DU Alumni Council Grows to 20
Council Welcomes 11 New Members Who Will Serve 3-Year Terms
After beginning its work in 2020, the University of Denver Alumni Council is pleased to announce the addition of new members as well as its emphasis in creating strategic alignment with DU priorities that support both the institution and its alumni. The 20-member Alumni Council represents DU’s diverse alumni population, and each member serves a three-year term.
“The Alumni Council issued a call for nominations in the fall of 2020, and the response from our alumni community was overwhelmingly strong, with remarkable volume and quality of nominations,” said Alumni Council board chair Mike West (BS ’75, MBA ’81). “We are excited to welcome these 11 new members, each bringing a unique perspective and skills that will make us even more representative of the community,” he added.
The Alumni Council was recommissioned by vote of the DU Board of Trustees in 2019 and started its work in January 2020. The council’s membership includes alumni at all life stages and with a diversity of backgrounds and experience. Its membership now stands at 20 and will eventually grow to 30.
Working in connection with the DU Board of Trustees and University leadership, the Alumni Council is dedicated to engaging alumni for life, representing the entire alumni population, building a culture of philanthropy among DU alumni, and nurturing intellectual and emotional connections between DU alumni and their alma mater.
Alumni Council Charter Members (terms starting in January 2020):
- Mike West (BS ’75, MBA ’81), Chair: A CPA who spent 28 years at Arthur Andersen, West provided significant leadership in human resources both at Andersen and in subsequent ventures. He is currently Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Cheyenne Capital/Millennium Bridge Capital. He also has extensive involvement in philanthropic efforts at DU and throughout the community.
- Brian Peagler (BS ’05, MBA ’05), Chair Elect: A Denver native and Boettcher Scholar, Peagler served on the Pioneer Leadership Program Alumni Association Board at DU, and he currently serves on the boards of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Association and the Colorado Enterprise Fund. He works as Director of Information Systems for goldbug, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes infant and children’s apparel.
- Tracie Sheppard (BSBA ’02, EMBA ’17), Secretary: Vice President, Wells Fargo Corporate Properties Strategic Initiatives, Sheppard has over 17 years’ experience leading corporate strategy and enterprise transformation teams across the Fortune 200 landscape. She is also a passionate volunteer for both DU and throughout the Denver community.
- Sarabeth Berk (PhD ’15): A TEDx speaker and hybrid professional who researches hybrid professional identity, Berk is the founding director of Futurebound, an innovation ecosystem focused on solving challenges in early childhood for young children in Colorado.
- Leslie Fields (BA ’78, JD ’81): A graduate of DU’s undergraduate college as well as the Sturm College of Law, Fields is Executive Director of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national business association consisting of the leading eminent domain and takings lawyers in the country.
- Craig Harrison (BSBA ’03), also a DU trustee: Harrison is Managing Director of Teton Partners LLC, a diversified investment firm focused on water and natural resources. He serves on the DU Board of Trustees and leadership roles with multiple other nonprofit organizations.
- Tim Hartwig (BS ’97, MBA ’01): The Vice President of Property Management at ERES, Hartwig oversees company-wide property and facilities management services across all offices and the full property portfolio.
- Fay Matsukage (JD ’79): One of the first Asian‐American female attorneys admitted to practice law in Colorado, Matsukage began specializing in corporate and securities law early in her career. She currently practices at the Doida Law Group LLC, and she holds a BA summa cum laude from Colorado College and a law degree from the University of Denver.
- Andrea Smith (BA ’85, JD ’88): Smith retired in 2013 after 25 years with State of Colorado working as a budget analyst. She is an active DU alumna, holding leadership roles in the Latino Alumni Affinity Group and sitting on the Chancellor’s Diversity and Equity Advisory Committee, among other volunteer roles.
Alumni Council New Members (terms starting in January 2021):
- Theo Chapman (MBA ’08): A mechanical engineer, Chapman serves as president of the Black Alumni Affinity group, volunteers for the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (E-STEM) program, and is a member of the Pioneer Leadership Program alumni board.
- Katherine Easter (BA ’19): After graduating from DU, Easter joined City Year, a national service AmeriCorps program working to lower the drop-out rate in the U.S. She previously worked with The Blue Bench and DU’s Ritchie Center and has been an active recent graduate.
- Kay Fillingham (MA ’06): Working in financial services, Fillingham was a member of the Pioneer Leadership Program and a Puksta Scholar. She has been an active member in formal and informal DU alumni groups in nearly every city she has lived since graduating.
- Gayor Geller (JD ’04, MS ’08): A real estate broker and investor, Geller played baseball while at DU and has four degrees from his alma mater. In addition to his involvement as a DU alumnus over the years, he has served as an adjunct professor at DU, teaching sports and entertainment contracts.
- Donald “Boomer” Hogoboom (BSBA ’74): A passionate ambassador for the University of Denver, Boomer is a strong supporter of DU student-athletes and has a long history of involvement with DU. His current work and volunteer service benefit disadvantaged individuals in numerous ways, earning recognition from the City of Aurora as the “Power of One” for creating housing for at-risk residents.
- Lynnea Louison Hutton (MBA ’11): Hutton is senior director of operations at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a nonprofit research center at DU. She has served an executive mentor at the Daniels College of Business and is a former Alumni Advisory Board member at Daniels.
- Maggie Kirchhoff (BSBA ’05): A certified financial planner, Kirchhoff is passionate about promoting financial literacy as a volunteer. At DU, she was a Division I athlete and now serves as the chair of the Daniels College of Business Alumni Advisory Board and is a member of the Executive Advisory Board.
- Philip Nickerson (JD ’17, MBA ’17): Nickerson is an adjunct professor of international practice and procedure at DU’s Sturm College of Law and a coach of its International Moot Court Team. Outside of DU, he serves on the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s executive committee and co-chairs its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
- Kori Novak, PhD (BA ’95): Novak earned her bachelor’s degree from DU and went on to earn an MBA and PhD from other universities. Along with her research and publications, she has served as CEO of Health and Human Services for several California Native American Tribes.
- Erika Ross, PhD (BS ’09, MS ‘12): Ross completed her bachelor and master degrees at DU and then went on to earn a PhD in neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic. She is passionate about connecting with DU alumni and working to enhance the University’s STEM programs, with a strong interest in supporting the next generation of female scientists and engineers.
- Raquel Wright-Mair, PhD (PhD ‘17): Wright-Mair is an assistant professor of higher education at Rowan University in New Jersey, earning her PhD at DU’s Morgridge College of Education. She is interested in helping to foster equitable community and support at DU.
To learn more about the Alumni Council and its work, please click here.