George Norlin Award: Michael Brown
No question about it — Michael Brown (Geog’90) has risen to the top in his career. Scratch that. He’s risen to the top of two careers.
First, as a world-class mountaineer, he’s summited Mount Everest five times. And second, as a three-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker, he has made more than 50 expeditions to all seven continents with an impeccable eye for splendor behind a rolling camera. His work has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, ESPN, IMAX theaters and the BBC, to name a few.
When the topics are mountain climbing and filming, the obvious first name off the lips of any pertinent observer is Michael Brown. Outside Magazine describes him as a “swashbuckling librarian,” and Men’s Journal calls him “a master of gut-dropping action.”
Michael has left a deep and indelible path behind him, braving the world’s harshest settings including the South Pole, the North Face of the Eiger and 1,500 feet beneath the Earth’s surface into caves, always returning with breathtaking footage and gripping tales.
But his films reach far beyond the extreme to reveal the intricacies of the human spirit. Focusing on worldwide social issues, conservation and education, he often captures how people overcome challenges to thrive. His latest films follow veterans returning from war, young adult cancer survivors and doctors delivering free life-changing surgeries in the developing world. His work has earned more than 40 international film festival and industry awards.
In 2007 he founded the Outside Adventure Film School to track another favorite pursuit — teaching. He has since led courses worldwide, and his students have gone on to create award-winning films in South America, Asia, Africa and the United States.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Michael Brown for his work of bringing meaningful stories to life — stories that change lives— and for his selfless sharing to make the world a better place.
George Norlin Award: Eugene “Gene” Lucero
George Norlin Award: Eugene “Gene” Lucero
A devotion and concern for society, in particular the Chicano/Latino community, helps define Eugene “Gene” Lucero (Bus ’78).
At CU-Boulder he was active in the Chicano Business Students Association, the University of Colorado Student Union and the United Mexican American Students organization to ensure that Chicano/Latino students had a voice in CU student life.
After graduating Gene became a founding member of the CU Hispanic Alumni Association, now known as the CU-Boulder Latino Alumni Association. Since 1986 Gene has worked tirelessly for this association, serving as president twice and raising more than $100,000. Gene also served on the CU-Boulder Alumni Association and the CU Foundation boards.
Gene takes pride in providing ethical and quality service. He established the Lucero Financial Group, which provides more than 1,200 annual clients financial services in real estate, mortgage, accounting and tax.
He was the first Latino elected as president of the Denver Board of Realtors and was recognized as Realtor of the Year in 2004. He served on the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Board of Directors in 2004 and the organization honored him as one of the country’s top Hispanic real estate entrepreneurs. He also was named Businessman of the Year by the Denver Hispanic Chamber.
When something didn’t exist that Gene felt would help his community, he created it. He co-founded the Colorado Latino Forum and is the founding chairperson of the Colorado Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and the West 38th Avenue Merchants Association.
Many people have taken note of his extraordinary talents. In 2007 then Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (Law’81) appointed Gene to the Colorado State Housing Board. Gov. John Hickenlooper re-appointed him in 2011.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is eager to present the George Norlin Award to Gene Lucero for his undying commitment to making Colorado a warmer and more welcoming place for all.
Robert L. Stearns Award: Ryan Chreist
Clearly the past recipients of this award have helped make this university what it is. But when it comes to literally making the school what it is, Ryan Chreist (Kines’96, MPubAf’09) has special claim. Ryan is instrumental in bringing students to the university — overseeing recruitment in all undergraduate programs within the state of Colorado, the rest of the United States and abroad.
For the last 15 years, Ryan has worn many hats at the school. Here’s a little of his job description: he helps lead the Admissions Office, which is home to more than 70 full-time employees and 60 seasonal and student staff. He oversees the recruitment division that visits more than 180 Colorado high schools in more than 30 states in the United States and 15 countries around the globe.
Ryan also oversees the operation division responsible for processing all undergraduate and graduate applications, transcripts and other credentials for students who apply for admission to CU-Boulder. CU receives roughly 30,000 undergraduate applications and more than 10,000 graduate applications every year, which includes more than 100,000 documents and credentials.
But wait, there’s more. Ryan also works directly with information technology groups on the Boulder campus and at the CU System office to create and maintain technologies used in admissions and throughout all the CU campuses.
Hold on, a little more. When he’s not at CU putting out metaphorical fires, you can often find him helping others in our community putting out real fires (and in Colorado, that can be a tall order) as a volunteer fire fighter and emergency medical technician with the Louisville Fire Protection District.
But beyond all those duties, what makes Ryan particularly proud is working with students to help them pursue and earn a degree in higher education.
And all of that makes the CU-Boulder Alumni Association proud to present the Robert L. Sterns Award to Ryan Chreist for all of his hard work, his superior skills and his self-sacrificing dedication to CU-Boulder.
Robert L. Stearns Award: Lorrie Shepard
Soon after Lorrie Shepard (MEdu’70, PhD’72) received her doctorate in research and evaluation methodology from CU-Boulder’s School of Education in 1972, she began work as a measurement researcher. She focused a lot on technical topics such as standard setting and test bias. That’s particularly appropriate, because by any measure or any standard, Lorrie is a perfect fit for this award.
Her first job after graduating was with the California Department of Education. Fortunately for CU-Boulder, she returned here and joined the faculty. And ever since then she’s built a stellar career leaving significant milestones in educational research along the way.
She has conducted extensive large-scale studies on learning disabilities, grade retention, kindergarten screening and teacher testing. In the 1980s, Lorrie’s research revealed that school readiness tests were basically disguised I.Q. tests. This was important because poor and minority children who needed early access to pre-reading literacy experiences most were being kept out of school by those same tests. Her work caused entire school districts to rethink their policies regarding readiness testing.
Her frequently cited review, “Evaluating Test Validity” is especially notable because it considered not just a test’s psychometric properties but also intended and unintended consequences of testing.
Lorrie’s 2000 American Educational Research Association presidential address, “The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture,” later published in the Educational Researcher, has been cited by scholars more than 1,100 times. In it, Lorrie reviews research documenting how assessment can be used to support high-level cognitive development, and at the same time, contribute to students’ sense of themselves as capable learners.
Students and educators across the country owe Lorrie a great debt of gratitude for her work and commitment to education, and that’s just one of many reasons the CU-Boulder Alumni Association is delighted to present the Robert L. Sterns Award to Lorrie Shepard for her groundbreaking work and for making CU Boulder’s School of Education one of the best in the country.
Lorrie was unable to attend the Awards ceremony but videotaped her acceptance speech. You can watch it here.
Alumni Recognition Award: Roe Green
The first act goes like this. A decade ago, a CU-Boulder student was making fundraising calls for the school’s theater program. Evidently he was in the Gs and dialed up Roe Green (Comm, Thtr’70). It’d be a call he wouldn’t soon forget. He politely asked if she’d consider upping her $100 annual gift to $150. She promptly replied she thought she’d be willing to give a little more.
A little more was an understatement. She funded an annual theater-artist residency program now in its eighth year at CU-Boulder. It’s called the Roe Green Distinguished Theatre Artist Residency in the theatre and dance department.
This year Roe took her passion for this art form and for CU even further — $2 million further. Her gift will fund the department’s first fully endowed faculty position. It’s the largest gift ever given to the CU-Boulder theatre and dance department by a far margin.
The second act goes like this. Roe first took notice of theater as a CU-Boulder sophomore when she volunteered to take notes for a faculty director. Long story short, she was smitten, from the actors, the stage, backstage — everything about the art form swept her up.
After earning her bachelor’s in theater at CU-Boulder, she pursued a master’s in theater at Kent State University where she also has established a residency program and has made a gift to name the Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance there.
Today, Roe is the chief executive officer of the Roe Green Foundation that supports victims of domestic violence, Jewish federated giving and performing arts programs and the arts, particularly arts education. The foundation is a regular and staunch supporter of CU-Boulder.
The third act isn’t on paper, yet. But we know it will involve thousands of students and their futures made brighter by one wonderful and giving person — Roe Green.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Alumni Recognition Award to Roe Green for her generosity of spirit, her allegiance to learning and her passionate advocacy for the arts.
Alumni Recognition Award: William “Bill” Harris
Are you kidding? The Alumni Association has no choice but to honor a guy whose nickname is Buffalo Bill. Meet him now: Bill Harris (A&S ex’64). And as you might expect with that nickname, he’s an avid supporter of all things Buff.
When he played football at CU and lettered three years, Bill led the team in rushing as a junior with 582 yards in 1962. He is one of 48 players in school history to have rushed more than 1,000 yards. He’s 27th on the all-time list with 1,486. And Bill still stands 26th all-time in all-purpose yards, amassing 2,411 via rushing, receiving and returns.
After his playing days at CU, the New York Giants drafted Bill, but he ended up playing three years instead in the Canadian Football League for Ottawa in 1964 and then Calgary in 1965 and 1966.
He moved to New Jersey in the 1970s where he began an exceptional 25-year career in healthcare, overseeing community medical outreach programs and regulatory agencies first as a hospital administrator and later as vice president of operations.
During that time, Bill became known for his work in the community, serving on the New Jersey Supreme Court Arbitration Committee, the Community Chest and coaching little league baseball. He’s also served as an at-large board member of the Colorado National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame.
Luckily for CU-Boulder, Bill returned to Colorado in 1999 and served with great distinction as both the Alumni C Club director and assistant athletic director for nine years before retiring in 2009. He still volunteers in the athletic department mentoring and helping students with anything they need.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Alumni Recognition Award to “Buffalo” Bill Harris for his infectious enthusiasm of all things Buff and for serving as a consummate ambassador for our school.
Alumni Recognition Award: Rebecca Roser
More than three decades ago, Becky Roser (MSpLangHearSci’75) began her long love affair with CU-Boulder. Love? There’s really no other word to describe her dedication to this university. First, she served with passion and loyalty as a faculty member supervising graduate students and as director of clinical services in the speech, language and hearing sciences clinic at CU.
And since retiring (the word is being used loosely) from CU, she has focused on supporting education, creativity and innovation She has volunteered on numerous boards. Today, she serves as chair of the Music Advisory Board in the College of Music, the ATLAS Institute Advisory Board, the AMC Cancer Fund at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. She also has served on the boards of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, the CU Foundation, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Women of the West Museum.
One of her most notable acts of philanthropy was when she and Jim founded and funded the Roser Visiting Artist Endowment, a vital contribution to the education of CU students. The fund is matched by the Boulder campus chancellor and provides annual funding to recruit distinguished visiting artists for the art, art history, film, music and theatre and dance departments. She remains active on the endowment’s committee.
She and Jim also made a generous donation for the Roser ATLAS building, illustrating their commitment to the visionary programs housed under ATLAS. Completed in 2006, the ATLAS building, which stands for Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society, houses everything from the Technology, Arts and Media academic program to an avant-garde theater space.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Alumni Recognition Award to Becky Roser for her undying love of this school and for her many gracious gifts.
Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award: Todd Mosher
You could say Todd Mosher’s (MAero’95, PhD’00) work is out of this world. Literally. He’s one of the men and women behind the Dream Chaser, the space vehicle that carries astronauts to and from a low orbit. In fact, you may have heard about this in the news last summer when the Dream Chaser passed its first test flight.
It’s part of the government’s new strategy to reboot manned space flight with slimmer margins, more competition and private-sector efficiency. And Todd is right in the middle of this significant work as the director of design and development for the Dream Chaser, assisting in leading a team of more than 150 people to ensure its success.
He is doing one heck of a job. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) chose him as its director of the year (and it has 2,200 employees). But it’s not just his work on the Dream Chaser that makes Todd stand out. He used to be the director of spacecraft business development where he helped win the Orbcomm Second Generation program to build 18 satellites. And he managed the program that’s building other space vehicles that the U.S. Department of Defense could use in war time. And before SNC, Todd worked at Lockheed Martin on NASA’s plans to return to the moon.
While Todd graduated in 2000 with his doctorate, he has kept close ties with the university by mentoring more than 20 summer interns in his various jobs and hiring many CU alumni. He’s also served on a Ph.D. committee in the aerospace engineering department and working as a reviewer for several student presentations. What’s more, the Dream Chaser program has helped cement the connection between SNC and CU-Boulder with more than $500,000 in research grants, senior projects and graduate projects.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award to Todd Mosher for his extraordinary achievements in the sciences and for his continued and thoughtful support of CU-Boulder.
Leanne Skupa-Lee Award: Brian Corcoran
Brian Corcoran (Fin’99) may live in Boston (he was born and raised there, too), but CU-Boulder will always be in his heart.
He talks fondly of his time here and says it was truly a life changer. He admits the opportunities the school offered were unlike anything he’d ever experienced in his life. His involvement with the Greek system and student government gave him lifelong friendships. And he says his memories of football games, outdoor adventures and enjoying everything Boulder had to offer were all simply wonderful.
It’s those memories that have driven him to be a praiseworthy volunteer for the National Alumni Admissions Assistance Program, tirelessly participating in college fairs across eastern Massachusetts over the last decade to recruit CU’s next generation of students.
So let it be said plainly and clearly, prospective CU-Boulder students have a friend in Brian Corcoran. He’s spent countless hours counseling and mentoring many prospective students during the years on their applications to CU, their letters of recommendation and their essays.
Every year he says he’s proud to receive several inquiries from CU seniors and recent graduates looking for guidance in finding work in the financial services sector. And he’s met with many of those students and graduates helping them to network, secure internships and even full-time positions.
Plus, Brian has worked hours upon hours with the CU admissions staff every year at the annual “CU Preview” night where prospective students enjoy a more formal presentation about the school. And every spring, after acceptance letters are mailed out, Brian personally calls every one of the Massachusetts applicants to congratulate them on their admission to CU.
He says his goal is simple: to spread the word about CU and all of the wonderful things the school has to offer and for the students to have the same wonderful experiences he enjoyed during his time here.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the Leanne Skupa-Lee Award to Brian Corcoran for his honorable service and enthusiastic endorsement of CU.
Forever Buffs Student Award: Brittni Hernandez
In April of this year, CU-Boulder students did a very smart thing: They elected Brittni Hernandez as their student government president. A smart thing? You bet.
As president she undoubtedly is facing many problems. But we know she’s facing them head-on with grace, with perseverance and with an inner strength and skill few people her age possess. That’s because facing and overcoming difficulties is something she knows all too well. In fact, it is a part of who she is.
Growing up in Greeley, Brittni confronted poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and prejudice in the community. Yet in the hardest of times, she says she knew her parents and family would be there to support her dream of attending college.
She has clearly reached that goal — and so much more. As soon as she arrived on campus, Brittni wasted little time making her presence, her natural leadership and her dedication to service known to everyone she met.
Here are just three examples: Instead of traditional spring breaks Brittni racked up more than 60 volunteer hours advocating for the HIV/AIDS community in San Francisco. For INVST, the CU-Boulder community leadership program, she accumulated more than 800 volunteer hours working with the community to solve local issues. And for her non-traditional sorority, Brittni has committed more than 100 hours to the empowerment of women of color in higher education and also to mentoring young women in the community who dream of attending college.
Brittni says her dedication to her community and public service was born at home. Her grandfather is a councilman and many of her other family members have committed their lives to public service.
The CU-Boulder Alumni Association is honored and excited to present Brittni Hernandez with the 2012 Forever Buffs Student Award.