in 2019 serving as Vice President of Property Management, an important leadership position within the Asset, Facilities and Property Management division. In this role he oversees company-wide property and facilities management services across all offices and the full property portfolio, which totals over 4,000 units and four million square feet. Tim has over 20 years of diverse experience in real estate operations, asset management, investment and development. Prior to ERES, he spent ten years as the National Director of Asset Management for University Communities(UCOMM), where he led efforts in operations, asset and risk management, development, construction, due diligence, and financing and investment. Before that, Tim held leadership roles at AIMCO and Archstone Smith. At ERES, Tim is responsible for managing and growing all aspects of property and facilities management business across every market and asset classes. Working closely with the leadership team, he will provide strategic direction for the business line, while ensuring all property performance metrics, occupancy targets and budgets are met. In addition to full portfolio property oversight and leading strong relationships with our clients, Tim will also help develop and grow our team of supporting professionals. He holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and an MBA from The University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. For over ten years, Tim has held numerous certifications and is active in instructing the FEMA Community Disaster Response Preparedness Courses (C.E.R.T) throughout Colorado. In addition, he is the President of the Board of Directors for Spark the Change Colorado, an active Rotarian, chairs the Denver Southeast Club’s Community Service Committee and sits on the Club’s Board, is the Vice Chairman of the Daniels College of Business Alumni Advisory Board, is a Director of the Michigan Technological University Alumni Association Board, and sits on the Arapahoe County Board of Review. Tim has resided in Denver, CO for over 20 years and is married to the love of his life, Jayme.

  • Donald “Boomer” Hogoboom (BSBA ’74)
    DONALD HOGOBOOM

    Donald “Boomer” Hogoboom (BSBA ’74) is a passionate ambassador for the University of Denver – some say he bleeds Crimson & Gold. He and his wife consistently support DU’s student-athletes, holding season tickets for hockey and lacrosse, and he frequently hired students when he owned the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop by campus. His previous professional ventures also include being Senior Vice President of the Koll Real Estate Company, Newport Beach, CA. 

    His work and volunteer service benefit disadvantaged individuals in numerous ways. He is the founder of Serena Food Bank and Gardens Food Bank, both in Aurora, Colorado. He also serves on the board of LOCO Foods, a nonprofit farm-to-table business in Fort Collins, and he is a board member and treasurer of VCCA Home Owners Association. Over the past 14 years, Hogoboom has renovated older apartments in distressed locations, earning recognition from the City of Aurora as the “Power of One” for creating housing for at-risk residents.  

    In addition to his fervent support of DU Athletics, he has also participated in the Ammi Hyde interviews of undergraduate students, mentored incoming Japanese students and their parents, and served as president of Southern California DU Alumni Club. 

  • Lynnea Louison Hutton (MBA ’11)
    Hutton

    Lynnea Louison Hutton earned her MBA from the University of Denver, and she graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish.  

    In 2019, Hutton joined IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a nonprofit research center at DU. With more than 18 years of experience in human resources, business operations, business development, and strategic planning, she is senior director of operations and oversees communications, development, human resources, IT, event planning, facilities, and project management. Before joining IAALS, Hutton was the director of operations at the Boettcher Foundation, a Colorado -based large private family foundation with strong ties to the University of Denver.

    Hutton grew up in the Philadelphia area and still cheers for her favorite football teams—the Philadelphia Eagles and Penn State. In her spare time, Hutton loves to salsa dance (which is how she met her husband), enjoy gourmet food (both eating at restaurants and cooking at home), and run in local 5K races. She also loves to play and watch all kinds of sports, including golf, tennis, and skiing with her husband, David (EMBA ‘21). Her son, Miles, is a college student in Atlanta at Morehouse College.

  • Maggie Kirchhoff (BSBA ’05)
    Kirchhoff

    Maggie Kirchhoff (BSBA ‘05) has worked with individuals, people in business and families for many years as a Certified Financial Planner and owns the financial planning firm True North Partners. Her approach has always been comprehensive, as she takes into consideration her clients’ entire financial picture including taxes, insurance, estate planning, investments, retirement planning, and cash flow.

    Kirchhoff is a member of the Financial Planning Association, participating in financial literacy campaigns including Junior Achievement, Money Smart Week, and Denver Financial Planning Day, and she also speaks to many different companies about financial planning. She is a published author, a judge for InvestWrite, a board member for the Girls on the Run organization, and a member of the Women’s Estate Planning Council. Kirchhoff is a proud graduate of the University of Denver, where she was a Division I athlete and continues to give back by serving as the chair of the Daniels Alumni Advisory Board and member of the Executive Advisory Board. Kirchhoff continued her academic career in the Accelerated MBA Program at The University of Colorado at Denver.

    She lives in Golden and enjoys fishing, skiing, backpacking and any activity off-grid.

  • Fay Matsukage (JD ’79)
    Fay Matsukage

    Fay Matsukage, one of the first Asian‐American female attorneys admitted to practice law in Colorado, began specializing in corporate and securities law early in her career. She currently practices at the Doida Law Group LLC representing both private and public companies with formation, capital-raising, compliance, and exit strategies, and holds a BA summa cum laude from Colorado College and a law degree from the University of Denver.

    With a passion to help those of Asian descent in Colorado, Fay was a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado 1990 and a founder of the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Foundation, which has endowed law school scholarships at both DU and CU.  She remains an active board member of both organizations.  Fay also devotes time and energy on behalf of the Asian Pacific Development Center, a Denver-based non-profit that serves and supports the immigrant and refugee communities with a whole health, community-based engagement approach through health, education, and advocacy.

    Her many honors include the 1999 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the 2006 Minoru Yasui Community Service Award from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, the 2006 Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award from The Colorado Women’s Bar Association, and the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award from DU’s Sturm College of Law.

  • Brian Peagler (BS ’05, MBA ’05), Chair Elect
    Brian Peagler

    Brian Peagler is a 2005 dual graduate of the University of Denver (B.S. Computer Engineering, MBA). A Denver native and Boettcher Scholar, Brian has most recently completed a term on the Pioneer Leadership Program Alumni Association Board at DU and is currently serving on Boettcher Scholar Alumni Association Board and on the Board of the Colorado Enterprise Fund, the first Community Development Financial Institution certified in Colorado.

    Brian currently works as the Director of Information Systems for goldbug, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes infant and children’s apparel. Brian resides in the Platt Park neighborhood with his wife, Megan and they are expecting their first child later in 2020.

  • Philip Nickerson (JD ’17 MBA ‘17)
    Nickerson

    Philip Nickerson is an associate in the Trial Department of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. His practice focuses on all aspects of complex commercial litigation and disputes, particularly in the areas of securities enforcement, product defect, and oil and gas matters.

    Nickerson received his JD/M.B.A from DU in May 2017.  In addition to his service on the Alumni Council, he is an adjunct professor of International Practice and Procedure at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a Coach of its International Moot Court Team. 

    Outside of his service to DU, Nickerson serves on the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Executive Committee, co-chairing its DEI Committee. He also served as the chair of the Sam Cary Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and is a member of its Judicial Endorsement Committee. Nickerson also enjoys volunteering as a mentor for Law School Yes We Can!, a Colorado-based law school pipeline program that targets high-achieving college freshmen from diverse backgrounds and provides mentorship through college. 

    He met his wife, Laura López Nickerson (JD 2017), while a student at DU, and he claims he is forever indebted to DU for bringing them together.

  • Dr. Kori Novak (BA ’95)
    Novak

    Dr. Kori Novak is helping change the narrative around compassion and aging, driving both conversation and action to ensure that no one dies alone. Her unique expertise in gerontology combined with a broad range of executive level experience in elder care, hospice services, and healthcare strategy has positioned her as an internationally sought-after expert and lecturer in places such as Oxford University and the University of Suffolk.  In addition, she often speaks at international healthcare and correctional conferences in Asia, Australia, and Central Europe. Novak has been a guest eldercare and prison expert on radio and television programs. 

    Novak credits much of her professional success to her foundational education.  After earning her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Denver, she went on to get her MBA from Pepperdine University, PhD from Capella University and Post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine. Along with her research and publication duties, she has served as CEO of Health and Human Services for several California Native American Tribes. Currently, she oversees a hospice program in Santa Barbara, CA. 

    She lives in Oxnard, CA, with the two loves of her life, her rescue dogs Abigail and Winston.

  • Tracie Sheppard (BSBA ’02, EMBA ’17), Secretary
    Tracie Sheppard

    Tracie Sheppard has over 17 years of experience leading strategic initiative teams across financial services, non-profits, and service delivery industries. With a proven track record of leading complex global change and transformation programs, Sheppard has become a trusted change catalyst across multiple Fortune 200 companies.

    Having received her Executive MBA from the University of Denver in 2017, Sheppard is a Vice President at Wells Fargo leading Corporate Properties Group’s Strategic Initiatives team. She leads enterprise-wide change initiatives including COVID Response & Recovery efforts, Workplace Utilization programs, Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, line of business integrations, and is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive workspaces for Wells Fargo’s 250k+ employees.   

    A native of Denver, CO, Sheppard first graduated from the University of Denver in 2002 with her BSBA in International Business.  She discovered her passion for community impact and volunteerism while serving the non-profit Kempe Foundation as their Vice President of Development. Tracie’s passion for philanthropy and community development flourished, and after returning to the corporate sector, philanthropy and volunteering in the community remain critical components to her daily life.  Sheppard serves as a proud member of the Daniels College of Business Alumni Advisory Board, leading the Student Development Committee, and as a Founding Member and Secretary of the University of Denver’s Alumni Council.

    Sheppard lives in southeast Denver with her husband, Wade, and their two amazing daughters, Lillie and Ellianna.  When not working, volunteering or cheering on the Denver Pioneers Women’s Gymnastics team, the family loves everything the Colorado outdoors have to offer, and you can often find them camping or hiking across the Rockies.

  • Andrea Smith (BA ’85, JD ’88)
    Andrea Smith

    Andrea retired in 2013 after 25 years with State of Colorado working as a budget analyst with the Colorado Departments of Revenue and Public Health/Environment.  She earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Denver in 1985 and her J.D. in 1988, also from the University of Denver School of Law. 

    Andrea is an active alum of the University of Denver.  She has been in leadership roles in the Latino Alumni Affinity (since its inception in 2004); she sits on the Chancellor’s Diversity and Equity Advisory Committee (2015 to present); is a member of the Latino Law Alumni Affinity (since its inception in 2016); participates in the Community and Values Initiative (since 2019), was a member of the Alumni Council Task Force in 2019 and is now a member of the newly formed Alumni Council.  She is actively engaged in mentoring and fundraising for the DULAA scholarship.

    Andrea was a board member at El Centro Su Teatro March 2014 – March 2020.  She has volunteered with Reading Partners for 4 years at Joe Shoemaker Elementary and was named the 2019 Tutor of the Year for that school.  She has also participated in the Mujeres Valiente (Latino Community Foundation of Denver) program from 2018 to present.

  • Dr. Erika Ross (BS ’09, MS ‘12)
    Ross

    Erika Ross, PhD, earned her BS in Biology, Cognitive Neuroscience and MS in Molecular Biology at the University of Denver. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience studying neural stimulation at the Mayo Clinic. 

    Ross is currently Director, R&D Applied Research for Neuromodulation at Abbott. She is responsible for leading applied research strategy, external partnerships, portfolio, and execution. Applied research includes computational modeling, pre-clinical, clinical feasibility & safety trials that feed new products and indications. 

    Prior to her role at Abbott, Ross was the Neuroscience Director at Cala Health, a Stanford Biodesign incubated Bay Area start-up that developed a non-invasive, digitally-enabled neuromodulation solution for Essential Tremor patients. She held roles of increasing leadership at Cala Health as the company completed development and prepared for commercialization and played a major role in developing their digital health architecture and team. 

    Prior to Cala Health, Ross held the roles of Assistant Professor of Neurologic Surgery and Deputy Director of the Surgical Device Innovation Accelerator at the Mayo Clinic where she developed invasive and non-invasive solutions to unmet needs in the neuromodulation and other surgical practice areas.

  • Dr. Raquel Wright-Mair (PhD ‘17)
    Wright-Mair

    Dr. Raquel Wright-Mair is Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Rowan University in New Jersey. She conducts research that is grounded in social justice, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Her research seeks to transform and advocate for the creation of more equitable and inclusive campus environments for underrepresented populations, specifically racially minoritized faculty members.

    Wright-Mair works collaboratively with the National Institute for Transformation and Equity (NITE) as a faculty researcher, conducting work focused on cultivating supportive campus environments that maximize success among diverse populations. She has produced several publications and conference presentations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and she is actively involved in several national organizations. Wright-Mair consults with colleges/universities, and other organizations nationally that seek to transform and cultivate more inclusive and equitable environments. She also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Higher Education Politics & Economics. 

    Wright-Mair received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, and she is a proud DU alumna.

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