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Ask Jon Robinson what his favorite memory of attending MSU Denver is and he’ll smile and quickly reply: “graduating.”
“It was brutal,” he said. “I can empathize with the many students who have full-time jobs. I got my education on weeknights and weekends because I had a full-time job, too. Working those kinds of hours was tough. So finally reaching that milestone and getting that diploma was great.
“I admire the students at MSU Denver – they work hard.“
It’s that hard-earned understanding that has made Robinson a cherished champion of MSU Denver for more than 15 years. Today, he’s the regional CEO and chief lending officer with UMB Bank and he’s volunteered thousands of hours on behalf of the University. He is serving his third term on the MSU Denver Foundation Board of Directors (he’s also the former chair who helped raise funds for the University’s Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center) and he has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
When asked why he gives MSU Denver so much time and effort, he responds promptly: “Two reasons: One, I give back because MSU Denver is a true gem in our community. It’s educating a workforce that will, for the most part, stay in the Front Range, so it’s a great investment in the economic vitality of our wonderful state. And two, the school transformed me. It gave me an accounting degree and even though I’m not in accounting, I use what I learned almost every day. I wouldn’t be where I am without that education. The school took a young guy who didn’t know much about accounting and transformed him.”
It’s clear Robinson sees the big picture of a University that educates and transforms individuals who then help improve their respective communities. Robinson is a prime example – he has taken what he learned at MSU Denver and leveraged it on behalf of his community.
“At the bank we’re providing capital for business people and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses,” he said. “One of the limiting factors for many of these people is access to capital. We fill that role and sit down with these folks and listen to their stories and then help them be more successful – that’s my favorite part of my job.”
Robinson said the most rewarding part of his long service at MSU Denver has been knowing his work reaches students.
“If I can open the door of opportunity for a few students over the next few years, then I will have achieved what I have set out to accomplish,” he said.