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Board of Trustees Biographies


John Paul Pogge, Esq.

Chair

Jack Pogge was elected chair of the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in December 2017. Jack was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2012 and reappointed in 2013 and 2017.

He serves on the Governance Committee.

Jack comes to MSU Denver’s board having served as the president and COO of CSG International, a provider of outsourced billing, customer care and other services supporting North America’s broadband and direct-broadcast satellite markets. Prior to working for CSG, he was the chief counsel of mergers and acquisitions and vice president of corporate development at the former U S West and vice president and general counsel for Applied Communications Inc. Jack earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Houston and his juris doctorate from Creighton University School of Law.

Barbara Grogan Headshot

Barbara Barnes Grogan

Vice Chair

Barbara Barnes Grogan was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2015 and reappointed in 2019.

She serves on the Governance and Finance Committees.

Barb is the founder of Western Industrial Contractors Inc. and was its CEO for 22 years. She grew the company from its inception to become a highly respected and successful corporation working in all 50 states and over 300 airports for clients such as IBM, Coors, GE, Manville, Lockheed, the U.S. Postal Service, United Airlines and the TSA. During her career, Barb also served on the boards of directors of three New York Stock Exchange companies and was the chair of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City – Denver Branch and the Denver Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout her career and since her retirement, Barb has been deeply involved in our community, focusing primarily on children and their families with an emphasis on education – early childhood, K-12 and higher education. She works on public policy for education at a national level as a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development and at the state level as the co-chair of Colorado’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission and as a member of Colorado’s Education Leadership Council.

Barb is involved in many nonprofits in our community serving the needs of the most vulnerable citizens, such as Volunteers of America. One of her current passions is immigration reform and the support of our Asset students to prepare for, attend and successfully graduate from our great institutions of higher education. Barb has received Leadership Denver’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the United Methodist Church Human Relations Award and the University of Colorado School of Business’ Distinguished Leader Award. She was selected as the 2012 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the Colorado Nonprofit Association and was recently honored by National Volunteers of America and Mile High United Way.

Elaine Berman

Elaine Gantz Berman

Trustee

Elaine Gantz Berman was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2015 and reappointed in 2016.

She is the chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and serves as the MSU Denver representative to the Auraria Board of Directors.

Elaine has dedicated her professional work and community service to improving the lives of Colorado’s children. In January 2015, she completed eight years on the Colorado State Board of Education. Previously, she served for eight years on the Denver Board of Education, including four years as its president.

Prior to serving in elected office, Elaine worked for 18 years as a program officer at the Denver-based Piton Foundation, focusing on a wide spectrum of children’s issues including adoption, child advocacy, child poverty, teen pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, child health, and public education. She has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and commissions and helped to found the Colorado Children’s Campaign, the Adoption Exchange, the Colorado Education Initiative and the Colorado Non-Profit Development Center. She has been a strong advocate for children and has also used her personal philanthropy to support these causes and organizations.

Elaine’s life and work have been strongly influenced by her Cuban-born mother, as well as her two-year stint in Cali, Colombia, with her husband, Steve, where they worked in community health centers. She is fluent in Spanish and holds an MSPH from the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has two adult sons and one granddaughter.

Wendy J. Dominguez

Trustee

Wendy Dominguez was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2016.

She is the chair of the Finance Committee. Wendy also serves on the Governance Committee and as the MSU Denver representative to the HLC@Metro, Inc. Board.

Wendy is the president and co-founder of Innovest Portfolio Solutions LLC. Her clients include some of the largest public- and private-sector retirement plans in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as many large foundations, endowments and wealthy families. She is a member of Innovest’s Investment Committee, and she leads Innovest’s Retirement Plan Practice Group, a specialized team that identifies best practices and implements process improvements to maximize efficiencies for Innovest’s retirement-plan clients. Wendy was selected as one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising in the nation by Employee Benefit Adviser. Wendy has also been named to the Financial Times Top 100 Women Financial Advisors.

Wendy has a bachelor of science degree in finance and economics (magna cum laude) and an MBA from the University of Denver. She is a member of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Denver and previously served as the chairman of the board of ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), an international Catholic women’s organization. She is also a member of the 100 Club of Denver, which provides financial support to the families of fallen police officers and firefighters. Wendy is married to a Denver police SWAT officer and is the mother of 14-year-old twins.

 

Walter Isenberg

Walter Isenberg

Trustee

Walter Isenberg was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2012 and reappointed in 2016.

He serves on the Governance and Academic and Student Affairs Committees.

A longtime supporter of MSU Denver, Walter is the president, CEO and co-founder of Denver-based Sage Hospitality, which owns and operates hotels in 23 states and specializes in the operations, development and capital transactions of hospitality real estate. An inductee in the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame, Walter serves on the Marriott International and Starwood Owner advisory boards as well as the boards of Visit Denver, the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Children’s Hospital Foundation and Colorado Concern. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Photo of Marissa Molina

Marissa Molina

Trustee

Marissa Molina was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2019.

She serves on the Governance and Academic and Student Affairs Committees.

Marissa serves as Colorado State Immigration Manager for Fwd.us, a bipartisan political-advocacy organization started by business and tech leaders committed to meaningful reform within the country’s immigration and criminal justice systems. In 2015, she was named a White House Champion of Change, an honor given to “extraordinary educators with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status who have been strong role models for students and families as well as change agents within their communities.”

Marissa is a 2014 graduate of Fort Lewis College and a former public-school Spanish teacher who began her career in education with Teach for America. Since 2015, she has participated in the Urban Leaders Fellowship, the Education Pioneers Career Track Fellowship and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Public Policy Fellowship. Prior to joining Fwd.us, Marissa also served as manager of community engagement for Rocky Mountain Prep.

James M. Mulligan, Esq.

Trustee

Jim Mulligan was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2017.

He is the chair of the Governance Committee. Jim also serves on the Finance Committee and is the MSU Denver representative to the MSU Denver Foundation Board.

Jim, a longtime fixture on the Colorado real-estate scene, has played a firsthand role in many of the real-estate transactions that have helped fuel the state’s growth over the past 40 years.

A former member of Husch Blackwell’s Real Estate, Development & Construction team, Jim advised clients across the real-estate industry with an emphasis on commercial and mixed-use real estate, including urban, resort and suburban developments, corporate campuses, plus a more recent and additional focus on Public-Private Infrastructure Partnerships.

Jim has extensive experience with federal, state and local developments, project finance, tax and other incentive programs for corporate users, and public-private infrastructure and redevelopment projects, including economic-development incentives, land use and entitlements, historic designations, tax-increment-financed projects, tax-credit structures and taxable and tax-exempt bond and TABOR issues.

Corporate and commercial clients involved with real-estate leasing, ownership, development, infrastructure and finance in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region seek Jim’s assistance with a variety of public-policy and government-relations issues, initiatives, economic-development incentives and related legislation. He also advises clients on affordable-housing projects and programs and has been appointed special deputy attorney general representing the Colorado Division of Housing in finance transactions.

In addition to counseling clients, Jim holds leadership positions in real-estate industry and community organizations. He is on the national board of NAIOP – the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and on the board and executive committee of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., and most recently was appointed by former Governor John Hickenlooper to the governing Board of Trustees for Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Russell Noles Headshot

Russell Noles

Trustee

Russell Noles was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2019.

He serves on the Finance and Academic and Student Affairs Committees.

Russell 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. 

Prior to this role he was the senior managing director and chief strategy officer for TIAA for six years where he led a team that was responsible for strategic planning, corporate development and strategy consulting.

Previously, Russell was senior vice president of trust products for TIAA for three years, which included executive oversight for TIAA-CREF Trust Company, F.S.B., and Kaspick & Company (Planned Giving business).

Russell joined TIAA in July 2004 in the role of senior vice president and chief internal audit executive for three years and was the acting chief financial officer for the company for one year.

Before TIAA, Russell spent three years with the St. Paul Companies, a 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.

Russell 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.

William Jeffrey Shoemaker

Trustee

Jeff Shoemaker was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2016.

He serves on the Finance and Academic and Student Affairs Committees.

Since 1982, Jeff has been the executive director of the Greenway Foundation (TGF). During the course of his leadership, TGF has partnered with numerous public and private organizations to create over $500 million of environmental and recreational improvements along the South Platte River and its numerous tributaries throughout metro Denver and numerous municipalities. This investment over the past four decades is directly related to the creation of over $15 billion of economic development and related benefit to the surrounding area. In addition, TGF has created and oversees an award-winning Youth Education Program – SPREE (South Platte River Environmental Education), numerous cultural and community events, as well as a variety of youth employment opportunities – all focused on engaging the metro community with Denver’s greatest natural resources – its urban waterways. 

Since 2000, Jeff has also served as the executive director of the Colorado Parks Foundation, working with Colorado Parks & Wildlife as well as county, municipal and nonprofit organizations to provide funding, advocacy and community outreach for the benefit of our state’s 42 state parks as well as local and regional parks across the state of Colorado.

Jeff is a graduate of Denver Public Schools and the University of Colorado. He was a public school teacher from 1977 to 1982, served as a member of the Colorado legislature from 1987 to 1992 and was appointed to two terms on the Colorado State University Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2008. Jeff and his wife, Nancy, are active runners and bicyclists and have four adult daughters and one granddaughter.

Photo of Student Trustee, Adetilewa Awosanya

Adetilewa Awosanya

Student Trustee

Adetilewa Awosanya was elected Student Trustee in May 2019.

Adetilewa is a senior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and African-American studies. Aside from working in the Student Government Assembly, Adetilewa is President of the African Student Union and President of the Save the Children Action Network. She aspires to be a public health provider concentrating on maternal and child health care. She also hopes to go to medical school to become an obstetrician/gynecologist.

Christopher Harder

Christopher Harder, Ph.D.

Faculty Trustee

Chris Harder was elected to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2018.

Chris is an associate professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences. He is an MSU Denver alumnus who went on to get his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado Denver. Chris also spent time as a postdoctoral researcher at Brazil’s National Laboratory for Scientific Computing before returning to MSU Denver. From Lakewood, Chris grew up running and biking on the trails around the metro area as well as skiing, hiking and fishing all around Colorado.

Photo of Joe Rice

Joe Rice

Alumni Representative

Joe Rice was elected president of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Board and the alumni representative to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2018.

Joe is fond of his days at MSU Denver – it’s where he met his wife of 25 years, Kendall (B.S. exercise physiology ‘90). Joe earned an associate’s degree from the New Mexico Military Institute, a bachelor’s degree in history from Metropolitan State University of Denver (‘89), a master’s of public administration degree from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a master’s of strategic studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.

Joe is Director of Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Space (LMS). Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in August 2011, Joe served two terms in the Colorado State Legislature from 2007-2010 as State Representative for House District 38. While in the legislature, he focused primarily on transportation and economic development, passing legislation resulting in significant transportation improvements and job creation. He also previously served two terms as the Mayor of Glendale, Colorado from 1996-2003.

Joe has over 30 years of military service, primarily in the United States Army Reserve. He currently holds the rank of Colonel and entered the Retired Reserve in June 2017 where he is subject to recall in the event of a large-scale mobilization of the reserve components. Military service includes UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and five combat tours of duty in Iraq including serving as the Senior Military Officer facilitating establishment of the first democratically selected Baghdad City Council and subsequently as an advisor to both Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces on the streets of Baghdad. He is Airborne and Ranger qualified.

Joe is on the Board of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable and is active with the Colorado Space Coalition and Citizens for Space Exploration. He serves as an appointee of former Governor John Hickenlooper on the Colorado Aeronautical Board. He previously was an adjunct professor of history, government, and public administration at the University of Phoenix, Colorado Campus. He served on the Board of Directors of Sister Cities International and has been involved since 2003 with the Baghdad-Denver Region Partnership (BDRP).

Military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Badge for actions under enemy fire, and the Expert Infantryman’s Badge. In 2017, Joe was recognized for leadership in global diplomacy by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and presented the Thomas R. Hobson Aerospace Distinguished Service Award by the Aerospace States Association.

Photo of David Fine, General Counsel & Secretary to the Board of Trustees

David Fine

General Counsel & Secretary to the Board of Trustees

He staffs the Governance Committee.

David is a fourth-generation Coloradan who has practiced law in Denver for thirty years, both in private practice and the public sector. Before becoming MSU Denver's General Counsel, David was a partner at the international law firm of Holland & Knight where he specialized, among other things, in higher education law. David served as the Denver City Attorney under Mayor Hickenlooper from 2007 to 2011. David has been listed in Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and 5280 Top Lawyers on multiple occasions. David serves on the boards of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and the Urban Land Conservancy. Before becoming General Counsel David served on the board of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation. David received his B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin and his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

Photo of Mel Olivarez, Paralegal & Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Melinda Olivarez

Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Mel is the Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees, paralegal for MSU Denver's Legal Department, and Executive Assistant to the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel.

Prior to joining MSU Denver, Mel served as General Counsel, David Fine's Executive Assistant in the private sector at Holland & Knight LLP and Dentons US LLP and in the private sector when David served as the Denver City Attorney under Mayor Hickenlooper from 2007 to 2011.

Mel earned a bachelor of science degree in management from MSU Denver's School of Business ('10). She is proud to have served on the Board of Directors of the Citizens' Police Academy Alumni Association of Northglenn (CPAAAN), as a Greenprint Denver Urban Fellow with the City and County of Denver, and as a Unified Partner with the Colorado Special Olympics.

 

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