The First Word

A yearlong celebration of MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary kicks off on July 3 at Denver’s Civic Center Park.

Publish Date: June 23, 2015

Cathrine B. Lucas - Publisher and Executive Editor
Catherine B. Lucas,
Publisher and Executive Editor

It seems fitting that fireworks will help mark the occasion, because MSU Denver’s contributions to the region, state and nation over the past 50 years are spectacular and well worth celebrating.

The stories that follow help showcase those contributions by featuring some of the best and brightest people, programs and initiatives ever to have been “Made at MSU Denver.”

Consider the great Edna Mosley (page 18), who was one of the University’s first nontraditional students before becoming a pioneer in Colorado politics and activism. Or Michael Ocrant (page 20), who became one of Wall Street’s most respected business and finance reporters, helping to expose Bernie Madoff’s insidious Ponzi scheme in the 1990s. Explore how our state-of-the-art SpringHill Suites® Denver Downtown Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (page 22) is changing the shape of the hospitality industry by providing a pipeline of skilled workers with relevant experience to this vital sector of our economy.

All of these stories showcase the Roadrunner spirit and MSU Denver’s visionary, innovative and entrepreneurial approach to education that provides rapid responses to the ever-changing needs of our city, state and nation. 

And people are taking notice, including our state leaders.

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently confirmed his support for our Aerospace and Engineering Sciences (AES) initiative, which will address Colorado’s advanced manufacturing needs while creating unparalleled opportunities for our students. When Gov. Hickenlooper signed into law the state budget for FY 2015-16, it included an appropriation of $14.7 million to support construction of the $60 million AES facility — an appropriation that complemented $5.2 million in state funding already earmarked for the project — which will integrate the study of aerospace science; industrial design; civil, mechanical and electrical engineering technology; computer information systems; and computer science. Additionally, Gov. Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia hosted an event at the governor’s mansion in April for industry leaders and voiced their support for the AES initiative. The evening was a true celebration of Colorado’s aerospace industry, and our guests left feeling deeply appreciated and supported by our efforts to develop next-generation manufacturing employees.

And, at the May 6 celebration of the completion of the $23.6 million Regency Athletic Complex, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock gave us more than a ringing endorsement when he called MSU Denver “the best urban university in the nation.”

In this issue of the magazine — the first of three that will commemorate MSU Denver’s 50th anniversary — you’ll notice anniversary-related factoids. To help you get the most out of our yearlong celebration, we’ve developed a 50th website — — that is your source for information about upcoming events. As we revisit how far the University has come since its establishment in 1965, we want to hear from you. If you have a memory, anecdote or fun fact about MSU Denver, please visit and click on the “Tell Your Story” link.

As an alumnus, friend or supporter, you are a vital part of the MSU Denver family. I invite you to help us celebrate 50 years of transforming lives, breaking new ground and boldly impacting higher education at a local, state and national level.

Please join us when we begin the festivities on July 3 at the Independence Eve Celebration in Civic Center Park. 


Catherine B. Lucas
Publisher and Executive Editor