Alumni ConnectionsAlumni Connections is published monthly as an update on the activities at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Please share this e-mail with others who you believe would be interested. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail

Alumni Connections: Dec 2005

Girl JumpingEveryone's a Member. 
Beginning December 1, 2005 everyone can be a member of the Alumni and Friends Association for free.  Over the next three years, current memberships will be phased out.  The new board has decided that it can service and stay connected with its alumni best by making all interested graduates members of the association.  Stay tuned for more ways that you can get involved!  Visit our website at /alumni  to get your free membership card.  

Minority student achievement: putting talk into action. Throughout the nation and in Colorado, minority high school students are not achieving academically at the same rates as majority students. But is anyone doing anything about it? A Gazette story connecting achievement gaps and economic woes came as no surprise to La Vonne Neal, dean, College of Education. But Neal and College of Education faculty plan to do more than read the newspaper. An in-progress overhaul of College of Education curriculum aims to improve the cultural competency of teachers, allowing them to better connect with students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to improve student academic performance. With less than 50 percent of African-American and Hispanic men graduating from high school, an economic, social and societal crisis faces the U.S., Neal says. But there’s no hand-wringing for the action-oriented dean whose mantra is “intention without action is insufficient.”

Efforts with Hispanic students recognized. UCCS is one of the nation’s top universities in the education of people of Hispanic descent, according to the editors of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine (MORE)

On the rise. The Society of Success and Leadership at UCCS was recently awarded “On the Rise” status by national headquarters in recognition of the level of student participation in the organization. Formed in 2004 to provide leadership training for students, 330 students joined in 2004-2005 and the UCCS chapter is now the largest in the nation. Carmen Abeyta, director, Student Engagement, serves as advisor.

Campus conversations continue. The Academic Strategic Plan steering committee will have another open meeting for faculty and staff beginning at 12:15 p.m. Dec. 6 in the University Center Theater. Vice Chancellor Rogers Redding asked that comments focus on the “ What existing academic programs should be enhanced or re-directed to better meet regional, state and national needs?”

 “Oh, Mr. Darcy … Yes, I Said Yes!”  In the wake of the film release of “Pride and Prejudice,” movie critics and fans of author Jane Austen are focusing on differences between printed and film versions of the classic novel. Joan Ray, professor, English, and president of the Jane Austen Society of North America, was interviewed by the New York Times and criticized the movie’s love scenes as not representing Austen’s talent of presenting sexual tension with subtlety. The Times concluded that the movie was to the book “as if NASA had prepared an international mission to Mars and felt a need to lace the Russians’ Tang with vodka.”

A winning team. A Colorado Springs Economic Vitality Group whose members include community leaders as well as Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business and Administration, and Jeremy Haefner, dean, College of Engineering and Applied Science, was recently given  the Enhancing the Competitiveness of Local Business through Collaboration award from Blane, Canada, a business consulting firm. The team was credited with retention of 250 manufacturing jobs, winning 150 additional manufacturing jobs and helping a large company with property tax issues.

Obelisk takes shape. An unveiling of the university’s first obelisk occurred earlier this month and drew the attention of Colorado Springs media. To view the KOAA broadcast describing the 20-foot-tall structure, click here

Dwire update. Did you know that Dwire Hall was the first building constructed on campus after UCCS was established?  It is an important historical marker for campus and the community.  It bears the name of one of our founding fathers, Dr. George J. Dwire, who sold Cragmor Sanatorium and the surrounding area to the city for $1 to establish the University.  Construction began when the University had only about 2,600 students, but there were nearly 6,000 students by the time it was completed in 1972. 

Beginning May 2006, Dwire Hall will be vacated and will undergo a major renovation.  A construction contractor is on board, drafts of designs are being circulated, and move plans readied for the renovation of Dwire Hall, according to Dave Schnabel, director, Facilities Services. While considerable work remains, the project is “on track” for 14 months of construction. On Dec. 16, the renovation design will be shared with the members of the CU System Design Review Board.

This is a $10 million renovation project, and we will be calling on our alumni and friends to help us complete it.  Of the $10 million needed, we plan to raise $1.5-$2 million in private gifts.  Questions or want to make a gift? Contact Viana Rockel 719-536-4485. 

CU Foundation audited. A state audit of the activities of the CU Foundation provided fodder for Denver and Boulder newspaper headlines but was seen by CU President Hank Brown as an opportunity for a “new beginning.” Additionally, those who have read the audit report say the only mention of UCCS was to acknowledge that it is one of three CU campuses. To see President Brown’s take on the audit, visit

The new North Nevada. The Colorado Springs City Council voted unanimously Nov. 8 to provide financing for redevelopment of North Nevada Avenue from Garden of the Gods north to I-25. The decision paves the way – literally – for retail developments such as Costco and Lowe’s as well as smaller outlets that will complement the campus. Stores likely will not open until fall 2007. To see the Gazette’s coverage of the council’s action, visit

Referendum C impact. Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak told faculty and staff that Referendum C passed by Colorado voters Nov. 1 is “no panacea for higher education funding in Colorado.”  Instead, Shockley-Zalabak sees Referendum C as a five-year window of opportunity for state and community leaders, university officials and private industry to develop permanent solutions to ensure that the state’s public universities remain affordable and accessible. With Referendum C’s passage, UCCS will enact a growth plan that provides for modest tuition increases while adding programs, faculty, staff and facilities with the goal of making UCCS less dependent on state funding while achieving its goal of becoming America’s premier regional comprehensive research university.

Connections. The passage of Referendum C and the redevelopment of North Nevada are separate issues but linked like coal cars on a southbound Santa Fe. While Referendum C maintains state funding for UCCS, North Nevada’s redevelopment could encourage development of university property on the east side of the city thoroughfare. The concept of a research park is under consideration to diversify the university’s revenues and make it less dependent on state support.

Joining forces. UCCS will team with the U.S. Army – specifically the UCCS Department of Facilities Services and Fort Carson – to share information on making campuses (and military bases) sustainable. An official memorandum of understanding was signed Nov. 9 that calls for the two organizations to work cooperatively with a goal of achieving sustainability and environmental objectives. Fort Carson is considered a leader in sustainability efforts, according to Dave Schnabel, director, Facilities Services. Examples of Fort Carson’s efforts include using construction techniques that make buildings more energy efficient and a post recycling program. As part of the Inventing the Future effort, UCCS has identified several similar goals.

Forecast? Partly cloudy. High energy prices and the continued loss of high-wage technology jobs will likely cause the southern Colorado economy to slow somewhat next year, according to Fred Crowley and Tom Zwirlein of the College of Business and Administration’s Southern Colorado Economic Forum. If you’re looking for good news, neither expert is nervous about a housing bubble in Colorado Springs. To read the Gazette’s coverage of the forum, visit

Students with children get break.  A $168,000 four-year federal grant will give current and future UCCS students financial help with child care at the campus Family Development Center.   (MORE)

On-line contributions. Enrollment in the Math Department’s on-line programs reached a new high this year as word about the program’s high-quality spreads. Students from rural Colorado, deployed soldiers, and students from hurricane-ravaged areas are enrolled. The program drew the attention of the Denver Post. To see the paper’s coverage, visit

Need business skills but not an advanced degree?  A new UCCS program will allow individuals easier access to courses designed to improve specific business skills. Offered through the College of Business and Administration, the campus business certificate program will allow individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree to enroll in master’s-level courses in areas ranging from general business administration to specific topics such as accounting, international business, operations, marketing, technology management, and finance. (MORE)

It is how you look. Leaning on her own experiences as a professional basketball player as well as quotes from well-known NBA players linking uniforms to performance, first-year UCCS women’s basketball coach Jessika Stratton deemed it a priority to outfit her team in new duds. The Colorado Springs-native and former Big 12 Sportswoman of the Year award winner solicited local businesses to help her team look as good as they play. As a result, the Mountain Lion’s women’s teams will wear new white, black and gold uniforms emblazoned with UCCS when competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference this year. For more about UCCS sports programs, visit

No Pyramids Here. Dr. Minette Church from the Department of Anthropologywill present ongoing interdisciplinary archaeological research on a 19th/early 20th century Maya village in British Honduras (now Belize). 

When most people think of archaeology and the Maya of Central America, they think of the “Ancient Maya”. Tourism and television have instilled the impression that Maya peoples mysteriously disappeared following the “collapse” of classic period states, between about 700 and 900 AD. Yet one encounters diverse Maya speakers in the region to this day. So what about the period between 900 and 1900 AD? Link to flyer

Looking to make an end of the year donation?  Donors may make contributions online by visiting The campus list is found on the left side of the screen.  Click on University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.  Scroll the list to see general giving options and note the areas where you can drill down for additional gift opportunities.  When you see the college or program to which you wish to contribute, click on Give Online.  Selecting “Other” allows you to specify which department or program should benefit from your gift.  If you would like additional information for specific gift allocations, please contact Diane Dickerson at (719) 536.4499.

In the Gift Amount dialogue box, enter the amount you wish to contribute, then click on the Submit button.

If you would like to donate to an additional program, click on Return to Programs in the upper right corner of the cart content screen and repeat the previous two steps.

Review/modify your Gift Cart Content screen, then proceed to the secure Checkout site to enter your charge information.

You will receive an e-mail message thanking your for your gift.  For tax purposes, you will also receive a receipt via USPS from CU Foundation within a few days of a successful charge transaction.

Alumni Connections is published monthly as an update on the activities at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Please share this e-mail with others who you believe would be interested. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:

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