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Celebrate the inspirational community contributions of MSU Denver students and staff.

By Josie Lavender

December 15, 2020

Rowdy giving thumbs up and standing in front of Student Success Building.In addition to Faculty Citings, the Early Bird shines a spotlight each month on the accomplishments of Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty and staff.

As our campus community continues to navigate teaching, learning and operating online to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it’s great to be reminded of the true impact of MSU Denver students, faculty and staff.

If we missed an award, accolade or opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment big or small, please email us at

Super students

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s mission is to provide an enriching education that prepares students for success. It is with pride that the Early Bird extends congratulations to students who exhibit a drive to excel while serving their communities.

MSU Denver student Emanuel Walker is a Puksta Scholar and a recent honoree on the list of Denver’s 2020 My Brother’s Keeper 25 Emerging Leaders. The honor is part of an initiative to identify obstacles that young men of color face and help them reach their full potential. Walker is contributing to the MBK mission by developing a one-year comprehensive program for African American full-time first-year students looking for purpose and direction in their academic journeys.

This fall, the Optimal scholarship board awarded its first $5,000 online-degree scholarship to MSU Denver’s own Mainhia Ly. Optimal scholarships are granted to applicants who possess high career ambitions and aim to make positive change within their communities. Ly was one of only 26 students to receive an Optimal scholarship this quarter.

Hats off to these inspirational scholars!

Exemplary employees

Ron Miles, director of Jazz Studies, released the album “Rainbow Sign” on Oct. 9 in collaboration with Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Brian Blade. The album quickly gained the attention and praise of critics, and deemed it one of the best albums in 2020.

Congratulations on another musical success!

Bravo to the Bravo Winners

The Office of Student Affairs introduced the Bravo Award to honor staff members, students and teams. The following Bravo recipients have gone above and beyond to serve the MSU Denver community:

  • Juan Gallegos, director, Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion
  • James Ross, assistant to the Registrar and Special Projects manager, Registrar’s Office
  • Cathy Hehr, industry navigator, Classroom to Career Hub
  • Dave Lamothe, assistant director of Recreation and Leadership, Campus Recreation
  • Aubrey Winbigler, coordinator of International Student Support, Registrar’s Office
  • Chaz DeHerrera, student-success navigator, Classroom to Career Hub
  • Health Center at Auraria team
  • Student Care Center team

Thank you, Roadrunners, for helping to build a strong and inclusive community!

Topics: Excellence, Kudos

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