Celebrating Black History Month with Rosalynn Feagins
The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. We recognize that our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni. With that shared value in mind, throughout this academic year, we plan to publish a series of articles in the Bridge to celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage months. In partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will feature a staff or faculty member in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.
Exclamation marks are in frequent use when Rosalynn Feagins is around. Feagins serves as DU’s director of financial analysis. It’s been nearly 19 years since she began her tenure at DU, but her passion for both her work and the University continues to run deep. It’s that very passion that earned her a spot on the University’s staff back in 2000. During her interview, her zest for life was palpable as she regaled her future boss with stories of making a field goal attempt at the Broncos’ Mile High Stadium in front of a crowd of 70,000, and performing a skit with Rocky, the mascot for the Denver Nuggets. “I have a passion for anything I’m doing: working, socializing or getting myself into unusual situations that require me to make a fool of myself — the latter I’m particularly good at,” she says.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
What is something you do to celebrate your background and heritage? Are there any traditions that are particularly important to you?
I’m a Texan from a large family consisting of 11 siblings raised in the South. We were raised to appreciate hard work, give 100 percent all the time and to embrace, encourage and support each other and the community always! What’s important to me is fellowshipping with family whenever possible. Therefore I return home often where a number of siblings still reside in the same town where we grew up: Texarkana, Texas. We love to retell over and over again the many stories and experiences we accumulated growing up. I’ve been told many times that our group sounds like a henhouse when we get together. The best story tellers are always the center of attention — and we all strive to be the best! We love sharing food, conversations and doing all we can to inspire the younger generation toward greatness!
Are there any places in Denver you would recommend for anyone interested in learning and connecting more to black culture?
First, I’d encourage everyone to use social media to flesh out meetups happening in Denver relative to black culture. I attended the MLK rodeo recently, which is a fun event in January during the stock show. To immerse oneself fully in black culture, there are a vast number of organizations available; therefore my recommendation would be to visit www.blackdenver.net/organizations.html for a comprehensive listing.
Who in your life has inspired you?
First and foremost, my parents are my greatest inspiration. Considering what they accomplished with very little while raising 11 children, it inspires me to appreciate my journey and all available opportunities to help others as much as I can. I’m an avid volunteer that appreciates any opportunity to support and give back to communities. I’m not particular about where I volunteer — my motto is “try everything once.”
Tell us about your work at DU and why you’re passionate about your work.
I began my DU career in the controller’s office doing treasury work and appreciated the flexibility and challenge afforded by my boss to make the job my own. While overseeing the day-to-day treasury aspects of cash management and investment, I tried to be creative and instrumental in elevating the importance of management and monitoring of treasury services across the University while creating meaningful ways of ensuring the University was compliant in its treasury activities. The same is true with my current position in the vice chancellor of financial affairs office. I’ve relished the opportunity to work with someone that anoints staff with the power and authority to be bold, creative and take risks in how to approach data and the meaning of it. I have a passion for all that I do. My approach is simply to be the best I can be on a daily basis, which was instilled in me by my parents. I’ve always had a curiosity and passion for learning new things.
In an effort to make the University an inclusive and welcoming place to be, what would you like to see changed or improved?
DU has made immense strides in its pursuit of being a welcoming institution. I’d like to see us build on those successes by continuing to spread the responsibilities of diversity and inclusion throughout all levels of the organization, which leads to increased buy-in, enhanced commitment and amazing results!