The University of Northern Colorado will recognize 2013 Honored Alumni during a Homecoming celebration Friday, Sept. 27.
The awards presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m. will include light appetizers, desserts and a cash bar in the ballrooms of the University Center, intersection of 10th Avenue and 20th Street. The event is free and open to the public but registration by Wednesday, Sept. 25, is required. Registration can be made at www.uncalumni.org or by calling 970-351-2551.
This year's honorees are:
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award: Richard Killmer (BA-60)
Richard Killmer is professor of oboe at the prestigious Eastman School of Music and is considered one of the greatest oboists of the past 50 years. He's the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2006 Yale University Gustave Stoeckel Excellence in Teaching award.
In 2011, he was awarded an honorary life membership in the International Double Reed Society, and this year Mu Phi Epsilon, the international professional music society, will name him "Musician of the Year."
A teacher, coach and accomplished professional, he has played with the Boston Symphony, Oklahoma City Symphony and San Diego Chamber Orchestra, and was the principal oboist for the St. Paul Symphony Orchestra for 11 years.
Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Steve Baker (BA-86)
Steve Baker is former president of the UNC Alumni Association and has been a dedicated volunteer and advocate for UNC for more than 27 years.
He's served on numerous committees including the UNC Foundation Board of Directors, UNC School of Performing and Visual Arts Community Advisory Board, UNC Blue and Gold Board of Directors, and the Northern Vision Advisory Board. An avid supporter of athletics, Steve is credited with helping create the Men's Basketball Roundball Club.
The lifelong Greeley resident and successful real estate agent is also involved with other community organizations that include the Greeley Area Realtors Association, the Northern Colorado Medical Center Foundation, the Greeley Chamber of Commerce and more.
Alumni Spirit Award: James Kawika Riley (BA-05)
James Kawika Riley currently is the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and has served in numerous high-profile communication roles for the federal government. Previously, he was the Mid-Atlantic spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration and communications director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs.
He also teaches courses in Native American Political Leadership for George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management and is the founder and CEO of the Pacific Islander Access project, which is dedicated to increasing higher education opportunities to Pacific Islander Americans.
Distinguished Service Award: Ronna L. Sanchez (BA-80, BS-82, MA-88, PhD-00)
Ronna L. Sanchez is a lifelong learner with four UNC degrees and a 30-year university employee who mentored countless students while creating a student-centered environment to foster young leaders.
At the time of her retirement last year, she was director of the University Center. Before that, she served as director of Off-Campus Housing, associate director of Student Activities, Campus Activities advisor, and in several other positions. During her tenure she was a member of more than 45 committees and boards.
She received UNC's Engaged Scholar Award in 2012 for her efforts to increase scholarship and research on community issues and for her achievements in community engagement both on and off campus. In 2000 she received the Graduate Dean's Citation for Excellence in recognition of her superior academic achievement was pursuing her doctorate degree.
Distinguished Honorary Alumni of the Year Award: Hank and Nan Brown
Hank Brown became the 11th president of the University of Northern Colorado in July 1998 and held the position until 2002. He and his wife, Nan, called Greeley home for decades, and were instrumental in the growth of UNC, providing exemplary leadership in the community.
While he was president, Brown increased admissions standards while maintaining the lowest faculty-to-student teaching ratio of all four-year universities in Colorado. Fundraising increased during his tenure, and he secured major gifts, including the donation of the State Farm Regional headquarters property and the transformational gift that gave the Monfort College of Business its name. The UNC wrestling coaches' office is dedicated to his love and support of intercollegiate athletics and the sport of wrestling.
Before coming to UNC, Brown served Colorado in the U.S. Senate for six years and completed five consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 4th Congressional District.
He's currently an attorney with the Denver law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck.