With a new year comes two new faces on Western Colorado University’s Board of Trustees.
Gov. Jared Polis on Dec. 9, appointed Theresa Marie Szczurek, Ph.D., and Annelise Mae Loevlie to the board, replacing outgoing trustees Nancy Chisholm and Keith Kennedy. Chisholm and Kennedy’s terms expired at the end of December.
The Board of Trustees makes policy and provides oversight for the operations of the institution. The board consists of 11 members, nine appointed by the governor and two elected by university faculty and students. The new trustees enhance the representation of women on the board, which comprises seven men and two other women. The new appointments are for four-year terms.
Szczurek, of Boulder comes to Western with a long list of expertise and accomplishments. She is a global executive and strategist with C-Suite—influential individuals within a company—and board experience.
As a former Bell Labs engineer, she co-founded and led three technology ventures. Most recently she served on Gov. Polis’ cabinet as the State of Colorado CIO and Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology.
Szczurek is now CEO of consulting firm Technology and Management Solutions, which helps clients drive explosive market growth, spur innovation, oversee IT and cybersecurity, develop talent and meet customer needs. An awarded speaker, she wrote the Amazon bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose (Wiley), which provides her proven, step-by-step formula for success.
When tapped by the governor to step on to Western’s board, Szczurek said she was most impressed by the university’s strides in both engineering and business, and celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit embraced by the school.
“Education is a game changer. I see some creative things that Western is doing with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives and by connecting to other institutions in the state,” Szczurek said, noting that future success is not limited to a prescriptive path. “We have to drop the assumption that education has to be a certain way.”
With strategic planning at the heart of her own successful enterprises, Szczurek believes she can offer a perspective of one who sees the value of well-educated university graduates feeding the economy by the expertise they bring to their places of employment. She also sees the unique benefits—such as smaller class sizes and a caring community—that Western has to offer students, especially amid a pandemic.
“What I hope I will bring is another perspective, a new voice, and a strategic outlook, with the idea of setting up a win-win-win for students and faculty, the community and ultimately employers.”
Loevlie is the founder and CEO of Icelantic Skis, a Golden-based business that manufactures unique skis and gear. Loevlie has been a member of several prestigious boards representing the outdoor industry. Those include Snowsports Industry of America, Colorado Outward Bound and the Board of Advisors for Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC), as well as the executive committee that serves OREC director Nathan Fey.
In 2014 Loevlie’s company was one of 65 companies honored with the presidential “E” Award for export excellence. It is the nation’s highest honor for companies contributing to expanding the U.S. economy through the growth of exports. She has also written opinion columns on issues impacting tourism and the ski industry for media outlets such as the The Colorado Sun.
Loevlie is passionate about the human connection to nature as a part of health and wellbeing. With Western’s MBA, Outdoor Industry program, Loevlie adds her experience and expertise to the university’s commitment to educational experiences that expand career opportunities.
“Access and customization are two words important to education,” said Loevlie. “Access both in time and financially, and customization in programming and curriculum.”
Loevlie believes much can be learned from international educational systems in providing a more efficient means to preparing career-ready graduates. Additionally, she believes in integrating movement into education, not just limiting students to a classroom.
“I think a lot of systems in our country need reform. The top two in my book that need a microscopic review are health care and education,” said Loevlie. “I’m excited to help write a new story in higher education.”
Szczurek and Loevlie terms took effect Dec. 31, 2020.
Learn more about the Board of Trustees at Western.
Author Credit: Chris Rourke
Photo Credit: Courtesy