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Brewing scholarships at MSU Denver

By Lynne Winter

An innovative alumni relations program turns beer money into scholarships.

The beginning of a new semester is an exciting time for students, but it comes with a cost.

“I’ve maxed out my credit card three semesters in a row to pay for books,” explains Metropolitan State University of Denver student and Reach-a-Roadrunner Call Center caller/manager, Sierra Rakes (English, spring ’19). “It is stressful.”

MSU Denver students are hardworking and tenacious, but scholarships, grants and loans are not enough to pay for everything they need to be successful.

“I lost my full-time job last September,” says Ava Olmstead, another student and Reach-a-Roadrunner Call Center caller/manager. “I am worried about how I will make ends meet.”

It may not be possible to spin straw into gold, but MSU Denver Alumni Relations figured out how to support these students by turning beer money into scholarships.

The MSU Denver Mug Club, launched in February 2017, offers members the opportunity to support student scholarships in exchange for a lifetime membership that includes a custom mug, a standing invitation to monthly happy hour events and discounts on Tivoli Tap House beer.

The Mug Club recently celebrated its one-year anniversary having raised over $13,000 thanks to its 310 members. 

“Receiving this scholarship relieves so much pressure,” says Ava. “This semester, I was able to purchase all of my textbooks – I could not have done that without help from the Mug Club.”

The Mug Club’s next goal is to raise the necessary funds – $25,000 – to create the Mug Club Endowed Scholarship. As the Mug Club begins its second year, new club benefits have been added – the Mug Club Ambassador referral program, $2 off Tivoli specialty beers at any time, and the opportunity to purchase an exclusive Mug Club T-shirt. Proceeds from t-shirt sales will go directly towards establishing the endowed scholarship.

“In the past, I’ve thought about dropping out of school because of the cost,” says Sierra. “This scholarship makes a difference, and I am so thankful.”

For more information about the MSU Denver Mug Club, contact Brandi Rideout at or 303-605-5187.


Roadrunner and M Club Memberships set student-athletes on the road to success

By Lynne Winter

Metropolitan State University of Denver encourages its more than 200 student-athletes to dedicate themselves to victory on the field of play and in the classroom.

And they rise to the occasion.

MSU Denver has an inspiring history of athletic and academic achievements. Since 1996, the University has celebrated four NCAA team national championships, five individual national championships, 38 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament championships and 35 regular-season championships.

In January, Dr. Anthony Grant, director of athletics, named 89 student-athletes – all with a grade point average of 3.5 or above and 11 with a GPA of 4.0 – to the 2017 Fall Semester Athletic Director's Honor Roll – a department record.

"Educating student-athletes is at the heart of our mission at MSU Denver," says Dr. Grant. “We are proud of their accomplishments.”

Maintaining this level of excellence is possible because of Roadrunner Club and M Club memberships.  

The Roadrunner Club is a group of MSU Denver alumni, fans, and friends united in their passion for intercollegiate athletics. The M Club is an alumni group that keeps former Roadrunners connected to each other and the University, giving them the opportunity to mentor current Roadrunners and participate in student-athlete development programming.

Since July 2017, the 110 members of the Roadrunner Club and 39 members of M Club have contributed over $43,000 towards scholarships and programming for student-athletes.

"We appreciate the longstanding backing of our athletic programs by our alumni, as well as MSU Denver faculty and staff," says Dr. Grant.

Roadrunners Athletics is only able to award 65 percent of permissible NCAA scholarships to student-athletes. Club memberships provide access to additional funds, bridging the gap in support and ensuring that students have the best experience possible – including access to high-caliber competition and a comprehensive academic experience.

"The revenue generated from the Roadrunner Club and M Club memberships goes directly to scholarships and operations that enhance the overall experience of our student-athletes,” says Dr. Grant. “Becoming a member of the Roadrunner Club and M Club is an investment in our students and their future.”

For more information about supporting the Roadrunner Club or the M Club, contact John Kietzmann at 303-615-0538 or

$2 million from Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center increases impact

By Traci McBee Rowe

In 2012, through a unique public/private partnership, MSU Denver and Sage Hospitality built an on-campus, full-service learning laboratory – the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC). Located at the corner of Speer Boulevard and Auraria Parkway, the complex includes: a fully functioning, professionally managed 150-room hotel, the Marriott SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at MSU Denver; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Conference Center; an academic building and learning laboratory comprised of 30,000 square feet of academic space that includes a light sensory analysis lab for wine, beer and spirits classes, a 72-seat restaurant, a 4,000-bottle wine cellar management lab, a high-tech food demonstration theater, a tourism lab and an events lab.

The success of this partnership inspired HLC@Metro, Inc. – a separate not-for-profit corporation and discretely presented component unit of MSU Denver that owns and manages the property – to contribute $2 million to the MSU Denver Foundation. The Foundation reserved $1 million to assist with the creation of the new School of Hospitality, Events and Tourism (HEaT). The Foundation designated the other $1 million as a matching gift meant to engage new donors.

The bulk of the matching gift created or grew scholarship funds, thus generating significant resources for MSU Denver students. The funds brought existing endowment principal balances up to the current minimum required ($25,000) and doubled the impact of donors who founded new annual and endowed funds. Additionally, approximately $150,000 established scholarships at area high schools – an effort tied to the University achieving federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

“The matching gift was instrumental in connecting with new donors who have a passion for supporting our students,” says Gwen Thompson, senior director of development. “They were eager to make commitments knowing they would double their philanthropic impact.”

Matching gifts paved the way to raise over $3 million, with generous donors creating over 20 new annual and endowed scholarships. Gifts will support each of the colleges at MSU Denver, as well as the University’s priorities, including HSI, ASSET and DACA student support, and more.

The HLC@Metro, Inc., matching gift is transforming lives and making it possible for students to achieve the American dream of earning a college degree at MSU Denver.

For more information about supporting the Hospitality Learning Center, contact Steve Galpern at or 303-615-2043; to support HSI initiatives or scholarships, contact Gwen Thompson at or 303-615-2051.

Crowdfunding ELEVATEs student projects at MSU Denver

By Lynne Winter      

The cost of a college education often extends beyond tuition, fees and books, and students at Metropolitan State University of Denver can find themselves with financial needs they are unable to cover without assistance – athletic team equipment, alternative spring break or the opportunity to attend a conference or competition across the country.

That is where Elevate comes in. Elevate is MSU Denver’s crowdfunding page that provides a platform for student groups or departments to reach out to donors and ask them to lend their financial backing directly to smaller projects.

Last year, the MSU Denver Women’s Volleyball team utilized Elevate to raise a portion of their travel expenses for a volunteerism-centered tour of Nicaragua. While there, student-athletes gained a humbling global perspective by coordinating youth volleyball clinics, teaching English to students and delivering supplies to local schools.

More than 60 generous donors like you made gifts to the volleyball team through Elevate with donations totaling over $6000, making it possible for them to take part in a life-changing experience.

“I am thankful to our donors for helping all of us reach our goal of going to Nicaragua,” says student-athlete Stephanie L. “This trip made me grateful for the access I have to opportunities and resources. I also learned that no matter what, I can always afford to give to others – whether it be time, energy, focus or resources.”

This year, the MSU Denver Precision Flight Team – an elite group of women and men dedicated to becoming safe and professional pilots – is raising funds to attend Nationals after placing third in the SAFECON regional competition. They are excited to compete against the best teams in the country and make MSU Denver proud.

Flight team members are working hard fundraising for trip expenses and donations will cover the cost of aircraft rentals at Nationals, meals and other travel expenses. As a way to show appreciation to their donors, the Precision Flight Team is offering flights with a PFT pilot – gifts of $2500 will receive a 60-minute flight and gifts of $3000 will receive a 90-minute flight.

When donors choose to make a gift to MSU Denver students through Elevate, they make a significant impact on the projects they support. Whether you fund endowed scholarships or help send a group of students to a conference, supporting a crowdfunding project on Elevate transforms lives!

Elevate the impact of your dollar today by supporting a crowdfunding project on Elevate. For more information, contact Bre Milnes at or 303-605-5464.


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