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2019 Annual Scholarship Dinner

By Lynne Winter ‘17                     

The Annual Scholarship Dinner provides the MSU Denver community with an opportunity to celebrate the generosity of our donors and the impact they have on the lives of our hardworking students. 

On April 24, over 200 donors, students and MSU Denver faculty and staff members came together for "A Night Among Our Stars"  and one common purpose: their dedication to helping others realize their potential through education. The evening was full of sparkling conversation, delicious food, touching student stories and Roadrunner Spirit.

During the 2018-19 academic year, MSU Denver awarded $1.6 million in private scholarship funds to 711 students. Scholarships provide hard-working students with a hand up, not a handout, and level the playing field by providing deserving students with a way to access the benefits of higher education. Without the help of our donors, these amazing students might not otherwise have the ability to pursue the American dream of earning a degree. 

At MSU Denver, we have the great privilege of creating change and transforming lives – and we couldn’t achieve all that we do without the support of our donors. We are deeply grateful for their generosity, their willingness to share MSU Denver stories with others and their commitment to joining us at celebrations like the Annual Scholarship Dinner. 

Check out photos from the 2019 Annual Scholarship Dinner, "A Night Among Our Stars."

For more information about the Annual Scholarship Dinner, contact Traci McBee Rowe, director of donor relations and advancement special events. 

COSI Program transforms lives

Donors double their impact and help Roadrunners reach academic goals

By Lynne Winter, '17

It is not uncommon for students at Metropolitan State University of Denver to struggle under the financial weight of pursuing higher education. When faced with the decision to pay for necessities or tuition, some students make the unfortunate choice to drop out before graduating. By directly engaging these students, MSU Denver can diminish equity gaps in our higher education system and transform the lives of students who are at risk of dropping out of school. 

Launched in 2014, the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) awards grants to programs designed to give underserved students access to an affordable post-secondary education. COSI moves the needle toward statewide educational equity goals, particularly among the Latinx/Hispanic students.

“Receiving a COSI Scholarship means I can be a focused, full-time student, work as an apprentice with a local nonprofit and give back to my community instead of focusing on how I will pay for my education,” says business finance major, David Cardoza-Rodriguez. “With these funds, I am one step closer to accomplishing my goal of achieving the American dream – something my parents sacrificed so much for.”

MSU Denver received a generous award of nearly $195,000 from the state for use in matching new or increased gifts made to the COSI Program, offering donors the chance to double their investment in our student’s success and make a dramatic impact on services and scholarship funding for deserving students.  

“Coming from a single parent household, my mother cannot help me pay for school,” says management major, Gabriel Fuentes. “The COSI Scholarship allows me to focus on my classes and graduate without worrying about money or taking on debt. It has been a blessing for my family and me.”  

The University’s goal is to match the full $194,348 investment – which will fund 51 students over the course of five semesters – by March 2020. In the event MSU Denver is unable to raise the necessary matching funds, the University will miss out on the opportunity to support amazing, hard-working students.

Students receiving COSI scholarships graduate at a rate of 94 percent, and wraparound services provided by the MSU Denver Roadways Program guide students transitioning into their sophomore year, setting them up for educational, personal and professional success as they select a major and identify their academic and career plans.

“The COSI Scholarship is one of the best things to happen to me while in college – it makes life less stressful,” says mechanical engineering major, Chrys Way. “I no longer need to take out loans and I am connected to people who are helping me navigate my career path.”

“I am so grateful for the support this scholarship provides.”

For more information about supporting COSI Scholarships, contact Megan Conklin, executive director of corporate and foundation relations, or Shannon Roe, assistant director of corporate and foundation relations.

2019 Day of Giving Recap

By Lynne Winter ‘17

March 21, 2019, marked MSU Denver’s third annual Day of Giving. Over the course of 24 hours, we put out the call to fellow Roadrunners, asking them to Join the Race and make a gift to the area or program they are most passionate about. The generous response was overwhelming, giving us our most successful year yet. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish next year with your support. 

Thank you to everyone who Joined the Race!

For more information about supporting Day of Giving, contact Bre Milnes, director of annual giving. 

First scholarship for Department of Human Performance and Sport

Anonymous donor leads the way with $25,000 endowment

By Lynne Winter ‘17 

The Department of Human Performance and Sport (HPS) provides students at MSU Denver with a combination of technical expertise, hands-on experience, individual attention and classroom learning to prepare them for a fulfilling career in dance, exercise science, athletic training or sport management. But until recently, something was missing – department-specific scholarships.

At the end of 2018, HPS received a transformational gift – its first endowed scholarship. The Glenn and Lori Morris Endowed Scholarship was established by an anonymous donor to offer scholarships to students who have declared a major in HPS, help them complete their education at the University and achieve their career goals.

“We believe strongly in the mission and performance of the Department of Human Performance and Sport,” says the donor. “We wanted to support the students and program with a gift that will continue in perpetuity.”

The scholarship is also a way for the donor to honor its namesake – MSU Denver affiliate faculty member Glenn Morris, Ph.D., and his late wife, Lori. It recognizes the contributions Morris has made to HPS during his more than two decades serving at MSU Denver.

“I cannot think of a greater honor than to have someone donate their hard-earned money in my and my loving wife’s names,” says Morris. “To be forever remembered in this way is an outstanding, loving tribute. Whoever the donor, I cannot thank them enough for such an unselfish gift.”

Scholarships are crucial to maintaining a quality educational experience for HPS students and faculty in a growing, thriving department. Our generous donors make it possible for the department’s 1,100 students to improve their lives, positively impact communities and persist in their goal of earning a degree at MSU Denver. The Glenn and Lori Morris Endowed Scholarship is the first step in providing HPS students with relief from the financial burden of higher education through department scholarships.

For more information about how you can support Human Performance and Sport scholarships at MSU Denver, contact Gwen Thompson, senior director of development, at or 303-615-2051.

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Generous grant supports DACA Students

Rose Community Foundation awards DACA Renewal Fund portion of $1 million grant

Lynne Winter ‘17 

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students at MSU Denver face unique financial challenges when earning a college degree. By obtaining DACA status, they are able to live and work legally in the US for a period of up to two years; however, they do not qualify for federal and state financial aid, and scholarship options are limited, leaving students and their families to pay for tuition, books and other costs out-of-pocket. When the time comes to renew their DACA status, coming up with the $518 necessary for the renewal fees and certified mail postage presents a financial burden, sometimes affecting their ability to cover tuition.

In 2018, the Rose Community Foundation (RCF) awarded $1 million to local nonprofits that address emerging issues facing immigrants, refugees and communities vulnerable to discrimination and hate crimes. RCF allocated a portion of the grant to MSU Denver’s DACA Renewal Fund. The fund provides students with the money they need to renew their DACA status, allowing them to continue to stay in the US legally and pursue their personal, educational and professional goals. The gift will cover the total cost of renewal for 18 students.

“The students who are impacted by this grant are nearly uniformly low-income, first-generation, high-achieving scholars,” said Gregor Mieder, coordinator, Immigrant Services Program. “They are deeply appreciative of the support.”

Upon learning they were receiving help from RCF, students expressed gratitude and described it as life-changing. The grant provides tremendous relief to students who are prohibited from accessing financial aid, healthcare subsidies and other essential benefits available to low-income families.

“This gift lifts a huge burden off my shoulders,” said one grant recipient. “It’s allowed me to focus on my schoolwork instead of struggling with where the money for the renewal fees will come from.”

Without the protection of DACA status, students face the threat of being deported to an unfamiliar country – torn from the only life they have ever known and unable to complete their goal of achieving the American dream of earning a college degree.

“These funds are so much more than a financial lifeline,” said Mieder. “It is a clear sign to our DACA, undocumented and immigrant students that they are welcome, valued, respected and a crucial part of the Denver community.”

With support from organizations like RCF, MSU Denver can continue to ensure DACA students have access to amazing educational opportunities and, more importantly, remain with family and friends in the country they call home.

For more information about how you can support DACA students, contact Gwen Thompson, senior director of development, at or 303-615-2051.

Check out our other stories …

For undocumented immigrants living in fear, MSU Denver alumna Gabriela Rodriguez lends her voice.

MSU Denver community provides emotional, financial and legal support for undocumented students facing uncertain future.

Beer Industry Program brews success with gift from Cask Global Canning

New system provides students with hands-on craft brew canning experience

Lynne Winter ‘17 

Cask Global Canning Solutions – the inventor of micro-canning equipment for craft brewers –recently donated their Micro-Automated Canning System (mACS) to the MSU Denver Beer Industry Program. The tabletop-canning machine, which retails for $85,000, will serve as a learning tool for students and an additional product packaging option for the Tivoli Brewing Company.

“The MSU Denver Beer Industry Program helps aspiring members of the brewing trade learn about the best practices a brewery can employ,” said Cask founder Peter Love in a company press release. “It was important to us that these women and men get firsthand experience with the best package there is for a delicious craft beer: the aluminum can.”

The generous gift to MSU Denver enhances an already innovative program and continues Cask’s Colorado connection, which began nearly two decades ago when, in 2002, they installed their first canning system at Oskar Blues Brewery & Pub in Lyons, Colorado.

“When we toured the school’s beer lab, we were blown away by the caliber of the testing equipment and the sophistication of the staff,” said Love. “We love that MSU Denver students will get quality control and testing experience way beyond what they could get in a typical craft brewery, and our micro-canning gear and cans will be put through that same rigorous testing and scrutiny.”

A versatile and compact machine, the mACS features industry-leading fill technology, advanced seaming technology and software, and packages a wide variety of can sizes and products. The state-of-the-art equipment has found a home in the Tivoli Brewing Company’s brewery where staff members will provide MSU Denver students training on the canning operation, brewing, packaging and distribution, making them uniquely experienced with the innovative technology. With the introduction of the mACS, Tivoli Brewing will add cans to its packaging options and pay the University, as they would another mobile canning service, for the use of the machine – offering the brewing program an additional source of funding.

"The Cask canning line will be a true difference maker for both MSU Denver and the beer industry as a whole,” says Scott Kerkmans, instructor and director of MSU Denver’s Beer Industry Program. “Our students are the next generation of brewery leaders, and now they can learn about micro-canning on equipment ideally suited for small and medium-sized breweries. They can apply that knowledge while interning during school and working after graduation.” 

The MSU Denver Brew Industry Program blends the art and science of brewing beer with hospitality knowledge and operational skills to produce graduates who meet the needs of the beer and brewing industries. The program is grateful to partners like Cask Global Canning Solutions for sharing their commitment to brewing excellence and supporting the ever-growing program.

For more information about how you can support the Brew Industry Program, contact Steve Galpern at or 303-615-2043.


Check out our other stories …

Tivoli Brewing Company rolls out canned craft studs with a new Cask Global Canning System.

Roadrunners tap into booming brewing industry to become tops in hops.

MSU Denver alum Eric Papadeas stays connected and transforms lives

By Lynne Winter ‘17

Since graduating in 1979, Metropolitan State University of Denver management alum Hercules ‘Eric’ Papadeas makes it a priority to stay connected to his Roadrunner family – despite living over 700 miles away from campus.

The oldest of four siblings, Papadeas wanted to continue his education close to home after graduating from high school and attended MSU Denver for a year. A friend convinced him to transfer to the University of Wyoming the following fall, but he returned to MSU Denver after breaking his leg while skiing at Copper Mountain.  

“I thought about studying dentistry or engineering, but decided on management,” said Papadeas. “My dad didn’t graduate from high school, but he worked hard and I learned a lot from him about business. Going into the field was a natural fit for me.”

What followed were fun-filled years making friends, hanging out in the student union and racing between buildings in true Roadrunner spirit to take business classes. “Attending MSU Denver was a great experience,” he said. “The professors made a point to illustrate how the information we were learning in class would apply in the real world.”

The experience turned an ambitious young man into an entrepreneur. Papadeas has spent over 25 years protecting homes and commercial properties in and around the east valley of metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, from the threat of ants, roaches, scorpion infestation and more, with his locally-loved business, Pest’R Us Exterminating.

He also spends his time supporting causes that are close to his heart, including the students and programs at MSU Denver – something he has been doing for over 25 years. Just this year, he joined the President’s Society. “It is important to me to support a culture of philanthropy and kindness,” said Papadeas. “People will remember what you did and how you treated them.”

Student callers in the Reach-a-Roadrunner Call Center are always delighted when Papadeas takes time out of his busy day to talk with them about his MSU Denver experience and share his generous, positive attitude. He also joined the Alumni Association in this year in Scottsdale, Arizona, for Colorado Rockies spring training and hopes to make it back to campus soon for a basketball game.

“I am fortunate that I am in the position to give, but service to others in a volunteering fashion is what drives me,” said Papadeas. “We have a duty to do what we can for others, and I want to make sure kids have an opportunity to receive an education.” 

“Dreams do come true if you reach for the stars!”

Op-Ed: Why I Give Back

By Lynne Winter ‘17

It was a cold and snowy day in 2013 when I found myself at one of life’s crossroads. I was afraid to drive to work because the tires on my car were nearly bald, but I couldn’t afford to replace them. Against my better judgment, I headed out, hoping I’d make it in time for my shift at a store where I’d worked unhappily for 12 years.

The first hill I faced made a mockery of my car – the tires spun as I struggled to gain the traction I needed to move forward or turn around. I got off the road and frantically called work to let them know I’d be late. When I finally arrived, I learned that our parent company was liquidating our store. I hated my job, but the thought of change was unnerving and I had no idea how I was going to provide for my family.

I started working in retail in 1993. After earning my B.A. in English from the University of Colorado at Denver in the late 90s, I made the leap to retail management. For twenty years, I was unsatisfied with the work I did. I yearned for purpose and knew my only choice was to go back to school. At the time, my son was in high school excelling in physics and math classes, and I wanted to be able to connect in some way to what he was learning, so I chose to major in environmental science. When it came to picking a school, I knew MSU Denver was the right choice for me.

I immersed myself in campus culture – first as a T.A. for a biology lab, then as a tutor. I sat at the front of the class, asked questions, studied like crazy and made sure my professors knew who I was. As nervous as I’d been to start back, I was not alone. Many of my classmates were in similar situations and were also looking for a brighter future by earning a degree.

After being at the University for more than a year, I applied to work in the Reach-a-Roadrunner Call Center. There was no way I could have known how the initial interview would change my life. The job terrified me – cold-calling alumni to talk and ask for money – but I needed a second job to make ends meet. It was scary and exhilarating. Every day, there was at least one alum who was willing to talk about their experience at MSU Denver and share a part of their lives with me.

Working in the call center, I came to understand the impact giving makes on students. I learned about programs and scholarships that made it possible for someone to create the life they wanted for themselves and their families. I spoke with alumni who told me that MSU Denver accepted them when no other school would, and it transformed their lives. The experience connected me to the alumni, students and the University.

A year later, I began working in University Advancement and the following year, I became a full-time staff member. I have the privilege to speak with donors, students, alumni, faculty and staff members about the ways MSU Denver has impacted their lives and then, communicate their stories to the larger community. It is an awesome responsibility.

Knowing how the University transforms lives inspired me to fill out payroll deduction paperwork within a month of being hired. During my first year, I gave exclusively to the Chelsie Worth Celebration Scholarship. The following year, I increased my gift and split my monthly contribution between the scholarship and the Family Literacy Project – a program I was introduced to by Jeff Peierls when I interviewed him for the Roadrunner Development Report.

Earning a degree at MSU Denver changed everything for my family and me. I am deeply indebted to the people who presented me with opportunities to grow and develop my skills – and continue to do so. They model the passion required of those who work in and support higher education. I am proud to follow their example and give back to the institution that has given me the life I always wanted.  

Lynne Winter (environmental science '17) is the engagement coordinator and advancement writer for MSU Denver University Advancement. 

Year-End Giving

Your generosity transforms the lives of students, families and the community. As the end of the year quickly approaches, there are many ways to make a gift and impact the future of students and programs at MSU Denver. Thank you for making it possible for our students to achieve the American dream of earning a degree.  

Gifts Made by Credit Card

In the interest of your security and ours, we highly advise that you DO NOT send credit card numbers in the mail.

Gifts can be made online with this secure link—Make a Gift. There, you have the option of designating your gift to the scholarship, department or program of your choice.

Credit card donations need to be processed on or before December 31st to have a 2018 tax receipt date. The tax date used for online credit card transactions is when the transaction is entered online. Envelopes containing credit card info received in 2019 will be entered and receipted in 2019, regardless of the envelope’s postmark.

Gifts Made by Check

Mail is not delivered during the holiday break. Checks received during that week will not be deposited until January. A donor who prefers to pay by check must have their envelope postmarked in 2018 to receive a 2018 tax receipt. 

Please send checks to our campus address:

          MSU Denver Foundation

          Campus Box 14

          PO Box 173362

          Denver, CO 80217-3362 

Gifts Made with ‘Green Cash’

‘Green cash’ or currency/coin contributions must be delivered to our office before January 4, 2019, with appropriate documentation attached to indicate the gift was made in 2018.

Gifts Made with Stocks, Bonds and Other Marketable Securities

Investment securities must be in the possession of BNY Mellon, our investment manager, on or before December 31st for 2018 tax receipt. December securities gifts MUST be readily marketable. Securities gifts that are not readily marketable require Foundation Board approval before acceptance.

For more information about how you can transform lives at MSU Denver with an end-of-year gift visit Year-End Giving or contact the MSU Denver Foundation directly at 303-615-0065 or 

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