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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)


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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

AHSS Alumni Achievement Awards

Nominations for the 2018 Alumni Achievement Awards are now closed. 

The 2017 Alumni Achievement Awards were presented to the following recipients at the Livingston Lecture in May:

Lifetime Achievement Award

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.

David Rothenberg (BS '55)
In 1966, David Rothenberg produced a play called "Fortune and Men's Eyes" that revealed the horrors of life in prison and inspired him to become the founder of The Fortune Society. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Fortune, which today is one of the leading reentry service organizations in the country and has grown to serve over 6,000 formerly incarcerated individuals per year, providing a wide range of holistic services to meet their needs and also serving as a leading advocate in the fight for criminal justice reform and alternatives to incarceration.

Rothenberg fought a court battle to ensure that the bi-annual Fortune News could be delivered to people in prison – winning the case of Fortune v. McGuinness – and today, the Fortune News is delivered to thousands of incarcerated people across the country. In 1989, Rothenberg was the first openly gay man to run for the New York City Council, and he was recently honored by their LGBT Pride Event.

In 2008, he produced a play called "The Castle" about the lives of four individuals who lived at Fortune's groundbreaking reentry housing facility in West Harlem, which played off Broadway for over a year. Rothenberg continues to bring the play to community groups, churches, prisons, universities, and organizations.

Rothenberg's life has centered on theater, social activism, politics, and a tireless focus on advocating for the lives of those impacted by the criminal justice system. Much of this is captured in his 2012 book, Fortune in My Eyes: A Memoir of Broadway Glamour, Social Justice, and Political Passion.

Community Engagement Award

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.

Simone Kivett (BFA '00, electronic media arts design)
For the past six years, Simone Kivett has worked as an elementary school art teacher in a low income, economically disadvantaged public school district in Lynn, Mass, outside of Boston. She has dedicated herself to serving the community of Lynn and has enriched the lives of more than 13,000 students in the visual arts. Her students have won national and local art contests, have displayed their art locally in student art shows, and have advanced their artistic skills during their formative time in elementary school.

She has documented six years of her students' artwork on a national art teacher's website, which shows individual student progressions of art from kindergarten through 5th grade.

Kivett has a rigorous art schedule which consists of teaching thirty two classes a week to students in two elementary schools in Lynn. She works without a dedicated art classroom in either of the two schools.

For the past eight years, she has volunteered at the Institute of Contemporary Art in downtown Boston working with children and families in monthly art-related programs. She also volunteers as an assistant for The New Art Center in Newton, Mass, a non-profit art enrichment center for young children.

Alumni Service to AHSS Award

This award is granted to an AHSS alumnus/a who has made significant contributions to the Arts, Humanities and Social Services 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.

William Temple (Davy) Davis (PhD '84, theatre)
Davy Davis was selected for his dedication to inspiring young minds to the creative possibilities through theatre and 30 years of service to AHSS in the theatre department. He currently is the scenic and lighting designer at DU, but he has also worked as a technical director, costume designer and sound designer. His teaching includes a wide range of classes, from tai chi, stage makeup and scene painting, to computer scenographics and photography. In addition, Davis designed the Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The 350-seat flexible venue serves as the main stage for DU theatre productions, allowing for more than 40 stage configurations and seating options.

Recent Alumni Achievement Award

This award is granted to an AHSS alumnus/a who has graduated within the last 15 years (this year, after 2001). 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.

Julio Alas (BA '08, psychology and Spanish; MA '11, curriculum and instruction)
Julio Alas has been instrumental in the design and successful implementation of the annual DU Day of Action event since May 2013. He coordinates the visit of hundreds of elementary school students and their parents or guardians to DU's campus each year. His motto for elementary school students is "College? For Certain!" and he has tirelessly dedicated himself to developing and supporting the dreams of historically underrepresented youth who one day aspire to attend college. His creative and original solutions in addressing the college access crisis in Denver have had a remarkable impact in elementary schools and surrounding communities across the Denver metro area.

Alas serves as a Coordinator of World Read Aloud Day at Munroe Elementary, which engages members of the DU community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) in spending time and reading aloud with elementary students to promote a love of reading.

He continues to be a critical part of the University of Denver Latino Alumni Affinity group (DULAA), which supports, promotes and channels the academic, social, professional and developmental interests of the University of Denver's Latino community. As Student Relations Committee Chair, Alas supports DULAA in achieving its goals of helping Latino students succeed both in and outside of the classroom.

Past Recipients of the Alumni Achievement Awards:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Maria Guajardo (PhD '88, psychology)
  • Community Engagement Award: Scott Gratson (PhD '02, human communications)
  • Alumni Service to AHSS Award: Melanie Herrera Bortz (BA '88, psychology)
  • Recent Alumni Achievement Award: Keely Buchanan (BA '01, digital media studies)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Karambu Ringera (PhD '07, human communications)
  • Community Engagement Award: David Rosenberg (BA '78, psychology, mass communication)
  • Alumni Service to AHSS Award: Amelia Ribnick Kleiman (BA '79, political science, economics)
  • Recent Alumni Achievement Award: Christopher Luther (BM '06, music performance)
  • Alumni Service to AHSS Award: Dr. Edythe Miller (BA '50 and MA '53, economics)
  • Recent Alumni Achievement Award: Mahalia Newmark (BA '08, English)
  • Community Engagement Award: Hannah Seigel Proff (BA '04, English, gender and women’s studies)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Hao Jiang Tian (MA '87, music)
  • 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.

Erin Dietrich
Director of Alumni Relations