Campus & Community

University honors outstanding contributions at Founders Day


Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie will receive the John Evans Award at the 2015 Founders Day Gala in March.

The University of Denver has announced the recipients of the 2015 Founders Day Awards, which for the first time will recognize an outstanding graduate student and an outstanding undergraduate student, in addition to celebrating the accomplishments of notable alumni, donors, faculty and staff. The 2015 awards will be handed out at a gala reception March 5 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in northeast Denver.


The Evans Award—the University’s highest alumni honor — will be presented to Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie. As chancellor from 1989 to 2005, Ritchie brought financial solvency to DU. Some of his key accomplishments include the Daniels College of Business ethics program, the University’s move to Division I athletics and the Cherrington Global Scholars study abroad program. A $274 million fundraising campaign launched under his leadership spurred numerous capital improvements, including new buildings for student living, business, science, law and music education, as well as a performing arts center, and an athletics and recreation center named in his honor. In 2013, Ritchie donated property valued as the largest gift in University history to the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which, in May 2014, was renamed the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science in honor of Ritchie’s father. The gift will help fund a new facility—currently under construction—that will house the school and the Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging.


The Distinguished Service to the University Award will go to James Griesemer, director of DU’s Strategic Issues Program (SIP) and dean emeritus of the Daniels College of Business. Griesemer served as the University’s chief financial officer before serving as dean of the Daniels College from 1994 to 2004. As director of the SIP, he leads a nonpartisan panel of experts and civic leaders who study complex issues in depth for a year and then deliver findings to leaders in government and industry. The panel’s most recent effort studied the future of higher education in Colorado; in 2015 it will tackle legislative accountability. Past panels have looked at such topics as the role of state government, immigration and campaign finance reform.


James Lentz III (BSBA ’77, MBA ’78) will receive the Professional Achievement Award. Lentz is chief executive officer of Toyota North America. He serves on the executive advisory board at the Daniels College of Business and recently spoke at the college’s Voices of Experience lecture series. In addition to his leadership of Toyota North America, Lentz is president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America Inc. and a senior managing officer of parent company Toyota Motor Corp., located in Japan. Lentz was named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age in 2006 and an Automotive News “All Star” in 2007. He was honored as Industry Leader of the Year in 2014 by the Automotive Hall of Fame.


Barbara Barnes Grogan, who attended DU in the early 1980s, will be presented with the Community Service Award. Founder of Western Industrial Contractors Inc., a construction company specializing in providing integrated design and build of material handling, baggage handling and manufacturing systems, Grogan also is a member of the Daniels Executive Advisory Board and DU’s John Evans Society. In addition to her roles at DU, Grogan serves on the boards of directors of the University of Colorado Foundation, the Denver Foundation, the Denver Union Station Public Authority and the International Women’s Forum, Colorado Chapter. She has received Leadership Denver’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the United Methodist Church Human Relations Award, the University of Colorado School of Business’ Distinguished Leader Award and was inducted into the University of Colorado Alumni Hall of Fame. Grogan was selected as the 2012 Outstanding Philanthropist of the year by the Colorado Nonprofit Association.


William Stolfus (BSBA ’56, MBA ’64) will receive the Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni. Stolfus and his wife, Ann Richardson Stolfus (BA ’56), are founding members of PALs (Pioneer Alumni Legends), an alumni affinity group for those who graduated from DU 50 or more years ago. Stolfus helps organize the annual PALs Summer Soiree at the Cherry Hills Country Club, an annual luncheon prior to a Lamont School of Music matinee performance and an annual evening out at a DU athletics event, plus lifelong learning opportunities such as the annual Pioneer Symposium and the Divisions of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ Faculty Lecture Series. Stolfus also is a member of the Lamont Society Council and the University Library Association.


The Ammi Hyde Award for Recent Graduate Achievement will go to Jason Crow (JD ’09), a former U.S. Army Infantry captain who now works at Denver law firm Holland & Hart. Crow has served as a member of the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs and currently is a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra board of trustees, the Denver Police Foundation board of directors and the advisory board for Phoenix Multisport, a nonprofit that, according to its website, “fosters a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse and those who choose to live a sober life.” Also an adjunct professor and alumni council member at DU’s Sturm College of Law, Crow was named one of Denver’s 40 Under 40 by the Denver Business Journal in 2013 and a Colorado Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2013 and 2014. Before becoming an attorney, Crow served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; he received the Bronze Star Medal in 2003. He continues to serve his country as an advisor to state and federal officials on national security, military and veterans’ issues.


The inaugural Founders Day Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award will go to Richard Maez, a double major in history and Spanish with a minor in leadership. He also is a dual-degree student in the Morgridge College of Education, where he plans to complete a master’s program in curriculum and instruction in the spring of 2016. Also a member of the University’s Pioneer Leadership Program, Maez is external president of the DU Programming Board and was a member of the Chancellor Search Committee that helped select new DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. He also is a past or present member of the Latino Student Alliance, Asian Student Alliance, Black Student Alliance, Diversity Summit Planning Committee and Presidential Debate Volunteer Sub-Committee. Additionally, Maez works at DU’s Office of Inclusive Excellence Student Success and Leadership Development as an Excelling Leaders Institute coordinator.


Leslie Rossman, president of the Graduate Student Government, will receive the inaugural Outstanding Graduate Student Award. A PhD candidate in communication studies, Rossman helped create the Graduate Research Summit, an annual event that spotlights research by graduate students from all over campus. In response to graduate students who felt they were missing out on the community aspect of the campus experience, Rossman has built a team of graduate student leaders who create programs for graduate students to come together at sporting events, social hours and other gatherings. A welcome reception for incoming graduate students held at the start of the fall 2014 quarter drew more than 400 participants.


For information on Founders Day and to register, visit the Founders Day page.



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