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.
The members of the Executive Committee include Mike West, Chair; Brian Peagler, Chair Elect; and Tracie Sheppard, Secretary.
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).
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
Mike West (BSBA ’75, MBA ’81) Brandon Buzbee
Chair, DU Alumni Council Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Networks
Members of the Alumni Council
Michael West - Chair
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Adrienne Martinez currently serves as the associate vice president of Classroom to Career Initiatives at MSU Denver. Over the past 14 years, Adrienne has worked in a variety of roles within higher education institutions building a steadfast commitment and expertise on more equitable college access and student success programs. Her academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver. She is currently a doctoral student in the Doctor of Philosophy, higher education, program at the University of Denver.
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 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.
Tracie Sheppard has over 17 years of experience in leading strategic program implementations and change management teams across financial services, non-profits, and service delivery industries. Having received her Executive MBA from the University of Denver in 2017, Tracie has become a trusted thought leader across multiple Fortune 200 companies.
Tracie discovered her passion for community service and inclusion while serving as the Product Manager for a $303M fund of funds for Invesco Private Capital specializing in diverse fund managers and underserved communities. Elevating those in need became increasingly critical to her career when launching Dish Network’s “DISHCares” program to support victims of natural disasters, and the WU Foundation’s Annual Volunteer Campaign; achieving over 90% employee engagement within the community. Tracie also led Western Union's CEX program within AML Compliance; driving Compliance leaders to view regulatory activities through a global and customer-centric lens.
Tracie currently supports Wells Fargo’s Corporate Properties Group as a Strategic Initiatives leader. She leads change management teams for diversity & inclusion initiatives, workplace strategy initiatives, and is passionate about customer and stakeholder experience. Tracie is currently leading an end-to-end analysis of CPG’s service delivery model and providing thought leadership for all-inclusive workplace designs.
When not working, Tracie can be found volunteering on the Daniels College of Business Alumni Advisory Board as co-chair of the Student Development Committee, serving as a founding member of the University of Denver’s Alumni Council, cheering her two daughters on in their many gymnastics meets and dance recitals, and camping with her amazing husband, Wade.
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.
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Alumni Attitudes Survey
We value the perspectives of our alumni about University and the ways in which we connect with the DU community. We are thoughtfully examining the feedback we receive from alumni, and that feedback will inform the work of the Alumni Council moving forward.See the results of the survey