Published: Nov. 29, 2021 By

The Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility (CESR) at the Leeds School of Business, is pleased to recognize Ellen Morris, Director, University Partnerships at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with our inaugural Community Connector Award.

Ellen Morris accepting Community Connector AwardCESR's mission is to empower current and future business leaders to drive solutions to environmental, social, and ethical challenges, and we serve as a bridge between the Leeds School and the sustainable business community. The CESR Community Connector award recognizes one partner for their service to the community, and contributions which have had a significant impact on our work. Ellen Morris, Director, University Partnerships at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was honored as this year's recipient at the CESR Community Reception on November 3, 2021. 

“I’m very proud of the Business School’s Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility’s innovative partnership with NREL,” said Michael Leeds, whose family’s leadership gift to the business school and commitment to ethics and social responsibility were the foundation for CESR, “It has led to undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare Leeds’ students to make a difference in this critical industry. One of Boulder’s great strengths is the strong partnerships that the CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business has developed across the many industries in the region.”

Building strong partnerships through multiple touchpoints

Ellen Morris has been involved with Leeds for several years. She has spoken directly with students, and connected her colleagues at NREL to students and faculty at the school, in service of facilitating a better understanding of the clean energy transition. Ellen has also introduced Leeds to many important people in the clean energy space, both inside of and beyond NREL. She has been engaged with the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI). Over the past two years, Ellen was a key advisor to CESR on the launch of the MBA Clean Energy Pathway which is designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge and networks they need to enter that workforce.

Jeff York, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, whose research focuses on environmental entrepreneurship and who is a long standing collaborator with Ellen, presented the award. "Ellen’s connections at NREL have proved incredibly valuable for our class room experience," said Jeff. "With her help, we’ve had students works with over a dozen NREL technologies to learn how to apply their business skills in helping to create a carbon-free future."

Ellen combines her deep expertise in the clean energy sector with a commitment to service and partnerships. Kathryn Wendell, CESR Executive Director, says that Ellen embodies the idea behind the award. “Ellen is forward thinking and innovative in her approach to building capacity in the clean energy sector. She sees how collaboration allows each partner to do more, and is always looking for new avenues of connection and opportunity. We believe business skills are essential for advancing the transition to a more sustainable future, and are thrilled to partner with NREL in that work.”

Get involved with CESR

Many members of the business community share their insights, time, experience and expertise with our team and our students every year. Our work would not be possible without their generous support.  If your work touches on any of our three focus areas - environmental solutions to climate change, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, and ethical leadership - or you have ideas for strategic partnerships moving forward, we would love to get to know you. Let us know of your interest and we will be in touch. We look forward to working together.