DU Alumni

Bob Newman Sheets receives award for service to alumni

Robert “Bob” Newman Sheets (BA ’61), recipient of the 2013 Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni, actually knew Randolph P. McDonough. In fact, Sheets dated McDonough’s daughter for several years.

“Randy was known all over the state as Mr. DU,” recalls Sheets, who received his award at the Founders Day ceremony on March 7. “He was DU’s alumni director for about 30 years. His job was to make sure that all of the University’s graduates never lost touch with their alma mater.”

After a moment of reflection, Sheets says, “That’s not too different from what we’re trying to accomplish at the Morgridge College of Education.”

Sheets helped establish the Morgridge College’s alumni board and has served as its chair for four years. In that time, he has been instrumental in increasing alumni involvement at the school. And he’s done it in a unique way: through stories.

Over the course of his life, Sheets has been a Marine, teacher, historian, genealogist, theater director, founder of the Pikes Peak Arts Council, the first executive director of the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities and the first national chairman of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. He served with the National Endowment for the Arts, was the first president of the Western States Arts Foundation, served on the board of the Colorado Art Educators Association and was dean of the first National YWCA Arts & Humanities Institute in Aspen.

But when you get right to the heart of the man, he’s a storyteller. And he loves to hear other people’s stories as well.

So when the Morgridge College’s then-dean, Ginger Maloney, asked Sheets how he thought they might inspire more involvement from alumni, Sheets said, “Let’s invite them to tell their stories.” In just a few short years, Sheets has helped organize 12 events featuring speakers from among the college’s alumni, faculty and constituents.

“Being a genealogist, I believe we’re all connected,” Sheets says. “It’s our stories that enrich the connection. That’s what we’re trying to do with Morgridge. There are teachers out there who have persevered and made a difference, and we want them to come back and share their stories with us.”


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