George Norlin Award: Dean Boal
Dean Boal (Mus, MusEdu’53, PhD’59). The two words are music to the ears of anyone who’s known the man both figuratively and literally. In fact, if you attend a Boulder Rotary Club meeting, you’ll hear some of that music. He plays piano for the organization’s weekly programs ―happily at age 79.
His is a long and melodic career. Born in Longmont, Colo., three of Dean’s four academic degrees come from CU. And not long after he earned those degrees, some of the country’s most prestigious institutions wasted little time snapping him up for his matchless professionalism and exquisite musical gifts.
He’s served as associate professor and head of piano at Bradley University, dean of the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, vice president of cultural programming and program services, and director of arts and performance programs for National Public Radio, founding president of the St. Louis Conservatory and Community Schools for the Arts and president of Interlochen Center for the Arts.
On that last organization, Dean authored the book Interlochen: A Home for the Arts, in which he explores the history and operations of that school for the arts that now ranks as one of the most renowned in the world.
And at NPR, he started two programs that to this day enjoy high listenership ― Performance Today and Car Talk.
Even in retirement, Dean’s presence continued to make his community better when as executive director, Dean steered the Peak Association of the Arts through one of its stormiest times.
George Norlin Award: Larissa Bernhardt Herda
Telecommunications industry folks often use the term “backbone” as a metaphor to explain the inner workings of the internet. This spine is obviously an integral part of the internet. The same could be said of Larissa Bernhardt Herda (PolSci’80) ― the backbone not just of her company but also of her community.
Integral? Without question.
In business Larissa is chairman, CEO and president of tw telecom inc., and her accomplishments since taking the proverbial remote control in 1998 have been nothing short of phenomenal.
Under her direction, tw telecom has grown from $26 million in revenue in 1996 to $1.3 billion in 2010. She expanded the organization’s broadband fiber network footprint from 17 U.S. markets to 75 and built a national IP backbone recognized as one of the top 10 most connected IP networks in the world. She introduced comprehensive data, voice, internet and national ethernet products. She’s raised more than $6 billion in the public and debt markets, including a $290 million initial public offering and oversaw three acquisitions.
Her business acumen has earned her accolades as Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year for the Rocky Mountain region, CEO of the Year from the Denver Business Journal and Telecom Executive of the Year from the Denver Telecom Professionals. Larissa also is a director on the board of the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
But Larissa’s community service is equally striking. Her support and enthusiasm for CU, its students, and in particular, the Leeds School of Business, are unwavering. At Leeds she’s a loyal donor who serves on the executive committee of the board of directors and the Center for Education on Social Responsibility. She’s also a frequent visitor to the classroom where she enjoys talking with students and sharing stories from the frontlines of business.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Larissa Bernhardt Herda for her business acumen and ardent CU support that are making the university and Colorado stronger places.
George Norlin Award: Anthony Ortega
Anthony Ortega (Span’80, MFA’95) says his lifelong goal is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural diversity through his art.
By just about any measure, he’s making impressive progress toward that goal. Visit his website and prepare to scroll a lot to see all his exhibitions ― more than 200 in national and international venues.
Tony says art introduced a new world he never imagined could exist. That world started opening for him as a child when he watched his grandmother sew quilts and his uncle work with wood. He also recalls a kindergarten teacher showing off his work, holding up one of his drawings ― a houseboat that looked like a face.
He has become one of the nation’s most respected artists. Tony’s acrylics and pastels pop off the canvas with distortion, exaggeration and amplified design to reflect community connectedness in Chicano families, neighborhoods, churches, schools and workplaces. It is work that has earned him both the coveted Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
And he’s continued his artistic influence as an art professor at Regis University. Tony also has worked tirelessly with schools, community groups and citizens of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to create murals throughout neighborhoods to further his belief that art belongs to everyone, not just the wealthy or patrons of art galleries and museums.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Anthony Ortega for his incredible commitment to sharing his artistic skills with people of all ages and for his outstanding contributions to the national art scene.
George Norlin Award: Lucinda McWilliams Sanders
Looking out over the landscape of women in technology, few stand taller or with more distinction than Lucinda McWilliams Sanders (MCompSci’78).
Not long after graduating in 1978 from CU with a master’s degree in computer science, Lucy found herself working for one of the most prestigious telecommunications companies on the globe, AT&T (now Alcatel-Lucent) Bell Labs in Denver.
It was clear that’s where she belonged ― among the best. Her groundbreaking work on an operating system that made voice and multimedia possible over the internet set the stage for her to win the Bell Labs Fellow award, the highest technical accomplishment the company bestows. Add to that her six patents in communications technology, and it’s easy to see why Lucy ranks among the elite in the field, and why the Women in Technology International inducted her into its hall of fame in 2007.
But her successes and service after retirement are just as impressive. In 2004 she co-founded the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), a coalition of corporations, schools, government agencies and nonprofits working to get more girls and women into the information technology arena. Today Lucy serves as NCWIT’s CEO where she has created a network of more than 250 organizations, including The White House and the U.S. Congress, to help the NCWIT move toward its goal.
At CU-Boulder, Lucy also is behind the university’s highly successful collaboration with Dillard University in New Orleans. The goal is to share curricula in applied math and humanities to give students from both universities research experience. And she serves as an executive-in-residence for CU’s Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute where she continues to get more women and minorities involved in technology education.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Lucinda McWilliams Sanders for her profound contributions to information technology and for her unwavering commitment to enhancing technology education.
Robert L. Stearns Award: Bernard Amadei
Today a child in a distant land you’ll likely never meet had clean water to drink. That child and thousands upon thousands like him have Bernard Amadei and other engineers to thank.
Bernard is a professor of civil engineering at CU and founding president of Engineers Without Borders – USA, an organization working to ensure humans in developing countries have their basic needs met.
It started in 2000 when Bernard struck up a conversation with Angel Tzec, a landscaper from Belize working in Bernard’s backyard. He invited Bernard to visit his village in San Pablo, Belize, which lacked clean water. Bernard went and was stunned when he saw little children carrying water all day long from a nearby river. As a result, they could not go to school.
Bernard returned to the village in 2001 with eight CU engineering students who, with the local community, installed a clean water system powered by a local waterfall. The project cost $14,000. Thirteen months later, EWB-USA was officially incorporated. Today more than 12,000 members work in 45 countries on more than 350 projects that include water, renewable energy, sanitation, education and more. It is estimated that 1.5 million people around the world have benefitted from EWB-USA projects.
Bernard serves as faculty director of CU’s Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, a group that educates engineering students and professionals on how to offer sustainable and appropriate solutions to low-income communities around the world.
Among a long list of distinctions, Bernard has won the Heinz Foundation Award for the Environment, is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and was elected an Ashoka-Knight Fellow in 2010.
His work has been featured on National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour and in Time magazine.
Robert L. Stearns Award: Brian Cabral
Take a quick look at Brian Cabral’s (Rec’79) CU-Boulder football record and you can gather three facts immediately: he doesn’t quit (or get fired, a serious accomplishment in college football), he’s a winner and he loves the game.
Brian has spent more than a quarter century on the Boulder campus from linebacker and graduate assistant to recruiter and interim head coach. His tenure as a full-time assistant ranks as the longest in CU history, not only for football, but for all sports.
But it’s not just the amount of time he’s spent here ― it’s the quality of his work that sparkles. He’s known as one of the top linebacker coaches in the nation, sending several of his students to National Football League stardom. Through the years his players have registered more than 6,000 tackles. And he’s earned numerous awards and honors, including the AFLAC National Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award and a spot on the 2007 CBSSportsline.com’s All-Coaching Staff for Linebackers.
All of it comes as no surprise when you consider Brian’s auspicious start at CU, where as a standout linebacker, he lettered three seasons, captained the team to a CU Big Eight championship and took home the Big Eight Conference’s Player of the Week for – get this – 25 tackles in a CU 27-21 win over Stanford – a feat that’s still tied for the fourth most in a single game.
He left Boulder to become a nine-year NFL veteran and earned the ever-coveted Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears in 1985.
Off the field he’s shown a more gentle side. He gives time to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a founding member of the Polynesian Coaches Association where he promotes the advancement of ethnic minorities in sports and higher education.
Robert L. Stearns Award: David Getches
Last fall David Getches announced the news that he will resign as dean of CU’s law school in June 2011 after eight years of service during which he can only be described in the best of terms – distinctive, passionate and highly effective. Thankfully, he will stay on campus as the Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law as he’s eager to return to teaching and mentoring students.
Under David’s tenure as dean, the law school’s academic offerings expanded with three master’s of law degrees, three new legal clinics, three certificate programs and eight dual degrees. New projects also surfaced, one of which is an endowed experiential learning program that gives students access to clinics, externships, appellate and trial competitions and volunteer public service work.
David also led in raising $28.5 million in donations, increasing the law school’s endowment 80 percent since 2003. The growth allowed him to boost the number and dollar amount of scholarships for law students, which he says was one of his highest priorities ― providing access to law school for people who couldn’t afford it.
Another obvious highlight of his tenure as dean is the $46 million, 180,000-square-foot Wolf Law Building that opened in 2006.
Long before his days as dean and professor, David was founding executive director of the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit American Indian-interest law firm, in 1970. He joined CU’s law school faculty in 1979. Later he served in the cabinet of Colorado Gov. Richard D. Lamm as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He is considered a national authority in natural resources and Indian law.
Robert L. Stearns Award: Daniel Liston
During the last two decades Daniel Liston, an education professor, has given his share of grades to students.
But he also has received grades from those very same students. Very good grades. In fact, in the 50 master’s and doctoral seminars he’s taught, students have given him an instructor rating of 5.6 (on a 6- point scale) ― a rating consistently above the campus and education school averages. More than half of the courses he’s taught earned an instructor rating of 5.8 or higher.
Others have recognized Dan’s teaching prowess and dedication to education. His research and professional work have netted awards from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, The American Education Studies Association and the Association of Teacher Educators. He was a finalist for the President’s Teaching Scholars Award, a CU honor for university faculty to recognize excellence in teaching. In addition, he won CU’s Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) Teacher Recognition Award, a student-generated award for excellence in teaching.
When not teaching, he’s working to make CU a school of choice. For instance, he helped create and launch the Miramontes Fellowship Endowment, which was established in honor of the late Ofelia Miramontes, a former CU education professor and associate vice chancellor for diversity. The award goes to underrepresented or first-generation college students in education. Originally the endowment was for 10 years. However, it’s been so successful that Ofelia’s husband, Bill Barclay, increased his commitment to $2 million to fund it in perpetuity.
Dan helped develop and currently co-directs Colorado Courage to Teach, a professional development program for public school personnel lauded by many in the profession.
Alumni Recognition Award: James D. Copeland
As it turns out maybe James D. Copeland’s (PE ’62, Arch ’69) background in the U.S. Navy and in architecture proved perfect for his role as president of CU-Boulder’s Directors Club.
After graduating he became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Maddox, the destroyer that made history when it suffered hostile fire that resulted in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution ― the official start of the Vietnam War. His service earned him a Navy unit commendation for combat action.
After his time in the Navy, he returned to the university, earned a degree in architecture in 1969 and became a notable player in the profession doing award-winning work for an impressive list of clients, including the Town of Snowmass, First National Bank, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and many others.
All the while he remained active in the university’s alumni activities. But taking over as Directors Club president turned out to be trying in 2007. Amid a wilting economy, the Directors Club, along with the Alumni Association, began its process of moving from under the umbrella of the CU Foundation to that of the Boulder campus. Those close to the negotiations say Jim tapped both his battle and architectural skills to craft a strategy and blueprint to make the transition smooth. At the same time, he molded the Directors Club into a better and stronger organization.
Today the club is thriving with more than 1,200 members. Scholarship money is flowing to deserving students, operations are efficient and special events and activities are well-attended. In addition, the Alumni C Club honored Jim in 2009 at the Living Legends banquet, which recognizes alumni 50 years after they received their first varsity letter.
Alumni Recognition Award: Ron Geschwer
Every once in a while someone raises the bar extraordinarily higher among the family of passionate CU supporters. Meet Ron Geschwer (Psych’01), bar raiser. Those interested in becoming president of their regional alumni chapter, take note. Ron can share some tips sure to make you a superstar.
On Ron’s resume you’ll read he’s an organizational development professional with expertise in organizational change and effectiveness. There’s little doubting that, especially when you consider his work as president of the New York City Buffs, the alumni chapter in New York City.
Members say they’ve been mesmerized not only by Ron’s enthusiasm and professionalism but also his unmatched dedication to turn the chapter into an exemplary organization that fosters both a sense of community and belonging.
During his tenure as president and treasurer he helped plan and/or oversaw dozens of events, including game watch parties, ski trips, professional sports outings, wine tastings, cruises, networking events, holiday parties, fundraisers for nonprofits and more. He increased attendance at many of those events by 100 percent and helped put the chapter’s finances at record levels – meaning more scholarship money for deserving students.
What’s more, he increased the chapter’s communications among members by tapping social media with Facebook, LinkedIn and improvements to the association’s website.
One alumna who moved from New York said she would miss being a part of all the good things Ron had done with the chapter.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Alumni Recognition Award to Ron Geschwer for using his superior organizational skills and heart-felt zeal in raising the bar on how to run a local alumni chapter.
Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award: Jason Burdick
It’s not often engineers get grouped in with rock stars, but then again, it’s not often you meet an engineer like Jason Burdick (PhDChemEngr’02). If he appeared on stage in front of other engineers, you’d likely hear loud cheers mixed in with heavy applause.
Even the general public has reached out to him. When Runner’s World magazine ran an article about his research in developing biomaterials to repair damaged cartilage, readers searched him out on the internet and began e-mailing him to find out more.
In less than 10 years of earning his doctorate, Jason has indeed achieved rock-star status. Today he’s an Ivy League associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The school was so impressed with Jason it gave him tenure a year early, something that rarely happens at the school.
Jason’s research focuses on using biomaterials to treat cartilage, meniscus and cardiac tissue. His newest findings may become the preferred next generation therapeutic for patients with cartilage damage.
It is prestigious work that’s garnering attention. Earlier this year, he took home the Edward C. Nagy New Investigator Award, one of the highest honors given by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Jason is one of eight new investigators chosen from a list of more than 100 who’ve demonstrated innovative work in their fields.
In 2009 the National Science Foundation honored him with its career award and he was selected as one of 100 of the nation’s brightest young engineers to participate in National Academy of Engineering’s annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. The participants were nominated by other engineers and organizations from all over the country.
Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award: Richard “Trey” Lyons III
It’s common to hear about CU students going places after they graduate. But when Richard “Trey” Lyons III (PolSci’00) graduated, he decided to take the phrase “going places” to the extreme.
Today Trey is a Department of State foreign service officer who is studying Russian to prepare for his upcoming diplomatic assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. That’s where he’ll monitor Georgia’s foreign policy with Russia and Iran and serve in the U.S. delegation to the “Geneva Process” negotiations between the United States, Russia, Georgia and representatives of the occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
But his work leading to that assignment has been just as impressive. After his swearing-in by Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002, Trey’s first assignment as a foreign service officer was at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he monitored human rights and religious freedom. He then moved to the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2005 where he focused on opposition politics, minority issues and human trafficking. Trey departed Bratislava for Washington, D.C., and an assignment in the State Department’s Operations Center in 2007.
In 2008 he became a senior watch officer in the Operations Center where he led a team that served as the “eyes and ears” for the Secretary of State, monitoring breaking events around the globe. In 2009 he moved on to cover political-military issues in the State Department’s Office of Pakistan Affairs and then became special assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Trey has twice received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for extraordinary performance.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award to Richard “Trey” Lyons III for his distinguished and honorable service to his country.
Leanne Skupa-Lee Award: Sue Duris-McMurdy
There’s no questioning Sue Duris-McMurdy’s (Econ ’84) loyalty to CU. After all, she named her chocolate miniature poodle “Folsom.”
It’s been 25 years since Sue attended her first CU-Boulder Alumni Association event, and her dedication and commitment to the school has only grown over the years.
After graduating from CU, Sue began her professional career in finance and marketing, working for several major corporations. She established herself as a sought-after consultant who guided companies through the mazes of federal regulations.
In 2004 Sue returned to her first love, acting, and used her business and marketing skills to land lead and supporting roles in film, television and on stage.
She says she owes much of her success to CU, and that’s why for the past 25 years she has supported and promoted the school every chance that has come her way.
Her efforts have included volunteering for local CU-Boulder alumni chapters (she’s sat on the boards of the Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Denver chapters), serving on the economics department’s alumni council, attending multiple football and basketball games and contributing financially to the university and to CU athletics as a proud member of the Buff Club.
But one of her largest contributions to the university has been her tireless efforts to promote CU at college fairs, which she has done while living in several cities for the past 20 years. She says she enjoys talking with parents and students at the fairs and promoting the university. When not attending fairs, she runs several social media websites for alumni in Southern California where she lives.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Leanne Skupa-Lee Award to Sue Duris-McMurdy for her diligent and enthusiastic endorsement of the university, especially to thousands of high school students.
Forever Buffs Student Award: Justin Macauley
You could say Justin Macauley gets a kick out of being at CU. Actually, many kicks. Justin has donated countless hours to the CU men’s club soccer program. From his first semester to today, he has become a vital player and leader to making the club one of the most successful in the university’s history. Justin, who is graduating this year with a business administration degree and certificates in the business of sports and international business, says his passion for the school were fostered though club soccer.
His first two years on campus revolved around the club, primarily as an athlete until his junior year when he was named club president. During his time at the helm, he helped create the first annual Rocky Mountain Cup at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against Colorado State University, got the club into two National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association national tournaments in Phoenix, Ariz., (which subsequently ended with a national title in 2010) and helped to foster the first partnership between a club sports team and the student group of the Alumni Association, The Herd. He also worked closely with the Alumni Association on a senior class marketing project that ended in increased engagement between students and the association.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Forever Buffs Student Award to Justin Macauley for his infectious zeal and able leadership that helped both the CU men’s club soccer program and the association score high.
Forever Buffs Student Award: Dan Omasta
If there’s a student who can say he left the campus better off than when he found it, it’s Dan Omasta. At every turn during his time here, Dan has taken the opportunity to make CU more environmentally friendly. One shining example of his work is CU Green Fund, which he founded last year with help from the 2010 Senior Class Council. The fund engages community members and organizations to finance capital projects at the university and offers scholarships to students who work on sustainability programs.
But that’s just the start of his impact. He’s been a regular volunteer for Zero Waste Green Teams, which sort waste and educate the public on disposal methods during football games at Folsom Field. He co-chairs the CU Integrated Pest Management Task Force that is working to eliminate synthetic pesticide use. He also co-founded Beyond Organic Farm, a student-run, organic farm in Boulder.
And finally, as sustainability director for the student government, Dan successfully developed and coordinated sustainability programs and policies related to zero-waste, local agriculture and food purchasing, procurement, transportation and community engagement. It’s work that, without question, adds up to a better campus, a better community and indeed a better Boulder.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Forever Buffs Student Award to Dan Omasta for his incredible commitment to sustainability, his strong leadership on campus and his tireless efforts to leave the university a greener and stronger place.
Forever Buffs Student Award: Marni Spott
If you needed to find Marni Spott during the last four years, there’s an excellent chance you could have found her at a student activities event. There she’d be ― not just as a participant but in all likelihood as someone who put hours of effort into planning and pulling off the event.
Since she first stepped on campus as a freshman, Marni has given untold amounts of time and energy to The Herd, the student group of the Alumni Association that create and preserves CU traditions, fosters community and gives students opportunities for volunteering and public service. Marni, a senior who’s majoring in international affairs and German and earning a certificate in peace and conflict studies, is The Herd president.
She has been the pivotal point person behind many Herd happenings, including a clothing drive that yielded more than 2,000 articles of clothing for the disadvantaged, a talent show that raised hundreds of dollars for student groups and special events that forged meaningful new relationships between students and alumni.
Marni says her efforts could not be realized, however, without the tremendous hard work and dedication of other Herd Leaders who she says deserve as much praise. Her time with The Herd has helped her develop skills in leadership, communication, marketing and event planning ― skills she has clearly demonstrated by making The Herd a better, stronger organization.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Forever Buffs Student Award to Marni Spott for her incredible dedication to creating community among students, to strengthening The Herd and welcoming countless students into the Forever Buffs family.