The George Norlin Award recognizes outstanding alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen field of endeavor and a devotion to the betterment of society and their community.
Award Evaluation Criteria:
Comprehensiveness of the application
Outstanding professional accomplishments
Exceptional devotion to the betterment of society and community
George “Geoie” Writer is a legend in the Colorado building industry. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Geoie Writer returned to Denver and founded The Writer Corporation, a home building company, in 1965. Mr. Writer’s vision was to build communities, not just homes...
...which included open space parks, school sites, walking paths and recreational centers with pools and tennis courts. He’s built more than 12,000 homes in communities across the Front Range including Willow Creek, The Dam, The Knolls, South Park, Devil’s Thumb and The Peninsula. Mr. Writer is passionate about design with an enduring impact, and all of his communities – including those that are 50 years old – are still thriving and evolving.
Mr. Writer built the iconic Writer Square in downtown Denver, named the 1980s top architectural and functional urban development by the Colorado Design Council, and received their 25-year award for architectural design of enduring significance.
In 1978 he was the youngest recipient to be named National Builder of the Year by Professional Builder magazine. The magazine’s editor described him as someone who was “furthering the professionalism of the building business in America.” His accolades continued with Man of the Year awards from both the Colorado and Denver Housing Industry.
Mr. Writer, who has five children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren, retired in 2004, but remains dedicated to improving others’ lives. Mr. Writer continues to inspire the next generation through his engagement with the CU Leeds Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR). In the words of a CESR leader: “Geoie has clearly cultivated habits of community service that drive him to serve the common good of society and his community.”
For more than three decades, professor Yusur Wajih Al-Madani of Kuwait University has made extraordinary progress for students in her country. But first, she gleaned inspiration in Boulder. Yusur came to CU in the late 1970s and was the first Kuwaiti to earn a PhD...
... in English literature with an American emphasis. She demonstrated great ability in deciphering complex texts and an eloquent writing style, despite her non-native language.
Said a friend from CU: “As a professor of literature I am totally awed by Yusur’s intellectual and scholarly development in a range of literatures and cultures that would seem to have taken several lifetimes to master.”
Yusur returned to Kuwait to create more opportunities for students to study foreign literatures and cultures. She also wanted students to express themselves in the arts, including music, filming and acting.
She delivered on her vision as Head of the English Language and Literature Department by establishing in 2003 the English Day, an outlet for creativity for students which has become a standing tradition since then.
As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Kuwait University, she developed and gained accreditation for the university’s College of Arts. From there, she also chaired the now thriving French Department.
She also chaired the college’s now-thriving French department until February 2017. In 2009, Yusur was awarded the Palm Academic Award by the French Ambassador on behalf of the French Republic for her efforts in launching the department, the first in the Gulf area.
Said a colleague: “Yusur makes everyone around her — undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and administrators alike — want to aim higher for themselves, for the university and for community.”
With more than four decades spent at CU Boulder, Lorrie Shepard was often the trusted go-to for campus administrators concerning policies, programs and possibilities. “She is known for her sharp analytical skills, her articulate questions...
...and her tenacious commitment to fairness,” said a former CU vice-provost.
In her own work, Lorrie has contributed extensive research on psychometrics, testing and assessment policies, and the use and misuse of tests in educational settings. She is a champion of classroom formative assessments that help improve student learning, and she is committed to equipping and supporting future teachers to serve all students.
A former doctoral student said, “I often feel the positive difference in the way that colleagues look at me when they learn that I was a student of Dr. Shepard’s.” . “I hope that a fraction of her skills rubbed off on me.”
Her leading contributions to research nationally did not diminish her impact as a university leader locally. As dean of the School of Education for 15 years, Lorrie built a productive, effective and dedicated faculty, tripling total research grants. She also helped establish the CU Engage center, connecting CU students and faculty with community members, and she helped create the school’s first development advisory board. Lorrie remains on the faculty as a distinguished professor.
Said a peer: “She is regarded widely as a clear thinker, an audacious proponent of quality education for underserved students and a champion of teachers who make the K-12 educational system work.”
Dave Grusin’s achievements could make anyone feel like an underachiever. It’s among his gifts that he never does.
Intimates describe the 10-time Grammy winner and Academy Award recipient as a rare species — a “creative genius” who brings out the best in others, whether they’re seasoned professional musicians or amateurs with a dream.
A masterful jazz pianist, Dave has been composing, playing, arranging or producing music professionally since the 1960s.
He has performed worldwide and worked with Quincy Jones, Jobim, Paul Simon, Bobby MacFerrin, James Taylor, Renee Fleming and many others. He’s written music for more than 100 films and television programs, including “The Graduate,” “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond” and “St. Elsewhere.”
Nominated for the Academy Award eight times, he won in 1988 for his score for “The Milagro Beanfield War.”
Admired for his contagious enthusiasm, collaborative spirit and highly original output, Dave’s work often blends elements of jazz, pop and classical music.
Amid all this, Dave has made CU Boulder a priority.
A founding member of the College of Music Advisory Board, he has participated in the Conference on World Affairs for decades — and once returned early from an overseas tour to appear at the Tuesday night jazz concert. He’s performed live with CU musical groups, led students in master classes and given generously of his resources, providing major support for the renovation of the space today called Grusin Music Hall.
In the words of one CU music professor,
“He is a hero to us.”
2016: W. Harold “Sonny” Flowers, Jr. (Engl’67; Law’71)
W. Harold “Sonny” Flowers didn’t have many fellow black classmates at Boulder High in the early 1960s, but he found community among black CU student-athletes he befriended on The Hill.
“Even then,” one mentor wrote, “Sonny stood out as a young man who would go places.”
After enrolling at CU, Sonny, now a prominent Boulder attorney and citizen, emerged as a champion for campus diversity.
He continued this role at Colorado Law, distinguishing himself as a bold debater who traveled the state recruiting students of color to the school.
Over the decades he’s served CU loyally — not least as president of the Alumni Association’s board of directors, as a member of the CU Law and CU Foundation boards and as mentor of black student-athletes, future lawyers among them.
Sonny helped establish the Black Alumni Association and create an endowed scholarship for students of color at both Colorado Law and the University of Denver.
A litigator with Boulder’s Hurth, Sisk & Blakemore, LLC, Sonny is a leader in Colorado’s legal community whose service includes the presidencies of the Sam Cary Bar Association, the Boulder County Bar Association and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. He continues his more than 10 years as co-chair of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Annual Convention, and is the current president of the Colorado chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation-only membership group of trial lawyers who represent both civil defendants and plaintiffs.
A determined advocate for friends, clients and CU alike, Sonny’s gifts include the ability to champion a cause and build community at the same time.
“One of the areas that set Sonny apart,” a law school contemporary said, “was that even though he was oftentimes adamant, the difference of views did not carry over to the next class.”
2016: Kathryn Tobey (ChemEngr’84; MEngrMgmt’94)
Kathryn Tobey had pictured herself in the petrochemical industry.
With oil prices slumping as commencement neared in 1984, the CU chemical engineering major pivoted to aerospace, an industry her father had been a part of for over 30 years.
Her challenge was to convince Martin Marietta, now Lockheed Martin, to hire her — as a software engineer.
That bold move paid off: More than 30 years later, Kathy is a seasoned Lockheed executive whose numerous responsibilities have involved spacecraft design, laser-based remote sensing systems, Mars chemistry experiments and management oversight of national security space programs.
From the start, Kathy was an anomaly — a chemical engineer at an aerospace firm and a woman in a male-dominated field. She has helped break the mold for high-level aerospace and defense leaders.
“Kathy stands as a shining role model for all others,” said a fellow aerospace executive.
Today Kathy is vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Special Programs Line of Business. She oversees a broad portfolio of technologies and programs with national security applications.
A stalwart and continuous CU supporter and a vigorous advocate for women in STEM careers, Kathy serves as co-chair of the engineering college’s Broadening Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD) Center, on the dean’s advisory committee and as the Lockheed Martin University Executive. She is a trustee for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
Kathy’s husband and two sons are Buff alumni and her extended family has earned 13 CU degrees.
2015: Jimmy Calano (Mktg’78)
Only three years after graduating from CU Boulder with a degree in business, Jimmy Calano (Mktg’78) co-founded CareerTrack, a company that revolutionized the professional development training industry.
In 1982, an upstart training firm called CareerTrack revolutionized professional development by offering a new kind of skills-focused seminar, with an initial emphasis on empowering career-minded women.
In merely a decade, the Boulder-based company was training a million people each year on five continents through its seminars and audio/video training programs. When cable giant TCI acquired the company in 1995, CareerTrack employed 700 people and generated $82 million in annual revenue.
At the helm was Jimmy Calano.
Although Jimmy was only 24 years old when he co-founded CareerTrack, he was already an astute direct-marketing strategist. He knew then what many companies practice today: Accountability to customers is critical. Precision matters. Continual refinement fuels success.
“Jimmy dreamed big, and he was the most driven, hardest-working person I’ve ever met,” Jimmy’s first CareerTrack employee says.
Early success allowed Jimmy to refocus his ambition and boundless energy. In retirement, he has devoted himself to the greater Boulder community and to CU Boulder.
An avid contemporary art collector, Jimmy’s loyal support for Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Arts has helped it flourish. He is an angel investor for the Unreasonable Institute, providing both wisdom and wherewithal to budding entrepreneurs. He’s coached the Boulder High School Future Business Leaders of America to district-level success.
At CU Boulder, he chaired the Alumni Association board, where he played a pivotal role in the association’s move away from dues-based membership to the Forever Buffs model, which automatically welcomes all students and alumni (and engenders greater participation) without cost. For nine years, he sat on the advisory board of the Leeds School of Business, helping guide the institution that launched his career as well as helping to open the gate for other Buffs to realize their professional aspirations.
In perhaps the ultimate testimony to Jimmy’s commitment to CU, he has entrusted the university with educating his two children: Brandon graduated last May, and Carsen joined the Forever Buff family this fall.
2015: Pamela Drew (Math, MCompSci'87, PhD'91)
After spending the entirety of her college education at CU Boulder, Pamela Drew (Math, MCompSci’87, PhD’91) established a career as a highly respected executive in the aerospace and defense information systems field.
Pam Drew was one course shy of a bachelor’s degree in biology and on the road to medical school. Then she took a computer science class.
“I recognized there was probably a very good profession to be had if you actually knew something about computers,” she told a radio interviewer last year.
It’s common sense today, but in the early 1980s it was foresight.
That first computer science course led to three CU Boulder engineering degrees, including a PhD, in computer science.
Since then, Pam has blazed her way into the upper executive ranks of the aerospace and defense information systems industry, making lasting impressions at one marquee firm after another, including Northrup Grumman and Boeing.
She’s led business units that deliver technology for defense intelligence and air traffic management, homeland defense and space and earth science; captured billions of dollars in contracts; and overseen thousands of employees.
“Brilliant technologist, superb engineer and proven leader in business and the community,” one fellow executive wrote of her. “She is visionary while also being pragmatic enough to deliver consistent results.”
Earlier, Pam served as a founding professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Today she is president of the information systems division at Exelis, Inc., a global aerospace, defense and information solutions company in Virginia.
Pam has consistently made time for service to science, her peers and CU Boulder.
At CU she has served as a member of the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Council for more than a decade, currently as chair. She is a member of the Chancellor’s Strategic Advisory Council and chairs the Chancellor’s Grand Challenge External Advisory Committee.
Through her position at Exelis, a major supplier for NASA’s MAVEN mission, Pam helped deepen CU Boulder’s role in that dramatic undertaking.
Always she advocates for gender and racial diversity in the workplace, as a matter of principle and as a key to business success.
2015: Bill Marolt (Bus'67)
Bill Marolt (Bus’67) is the epitome of perseverance and hard work.
America secured its place in competitive skiing in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1964 when it won its first Olympic medals in the sport. Bill Marolt was a member of the historic team, finishing 12th in the giant slalom.
While he didn’t join teammates Billy Kidd (Econ’69) and Jimmy Heuga (PolSci’73) on the medal podium that year, the experience fired his ambition and he went on to become a three-time All-American.
After retiring from competition, he returned to Boulder: CU was about to get a coach who would become a legend.
With Bill as head ski coach from 1969 to 1979, the Buffs brought home seven-straight NCAA titles and cultivated 30 All-Americans. Bill also played a huge role in creating the university’s women’s ski team.
He left CU to coach the U.S. Ski Team, which at the 1984 games in Yugoslavia earned five Olympic medals. That fall, Bill rejoined CU as athletic director. In 1990, he extended the contract of head football coach Bill McCartney, a bold move that led to a 1991 Orange Bowl victory and the Buffs’ only national football championship, as well as three Big Eight titles.
Bill strove for more. In 1996 he became president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding. In the two past winter Olympics alone, the U.S. won 65 medals, more than any other country.
Bill retired after the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He and his wife Connie now divide their time between Arizona and Boulder.
“Bill is one of a kind,” said one U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive. “One of the great combinations that we can have in our business is somebody who was an athlete, a coach, an administrator and a fundraiser.”
2014: Philip Howard Karsh (Jour’57)
After graduating from CU Boulder Phil Karsh (Jour’57) jumped into the world of advertising.
Phil worked for numerous agencies before co-founding Karsh & Hagen in 1977 which served clients in some of the most prestigious organizations in the Rocky Mountain region, including the Colorado Lottery, McDonalds, Colorado Tourism and the Loveland, Beaver Creek, Vail and Aspen ski areas. He retired in 1998.
Throughout his career Phil generously allocated pro-bono agency time to work with nonprofits in the community such as the Denver Police Department, the Museum of Nature and Science, United Way, National Jewish Hospital, American Cancer Society and numerous others.
2014: Edwin Steinbrecher (EdD’73)
Ed Steinbrecher (EdD’73) has spent the majority of his professional career in Colorado.
Ed has a background in teaching and curriculum supervision and has served as director of research for the Colorado Association of School Boards, deputy state commissioner of education, superintendent of the Platte Canyon School District and university professor at the University of Colorado and University of Denver.
He is well known across Colorado and the nation for his work in school finance and was a key person in the development of the school finance legislation in Colorado. Following his retirement from DU, he has done consulting work with Colorado School Districts, the State of Colorado and the Ministry of Education in South Africa.
2013: Thomas Fredericks (Law’72)
We believe it’s particularly fitting that Tom Fredericks is winning the George Norlin Award this year because he was born the same year the award began — 1943.
Tom was born in Elbowoods, N.D., as an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation on the Fort Berthoud Reservation.
Tom was one of nine children growing up on his family’s ranch near a river below Lake Sakakawea with fertile land and a haven for cattle, horses, pigs, chickens and cows. But when Tom was in fourth grade, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seized the ranch as flood lands for the Garrison Dam project. Tom’s tribe hired engineers who found a more suitable place for the dam and repeatedly voiced their objection to the project, but the Corps moved forward. Tom’s family was paid a paltry, non-negotiable sum for their land.
That event set the stage for Tom to pursue a career in Native American rights. His persistent dedication to assisting tribes in land, farming, ranching, economic development and infrastructure has led to improved legal and political relationships between tribes and the state and federal governments.
Considered one of the leading experts in tribal law, Tom has successfully litigated literally hundreds of cases and served as director of the Native American Rights Fund, associate solicitor for Indian Affairs and assistant secretary for Indian Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. Today Tom heads the nation’s largest Indian law firm, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan, which is based in Boulder County.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association could not be prouder to present the George Norlin Award to Tom Fredericks for his unequaled work of bringing justice to Native American tribes and for playing a central role in the development of Indian law during the past four decades.
2013: David Lewis (ArchEngr’78)
It would be hard to miss one of David Lewis’s fingerprints if you took a walk through campus or drove around the Denver area.
That’s because David is a prolific and extraordinary architectural engineer. He has helped build S. A. Miro into an architectural and civil engineering firm with a stellar reputation for excellence with such clients as Denver International Airport, Children’s Hospital Colorado, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Ocean Journey Aquarium.
On campus he played a role in the Wolf Law Building, Center for Community and Sibel Wolle Visual Arts Center, among others.
But his successes extend far beyond buildings. David is a tireless supporter of CU Boulder’s engineering and applied sciences college. He helped found the college’s executive advisory board; he worked to create the college’s strategic plan; he assisted faculty in developing a capstone design course; he gives students hands-on experience via projects at his company and promotes the university to high school students at school fairs and extracurricular courses. He and his company make sizable financial contributions toward benefiting the community at large.
In the larger community, David has volunteered for the Boy Scouts, the Aurora School District, Aurora Community Housing Partners, the Whiz Kids tutoring program for disadvantaged kids and Habitat for Humanity.
Tonight David follows in familial footsteps. His grandfather Philip Worcester (Geo’09) and uncle Willis Worcester (ElEngr’39) won the George Norlin Award in 1946 and 1970 respectively.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to David Lewis for making Colorado an even more spectacular state and for his countless hours spent and providing visionary leadership in the engineering college.
2012: Michael Brown (Geog’90)
No question about it — Michael Brown (Geog’90) has risen to the top in his career. Scratch that. He’s risen to the top of two careers.
First, as a world-class mountaineer, he’s summited Mount Everest five times. And second, as a three-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker, he has made more than 50 expeditions to all seven continents with an impeccable eye for splendor behind a rolling camera. His work has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, ESPN, IMAX theaters and the BBC, to name a few.
When the topics are mountain climbing and filming, the obvious first name off the lips of any pertinent observer is Michael Brown. Outside Magazine describes him as a “swashbuckling librarian,” and Men’s Journal calls him “a master of gut-dropping action.”
Michael has left a deep and indelible path behind him, braving the world’s harshest settings including the South Pole, the North Face of the Eiger and 1,500 feet beneath the Earth’s surface into caves, always returning with breathtaking footage and gripping tales.
But his films reach far beyond the extreme to reveal the intricacies of the human spirit. Focusing on worldwide social issues, conservation and education, he often captures how people overcome challenges to thrive. His latest films follow veterans returning from war, young adult cancer survivors and doctors delivering free life-changing surgeries in the developing world. His work has earned more than 40 international film festival and industry awards.
In 2007 he founded the Outside Adventure Film School to track another favorite pursuit — teaching. He has since led courses worldwide, and his students have gone on to create award-winning films in South America, Asia, Africa and the United States.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Michael Brown for his work of bringing meaningful stories to life — stories that change lives— and for his selfless sharing to make the world a better place.
2012: Gene Lucero (Bus& Adm’78)
Dean Boal (Mus, MusEdu’53, PhD’59). The two words are music to the ears of anyone who’s known the man both figuratively and literally. In fact, if you attend a Boulder Rotary Club meeting, you’ll hear some of that music.
He plays piano for the organization’s weekly programs ―happily at age 79.
His is a long and melodic career. Born in Longmont, Colo., three of Dean’s four academic degrees come from CU. And not long after he earned those degrees, some of the country’s most prestigious institutions wasted little time snapping him up for his matchless professionalism and exquisite musical gifts.
He’s served as associate professor and head of piano at Bradley University, dean of the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, vice president of cultural programming and program services, and director of arts and performance programs for National Public Radio, founding president of the St. Louis Conservatory and Community Schools for the Arts and president of Interlochen Center for the Arts.
On that last organization, Dean authored the book Interlochen: A Home for the Arts, in which he explores the history and operations of that school for the arts that now ranks as one of the most renowned in the world.
And at NPR, he started two programs that to this day enjoy high listenership ― Performance Today and Car Talk.
Even in retirement, Dean’s presence continued to make his community better when as executive director, Dean steered the Peak Association of the Arts through one of its stormiest times.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Dean Boal for his ability to share his love of music to enrich the lives of so many.
2011: Larissa Bernhardt Herda (PolSci’80)
Telecommunications industry folks often use the term “backbone” as a metaphor to explain the inner workings of the internet. This spine is obviously an integral part of the internet. The same could be said of Larissa Bernhardt Herda (PolSci’80) ― the backbone not just of her company but also of her community.
In business Larissa is chairman, CEO and president of tw telecom inc., and her accomplishments since taking the proverbial remote control in 1998 have been nothing short of phenomenal.
Under her direction, tw telecom has grown from $26 million in revenue in 1996 to $1.3 billion in 2010. She expanded the organization’s broadband fiber network footprint from 17 U.S. markets to 75 and built a national IP backbone recognized as one of the top 10 most connected IP networks in the world. She introduced comprehensive data, voice, internet and national ethernet products. She’s raised more than $6 billion in the public and debt markets, including a $290 million initial public offering and oversaw three acquisitions.
Her business acumen has earned her accolades as Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year for the Rocky Mountain region, CEO of the Year from the Denver Business Journal and Telecom Executive of the Year from the Denver Telecom Professionals. Larissa also is a director on the board of the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
But Larissa’s community service is equally striking. Her support and enthusiasm for CU, its students, and in particular, the Leeds School of Business, are unwavering. At Leeds she’s a loyal donor who serves on the executive committee of the board of directors and the Center for Education on Social Responsibility. She’s also a frequent visitor to the classroom where she enjoys talking with students and sharing stories from the frontlines of business.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Larissa Bernhardt Herda for her business acumen and ardent CU support that are making the university and Colorado stronger places.
2011: Anthony Ortega (Span’80, MFA’95)
Anthony Ortega (Span’80, MFA’95) says his lifelong goal is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural diversity through his art.
By just about any measure, he’s making impressive progress toward that goal. Visit his website and prepare to scroll a lot to see all his exhibitions ― more than 200 in national and international venues.
Tony says art introduced a new world he never imagined could exist. That world started opening for him as a child when he watched his grandmother sew quilts and his uncle work with wood. He also recalls a kindergarten teacher showing off his work, holding up one of his drawings ― a houseboat that looked like a face.
He has become one of the nation’s most respected artists. Tony’s acrylics and pastels pop off the canvas with distortion, exaggeration and amplified design to reflect community connectedness in Chicano families, neighborhoods, churches, schools and workplaces. It is work that has earned him both the coveted Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
And he’s continued his artistic influence as an art professor at Regis University. Tony also has worked tirelessly with schools, community groups and citizens of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to create murals throughout neighborhoods to further his belief that art belongs to everyone, not just the wealthy or patrons of art galleries and museums.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Anthony Ortega for his incredible commitment to sharing his artistic skills with people of all ages and for his outstanding contributions to the national art scene.
2011: Lucinda McWilliams Sanders (MCompSci’78)
Looking out over the landscape of women in technology, few stand taller or with more distinction than Lucinda McWilliams Sanders (MCompSci’78).
Not long after graduating in 1978 from CU with a master’s degree in computer science, Lucy found herself working for one of the most prestigious telecommunications companies on the globe, AT&T (now Alcatel-Lucent) Bell Labs in Denver.
It was clear that’s where she belonged ― among the best. Her groundbreaking work on an operating system that made voice and multimedia possible over the internet set the stage for her to win the Bell Labs Fellow award, the highest technical accomplishment the company bestows. Add to that her six patents in communications technology, and it’s easy to see why Lucy ranks among the elite in the field, and why the Women in Technology International inducted her into its hall of fame in 2007.
But her successes and service after retirement are just as impressive. In 2004 she co-founded the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), a coalition of corporations, schools, government agencies and nonprofits working to get more girls and women into the information technology arena. Today Lucy serves as NCWIT’s CEO where she has created a network of more than 250 organizations, including The White House and the U.S. Congress, to help the NCWIT move toward its goal.
At CU Boulder, Lucy also is behind the university’s highly successful collaboration with Dillard University in New Orleans. The goal is to share curricula in applied math and humanities to give students from both universities research experience. And she serves as an executive-in-residence for CU’s Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute where she continues to get more women and minorities involved in technology education.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Lucinda McWilliams Sanders for her profound contributions to information technology and for her unwavering commitment to enhancing technology education.
2010: Laurence Boxer (Hist’61)
Laurence A. Boxer (Hist’61) has achieved great things in the field of medicine as a physician, scientist and professor.
Motivated by a desire to help others, he has focused on children who have immune system diseases and his research and patient care has extended the lives of many young people.
Since 1982, he has worked as a University of Michigan professor in the department of pediatrics and communicable diseases. He has served as director of pediatric hematology/oncology, associate chair of faculty affairs and Henry and Mala Dorfman Family Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. During his career he has mentored over 35 junior faculty and fellows.
Larry’s research focuses on the immune system disorder of neutropenia — a blood disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils, a white blood cell responsible for preventing bacterial infections. While his international-level work has garnered him numerous awards and recognitions, he has remained a patient advocate, campaigning for young adults’ access to appropriate pediatric cancer clinical trials and resources to care for children with benign hematological disorders.
His expertise and compassion as a physician scientist has made him sought after by patients and their families through North and South America. He hosts a biannual nationally attended family meeting for those suffering from neutropenia. He also is one of the founders of the Severe Chronic Neutropenia International Registry, which monitors the treatment of patients with severe chronic neutropenia. Because of his efforts, those who participate receive drugs at no cost.
Larry also has kept his connection to CU, spending time with CU colleagues co-authoring a history book, Hematology: Landmark Paper of the 20th Century and serving this year as a visiting professor at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Laurence A. Boxer for his outstanding contributions in patient care, research and mentoring of young people.
2010: Hank Brown (Acct’61, Law’69)
Hank Brown (Bus’61, Law’69) is one of a few who has built a career that involves both high levels of personal achievement and an undying commitment to serve community, state and nation.
From United States senator to CU president, Hank’s accomplishments are national and international in scope but have always related to serving the public.
When Hank went into politics, he was the youngest Republican in the Colorado State Senate. He served five terms as a Republican U.S. representative and one as a senator. As U.S. senator, he chaired the Middle East Subcommittee on Foreign Relations, the Constitutional Law Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee. His tremendous energy and wisdom earned him awards from Hungary, Pakistan and Poland.
The experienced politician quit politics at the peak of his career in 1996 after spending 16 years in Washington, D.C., because he wanted to get back to his constituents. When he returned to Colorado, he jumped into higher education, first as co-director of the Center for Public Policy at University of Denver and then as president of University of Northern Colorado from 1998-2002.
Hank became CU president in 2005 during turbulent times. He brought the credibility, skills and determination to shepherd the institution through a challenging era. Under his tenure, CU received record increases in donations, capital funding and state support and student enrollment rebounded.
After retiring from the presidency, Hank has taught in the Boulder campus political science department, as well as served on honors thesis committees and attended every departmental meeting. Hank developed a course on health care reform in spring 2009 that brought in speakers like Ralph Nader, Mike Rosen, former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm and Gov. Bill Ritter (Law’81). Alums and the community-at-large were invited to participate. He also developed a successful Alumni College in D.C., for alumni and donors.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Hank Brown for maintaining the highest standards of personal integrity, humility and commitment to public service and Colorado.
2010: Richard Knowlton (Geog’54)
Richard “Dick” Knowlton (Geog’54) is a longstanding figure within the food industry as the former president, CEO and chair of Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn., where he worked for 48 years.
He serves as chair of the Hormel Foundation, which controls 48 percent of the company’s stock. Dick and his wife Nancy Van Derbur Knowlton (A&S’57) are well known for their genuine commitment to the company’s employees.
He is the only food industry CEO to receive all the highest awards in the retail, food distribution and meat industry. The industry’s Knowlton Innovation Award was created in his honor. His new book, Points of Difference, Transforming Hormel documents the revolution in the food industry and his company’s role in it.
Dick played football for CU, turning down an opportunity to go professional because he had a stronger offer at Hormel. Yet, he stayed connected with CU, becoming a member of the CU Foundation during the 1980s. Today he serves on the Leeds School of Business board and received, along with his wife, the business school’s Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. Dick was inducted into the Heritage Center’s Hall of Excellence and received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1995 and the Living Legends Award in 2002.
When the university decided to create a state-of-the-art athletic facility, Dick led the fundraising effort for the Dal Ward Athletic Center completed in 1991. The couple’s ongoing philanthropic support of CU includes support for the Leeds School’s Frascona Teaching Award and the renovation and addition to the Koelbel Building completed in 2007.
Believing true leaders should be measured by how well they serve their colleagues and community, Dick has contributed to the broader society. He sits on the Eisenhower Medical Center Board and has made transformational investments in medical research through the Mayo Clinic. He also serves on the board of the Future Fuel Corporation.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Richard Knowlton for his dedication to his field of work and ongoing support of CU.
2010: Julianne Mattingly Steinhauer (Mus’60)
Julianne Mattingly Steinhauer’s (Mus’60) sense of community stretches from the sandstone buildings of the Boulder campus to the bustling streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
A well-respected jazz singer who has sung all over the world, Juli has served on CU’s Conference on World Affairs committee for 21 years and is deeply involved in humanitarian work in Vietnam.
Juli has served as a director of Friendship Bridge, a medical NGO, making 20 trips to Vietnam to volunteer in hospitals and to teach American jazz in Hanoi’s National Conservatory of Music. She has mentored countless foreign students, as well as personally arranged and financed exchange programs for Vietnamese doctors and artists to come to Colorado for professional enrichment.
In 1994 18-year-old Vu Phuong Nhu (IntAf’98) arrived in Boulder with little knowledge of English. With Juli’s tremendous commitment, she graduated from CU. During Nhu-Nhu’s sophomore year, her mother and sister lived with the Steinhauers for six months while her sister underwent treatment for a malignant brain tumor that could not be treated in Vietnam.
As co-chair of CU’s Conference on World Affairs, Juli’s indefatigable efforts have helped keep the conference’s 62-year tradition alive. She spearheads the conference’s celebrated jazz concert every year, inviting musicians from around the world to join together for a week of music and conversation. She unwittingly creates diverse performances and music-based relationships that endure long after the conference ends. She also works closely with Dean Daniel Sher of the College of Music to increase interaction between conference musicians and music students.
The CU Boulder Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Julianne Mattingly Steinhauer for her significant contributions to CU, music, and to the hundreds of international lives she has impacted.
2009: Dale M. “Pete” Atkins (A&S’43, MD’45, MS’53)
Dale “Pete” Atkins came to CU in 1939 from a small coal mining town near Paonia, Colo., thanks to a full scholarship from the Fredrick G. Bonfils Foundation.
He credits Bonfils and CU for shaping his life. Pete holds three degrees from the university: undergraduate, medical and a master’s of science. He is Phi Beta Kappa.
While at CU Pete became one of the all-time greats in Colorado baseball and was known as the “Paonia Peach” and “Pistol Pete.” He helped the Buffs win the Big 7 Baseball Championship and lettered in 1941 and 1942. He also played semi-pro baseball. In 1994, he was named one of CU’s Living Legends, meeting the criteria of earning his varsity letter 50 or more years earlier and joining the likes of such outstanding CU athletes as Byron “Whizzer” White.
After serving as a medical resident at CU’s University Hospital, he started his own practice in Denver specializing in urology in 1953, quickly establishing himself as an outstanding physician. He demonstrated his commitment to medicine and Colorado’s residents by serving rural communities and establishing a monthly clinic in Del Norte, Colo.
Over the years Pete has been a tireless participant in CU and state-wide activities. He taught at CU’s medical school, served as a member of the Board of Regents for 12 years, is a lifelong member of the CU Directors Club and served as a National Western Stock Show Association director for 34 years.
The CU Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Dale “Pete” Atkins for his distinguished career and dedication to CU.
2009: Richard E. Engebretson (MBA’72)
Upon graduating from CU’s Leeds School of Business with an MBA, Richard “Dick” Engebretson established a real estate appraisal business in Boulder, which grew into a very successful enterprise.
He then moved on to a career in marketing and trade shows. Dick retired in 2006 as the executive vice president of the North American consumer events sector for the London-based dmg world media, one of the world’s largest exhibition and publishing companies.
Dick’s CU contributions include the establishment of the Engebretson Fellowship, an endowed fund to support full-time MBA students, as well as the Engebretson Challenge to increase alumni and donor support to the business school. In 2007 he and his wife, CU alumna Jean Engebretson, helped fund the Koelbel Building renovation and named a new conference room after a professor who had a profound impact on Dick’s education. The Engebretson Quad, a space for students to gather for cookouts and sporting events, honors the couple’s loyal support.
Last fall, Dick stepped down as the chair of the Leeds School advisory board but continued to serve as key liaison to the incoming chair. He serves on the board of trustees and the board of directors of the CU Foundation, giving his time generously.
In recognition of his many contributions to CU, he received the Leeds School of Business Distinguished Service Award in 2005 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. Dick has left an important, indelible mark on the business school and the CU Boulder campus, including serving as chair of the Alumni Association’s board of directors in 1985-86.
The CU Alumni Association is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Richard “Dick” E. Engebretson for his distinguished business ventures and his devotion to CU.
2009: George A. Sissel (ElEngr’58)
2008: Gary Jackson (PolSci’67, Law’70)
While Gary was earning his bachelor’s in political science at CU, which he received in 1967, he was active in numerous student affairs and wrote a column for the Colorado Daily.
He extended his activism regarding diversity issues while involved with CU’s Educational Opportunity Program as an adviser and mentor. His spirit of community service, formed so early, continued while he attended CU law school, from which he graduated in 1970.
Immediately out of law school Gary began working for the Denver District Attorney’s office, followed by the U.S. Attorney’s office and then the law firm of DiManna & Jackson, where he is today. During his legal career he has continued his commitment to public service, working tirelessly for many legal and community groups both at CU and beyond.
Among Gary’s most well-known accomplishments in Colorado’s legal community is helping found the Sam Cary Bar Association in 1971. The association is a self-help group designed to instill professionalism, serve as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas among African-American lawyers and support and guide law students. Recently the 200-plus member organization awarded him its Life Time Achievement award in recognition of continued exemplary service.
Gary has more than given his energy, enthusiasm and support for CU during the past four decades. He has been an adviser and mentor at the admissions office and the law school. He chaired the Law Alumni Board in the early 1990s, served on the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and is currently on the Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Board.
The University is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Gary M. Jackson for his distinguished legal career and his devotion to the betterment of society.
2008: Charles Maes
Dennis graduated from the CU School of Law in 1972 and immediately embarked on a career in law and public service. He first worked as an attorney for Pueblo County Legal Services and then as a deputy state public defender in Pueblo.
After starting a private practice, he was nominated from a list of Who’s Who in the Legal Community to be the first Mexican-American appointed as district judge. He is currently chief district judge of the Tenth U.S. Judicial District. In 2004 he became the judicial district water judge with a large responsibility for the Arkansas River Valley.
Dennis has a passion for juvenile justice and has developed one of the most innovative truancy programs in the country. It requires juveniles and their parents to appear before him as often as twice weekly until the students have demonstrated improvement in specified areas. He appears to know everyone individually, and it’s obvious that his involvement is inspiring because of the positive reinforcement he provides.
Dennis also runs an innovative mentoring program called the Friday Court Study Hall that brings community people to his courtroom to study with underachieving high school students. Students are enriched by this valuable tool and people from all walks of life have benefited from the interactions they have with young people.
His extensive public service also extends to supporting many organizations. He is past president of the Pueblo Bar Association and is sitting or has sat on the boards of the East Side Child Care Center, the Dave and Lucille Packard Foundation, the El Pomar Southeast Regional Council and the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. He is widely sought after by organizations because of the strengths and experience he offers.
The University is proud to present the George Norlin Award to C. Dennis Maes for his distinguished law career and his devotion to service.
2008: Jerry McMorris (Mgmt’62)
Jerry was a student entrepreneur long before the CU Leeds School of Business was acclaimed for its entrepreneurship program. In 1959, as a 19-year-old sophomore, he started a small trucking company than ran between Denver and Golden.
It was both a big opportunity and a major challenge to run a company while in school, but it led, after he graduated in 1962, to a 40-year career as an entrepreneur in a variety of business pursuits.
Thirty-one years after he graduated, Jerry took over the role of chairman, president and CEO of the Colorado Rockies. According to Bud Selig, major league baseball commissioner, without Jerry’s efforts major league baseball may never have come to Colorado. To ensure baseball’s arrival here, Jerry turned to his Colorado network ‚Äì businesspeople he trusted and knew he could ask to make up the potential financial loss incurred by the new team. The Rockies set major league records for highest attendance during their first seven years.
Jerry passed on the reigns of Rockies club president in 2001 but continued his role as chairman. Eventually he stepped down altogether from ownership to pursue other interests.
Jerry has worked tirelessly to lobby state legislators on behalf of higher education. For his ongoing commitment to CU and the business school, he received the school’s Distinguished Service Award in 1994. Jerry also has also served on the board of the CU Foundation and been involved in numerous activities at the business school, including the visiting executive program.
Today, Jerry is chairman of the Western Stock Show executive committee, which he joined as a way to give back to the community. This year the show celebrated 102 years and has grown into one of the world’s premier showcases of the American West.
The University is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Jerry D. McMorris for his distinguished business career and his devotion to education.
2008: Chris Sorensen (MPhys’73, PhD’76)
Since graduating from CU in 1976 with a doctorate in physics, Chris has had an exemplary career in teaching and research at Kansas State University. He quickly rose through the ranks there and is now University Distinguished Professor.
Chris is recognized nationally and internationally as a consummate scholar, research scientist, teacher and mentor. As a researcher Chris works at the interface between physics, chemistry and engineering in the optics and dynamics of aerosols. He has made many contributions to the study of the properties of particles in flames. This area of study affects the creation and control of pollution. In this work he has garnered over $10 million in funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation. He was awarded the 2003 David Sinclair Award for his sustained excellence and lasting impact on aerosol science by the American Association for Aerosol Science.
Chris was named Professor of the Year in 2007 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. This is the most prestigious teaching award covering all disciplines at United States universities.
He also has won numerous awards for his excellent teaching at Kansas State. He has twice been recognized with the College of Arts and Sciences Stamey Teaching Award. He has won a Commercial Bank Undergraduate Teaching Award and the KSU Presidential Teaching Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Regarding outreach to the community, Chris developed a four-day summer program to introduce teenage girls to science called EXCITE. He regularly visits local high schools to lecture on science and has been recognized for this work with a Making a Difference Award by KSU Women in Science and Engineering.
The University is proud to present the George Norlin Award to Christopher M. Sorensen for his distinguished scientific career and his devotion to education.
2007: Peter Henning Jr. (PhDPhys’65)
Nontraditional students often hear a lot about why they should have gone to college earlier. Dairy farmer, nuclear physicist and businessman Peter Henning is a great example of why nontraditional timelines can be valuable.
It’s not that Peter didn’t have an aptitude for the classroom. He graduated from high school in Stanwood, Wash., in 1939 as the class valedictorian. Although he was offered a scholarship to Washington State, his father needed help running the family dairy farm. Peter began managing a herd of 40 Jersey dairy cows.
Over the next 20 years Peter built the herd up to 500 animals. He refined production, improved breeding and nutrition techniques and presented show herds nationwide. In 1948, at age 26, he was elected director of the board of the American Jersey Cattle Club. A year later he became president of the Washington Milk Producers cooperative and served for a decade. In 1954 the governor of Washington asked him to serve as vice chair of the Washington Dairy Products Commission and served two terms.
But in 1956 someone suggested he go to college. A reluctant Peter enrolled in heavy course loads at the University of Washington. Although he worked full time and was married with four children, Peter completed his bachelor’s in physics two years later at age 37.
In 1959 Peter hired a manager for his dairy farm and moved his family moved to Boulder. He earned his doctorate in nuclear physics in 1964. His thesis work was the first of its kind — the study of high resolution crystal diffraction of nuclear gamma rays.
From 1964 to 1966 Peter studied controlled thermonuclear fission at Aerojet General, a California research firm, earning the company three patents. He then worked for Varian Medical Systems in California, pioneering the use of electron linear accelerators in hospitals for radiation treatment for cancer.
“He became very knowledgeable about the physics of radiation therapy and treatment planning and also about radiation’s biological effects, so he was equally at home talking to the hospital physicist and physician,” says Richard Lavine of Varian.
Peter left Varian in 1977 and moved back to Washington. He sold his dairy farm and turned his attention to commercial real estate. He has since developed over 800,000 square feet of high technology warehouse and office space.
The University is honored to present Renaissance man Peter Henning Jr. with the George Norlin Award for exemplifying the concept of lifelong learning.
2007: Walter A. Koelbel Sr. (Mktg’47)
It was a stroke of luck for CU when Walt Koelbel enlisted in the Navy in 1944. There were 130 colleges and universities serving as officer training sites, and, by chance, the Michigan native was assigned to CU.
“When I saw the Flatirons for the first time, I thought, ‘This isn’t going to be too bad,’ ” he recalls. While in officer training, Walt played football for CU and went on a blind date with classmate Gene Norgren.
He was assigned to a naval station in San Diego in 1945 before he was to head to the Pacific. Then the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, and Walt was discharged. He returned to CU to earn his degree, play football and date Gene. They were married in 1949.
Walt went into real estate and founded Koelbel & Company in 1952 with three employees. The 85-member firm is now one of Denver’s most respected development, investment, construction and insurance companies. He pioneered mixed-use developments all over Colorado while he and Gene raised five children. They now have 12 grandchildren.
“I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the university,” he says of his CU experiences.
“He had a wonderful time at CU, met a lot of friends and got a wonderful education that he feels led to wonderful things,” Gene says of her husband. “He feels you have to pay back to your community.”
And Walt was giving back. He served on numerous boards for Colorado philanthropies. For CU he worked on the Macky Auditorium renovation, served on the CU Foundation board and helped establish the CU Real Estate Center.
Walt chaired the business school’s fundraising board that led to the 1974 construction of the business building. Walt’s oldest son, Walter “Buz” Koelbel graduated just in time to enjoy the new business school facilities. Recently Walt and Gene made a generous donation that made possible the current renovation and addition to the Leeds School of Business. The building, Koelbel Hall, is named in their honor.
Among Walt’s other CU honors are the 1967 Alumni Recognition Award, the 1972 Distinguished Business Alumnus Award, induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame and the 1990 University Medal for “his consistent service and support both to his community and to the university.”
The University is proud to present Walt Koelbel with yet another honor, the George Norlin Award, for six decades of dedication to family, career and the University of Colorado.
2007: Leonard L. LaPointe (MCommDisSpchSci’66)
Leonard LaPointe understands communication — not only communication among people, but communication between people and their own brains.
He has spent 40 years working to understand brain disorders through clinical studies, research and teaching.
He specializes in aphasia — an acquired neurological communication disorder that causes people to lose the ability to speak and communicate due to brain damage from injuries, multiple sclerosis or stroke (to name a few causes). Many times neurosurgery and medication have limited impact and leave patients still unable to communicate as well as they did before brain damage occurred. Leonard is working to change that through innovative therapy.
He holds two degrees from CU, having received his master’s in communication disorders and speech science in 1966 followed by a doctorate in 1969. He gained much of his clinical experience in Denver, serving at several hospitals between 1964 and 1969. From 1970 until 1986, Leonard garnered 13 grants and awards totaling well over $1 million in research funding.
Before Leonard’s research, many questioned the effectiveness of therapy as a solution. But success rates have increased is due, in part, to his cooperative research in the 1980s that helped establish therapy as, indeed, an effective strategy to regain communication skills.
“We’re seeing reorganization and reactivation of pathways and patterns in the brain,” Leonard says. “It’s an exciting era for research.”
He continues to receive new research funding, but his focus shifted in 1986 when he became chair of Arizona State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. He worked there until 2000, when he was recruited by Florida State University.
At FSU he is the Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Disorders and associate faculty member of the FSU Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy. Each year Leonard travels to Brisbane, Australia, where he serves as a visiting professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
“Dr. LaPointe is an outstanding international scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of neurogenic communication disorders,” says Bruce Murdoch, head of the Queensland school. “He has a character and wit which enables him to interact with clinical speech pathologists, students and academics at all levels of the spectrum.”
In addition to his other achievements, Leonard is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology. He founded the journal over a decade ago.
The University is proud to present Leonard LaPointe with the George Norlin Award for his extraordinary work in helping patients rebuild from the effects of aphasia.
2007: Alan Stern (PhDAstro’89)
When Alan Stern came to Boulder in 1983, it wasn’t to attend CU. He already had two undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy, as well as two master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and in planetary atmospheres — all four from the University of Texas. No, Alan came to CU to work on the Spartan Satellite at Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
The Spartan was scheduled to observe Halley’s Comet in 1986, but it was destroyed aboard the Challenger on January 28. Although five years of lost work might have floored most people, Alan took it as a good time to head back to the drawing board. In 1989 he completed a five-year doctorate program in astrophysics and planetary science at CU in a mere three years.
After a year of research work CU’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, Alan went to work for the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. In 1994 he convinced the management to establish a branch of SWRI in Boulder. As executive director of SWRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division, Alan built the new branch up from three scientists with doctorates in 1994 to 33 by 2007. The Boulder branch is recognized worldwide for its solar system research.
Alan has published 175 technical papers, 40 popular articles and two books. He has given over 300 technical lectures and over 100 talks to the general public about astronomy and NASA.
In 2006 Alan realized a 16-year-old vision of a mission to Pluto when NASA’s New Horizons launched. It will spend the next decade en route to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The true impact of the mission won’t be understood for years, but its results could hold clues to the evolution of the solar system.
“Alan has created things that change and inspire lives,” says Robin Canup, who holds Alan’s former position at SWRI. “[They] are on their way to becoming legacies of his own unique talents and vision.”
Alan moved on from SWRI this April upon his appointment to the position of associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. He is the first person in two decades to be hired to the position from outside of NASA. He’s in charge of a $5.5 billion budget and managing all of NASA’s 53 active, non-human missions and 37 missions in stages of research and development.
It is an honor for the University to recognized one of the nation’s top space scientists with the 2007 George Norlin Award.