Board Members

John Desmond, Chair

Governor Appointment

Downtown Denver Partnership
Executive Vice President for the Downtown Environment
1515 Arapahoe Street, Tower 2, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80282
303-571-8204 • E-mail

John Desmond is the Executive Vice President of Downtown Environment for the Downtown Denver Partnership, where he oversees all urban planning, transportation, and research efforts. He also manages the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, which is responsible for a variety of programs to enhance downtown Denver’s public realm, most notably the upkeep of the 16th Street Mall. Desmond was the driving force behind the 14th Street project, the largest downtown streetscape project in the last 35 years. He was co-manager for the 2007 Downtown Denver Area Plan, which earned national recognition for its innovative policies. He’s also been extremely involved in a series of initiatives to better connect the Auraria Campus to surrounding downtown districts. (read more)

Veronica Barela, Vice Chair

Governor Appointment

NEWSED Community Development Corporation
President and CEO
901 10th Avenue, Suite 2A
Denver, CO 80204
303-534-8342 • E-mail

Veronica Barela has served as the President and CEO of NEWSED Community Development Corporation since 1978. NEWSED C.D.C. is a non-profit, community-based organization whose main focus is the revitalization of Denver’s near westside community. Extremely active in the Colorado community, Barela has served on numerous committees, boards, and councils related to people of color and minority and women businesses, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, American Civil Liberties Union Board of Directors, and Hispanics of Colorado, for whom she was President. Among the many awards she has earned, recent honors include the Mayor’s Diversity Award in 2014, Latina’s First Foundation Trail Blazer Award in 2013, and the top 25 Most Power Women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Barela holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver and undergraduate degrees in Public Administration and Psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. (read more

Tracy M. Huggins

Governor Appointment

Denver Urban Renewal Authority
Executive Director
1555 California Street, Suite 200
Denver, Colorado 80202
303-534-3872 • E-mail

Tracy M. Huggins joined the Denver Urban Renewal Authority in October 1992 as controller, and oversaw the agency’s financial involvement in a number of significant redevelopment efforts. In 2000, she was named Executive Director. A certified public accountant, she came to DURA from Strait-Kushinsky, a Denver public accounting firm. Huggins serves on the boards of directors of Mountain States Employers Council, Gold Crown Foundation, Downtown Colorado, Inc, and the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. She's a 2001 graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

Elaine Gantz Berman

MSU Denver Board of Trustees Appointment

MSU Denver Board of Trustees

Elaine Gantz Berman was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2015, for which she serves on the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. She has dedicated her professional work and community service to improving the lives of Colorado's children. In January, 2015, she completed eight years on the Colorado State Board of Education, and, previously served for eight years on the Denver Board of Education, including four years as its President. Prior to serving in elected office, Berman also worked for 18 years as a program officer at the Denver-based Piton Foundation. She has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and commissions, and helped to found the Colorado Children's Campaign, the Adoption Exchange, the Colorado Education Initiative, and the Colorado Non-Profit Development Center. (read more)

Rollie Heath

State Board of Community Colleges & Occupational Education Appointment

Former Senator, Colorado

Former Colorado State Senator Rollie Heath graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin. He then served in the U.S. Army for 23 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1983. His extensive private sector career included 17 years in senior management with Johns Manville Corporation. In 1988, he co-founded Ponderosa Industries, Inc., and served as President/CEO until 2001. He founded the Rocky Mountain World Trade Center in 1988, and was its first chair. He ran as the Democratic Party’s nominee for Governor of Colorado in 2002. He was elected to his first term in the Senate in 2008, and was re-elected for another four-year term in 2012. Senator Heath was elected Senate Majority Leader in 2013, and was elected the Assistant Senate Minority Leader in 2014. He currently serves on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education and the state’s Venture Capital Authority Board. 

Irene Griego

University of Colorado Board of Regents Appointment

7th Congressional District, Democrat, Current Term 2015–2021
Vice Chair
1800 Grant Street, Suite 800
Denver, CO 80203
720-441-9640 • E-mail

University of Colorado Regent Irene Griego is a lifelong resident of Colorado whose career in public education took root with degrees from CU. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Colorado Boulder and a doctorate in school administration from the University of Colorado Denver, as well as a master’s in educational administration from the University of Northern Colorado. (read more)

Everette J. Freeman

Community College of Denver
Campus Box 250, P.O. Box 173363
Denver, CO 80217-3363
303-556-2413 • E-mail

Everette J. Freeman was named President of the Community College of Denver in November 2013. Dr. Freeman most recently served as President of Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. His has extensive expertise in higher education leadership, especially in the areas of daily operations, strategic planning, institutional planning, capital expansion, and community relations. (read more)

Janine Davidson

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Campus Box 1, P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362
303-556-3022 • E-mail

The ninth president of MSU Denver, Dr. Janine Davidson, is a compelling leader with extensive experience guiding large and complex organizations. Prior to joining MSU Denver in July 2017, Dr. Davidson served as the 32nd undersecretary of the United States Navy, where she managed all Department of the Navy affairs, including Navy and Marine Corps integration, acquisition, finance, personnel, legislative affairs, research, and development. In that role, she was responsible for the health and well-being of nearly 900,000 sailors, marines, civilians, and their families. (read more)

Dorothy A. Horrell

University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 168, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
303-315-2500 • E-mail

Dorothy A. Horrell assumed her role as Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver in January 2016. A recognized leader in higher education, Dr. Horrell received a gubernatorial appointment to the Colorado State University System Board of Governors in 2009, serving as board chair from 2013–15. She was President of the Colorado Community College System from 1998–2000, and was President of Red Rocks Community College from 1989–98. She previously held several positions in the community college system, including Vice President for Educational Services and Director of the Occupational Education Division. In addition, Dr. Horrell served from 2001–13 as President and CEO of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado’s leading foundation supporting the arts and nonprofit leadership. (read more)

Christopher R. Holcom

Faculty Representative, Faculty Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board

Community College of Denver
Associate Professor, History
Campus Box 292
PO Box 173363
Denver, CO 80217
303-352-6862 • E-mail

Christopher Holcom is Associate Professor of History at the Community College of Denver. He received a bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and earned a master's degree in history and a juris doctor degree from the University of Denver. Holcom has been with CCD since 2000; prior to that, he taught history and political science at Morgan Community College. He also was an adjunct professor at CCCOnline and at MSU Denver. When he's not teaching, he enjoys coaching soccer, and currently holds a USSF “B” coaching license.

Ola ALsaadi

Student Representative, Student Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board

Tivoli Student Union, Room 314
Campus Box Tiv-1, P.O. Box 173361
Denver, CO 80217-3361 E-mail

Ola Alsaadi was born and raised in Iraq, Baghdad. While there, she was educated as an attorney, but left the country in 2012 before she began practicing. She moved to the U.S. with her husband because they felt the war was compromising their security, and they had hopes of finding a brighter future. She will graduate from the Community College of Denver in spring 2018 with an associate of science degree, and then plans to start the biomedical engineering program at the University of Colorado Denver. She attributes her passion for helping people to her father who lost his hand in the Iran-Iraq war and the many children in her hometown who have lost limbs due to violence and war.