The MCE Signature Events comprise a series of informal presentations and interviews conducted by the MCE Alumni Board as a dialogue with distinguished DU alumni, faculty and constituents who help connect the academic and professional worlds for the benefit of the students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Upcoming Events:

No Events


Director of Alumni Engagement
Megan Stribling

Past Events

2015 Signature Events

2015 Spring Signature Event 

An interview with Carrie Morgridge and the release of her new book Every Gift Matters, included a book signing, interview, and student Q&A session

Featuring Carrie Morgridge

Carrie Morgridge is Vice President of the Morgridge Family Foundation.  For the past fifteen years, she and her husband, John, have worked tirelessly to leverage their foundation’s funds, spark innovation, and fuel transformation in the areas of education, conservation, health & wellness, and the arts.

Carrie is recognized nationally for her work as a philanthropist, student advocate and the creator of innovative professional development for teachers. She is a recipient of the distinguished Frances Wisebart Jacobs Woman of the Year award from Mile High United Way, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Denver, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado Mountain College Board of Overseers, and New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning. She has been publicly recognized for her work at National Jewish Health and Denver Academy. She also serves in an advisory capacity and speaks nationally to education advocacy and technology-focused forums.

Carrie graduated summa cum laude from International Academy of Design and Technology, giving her an edge on design innovation, and is also an aggressive athlete, finishing nine Ironman competitions. She lives in Colorado and Florida with her husband John.

2014 Signature Events

2014 Fall Signature Event 

An interview with the Dean of the Morgridge College of Education

Featuring Dr. Karen Riley

Karen Riley - Desk

Dr. Karen Riley is the Dean for the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. Her education includes a B.S. in Psychology from Colorado State University; a M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies from the University of Denver. She completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship at The Children’s Hospital in Denver in the Fragile X Treatment and Research Center and subsequently worked at the Child Development Unit within The Children’s Hospital. She currently has a dual faculty appointment in Child, Family and School Psychology and Curriculum Studies and Teaching. Dr. Riley currently serves on the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board for the National Fragile X Foundation. She has over 10 years of experience in teaching and administration of early childhood

special education programs. She has an additional 10 years of experience working with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. She has served as PI or CO-PI on over three million dollars in sponsored research. Particular areas of interest and expertise include assessment and intervention of infants and preschoolers, curriculum development, school consultation, behavioral interventions and low incidence disabilities. She lectures extensively throughout the US as well as internationally, on behavioral and educational interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders primarily those with fragile X syndrome.

Video of the Interview with Dr. Karen Riley

2014 Spring Signature Event 

     Trauma and Schools: “Stronger in the Broken Places”

     Featuring Carolyn Lunsford Mears & Wendy H. Davenson

Carolyn Lunsford Mears, Ph.D. is an award-winning author, presenter, and researcher. Her 2012 anthology, Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma, won a prestigious Colorado Book of the Year Award, given by the Colorado affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress Center for the Book. An educator whose son survived the shootings at Columbine High School, Carolyn enrolled in the University of Denver to conduct dissertation research as a way to help others faced with tragedy. Her study, Experiences of Columbine Parents: Finding a Way to Tomorrow, was named 2005 AERA Qualitative Dissertation of the Year. Carolyn is a Founder of Sandy Hook-Columbine Cooperative, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Alliance Member National Centre for Therapeutic Care, Fellow of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, Board of Directors of the I Love You Guys Foundation [school safety], and adjunct faculty at the University of Denver. She has presented to audiences in the U.S., Europe, and Australia on trauma response and recovery, school safety, and leadership during crisis.

Wendy H. Davenson, M.F.T. is a Colorado and Connecticut Licensed Marital and Family Therapist, Connecticut licensed and certified alcohol and drug counselor, certified Thanatologist, AAMFT Approved Supervisor and Approved Supervisor Trainer. Ms. Davenson moved from Sandy Hook, CT to Erie, CO in June of 2013. Through her long time private practice in Sandy Hook, her expertise was utilized extensively following the tragic shootings of 12/14/12 at Sandy Hook School. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Southern Connecticut State University, teaching and doing clinical supervision in the University Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, for the past 20 years. She has worked extensively with the Connecticut Family Court System mediating high conflict parenting cases and doing mandated post divorce co-parenting. She is a Connecticut GAL and has published: Grief and Growth: A Manual For Counselors and Educators

Video of the Interview with Carolyn Lunsford Mears & Wendy H. Davenson

2013 Signature Events

2013 Winter Signature Event 

Featuring Barth Quenzer

Collaboration – The Path to Innovation

 The Morgridge College of Education is proud to welcome back to the campus, for the Alumni Board’s Winter Signature Event, Barth Quenzer. Fresh off his receiving the prestigious Milken Outstanding Educator Award, he will share with us what it means for a teacher to be so honored as one of forty in the nation this year. The Milken Family Foundation since 1985 has honored teachers and administrators with what has been called the “Oscars of Teaching”.

Barth is an accomplished DU alumnus with multiple degrees from the University including a BA from the School of Art and Art History, and a Teaching License and MA from the Morgridge College of Education. A gifted artist himself, Barth works as a Visual Arts Teacher at Brown International Academy in Denver, teaching young students to become aspiring artists. Barth holds numerous awards and recognitions such as the 2012 Elementary Visual Arts Teacher of the Year and 2009 Mile High Teacher of the Year. He also works as an adjunct instructor at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Quenzer is a member of the Denver Public Schools Visual Art Research Assessment Team and the Colorado Department of Education Content Collaborative, charged with penning high-quality arts assessments aligned to Colorado’s new academic standards. Described as “an ambassador for art in the school, the district and across the state,” his voice, his art and his students reflect a deep commitment and compassion for his craft. We look forward to his interview and his inspiration.

Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation

 Video of the interview with Barth Quenzer

2012 Signature Events

2012 Fall Signature Event 

Featuring Senator Michael Johnston

Through Historical Perspective – The Art of Education

Senator Michael Johnston is a Colorado native and a Morgridge College of Education alumni who has made high impact on the schools of our state as a student, teacher, administrator, author, and now as a member of the State Legislature representing District 33 of Northeastern Denver. Senator Johnston served as a member of the transition team on education policy for president-elect Barack Obama during his campaign. Johnston authored the number one selling education book In the Deep Heart’s Core, based on his experience teaching in the rural south for Teach for America. Before being appointed to the State Senate, he also served in the Denver area as principal of the Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts, the Joan Farley Academy, and the Marvin Foote Detention Center. As an influential member in the field of education, the senator has been featured in Forbes Magazine’s “7 Most Powerful Educators” and Time Magazine’s “40 under 40”.

Video of the interview with Senator Johnston

2012 Spring Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Donna Shavlik

The Ever Changing Landscape for Women’s Education

Dr. Shavlik, a Denver native, is a former Director of the Office of Women in Higher Education and Senior Fellow, American Council on Education in Washington, DC. She was a founding member of the National Council for Research on Women and served as chair of the Board of Directors and has been a national and international advisor on higher education. During her tenure, Dr. Shavlik played a major role in coordinating efforts among higher education associations relative to women’s equity and leadership and in creating strategies to address women’s issues. She has received numerous awards, especially for the role she played in the passage of Title IX.

Video of the interview with Dr. Shavlik

2012 Winter Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Lucy Jane Miller

Sensory Processing Disorder: Persistence & Passion

Caring for Individuals with Challenges in Responding to Sensation

Lucy Jane Miller founded the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation in 1979, and serves as the executive director. She was an associate professor at UC Denver Medical School with a double appointment in Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine for 11 years. In 2005 Dr. Miller founded the STAR (Sensory Therapies And Research) Center, co-located with the Foundation in Denver.

For 35 years Dr. Miller has devoted herself to the study and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder and is spearheading the effort to get SPD recognized as a diagnostic entity separate from other disorders. She is a prolific author, with over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her book, Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) has become the definitive source of information on SPD. She has developed the STAR treatment model, which has been demonstrated through research to be effective.

Dr. Miller also develops norm-referenced standardized assessments that are in use worldwide, including the Miller Assessment for Preschoolers, the Leiter International Performance Scale – Revised and the new Miller Function and Participation Scale or M-Fun. She talks about learning family-centered care during her three terms, totaling nine years on the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council for IDEA in CO. In 2005, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. award from the State of Colorado.

Video of the interview with Dr. Miller

2011 Signature Events

2011 Fall Signature Event  Featuring Dr. Kristen Waters

Morgridge College Alumna, Dr. Kristin Waters, has just assumed the duties as principal of Denver’s Historic South High School. Waters, who received her PhD in educational administration from DU’s Morgridge College of Education in 2006, began her teaching career in the Los Angeles Public Schools after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara and receiving an MA from Pepperdine University. Her career in Colorado included Montbello High, Morey Middle School and assistant principal at South, all before taking the reins at Bruce Randolph School where her leadership and a challenged student body, faculty and parents drew national attention. Dr. Waters was recognized by President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address for her success in turning around the Bruce Randolph school from one of the poorest performing schools to one where 97% of students received diplomas in 2010.

2007-2010 Signature Events

2010 Fall Signature Event

Featuring Dean Gregory Anderson

2010 Spring Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Carolyn Mears

2009 Spring Signature Event

Featuring John & Carrie Morgridge

2009 Winter Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Camila Alire

2008 Winter Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Marion Downs

2007 Fall Signature Event

Featuring Dr. Jerry Wartgow

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