In this issue: Spring 2019


Spring 2019 News & Noteworthy


Gift Endows Opportunities in Hospitality for Refugees and Immigrants

For the past seven years, the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management has partnered with the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center to prepare refugees and immigrants for jobs in the hospitality industry while providing University of Denver hospitality management students with hiring and mentoring experience.

The award-winning program called Ready for American Hospitality, which recently graduated its 21st refugee/immigrant class, has now been permanently endowed, thanks to two generous donations. The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation awarded $500,000 to Fritz Knoebel in support of RAH. The gift came in response to a matching challenge grant from an anonymous donor. 

RAH is a 100-hour training program designed to champion the active job market in Denver and respond effectively to the training needs of refugees and immigrants. 

Fritz Knoebel students are paired with RAH protégés, creating relationships that are diverse in terms of age, race, ethnicity, class and citizenship. Hospitality students meet with their protégés during and after class to complete required assignments, conduct job interview training sessions and serve as mentors. These partnerships expand the networks and worldview of both student groups as RAH protégés and DU’s hospitality students gain experience collaborating with the diverse workforce they will manage upon graduation.

Daniels Wins Analytics Challenge

Student teams from four colleges competed in the 2018 DU Analytics Challenge held on campus. The challenge, hosted by Daniels, required students to analyze large data sets and answer key questions posed by the Food Bank of the Rockies. 

Competing against teams from Oklahoma State University, the Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University, the Daniels team came out on top for the first time since 2015, winning $2,500 in prize money. 

Driverless Vehicles Come to Daniels

An autonomous vehicle from EasyMile was on campus to give individuals the opportunity to experience driverless mobility firsthand.

Daniels hosted a daylong conference to explore the implications of driverless mobility. The event was sponsored by Michael (BSBA 1980) and Kathy Azeez (BSBA 1980), and co-chaired by Daniels faculty members—and father-daughter team—Mark Lee Levine and Libbi Levine Segev.

“Driverless mobility is one of the most important changes in our society,” said Levine, professor of real estate at Daniels. “There are many unanswered questions yet the technology marches on. We’re already seeing driverless vehicles used in a number of cities in the U.S. and the world. Thus, many issues need to be addressed quickly.” 

Attracting experts from around the country, the Daniels conference examined a broad spectrum of issues associated with driverless mobility, including technological advances, societal disruptions, legal and ethical ramifications, the impacts on real estate and city planning, and security issues.

Making An (Impact) Investment

At the Fall Finance Forum hosted by Daniels’ Reiman School of Finance, three panelists convinced the audience of 110 students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members that impact investing is, well, impactful. “You better care about this,” said panelist Bruce Hoyt, senior vice president of philanthropic and impact investing at Gary Community Investments. “[Impact investing] may have started as a movement, but it’s very much headed into the mainstream.” 

Katherine Pease, who spent 20 years working in philanthropy and is now the head of impact strategy at the Cornerstone Capital Group, said, “[Impact investing] is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Reports indicate that companies that rank highly on [environmental, social and governance investing] do better in the long run.”

Student Spaces Get Spruced Up

In direct response to the College’s strategic priority to provide an unparalleled student experience, a handful of renovation and construction projects were undertaken this past year. A dedicated area for graduate students called the Graduate Studio was revamped, a recruiting suite for student interviews was constructed, and enhancements were made to the Marsico Investment Center.

The redesigned Graduate Studio space boasts an expansive café area with a full kitchen, comfortable seating and two glassed-in conference areas. Both the new Detterick Challenge Lab and the refurbished Reznikoff Conference Room are equipped with whiteboards, large monitors and two-way video technology to facilitate meetings with off-site clients or companies. Construction of these spaces was made possible by generous gifts from Daniels alumni James Detterick (MBA 2001) and the late Herb Reznikoff (BSBA 1967), respectively. 

Graduate Studio Grand Opening

The new recruiting suite is equipped with six interview rooms that can accommodate both in-person and phone/Skype interviews. Members of Daniels’ Executive Advisory Board attended the suite’s grand opening, which was fitting since their generous contributions funded the renovation.

Daniels Recruiting Suite Grand Opening

State Treasurer Candidates Debate at Daniels

A month before the 2018 midterm elections, candidates Dave Young and Brian Watson came to campus for the Colorado state treasurer debate. A packed crowd of students, staff, faculty and community members—who didn’t yet know that Young would soon be elected to the position—gathered in the Reiman Theater to hear the candidates’ visions for the state’s financial future.  The candidates sparred over whether the retirement age for future state employees should be raised to keep pension costs under control, and they had differing views on the best way to improve the state’s unclaimed property division. However, both expressed a desire to do what is best for the people of Colorado.

Faculty Fellowship Program

This past summer, Daniels established the Faculty Fellowship Program to recognize and support young faculty and their research. The first five fellows named to the program are Melissa Archpru Akaka, Stephen Haag, Aimee Hamilton (pictured), Tricia Olsen and JP Tremblay. 

“One of the hallmarks of a great university is the extent to which it can support, enable and fund the research and creative endeavors of its most critical resource, its faculty,” said Paul Olk, senior associate dean for faculty, research and accreditation. “Moreover, these awards are designed to facilitate a unique and potentially enduring relationship between the Faculty Fellow and his or her donor as a result of this process.”

Each fellow receives a $50,000 research stipend over three years. The fellow, in turn, will deliver an annual report to his or her donor. The fellowship awards will assist the University in recruiting exceptional young faculty, thereby assuring the long-term academic vitality of both DU and Daniels. 

MBA Students Discover Benefits of Building Bikes

First-year students in the full-time Denver MBA program got a crash course in leadership training during a daylong, challenge-based seminar with two nonprofits—Denver-based Wish for Wheels, which gifts new bikes and helmets to kindergarten through second-grade students at Title 1 schools or organizations that serve low-income students; and Scholars Unlimited, which supports low-income, academically struggling students through literacy instruction and enrichment programs.

Divided into five teams, the Denver MBA students built 25 bikes over the course of five challenges that hinged on effective teamwork and communication skills. 

“The learning from this activity translates to what they will encounter when they graduate,” said Ali Boyd, Daniels’ director of leadership and professional development. “Employees will face technical challenges that require coordinated, synchronized effort for a tangible outcome that will affect people. The exercises connect the dots, so students gain experience as an individual leader, a participant on a collaborative team and in the broader community.”

The fruits of the day’s labor—the 25 bikes—were donated to students at Denver’s Harrington Elementary School who are enrolled in Scholars After School, an after-school program provided by Scholars Unlimited.

Voices of Experience

Daniels welcomed four prominent business leaders to campus this past year as part of the College’s Voices of Experience speaker series. Three cable business experts—Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, NBCUniversal Chairman of Content Distribution Matt Bond and The Cable Center CEO Jana Henthorn—discussed hotly debated topics such as the Facebook data privacy scandal, net neutrality and the impact of Netflix on the cable industry. Xcel Energy Chair, President and CEO Ben Fowke delivered a decidedly upbeat keynote address about advancements
in the rapidly changing utility industry.

Fowke made a pitch to the students in the crowd of over 700 attendees, encouraging those with interest to pursue careers in the energy industry. “We have the opportunity to beat one of the biggest challenges we have—perhaps on planet Earth—and that’s addressing the risk of climate change. I think we can do it and I think we can do it in a way that’s driven by economics, that’s pragmatic and that can achieve results without sacrificing affordability or reliability. But we’re going to need the next generation of leaders.”

The #MeToo Movement Comes to Campus

Daniels’ Institute for Enterprise Ethics hosted a discussion on gender equality in the workplace.

What can organizations and their leaders do to establish and promote higher standards of gender ethics and power equity in the workplace? That question was central to “The Ethics of Gender Equity in the Workplace,” an event co-hosted by Daniels’ Institute for Enterprise Ethics, the Women’s Leadership Foundation and DU’s Colorado Women’s College. The half-day presentation and working session drew a packed crowd to the Tuscan Ballroom in DU’s Joy Burns Center.

Colorado Women’s College Dean Ann Ayers recounted her own #MeToo experience early in her career. “On Oct. 5 [2017], something shifted for women,” she said, referring to the publication of the New York Times article that first broke the sexual assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. “We’re still sitting in this moment and wondering who’s next. I think what we’re doing here today is to move from the question of who’s next to what’s next? How do we maximize the potential of this incredible watershed moment for women?”

One of the event’s keynote speakers, Pam Jeffords, a partner at Mercer Human Resources Consulting and an expert in gender diversity, said,  “We can leverage this moment and take advantage of it. Something has happened in the last 18 months that is having global implications. The time for gender discrimination is over.”

Double Play, Double Win

Students who enrolled in “Intro to Advertising” or “Ad Creative Strategy” at Daniels this past fall were challenged with developing and pitching a creative strategy for a new Comcast streaming package called Xfinity Instant TV Double Play.

Teaching Professor and Marketing Internship Director Greg Wagner, who taught both courses, said, “I want my students to have this ‘real-world’ experience—working with a major client on a real assignment, bringing out their creative best. It’s also an excellent networking opportunity for my students, meeting several key players at Comcast, and great for their portfolios as well.” 

Representatives from Comcast came to campus to hear the student pitches and provide feedback. “I think that whenever we have the opportunity to partner with such an incredibly strong school where we know students are going to present their best, we always are willing to engage in any way we can,” said Shaunese Zenon, senior marketing specialist for Comcast West Division. 

A Pivotal Expedition

Before MS Management students set foot in a classroom, they hoist on backpacks, slip on hiking boots and head out for a four-day trek in the Colorado mountains. 

“One of the big priorities that we have in this program is to develop what we call self-leadership, which is a sense of where you want to go and being intentional about getting there,” said Andrew Schnackenberg, assistant professor of management. “This first quarter is really an opportunity for the students to figure out where they want to go and to pursue those paths.”

Each day in the wilderness, a different student is asked to lead the way to the next campsite. And each day, students face some kind of challenge, like scaling a rock face. 

While this expedition is a pivotal start to the program, it is just the beginning for these students. This mountain experience lays the foundation for the year ahead as the students learn how to lead themselves, their teams and organizations.

Daniels Faculty Member Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Barbara Jackson, director of Daniels’ Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, recently received the Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award from the Design-Build Institute of America.

The award, the organization’s highest honor, is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the design and construction industry through outstanding leadership and the advancement of integrated design-build project delivery. Recipients of this award have demonstrated originality, vision and breadth over the course of their professional lives. In addition, each has dedicated 25 years or more of strong and well-documented commitment to design-build project delivery.

“The Brunelleschi is the most meaningful award that I could ever receive,” Jackson said. “The first time I had ever heard about design-build, I was a sophomore in college and proceeded to build my whole career around this integrated process. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was never going to change the way we do the design and construction business one project at a time. So, some 20-plus years ago, after leaving the industry, I set out to influence and inspire the next generation of contractors and designers through education. I’ve pretty much dedicated my professional life to showing people how to do this business in a better way through the design-build process.”

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