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DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI OF THE YEAR
Elsa Holguín | 1992 | Finance
Elsa Holguín is the President and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program, an organization that makes quality education possible for all Denver families with preschool children through dedicated sales tax approved by the voters in 2006 and renewed and expanded in 2014. DPP has provided nearly $138 million in tuition support to help more than 60,000 Denver children attend the preschool of their family’s choice, establishing each child’s foundation for lifelong learning and success.
Prior to her role at DPP, Elsa served as a program manager at Rose Community Foundation, where she developed and managed the Child and Family Development program area and oversaw $50 million in foundation grants. She has served on the Board of Directors for Tools of the Mind, the Preschool Policy Leadership Committee, and as Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission as appointed by the then-Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.
She played an instrumental role in the creation of Early Milestones Colorado, the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, the Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative, Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood, Borealis Philanthropy and the Skills to Compete Coalition. Elsa has also been affiliated with the Business Center for Women at Mi Casa Resource Center, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and The Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Elsa grew up in a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was seventeen. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from University of Colorado at Denver and Bachelor of Science in Finance from Metropolitan State University. Her pride and joy are her husband, two daughters, three stepsons and four grandchildren.
ALUMNI PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR
Russell Noles | 1981 | Accounting
Russell Noles is a retired corporate executive, serving most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Nuveen, a wholly owned asset management subsidiary of Teacher’s Insurance & Annuity Association (TIAA), located in New York City. He was responsible for executive oversight of the company’s finance, information technology, operations and risk management functions. He was appointed to the role in June 2017 and retired in March 2019.
After beginning his time with TIAA in 2004, Noles held several other roles at the company, including senior managing director, chief strategy officer, vice president and chief internal audit executive, and senior vice president of trust products.
Before TIAA, Noles spent three years with the St. Paul Companies, a publicly listed property and casualty insurance company in Minnesota where he was the vice president and chief internal audit executive for the company. Previously, he spent over seventeen years in the telecommunications industry in Denver with US West and Qwest Communications in a number of accounting, finance and internal audit roles.
Noles is a graduate of the Denver Public Schools and is an alumnus of MSU Denver, receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He also holds an MBA from the University of Denver and is a licensed CPA. He previously served on the MSUD Foundation and Alumni Association Boards.
Noles currently serves on the Board of Directors for Consumer Reports, where he chairs the Finance Committee and Investments Subcommittee and on the Board of Directors for Jackson Financial, Inc. a publicly listed insurance company where he chairs the Finance & Risk Committee.
In 2022 Noles made a $250,000 gift to MSU Denver to support diversity, equity and inclusion programs to help ensure all Roadrunners see themselves reflected in the person standing in front of the classroom. Part of his fund’s goal is to grow the University’s Teaching Assistantship Program by supporting 25 additional students of color as teaching assistants each year and a minimum of 2,500 students enrolled in TA-supported courses annually.
“Seeing someone who looks like you – someone who can relate to your experience – goes a long way in diluting the stress and anxiety that comes up when students ask themselves, ‘Can I really do that?’” he said. “It’s a critical piece of representation.”
For more on his philanthropic efforts in 2022, see The Gift of Representation RED story.
ALUMNI VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Amber Mozet | 2006 | Psychology
Amber Mozet graduated from MSU Denver in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in German. After starting as a student employee in 2002, she has stayed closely connected with the University ever since. Following graduation, her work was so valuable that a position was created to keep her employed at MSU Denver as an administrative assistant in 2007. She has since moved on to her current role in human resources for Boulder County.
Despite eventually moving on professionally, Mozet has stayed engaged with MSU Denver. She volunteers for on-campus events, donates money, and is involved in leadership roles with the MSU Denver Alumni Board and the Black Alumni Network.
“I think the first misconception is to be an engaged alum, you have to give a ton of money to the institution. And I may look like I’m rich, but I am not,” joked Mozet. “And so I don’t [give a ton of money]. I give where I can. And there’s so many different ways that you can give back to the institution. It could be money if you want, it could be your time. It can be your own experience, how you have taken your degree or degrees and gone out into the world and be able to share that learning back with our future alums with our current students.”
Eric Lansing | 2009 | Journalism
Eric Lansing is starting his 13th season with the Roadrunners athletics department. He graduated from MSU Denver in 2009 and has promoted the University’s 16 sports ever since. He produces live broadcasts for men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball. From creating the graphics, the previously recorded videos, to staffing the broadcasts, to calling the games, running the technical side, conducting interviews after the game, and finally editing the content for social media, Lansing plays a part in every stage of the producing process.
He also produces video content for the entire athletics department, which can include highlights, commercials, team banquet videos, special feature projects, Hall of Fames, Rowdy Awards, JumboTron videos and more. He also helps out the university by creating video projects for “Day of Giving” and assisting with the “Day of Giving” live broadcast feed. Lansing also has served as the Chairperson for the Met Media Board. He has helped orchestrate board meetings, assisted in the hiring of new student leaders and conducted hearings for emergency matters.
Lansing has also assisted with the athletics department in the hosting of Division II national championships. He has produced video packages, ran the press conferences and provided video content for the NCAA and for the competing schools.
Outside of video production, Lansing also works with the broadcasting and journalism students at MSU Denver, providing them opportunities to hone their craft with the RoadrunnersTV program. The program allows students to gain experience both in-front and behind the camera while helping with every aspect of the live broadcasting experience.
2012 | Integrative Therapeutic Practices
City Research Scientist at NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene
2016 | Music
Performing Artist in Acting, Singing, and Music
2016 & 2019 | B.S. Biology & Master of Health Administration
Project Manager at Care on Location; Part-time Instructor in Health Care Management at MSU Denver
2015 | Hospitality, Tourism and Events
Manager of Capitol Fellowship Program at Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy Research Organization
2017 | Master of Social Work
Founder and Executive Director at Joy as Resistance
2015 | Sociology
Deputy Political Director at Conservation Colorado
2020 | IDP
Physical Security Senior Analyst at Comcast and Master at Arms with the U.S. Navy Reserve
2015 & 2020 | B.A. Sociology & Master of Social Work
Program Specialist at Respect Academy with the Department of Family and Community Engagement
2018 | Communication Studies
Innovation & Transformation Analyst at MSU Denver
2018 | Sport Management
Assistant Director of Facilities at Gold Crown Foundation