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Pioneer Perspectives
Courtesy: Denver Athletics  
Release: 03/04/2008
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As February comes to a close and March begins, we are rockin’ and rollin’ in the Division of Athletics. We certainly understand the term March Madness here at Denver!

Permission has been given to start construction of the new state of the art Soccer Stadium.  The Chancellor has given his approval to separate the stadium project into two phases.  In the weeks to come we will meet with the Building and Grounds Committee to finalize plans for this first phase.  At the same time we need to fuel the fire for the second phase.  A strength and conditioning complex is truly a necessity at the Division I Level and all of our sport programs desperately need and will benefit from this conditioning complex and weight room facility. This complex once completed combined with our outstanding facilities will take us to the next level of competition and assist us in the recruitment of the country’s best student-athletes.  We will continue to pursue our fundraising goals to make this complex a reality.

Five DU student-athletes—Kyle Lewis, men’s basketball, Benny Althaus, men’s tennis, Rhett Rahkshani, men’s ice hockey, Michelle Lowry, women’s swimming, and Dani Espinosa, women’s lacrosse—were recently nominated for the National NCAA Leadership Conference.  The Conference is intended to provide NCAA student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that may affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.  The NCAA will select one nominee from each applicant institution and provides an expense-paid trip to Lake Buena Vista, Florida in May 2008.

Congratulations to women’s volleyball players Alyssa Hampton and Kim Muller, and women’s soccer player Jenna Billingsley, who were nominated for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.  The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.  The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports.
Updated graduation rates were released in late fall 2007.  For the most current entering freshman cohort of 2000-01, DU student-athletes boasted an 80% graduation rate in comparison to a 72% rate for the general University of Denver undergraduate population, and a Division I average of 63%.  We should all take great pride in the fact that our Pioneers are truly student-athletes who excel both in the classroom as well as in the athletic arena, Additionally, special acknowledgement goes out to the following sport programs, who under the Graduation Success Rate data submitted achieved 100% for the entering cohorts of 1997-2000: Men’s Swimming; Men’s Tennis; Gymnastics; Women’s Skiing; Women’s Soccer; Women’s Swimming; and Volleyball.

Student-Athletes representing the University of Denver were recently recognized for their community outreach efforts at the National Consortium for Academics and Sports which was held in Orlando Florida at the prestigious Centre Hotel.  More specifically, DU student-athletes were applauded for their community service and civic contributions via the “DU Citizen-Athlete Community Outreach Program”.  Please go to our web site www.denverpioneers.com and click under our Diversity and Community Relations listing to see great photos and stories about our athletes in action. “The program will develop University of Denver student-athletes into social change agents who embody the values of collaboration, commitment, and civic engagement.”  These values are taken from the Social Change Model of Leadership.  Specific community service was conducted at the Denver Rescue Mission, Denver Indian Center, Children’s Hospital, Asbury Elementary School, and the Stiles African American Center.  Leadership and organization of such efforts were led by the DU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

DU student-athletes have also been involved in diversity initiatives across campus.  Kyle Lewis, freshmen basketball players had the pleasure if introducing Martin Luther King III at the university wide presentation held in the Newman Performing Arts Center and Alyssa Hampton, senior volleyball player and President of the SAAC had the pleasure of introducing distinguished DU Alumni Dr. Richard Lapchick at the “Champions for Diversity Luncheon” which was held in the Gottesfeld Room of the Daniel L. Ritchie Center on January 14, 2008.

Joel Gerlach, Athletic Division Intern and Cynthia Hinojosa, community relations-student employee, were instrumental in the development of the Colorado Multicultural Career and Internship Fair promotional video.  The fair is co-chaired by The Honorable John W. Hickenlooper Mayor of the City and County of Denver and Dr. Robert D. Coombe Chancellor of the University of Denver.  See video at: www.http://denver.jobing.com/Video_Main.asp?i=45905&segment=11333

Congratulations to Cindi Nagai, Premium Seating Account Executive and Brooke Meyer, student-athlete women’s basketball.  Both were recognized by NACWAA.  Cindi was awarded the Judy Sweet Commitment Award and Brooke won the Administrator of Tomorrow Award.  The Commitment Award is presented to an administrator below the senior ranking level for outstanding service and dedication to her department and institution.  This award recognizes the athletic administrator who is committed to providing high level leadership, guidance and aspiration to colleagues within intercollegiate athletics.  The Administrator of Tomorrow Award is presented to an undergraduate/graduate student, intern or volunteer within the athletics department, who aspires to a career in intercollegiate athletics.  This recipient demonstrates outstanding leadership, community involvement and campus involvement.  

This spring the University of Denver will serve as host for the NCAA Ice Hockey Frozen four to be held at the Pepsi Center April 10th through April 12th.  Semi-final games will take place on April 10th at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  The championship game will be held on April 12th at 5:00 p.m.

Our future is so exciting!  Going forward we will continue to meet our challenges head on and relentlessly pursue excellence.  We are proud.  We are determined.  We are Pioneers!

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