Alumni & Friends
Alumni Association Board of Directors
Judy George ('01)
Vice President, Kirby Company of Denver
Judy is a Denver native and Vice President of Kirby Company of Denver, a family-owned-and-operated company formed in 1950, and is co-owner of Appraisals “By George” automotive appraisals. She received the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award for “Making a Difference” in recognition of her work with the Foothills Animal Shelter Foundation, where she served on the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2013, including three terms as President. As a student, Judy was a three-term Co-President of Golden Key International Honor Society and initiated the Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Research Awards for affiliate faculty members. Judy is a proud parent of two sons who are both MSU Denver graduates and credits them with her decision to go back to school and finish her degree. Most recently, Judy has joined the LearnOn steering committee and is excited to continue to be involved on campus and work to make MSU Denver great.
Judge Chris Melonakis ('74)
Retired District Court Judge
Judge Melonakis graduated Summa Cum Laude from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado in 1974 with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Political Science. He graduated With Distinction from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California in 1977. He was admitted to the practice of law in October, 1977. Before becoming a judge, he was in the private practice of law with a litigation practice in the areas of civil, criminal, probate and domestic relations law. He was appointed as a District Court Judge by Governor Roy Romer in 1998 and served on the Seventeenth Judicial District Court until his retirement in 2015.
He was named the 2007 National Judge of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, the 2005 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Colorado Judicial Branch, the 2003 Judge of the Year by the Colorado Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, was named Adams/Broomfield Court Appointed Special Advocates Judge of the year four times, received a 2006 Child Advocacy Award Recognition from the American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, was named the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association 2007 Volunteer Lawyer of the Year, awarded the Metropolitan State University Alumni Association Award for Core Value of Making a Difference in 2011, 2015 Adams/Broomfield Bar Association Excellence in Practice Award and has received numerous other professional and community awards.
Michael Miera ('80)
Community Development Representative, Office of Economic Development
Michael Miera has been helping metro area Latinos and communities of color for more than three decades-- actively participating on the boards of directors for numerous nonprofit agencies and advancing the efforts of countless programs that benefit Latino youth and education. Michael began his higher education career at Metropolitan State College in 1981 as an Admissions Counselor responsible for recruitment of Latino students. Minority student recruitment was in its infancy. He developed the minority student recruitment strategies at Metro. Michael delivered thousands of motivation presentations to minority youth throughout Colorado. He especially enjoyed motivating and connecting with at-risk youth who had the potential to be successful in college.
Michael is best known as the founder of The La Raza Male Youth Leadership Conference. Created in 1991 and now in its 22nd year, the effort annually serves over 1,500 Latino youth--providing them with instructional and motivational seminars, role models and more--all to help them realize their full potential while instilling in them a respect and responsibility for their communities. In another notable effort, in 2004 he created the La Raza Youth Leadership Program. Currently, the married father of two and grandfather of eight, he works with the Office of Economic Development as a Community Development Representative assisting with the revitalization of low income neighborhoods and commercial corridors.
Joe Sanchez ('06)
Systems Engineer, Northop Grumman Corp
Joe Sanchez ,‘06 Mechanical Engineering Technology, serves as Secretary/Treasurer for MSU Denver Alumni Association. Joe has been employed at Northrop Grumman Corp, in Aurora, Colorado for 21 years and he earned his Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering and Architecting from the Stevens Institute of Technology. As an MSU Denver student, he earned the Stephen M. Hay Leadership Award awarded to the outstanding student who creates meaningful changes in the lives of other students at the University.
Joe Rice (’89)
Alumni Association Representative to the Foundation Board
Director of Government Relations, Lockheed Martin
In addition to holding the position as Director of Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Joe also is a Colonel in the Army Reserve with five combat tours of duty in Iraq and one peacekeeping tour in Bosnia. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of history, government, and public administration at the Colorado Campus of the University of Phoenix. He is a former member of the Colorado State of Representatives, and a former mayor of the City of Glendale. His wife of 21 years, Kendall, is also a MSU Denver graduate. Joe is a past recipient of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Community Service Award.
Dr. Tony Ledesma ('72)
Associate Professor of Human Services, MSU Denver
Dr. Antonio F. Ledesma is an Associate Professor of Human Services at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He holds master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology, Clinical Social Work and a doctorate in Human Communication. Dr. Ledesma teaches courses in counseling/psychotherapy theory and application skill development with an emphasis in the client-therapist dialogical process, multicultural issues in the delivery of human services, psychopathology and the mental health clinician and interpersonal conflict de-solving interventions. He has taught multicultural coursework on the undergraduate and graduate level since 1990. Dr. Ledesma also chaired the MSU Denver’s Multicultural Curriculum Review Committee, which was charged with overseeing the proposal and review of Multicultural courses meeting the Curriculum Guidelines for graduation requirement criteria. He has been involved with establishment of a multicultural course requirement since 1992, when the institution initiated the MC graduation requirement. A clinical practice area of his involves co-facilitating men’s support groups with a focus on assisting men on their relational journey, i.e., helping men to communicate more effectively in their interpersonal relationships with the women and children in their lives. An alum of MSU Denver, Dr. Antonio F. Ledesma graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and has taught on the undergraduate and graduate level since 1988.
Tom Letts ('83)
Senior Functional Analyst, Jeppesen
Tom Letts is a Senior Functional Analyst in the Jeppesen Technology Services division for Jeppesen, a Boeing Company, Englewood, CO. Tom is a native of Colorado, born in Durango. He learned to fly while at the University of Colorado at Denver during his summer vacation in Spokane, WA in 1979. He then transferred to Metropolitan State University of Denver where he received a BS Degree in Aviation with a minor in Psychology in 1983. Tom worked for Federal Express in Ground Operations for 15 years. Tom has spent the last 15 years working for Jeppesen in many different roles. His current role has him working with Mobile Technology, along with other leading edge electronic products that Jeppesen produces. Tom holds a Commercial Certificate ASMEL, I-A. He holds a CFI-ASE and an Advanced Ground Instructor Certificate and an FAA 121 Dispatch Certificate and a UAS Drone Certificate. Tom is currently the Director of Operations at the JEFA flying club, a FAAST team Representative, as well as a EAA Young Eagle Field Representative. Tom’s passion is promoting aviation to the next generation of pilots, though Young Eagle events, Craig Hospital events, Challenge Air, and Build a Plane.
Angelo Miller ('06)
Sales Engineer, Sulzer
Angelo is a 2006 graduate of MSU Denver earning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the MSU Denver Alumni Association Board of Directors and is an member of the MET Industrial Advisory Board.
Anne O'Neill ('07)
Owner & Cheif Strategist, OES Management, LLC
Anne O'Neill is an MSU Denver graduate and affiliate faculty member in the Hospitality, Tourism, and Events program. Although her background is in accounting, she has always been passionate about planning events and meetings and was thrilled to learn that MSU Denver could help her gain a degree in this field. Graduating at age 50, she was initially hesitant about returning to college after “life happened” for so long, but after her first week at MSU Denver, she felt right at home. “The people were just like me,” she recalls. Anne is passionate about the University’s ability to help any student achieve their goals and is happy to be part of that experience as both a faculty member and a member of the Alumni Association Board. Her course teaches students the things she would want potential employees to know coming out of school, focusing on the use of technology in events and meetings. Since graduating in 2007, Anne has created a non-profit management company that has grown in the last 4 years to a full service company with 4 employees. She holds certifications of CMP, CAE and DES (digital event strategist). She served as Rocky Mountain PCMA President and on National PCMA Committees. Additionally, Anne has chaired the Convention Industry Council Committee on Event Technology. She is thrilled to be part of the Board and looks forward to the coming years of success and growth ahead.
Elisa Varela ('10)
PhD Student, University of Colorado
Elisa Varela is a PhD student at the University of Colorado in the Department of Communication. She seeks to understand how the institution of education, as an organization, produces discourses that materially, ontologically and epistemologically work to silence and disempower. Furthermore, she seeks to examine in what ways these discourses represent what Bell Hooks refers to as “the practice of freedom.” Her overall aim is to identify the ways in which education can serve as a transformative space in which individuals may gain emancipatory tools to create a more just world. She is excited to engage in research and with undergraduate students in the classroom, as she believes communication studies have tremendous potential to change lives.