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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)


AHSS Pioneers


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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

AHSS Alumni Achievement Awards

(Thank you to all who made nominations for the 2015 Alumni Achievement Awards program. Nominations are now being reviewed and recipients will be notified by March 13. Awards will be given at the AHSS Alumni Reception and Livingston Lecture on May 11, 2015, at the DU campus.)

Last May, we recognized the recipients of the 2014 Alumni Achievement Awards at the annual Alumni Reception and Livingston Lecture. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Alumni Service to AHSS Award:  Dr. Edythe Miller

This award is granted to an AHSS alumnus/a who has made significant contributions to the liberal arts at the University of Denver. He/she has offered their time, expertise, enthusiasm and energy to improving liberal arts programming at DU and has helped to preserve and promote AHSS traditions at DU.

Dr. Edythe Miller received her BA and MA in economics from DU in 1950 and 1953, respectively. She also received her PhD from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Miller is a former professor of economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver and the former Commissioner of Colorado Public Utilities Commission under Governor Dick Lamm. For six years she was a Commissioner, and for another six years she was the Chairwoman of the Commission. (For comparison, the average tenure of a Commissioner is three and a half years.) She was also a member of the executive committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a body which set national policy for state regulatory agencies. Additionally, she has published more than 40 scholarly articles on economics.

For many years Miller has been devoted to DU, particularly to the department of economics. She has attended and participated in many of DU's research seminars, guest speaker events, and taught courses at the University. Professor Tracy Mott, chair of the department of economics, said, "We have benefitted from her counsel and encouragement towards our work here on numerous occasions, and we owe her a lot as not just a dedicated alumna, but really as a guiding spirit in what we do." 

Recent Alumni Achievement Award:  Mahalia Newmark

This award is granted to an AHSS alumnus/a who has graduated within the last 15 years (this year, after 2000). This award recognizes a nominee's professional or personal achievements. This nominee is a growing leader in their field, and priority is given to candidates who have demonstrated creativity or originality in their achievements.

Mahalia Newmark received her bachelor's degree in creative writing from the English department in 2008, and recently began graduate school at Arizona State University. She was previously a development officer for the American Indian College Fund where she impressively raised $1.6M in major gifts and secured $8 million in estate gifts. She has been a keynote speaker at numerous functions, including the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe at their annual scholarship awards event.

Newmark was very involved as a student at DU, and her volunteerism has continued since she graduated. She is the President of the DU Indigenous Affinity Alumni Group and has served on the Board of Directors of the Denver Indian Family Resources Center.

Community Engagement Award:  Hannah Seigel Proff

This award is granted to any AHSS alumnus/a who has dedicated him/herself to serving the community, locally or globally. His/her accomplishments have improved or enriched the lives of others. His/her contributions need not be publicly renowned, but should demonstrate creative or original achievements that offer societal or educational value.

Hannah Seigel Proff received her BA in English and Gender and Women's Studies in 2004 from DU, and her JD from the University of San Francisco. She is now a Deputy State Public Defender for the State of Colorado. As an attorney, she has devoted her career to defending the indigent accused, and specializes in the representation of juveniles who are being charged with violent offenses, many of them in the adult system. She also volunteers on a regular basis to supply legal services for low income populations. Outside of the office, she volunteers as a youth mentor through Colorado Youth at Risk, and she founded and operates Learn Your Rights in Colorado (LYRIC) a grassroots organization that teaches youth about their Constitutional rights. LYRIC is currently working with Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition on a city wide "know your rights" training.

Lifetime Achievement Award:  Hao Jiang Tian

This award is granted to any AHSS alumnus/a who has demonstrated special career or personal achievements. This person is a leader in their field and has made outstanding contributions to their field.

Grammy nominated international opera singer Hao Jiang Tian received his MA in Music from DU in 1987. Since his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 1991/92 season, Tian, a native of Beijing, has earned worldwide recognition as one of today's most talented basso cantante, singing more than 1300 performances of 40 operatic roles worldwide. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera for nineteen years in 26 operas. Tian has also been highly praised for his appearances in many international theaters.

Tian volunteers his time with the Asian Performing Arts of Colorado, which helps to promote the careers of young singers, and he is a senior advisor to the Ministry of Education in China which promotes the teaching of the Chinese language to the world. He has also mentored more than 100 vocal students in China, U.S., and Europe in the past 20 years. He has also performed several benefit concerts for DU at the Newman Center.

Past Recipients of the Alumni Achievement Awards:

  • Alumni Service to DU Award: (Posthumous) Dave Briggs, BA, political science
  • Recent Alumni Achievement Award: Meghan Doyle, BA '02, political science
  • Community Engagement Award: Elizabeth Kingman, BA '71, speech communication
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Mayor Steve Hogan, BA '70, political science and history

The AHSS Alumni Achievement Awards program was created in 2012 under the AHSS Advisory Board, which offers its experience, expertise and energy to the leadership of the divisions to enrich the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences communities. The award selection committee is made up of AHSS Advisory Board representatives and the dean.

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