Friday, May 28, 2010

CVA holds Grand Re-Opening celebration next week

From @Metro
May 26, 2010

The CVA will mark its 20th Anniversary in its new, permanent home at 965 Santa Fe Dr. The main entrance borders the building’s parking lot.
What do you get when you cross great art with a preeminent public urban baccalaureate college? The grand re-opening of Metro State’s relocated Center for Visual Art.

On Thursday, June 3, from 7-9 p.m., the CVA will host a public reception to celebrate its new permanent home at 965 Santa Fe Dr. The evening will feature the center’s inaugural exhibition: MIX: CVA + The Art District on Santa Fe. The re-opening marks the CVA’s 20th Anniversary and is one of several kick-off events in a year-long celebration of the College’s 45th Anniversary.

“The opening is a great way for Metro State to celebrate as we mark two monumental anniversaries,” says Jennifer Garner, CVA director and curator since 2005. “Sharing this marvelous occasion with our longtime supporters, especially the arts community, will really enable us to grow our outreach programs and enhance our educational mission.”

The CVA’s existing community partnerships already work with a diverse mix of constituents, including public schools, the business community, foundations and Metro State students.

Cecily Cullen, assistant director and curator, adds, “The community on Santa Fe Drive has welcomed us with such enthusiasm that it has shown us the amazing potential of not only the new building, but the potential for CVA to play an important role in our new community through our outreach and exhibition programming along with community collaborations.”

According to Metro State Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Foundation Executive Director Carrie Besnette, “Our move has been a true exercise in how a community comes together to make a difference.”

Renovations in preparation for the CVA move-in included landscaping and cleaning the neighborhood alleyway on Comcast Cares Day, April 24. Painting originally scheduled for that day of volunteerism was postponed because of rain, but thanks to volunteers from Sun Construction, contractor for the renovation, and Metro State, the project is complete.

The new space will be filled with works by 30 artists from the Santa Fe Arts District at the June 3 Grand Re-opening.
Opening exhibition
MIX: CVA + The Art District on Santa Fe features works from artists and galleries within the district and serves as a vibrant setting for events highlighting creative education and community partnerships. The exhibition runs June 3-July 3.

“MIX is a celebration of our induction into the Art District on Santa Fe,” says Cullen. “We are throwing ourselves a house-warming party, and invited 30 artists who have studios and or gallery representation in the neighborhood to participate. In a way, we’re letting them know that 965 Santa Fe Drive can be a home for the whole community as well.”

Artists in the exhibition represent 910 Arts Studios, Access Gallery, Artists on Santa Fe, CORE New Art Space, Sandra Phillips Gallery, Sizzle and Bang, Space Gallery and Spark Gallery. Specific artists in the exhibition include:

Roland Bernier, a member of Spark Gallery, who has contributed to the Denver art scene for many years with his innovative take on word play in visual art.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Anna Kaye, who will represent the Sandra Phillips Gallery with a brand new and stunning large-scale charcoal drawing.
Rik Sargent, who has a studio across the street from the new CVA, will exhibit a maquette of his sculpture One World One Water. The full-size sculpture will be installed on the Metro State campus next year.

Three banks of nearly ceiling-to-floor windows add drama to the building’s east side.
The MIX exhibit is only a sample of what’s to come for the new location. “The art world is a tough business and for the CVA to have a permanent space demonstrates Metro State’s true commitment to the community, in that we will be very focused on creative education and delivering some really wonderful exhibitions,” Garner says.

Teaching space
A division of the College’s Art Department, the CVA has a dedicated classroom in its new location.

“This will enable us to teach a lot more workshops, both for outreach programs and programming associated with exhibitions. I’m really excited about teaching there myself,” says Garner, an assistant professor of art who teaches a senior exhibit course and senior thesis.

As the final touches are being put on the new building, Garner says, “I think it’s breathtaking. It’s a fantastic space. I’m smiling really big right now.

"I hope everyone from the Metro State community will come to the public reception, meet the artists, and see for themselves why we're all smiles!"

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Metropolitan State College of Denver Spring 2010 Commencement Photos

To see hundreds of photos, visit the Metro State College Alumni & Friends Facebook Fan page and become a fan!

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What …
President Stephen & Ruthie Jordan are proud to bring you the 45th Anniversary Edition of the Plain & Fancy Ball.

Back since 2006 and celebrating the 45th anniversary of the college, the Plain & Fancy Ball has a long-lived tradition of fun and eccentricity – while at the same time raising funds in support of one of Denver’s premier higher education institutions. The evening promises to be full of dinner, dancing, and auction bargains galore!

When …
Date – Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 6 p.m.
Silent Auction/Reception
Dinner & Fun Games
Live Auction
Entertainment & Dancing with the Mary Louise Lee Band

Where …
The Plain & Fancy Ball will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at Invesco Field at Mile High on the Club Level. This ballroom features beautiful views of the Auraria campus and will accommodate our goal of 800 attendees.

Attire …
Anything goes – everything from evening gowns and tuxedos to shorts and t-shirts. But everyone must wear their Plain & Fancy Bow-Tie. You’ll be presented with your tie upon entrance to the ball – the fun part is choosing where to put it! Past year’s eclectic range of ties have included one-of-a-kind ceramic works of art to special commemorative 25th anniversary editions.

Who Comes …
The history of the Plain & Fancy Ball is rich with notable figures. Each year a deserving individual (or individuals) is named the "Plain and Fancy Person of the Year.” This coveted award is given to those “…whose words and actions best reflect the ideals of the Metropolitan State College of Denver and its service and commitment to the greater Denver community.” The Persons of the Year for the 45th anniversary include Terrance Carroll, (Speaker of the House of Representatives in Colorado), Pat Cortez, (Sr. Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank), Leo Kiely III, (CEO, Miller Coors and former MSCD Foundation Board Member), Adele Phelan, (Chair, Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees), and Raymond Sutton, Jr. (Managing Partner, Baker & Hostetler and past Chair, MSCD Foundation). Also being honored, posthumously, is Harry Gianneschi, the first Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Metropolitan State College of Denver and the founder of the Plain & Fancy Ball.

Who Benefits …
Since 1988, hundreds of thousands of dollars has been raised for scholarships, academic programs and for moving our academic departments forward as we prepare our students to enter the workforce. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Metro State academic and non-academic programs, and as many deserving students, through scholarships, as possible.

What Sells …
Cumulatively, more than 2,000 items have been donated to the silent and live auctions at previous Plain & Fancy Balls. Gifts have included an automobile, vacations, diamonds, sports memorabilia, fine dining and even a “bit” part in a movie!

How to Participate …
Underwriting Opportunities and Corporate Tables
Corporations have the opportunity to underwrite a portion of the ball, with sponsorship tables ranging from $3,500 to $25,000. Each level offers a unique promotional package with ten seats per table. Corporate packages can also be customized for specific benefits (golf cart transportation to the Invesco entrance, an auction paddle marketing opportunity, etc.).
Individual Tickets
Individual tickets can be purchased for $150 each.

Who to Thank …
The 45th Anniversary Edition of the Plain & Fancy Ball is being facilitated by the Metro State Alumni Association, whose vision is: “To be a network of connected alumni who call others to action in support of the College.” However, the event is a collaborative fundraiser for the institution. The 45th Anniversary Host Committee is chaired by Metro State President Dr. Stephen Jordan and his wife Ruth.

About Us …
Metropolitan State College of Denver is Colorado’s premier urban institution. Each semester, more than 23,000 students enroll at the College, and more than 280,000 individuals have taken classes at Metro State. The Alumni Association boasts over 65,000 graduates of which 80 percent remain in the greater Denver metropolitan area to live and work. For more information on the 2010 Plain & Fancy Ball, please visit or call 303-556-8320.

Metropolitan State College of Denver's Plain & Fancy Ball
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where are they now? Retired faculty profile: Dr. C.J. White

As a result of a recommendation made in a “who was your favorite professor” thread posted on the unofficial, but very active Metro State College of Denver Alumni and Current Students LinkedIn Group, we are publishing an article about retired professor Dr. C.J. White. Join the group by clicking here.

Retired African-American Studies Chair/Professor Dr. White speaks deliberately and calmly, as if he is deeply considering what is being asked of him. Soft jazz plays in the background, and I imagine a stout man sitting in a comfortable chair, eye glasses perched on the end of his nose, surrounded by books. As our phone interview progresses, I find that Dr. White is, in fact, still deeply involved with the world of learning.

Though he retired in 2003 after working at Metro for nearly two decades, Dr. White still regularly connects with former students, conducts various types of research, writes and presents papers at conferences, and studies. In addition to writing a paper on education in African-American communities that he will present at the Association for the Study of African Life and History fall 2010, Dr. White is engrossed in a personal, pictorial family history project. His mother left him with a large collection of family photos and commentaries, which he is putting together and mounting. He also collects books by African authors, including ones by female authors and stories for children.

“During one of my travels to Africa I noticed the children were playing some of the same games that I played as a child,” he explains. Now that he has the time, he is trying to get at the root of the survival of these games in the United States. This fascination with Africa and African culture was sparked by an early trip to that continent, Dr. White says.

“It increased my level of awareness and added to my knowledge base of the continent of Africa,” he says. “The contributions made by our ancestors will enhance our understanding that we stand on the shoulders of others, and we have a responsibility to move forward, to add to what we inherited.” Not only did his trips improve his experience in the classroom, but they instilled in him a sense of pride in his ancestors. And this is something he handily conveyed to his students.
According to Dennis Green (’92, sociology), a senior instructor of ethnic studies at University of Colorado in Denver, Dr. White had a unique way of supporting and uplifting his students.

“All the students he had under his wing went somewhere and did well because of the level of focus and structure he inculcated in them,” says Green. “He had the ability and willingness to take you step by step to the next level—to help you find a game plan for what you wanted to do down the road within the academic world.”

For example, Green started out as Dr. White’s student, became a teacher’s assistant, and then he began to go to conferences with his mentor, at which he began to see him in a different light. “I was impressed not with the number of people he knew, but with the level of respect they had for him,” Green recalls.

In addition to bringing students up through the ranks, says Green, Dr. White simply set a good example.

“He had a tremendous sense of dedication no matter what subject he was teaching,” Green adds. “His focus on preparation was amazing. I never saw him try to teach something that he hadn’t fully prepared for. He projected the importance of being well rounded.” Finally, adds Green, Dr. White’s enjoyment for learning was so strong that he inspired his students to do the same probing.

Dr. White agrees that he will enjoy being on an educational path for as long as he can. “I’m no longer in the classroom teaching, but education is an ongoing, continuous process for me,” he explains.

In fact, he adds, all Americans should have the same opportunity to learn that he has had. “That is what education is all about. It is one of the primary institutions of American society and should be available and open to all.” That is one of the great things about Metro State, he adds.

“The College gave a wide range of students the option to attend college and earn a degree,” he says. “I really appreciated the mix of students, with reference to age, race, ethnicity, social class and background. Working at Metro enhanced and added to my appreciation of an urban education.”

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Letters, Arts and Sciences brings cold case homicide investigator to campus

Metro State's School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences is bring cold case homicide investigator Linda Holloway to the Tivoli, room 320, for a “Lunch & Learn” event, Wed., May 19, from 12-2 p.m. In 1991, Holloway served as the lead detective for the Ft. Collins Police Department’s investigation of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. Tim Masters was arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for this crime. Holloway was instrumental in initiating an expanded DNA testing process that ultimately led to Tim Masters being released after serving nearly 10 years in prison. Alumni are welcome to attend. Click here for more info.

To read the full history of the Tim Masters case, click here.

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Metro State Alumni Business Spotlight: Wayne Kocina

GIS wiz Wayne Kocina helps small businesses

Dreaming about starting your own business? Why not when small businesses generate 60-80% of jobs in the United States and the majority of jobs in Colorado? But how will you figure out where to locate your business? Big companies spend thousands on site prospecting data provided by companies that utilize demographic and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). Typically, small businesses couldn’t afford the same services. But things have changed, says alumnus Wayne Kocina ('01, technical communications) , founder of GeoWize, a company that provides GIS and consulting services. Kocina licenses the same, advanced software used by the big companies and makes it available to everyone.

“This software was always big businesses’ secret weapon,” Kocina says. “I help the little guy get the same competitive advantage by using this same data to help them select their sites and develop their markets.” Kocina is one of just a dozen or so United States-based, independent contractors who does this type of work. One of his primary goals is to promote local and regional economies by supporting locally-based entrepreneurs and small businesses. His philosophy of service is based on a development strategy called Economic Gardening, a concept that was initiated in Littleton, Colorado, and is now spreading to other states.

“The problem is that with big companies you have to give them tax breaks, cheap land and often you even help subsidize the labor to attract them,” he explains. “So, they come into your community, and maybe it starts to flourish. But what if their bottom line goes down or costs go up? They will start looking for alternatives. Or maybe they will just close up shop and go offshore. Economic gardening is development that focuses solely on the local community. It says let’s be partners and help you succeed. Our payback is jobs and revenue coming back into the community.”

For Kocina, the payback is he helps communities and small businesses grow by creating jobs. “It’s really exciting work.” Kocina is now working with the University of Central Florida's GrowFL program to propagate the idea further in that state.

So what exactly does Kocina do? Using the licensed software, he creates demographic and socioeconomic profiles for specific areas, finding out household incomes, ages of residents, spending patterns, if homes are owned or rented, home prices and other things. He then uses the GIS software to plot that information on maps, creating “community tapestries” that identify potential customers and where they live. He can make sense of whether or not a location is right for a person’s new business.

“There are numerous elements to site prospecting,” he explains on his blog. “First there are all of the on-site questions that need to be answered, such as: Is the site attractive and aesthetically pleasing? Is there good access to the location? Is there enough parking available? Is there enough space? Is there adequate traffic? Is the price right? Are the terms of the lease acceptable? Then, there is one critical question that cannot be answered by a site visit: Are there enough of my target customers within my trade area to support my business and allow me to be successful? The only way to answer this question is through analyzing the demographics of your proposed trade area.”

Typically his contracts last a few months, but some extend for years. “The really rewarding experiences are when the business owner really gets it … really sees the value of this,” Kocina says. One of his customers started looking at maps and reports and, says Kocina, “a big light bulb went off for him. He kept asking me, ‘can you do this?’ We have more than tripled that company’s income, and now he is feeding me enhanced customer data. He just keeps saying, ‘Geocode that!’”

And so Kocina does, and he loves every minute of it. For more information, please contact Kocina at

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Metro State Alumnus Fred Taylor bikes for a cause

KING OF THE ROAD - Brooksville's Fred Taylor he'll put in nearly 10,000 miles prior to next month's grueling third annual, 860-mile Race Across the West from Oceanside, Calif., to Durango, Colo., to help fund the fight against MS.

Metro State alumnus Fred Taylor first got the itch to participate in the Race Across the West bike race after partaking in a similar, shorter race in Florida in 2009. But it wasn’t just the riding that attracted him to the races. It was the cause he rode for—multiple sclerosis.

"My entire life I've been so fortunate to be very athletic. I can't imagine life without being able to move if you're suffering from MS,” Taylor says. “I felt like if I could use my abilities to move on a bike to benefit others, why not?" So, now he is riding in the 860-mile Race Across the West in the 50-under standard bike type division.

"This is a challenge. It's outside of the box," Taylor said. "It's a rush. But it'll also benefit some good folks."

To read the complete Hernando Today article, click here.

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