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Leaving a Legacy

Five Mavericks distinguished for their impact

This spring, five accomplished Mavericks will leave a legacy their families are sure to be proud of. They’ll be permanently enshrined into school history at Colorado Mesa University’s Homecoming Weekend, honored as Distinguished Faculty, Distinguish Alumni or Hall of Honor inductees.

Homecoming, typically held in October, was delayed to springtime this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The Faculty Senate assembles a committee each year to choose the recipient of this peer award, and members of the committee remain confidential. Fellow faculty members recommend nominees and choices are made based on scholarship, service to the university and the wider community as well as teaching skills.

Professor of History Sarah Swedberg, PhD, received this year’s Distinguished Faculty award celebrating her success in shaping young minds during her 21-year tenure and her social impact as an activist.


Community involvement, professional accomplishments and a continued association with CMU are criteria used by the Alumni Association Board of Directors to select two worthy recipients of this award. Nominations usually come from friends, family or associates, but candidates also can self-nominate. Distinguished Alumni donate to an annual scholarship that goes to a student chosen each year by the Distinguished Faculty. The amount of that scholarship, $1,925, commemorates the year CMU was established.

Distinguished Alumni Dan Sharp is committed to ensuring local students have access to healthy meals in and out of school. He has also worked almost 18 years at CMU as an adjunct instructor of business management and served eight years on CMU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. The other Distinguished Alumni Robert Bray, CEO of Bray Real Estate, has been commissioner of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the director of CoBank Farm Credit Bank. He also started the Brays Care Foundation to address housing-related needs in the local community.


These honorees demonstrated athletic prowess in the Maverick uniform, but also distinguished themselves with community involvement as well as academic success. Student-athletes are eligible for consideration 10 years after leaving CMU. Nominations often come from coaches, family members, former teammates or team physicians. Winners are chosen by a committee of athletes, boosters and community leaders.

Two memorable former CMU student-athletes will be enshrined in the university’s Hall of Honor. Brittany (Fowler) Barney was an all-conference women’s basketball player, and today is in her sixth year as business coordinator for Grey Mountain Partners, a private equity firm in Boulder, Colorado. Nicole (Green) Kneuer, one of the most explosive front-row players in the history of CMU women’s volleyball, who still holds the record for most kills in a match, is now a physical education teacher at Ralston Elementary in Golden, Colorado. She is also the head volleyball coach at Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton, Colorado.



Written by Dennis Taylor