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Honoring CMU Community Champions

Maverick Days expands to include the celebration of two community members

The second annual Maverick Days celebration this April was a whirlwind of events and included two new alumni awards for people in the community that exemplify Colorado Mesa University’s value of love – a value the university defines as extending oneself for nurturing the growth of self and others. 

CMU Director of Alumni Relations Jared Meier said the new annual tradition of Maverick Days was created after the Homecoming festivities of 2020 were moved to the spring of the following year due to COVID-19. 

“After witnessing the strong interest in spring events, we started Maverick Days in April 2022 and anchored it around CMU’s birthday on April 10,” Meier explained. 

This year’s festivities kicked off with the Maverick Stampede Rodeo and Alumni Night Parade, and the first weekend included beach volleyball, tennis and the Associated Student Government’s 10th Annual Maverick Award Ceremony. During the week alumni attended a spin class for scholarships, a silent disco, a western-themed 5K run around campus, a CMU track meet and the opening night of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The final weekend featured baseball and softball games (including an Alumni Zone), a slow-pitch softball game and home run derby, and the Spring Concert featuring Bryce Vine, BabyJake and CMU’s own Kid Caravan.

Two new awards were given out to “recognize people that have shown an exceptional level of love and support for the university through their actions,” explained Meier. 

“The Doug Sortor Maverick Spirit Award, named in honor of the late alumnus who was so well known for spreading Mav Spirit, was established to honor alumni who are enthusiastic champions for the university,” Meier continued.

The award was given to Brittani Martin, a 2011 kinesiology and exercise science graduate who currently works at Timberline Bank. During her time at CMU, Martin was involved with the women’s golf team, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletic Training Club. Today, Martin’s lifelong love for CMU athletics continues through her regular attendance and support for the growing athletic programs.

CMU has grown a lot but it still has that small community feel. You can get an incredible education while still enjoying everything that western Colorado offers,” said Martin.

She continued, “Just to be in the running for an award named after Doug Sortor was an honor."

The Maverick Spirit Honorary Alumni Award was presented to Lori Mizushima, director of marketing for Big O Tires, for her enduring support of CMU’s wrestling program and her work to support CMU marketing students. Mizushima comes from a family of wrestlers, and when Bo Pipher was hired as a wrestling coach at CMU, Mizushima’s brother started an all-you-can-eat crab and steak fundraiser dinner.

“I started helping in the second year and we just did the 17th fundraiser dinner where we had over a thousand people. We’ve added more food, we now have beer sponsors and have added a VIP section as well. Everyone on the team helps and the addition of the women’s wrestling team has been amazing,” said Mizushima.

In addition to her fundraising, Mizushima has hired CMU alumni and is working to provide internship opportunities for CMU marketing students.

“It was shocking to get this award! So many people are connected to CMU so the fact that they would even think of me was flattering. I’m excited to learn about the great things other people are doing for CMU in the future.”

Be sure to put CMU’s birthday on your calendar for next year so you can join in on the Maverick Days festivities.


Written by Giff Walters