Alfonzo Porter, Ed.D., a respected professor within the Department of Journalism and Media Production, died unexpectedly March 12 at age 60. Porter was an influential educator and mentor to Metropolitan State University of Denver students as well as a committed journalist, publisher and advocate.
Wake and Public Viewing
Saturday, March 25
Noon – 5 p.m.
Pipkin Braswell Funeral Home
6601 E Colfax Ave Denver, CO 80220
Sunday, March 26
2 – 5 p.m.
St. Cajetan’s Auraria Campus
101 Lawrence Way, Denver, CO 80204
Thanh Nguyen, assistant dean/director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence and Inclusion, remembers Porter as a kindhearted soul who worked tirelessly for his students and community.
“Alfonzo was an incredible human being and brought so much love, compassion and joy to all the people around him. He said and did everything with strong conviction and never wavered in his fight for the pursuit of justice,” Nguyen said.
Education, mentorship, leadership and community were important themes in Porter’s life. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from MSU Denver in 1987, he received a Master of Arts in Educational Policy and Leadership from Ohio State University and a doctorate in Administration of Teaching and Learning from Walden University.
He went on to work as an administrator for Baltimore County Public Schools and in 1999 founded Porter Education and Communications Inc. He later served as managing partner and publisher at Vertex Learning LLC, a publishing house specializing in education, textbooks and fiction and nonfiction titles. In addition to teaching, he wrote several books, including “Digital Citizenship: Promoting Wellness for Thriving in a Connected World” and an accompanying curriculum that focuses on the social, emotional and mental health and well-being of students navigating life in a cyber reality.
Porter rejoined the University as an affiliate in the Department of Journalism and Media Production in 2014 to share his knowledge and experience with a new generation of Roadrunners. Chris Jennings, Ed.D., chair, Journalism and Media Production, was one of several colleagues who encouraged Porter to take on the role of associate director with Met Media in 2021. Porter’s leadership ultimately provided a critical link between Met Media and the department, creating new space for learning and collaboration.
“Spending time with Met Media students this week, I got to see firsthand how much of an impact Alfonzo made during his time there,” Jennings said. “He was dedicated to his students and to providing them opportunities and preparing them to be professionals. He leaves a huge void, and it’s a devastating loss.”
Porter also remained deeply committed to community journalism and advocacy work and helped drive important conversations. He published his first story for the Denver Urban Spectrum in 1987 and became the publication’s editor in chief in 2016, a position he held until his death, covering local education issues, mental health, police brutality and more. He was also a member of many community boards, including the Colorado Press Association, Colorado Media Collaboration and the Coalition Against Global Genocide. Amid it all, he founded Blizzy Magazine in 2020 to highlight the cannabis industry and the people of color driving it.
The students of Met Media produced a heartfelt tribute, noting how Porter’s leadership and mentorship allowed the media programs to flourish. Students recounted how Porter nurtured young journalists, offering compassion, counsel and resources wherever needed and inspiring them to seek truth and believe in themselves.
Sara Martin, editor-in-chief of The Metropolitan, called Porter “irreplaceable” and “a pillar of reliability, support and encouragement.”
“He is gone too soon, but he leaves behind a better generation of journalists,” Martin wrote. “His legacy lives on in the spirit of dedication and truth he instilled in his students and all who knew him.”
“At the heart of his work, Alfonzo was deeply committed to building relationships and elevating people’s voices and needs,” Nguyen added. “Everything about him was pure good. He made time for all people and believed in them even when they did not believe in themselves. We will forever treasure Alfonzo and the impact he left on us.”
The Dean of Students Office, CMEI and the Journalism and Media Productions Department, among others, have been working to communicate with impacted students across the many spaces where Alfonzo had an impact. Members of the Student Care Team as well as the Counseling Center will be available to meet with impacted students. Please contact the Counseling Center at 303-615-9988 or the Student Care Center at 303-615-0006. Faculty and staff are offered a one-session consultation/referral through the Counseling Center.
The Early Bird will update this article with memorial details when they become available.