Magazine Feature / People

Von Stroh learned stewardship from farm life

Gordon Von Stroh, professor of management and director of the Daniels College of Business customized MBA program, grew up on a 320-acre farm that his great-grandfather purchased in 1881 in rural Missouri. That farm is now in his uncle’s care, but will pass to Von Stroh, who plans to care for it as his predecessors have.

In the meantime, he’s spent nearly four decades developing and stewarding a different plot of land: the University of Denver.

Von Stroh is this year’s recipient of the Founders Day Distinguished Service to the University Award. He has been a DU faculty member since 1967 and, in that time, he has served on just about every council or committee possible.

Perhaps most notably, Von Stroh served two terms as president of the Faculty Senate from 1990–94. He has also served on the College Undergraduate Core Curriculum Committee, the University Honors Committee, the MBA Redesign Committee, the University Study Abroad Committee, the University Human Services Committee, and many others.

“There are a lot of folks who have been very active on behalf of the University, but it’s hard for me to think of another faculty member who’s been more active than Gordon,” says Bill Zaranka, an associate professor of English and former provost. “Gordon is one of the best citizens of the University that can be imagined.”

Von Stroh says his commitment to the University stems from his youth in an agrarian community.

“Where I grew up, you pitch in wherever you’re needed,” he says. “For the space we occupy on this earth, it is necessary to give back to our communities—every community in which we participate.”

Von Stroh also serves his greater community, volunteering for the Central City Opera Association and a number of other organizations and conducting the Colorado and Denver Metropolitan Area Quarterly Apartment Vacancy and Rent Survey.

Although it would seem his schedule must be entirely full with community efforts and teaching, Von Stroh says his first priority is his family. His wife, Patrice (PhD counseling psychology ’98), is an ordained Lutheran minister, and they have three grown children.

“I get serious about the issues and the organizations I become involved with, but when it comes down to it, my family comes first,” he says. “They are my first community.”

This article originally appeared in
The University of Denver Magazine, Spring 2007.

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