Thursday, April 22, 2010

More than 100 show up for Blueprint for Success: 2010 Alumni Recognition Evening

To see the full photo album from the evening, please click here.

More than 100 people attended this year’s Blueprint for Success: 2010 Alumni Recognition Evening, held Wednesday, April 21, from 5:30-7 p.m. at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus.

According to Stefanie Carroll, Asst. Director of Alumni Programs and Communication, "The event went very smoothly, and everyone had a great time. It is one of our most fun events of the year because we are celebrating our outstanding alumni."

All of this year's recipients, with the exception of Gregory Aarons and Ed Jacobs, were able to attend. Standing in for Jacobs was his supervisor, Director, Web & Instructional Technology Ben Zastrocky. Lorne Donaldson attended with his wife Judith, and Piper Billups brought her entire family along, including husband Chauncey Billups and children Cydney, Ciara and Cenaiya.

And the 2010 honorees are:

"Distinguished Alumnus" award:

Senior Instructional Technologist for the Education Technology Center, Edward Jacobs ('96, computer information systems) wins this year’s “Distinguished Alumnus” award because of his wholehearted love and dedication to Metro State College of Denver. Not only will you find Jacobs regularly attending and taking photos at Metro athletics games, but his office walls are covered with College paraphernalia. As well, says co-worker Manisha Pinge, he is a “tremendous individual” who is a pleasure to work with on a daily basis. “Ed inspires others to excel,” she adds. “His enthusiasm and commitment to his job demonstrates his talent and dedication on a daily basis.” More than 20 co-workers and colleagues submitted letters recommending Jacobs win this award. According to co-worker Alex McDaniel (’05, speech communication), “Ed’s dedication to the College by far surpasses that of any other employee. The College is truly privileged to have an outstanding alumnus like Ed.”

Shannon Webber ('04, political science), a Financial Aid Counselor at the Financial Aid and Scholarship Center, is our other “Distinguished Alumna” winner. Not only does Webber regularly volunteer for crisis centers and the program Girls Rock, but she consistently gives back to the Metro community through her outreach work with Denver Public Schools, the Metro State Access Center, and the Metro State Excel Program. “Shannon makes a difference in the lives of students and administrators by going out of her way to compassionately and effectively communicate on behalf of the students she serves,” says co-worker Janina Edwards. “She exhibits Metro State pride by representing Metro State to various communities across Denver and by encouraging students of all backgrounds to believe in their abilities and to attend Metro State.”

"Giving Back" award:

A young professional who bucks the stereotype of the entitled Y-Generation, Meghan Stinton ('07, journalism)wins this year’s “Giving Back” award for her community involvement, integrity, and leadership. In addition to regularly volunteering with the Women’s Bean Project, Stinton served as one of the first professional liaisons to the Public Relations Student Society of Metro (PRSSM). According to previous employer Jane Dvorak of JKD & Company Inc. & PRSSM committee chair, Stinton was “instrumental in securing speakers from the professional sector for the students; providing advice for soon-to-be graduates; and serving as a role model through her leadership and professionalism. She was a champion for this program at Metro because she was aware of the value of the relationships she had developed during her academic career. Her accomplishments speak to her integrity and character. You couldn’t find a better role model or recipient for your Outstanding Alumni Award.”

"Making a Difference" award:

Piper Billups ('99, marketing) was given the “Making a Difference” award this year for her long-term dedication to the community. Through her work with The Spread Her Wings Foundation, which she founded in 2009, Billups assists 6th- and 7th-grade girls to become strong, independent young women by exposing them to life changing experiences, while teaching them to stay true to themselves so they can have a positive impact on others in their community and throughout the world.” According to Alumni Association Board Chair Eric Peterson ('99, marketing), Billups is a dedicated philanthropist who makes a difference in her family, her community, and the State. “She continues to prove that supporting our youth is important and that the investment that is made now will pay off 10 times over in the future.”

Lorne Donaldson ('86, physical education) is one of this year’s “Making a Difference” Outstanding Alumni. Elected to the Metro State College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995, Donaldson has coached and played soccer at the international, professional and collegiate levels. He was selected as an NAIA All-American 1980-1982, was an assistant coach for the Major League Soccer Colorado Rapids, and currently presides over the Real Colorado Soccer Club, which he founded in 1986. The club trains more than 5,000 kids and has produced both female and male players who have gone on to represent America in international competitions. However, according to Metro State Athletic Director Joan McDermott, Donaldson’s influence extends well beyond just his accomplishments. “Lorne’s commitment to each player extends beyond the field as he empower them with life skills taught through dedication, perseverance, work ethic and the challenges of competition,” she says. “He has begun a legacy of producing teams and players that are respected locally, nationally and internationally for their on-field, academic and personal accomplishments.”

"Work Ethic" award:

Gregory Aarons ('90, psychology) won this year’s Outstanding Alumnus award for the category of “Work Ethic.” Aarons has come a long way from his days at Metro State College of Denver. The various awards he won as a student—Outstanding Student in LAS (1988-1990), National Service Award (1990) and Special Service Award for Academic Affairs (1989-1990)—set him up for a successful career in psychology. He earned both a masters degree and PhD in psychology and now, in addition to being licensed psychologist, he is the Principal Investigator of two research grants from the National Institute of Health and one for Disease Control and Prevention, among other things. As well, Dr. Aarons has published more than 60 scientific peer-reviewed journal articles and has made more than 100 scientific presentations. According to Dr. Aarons, it was his “Metro State College of Denver work ethic and accomplishments that opened the door for these future opportunities and accomplishments.”

"Metro State Pride" award:

Magna Cum Laude graduate Danyette Hardin ('07, management) wins this year’s “Metro State Pride” award for her unwavering pride in Metro State College. Not only did she found and act as president of the Metro State College of Denver Alumni Business Networking Club, but she has also been involved with other organizations that promote the excellence of the College’s undergraduates. Hardin is involved in Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), which has a global mission of bringing “the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business.” According to Professor Ronald L. Taylor, from the Department of Management, “Ms. Harding is an eminent example of the core values embraced by the Alumni Association. It is difficult to envision a more selfless and tireless graduate of Metro State.”

"Future Alumnus" award:

Andrew Bateman ('10, theatre/psychology) perfectly embodies the newest of Office of Alumni Relations’ awards—“Future Alumnus”. A tireless proponent of student’s rights, Bateman has actively and aggressively utilized his Student Government Assembly positions as a senator (’06-’07), vice president (’07-’08) and president (’08-’09) to influence change throughout the College and State. He has mastered the art of politics, from arguing for cheaper textbooks on Colorado Public Radio and discussing the advantages of “Going Green” on 9News to coordinating massive protests and marches on the Capitol to get his messages across. According to Stefanie Carroll, the Asst. Director of Alumni Programs and Communications, “Andrew is a stellar example of a dedicated and motivated student, who is making a difference not only for the current students he represents, but also for future Metro State students. I have no doubt he will make far-reaching contributions to the Metro community long after he graduates.”

Special Recognition:

This year we have awarded special recognition to the Auraria Health Center Alumni staff. They are: Bill Mavromatis ('79, history), Debbie Shuman ('05, humanS performance and sport), Garr Rice ('09, nursing), Steffana Nohavickova ('06, IDP), Gia Valente ('08, history), Linda Wilkens-Pierce ('91, human services), Nathan Neilson ('07, accounting) and Martha Eaton ('94, psychology). According to Health Center Director Steve Monaco, “Each of the team members come in contact with thousands of students, faculty and staff throughout any given year and are instrumental in serving the 24,000+ clients who access care at the Health Center annually. On a daily basis I see each of these dedicated employees over achieving as they fulfill their job duties.” Collectively, he adds, this team is committed to students, dedicated to the quality of their work, willing to go the extra mile time and time again, and they are positive, energized, and dedicated to the College’s mission. “This team,” Monaco states, “personifies what it means to give back, and each employee is a shining example of what it means to be Metro State graduates.”

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