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Curiosity is an asset for alumnus Mike St. John

Mike St. John was the winner of the Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni at DU’s Founders Day ceremony in March. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

In a way, Mike St. John’s work on behalf of the University of Denver mirrors his professional life.

Over the course of his career, St. John (BSBA ’81) has created and launched successful businesses in many different industries and discovered a passion for fields he never expected. He remains committed to absolutely everything he decides to tackle. His endeavors include success in the cellular phone industry with a business called Cellular Products Inc. and in the high-tech industry with a company called Life Cycle Services LLC.

At his alma mater, St. John has volunteered for, donated to and assisted students, causes and campaigns across many schools, departments and teams. He says that at the heart of his ability to work and volunteer in so many areas is an innate sense of curiosity.

“My curiosity leads me to meet a lot of great folks, learn from them, understand where there are opportunities and where we can make a positive impact in the community,” he says.

For his extensive efforts and impact, St. John was the winner of the Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni at DU’s Founders Day ceremony in March.

St. John is the first to admit that he needed a little “nudging” to realize how important DU was in his life.

That nudging came in 1995 in the form of Peter Firmin, then-dean of the College of Business Administration. Firmin had been instrumental in St. John attending DU, even helping him to secure a scholarship, so when Firmin called and asked him to lunch, St. John obliged.

“I had had no involvement with DU since graduation,” St. John confesses. “Peter basically chastised me and said, in his succinct, dry, direct way, ‘You got a heck of an education on our dime. You need to—and have an obligation to—contribute back to the University.’ And he was absolutely right.”

Firmin says he always believed St. John had something special to offer both his community and his alma mater.

“I saw in him, early on, a person with a great deal of talent and a person with vision,” Firmin says. “He has obviously worked very hard with alumni and committed himself to the University. Mike’s a leader, and he always has been a leader.”

St. John has given his time, know-how and personal resources to the Daniels College of Business, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the DU ski team, the alumni association and many others. However, he believes he gains more from his relationship with DU than he can give, and he simply likes being part of the community.

“Whenever I go back on campus, there is a sense of calm, there is a sense of youthfulness,” he says. “DU has, thanks to many people, a life and a soul. I’m proud to be part of it.”


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