On March 26, we’ll take a moment to honor and celebrate UNC alumni who share their love of UNC through service, commitment, and dedication. Their leadership is an inspiration and a clear reflection of what it means to be a Bear, involved and invested in the university.
The UNC Honored Alumni Award is presented annually to five graduates in recognition for career success and a commitment of service to the university. It is the highest honor presented to a UNC graduate by the Alumni Association. Please join us in recognizing this year’s honorees.
Robby Aguilar ’03
Following his lifelong desire to own a business, Robby Aguilar opened a Berry Blendz location in west Greeley in June 2020. He found quick success, and he set his sights on downtown Greeley with a desire to be close to the university he loves. The second Berry Blendz location, adjacent to the University of Northern Colorado campus, opened in July 2021.
Aguilar is known for being hard-working and positive. He thrives on supporting the people around him and helping others grow, and his passion for his community and his alma mater shows in everything he does.
As a local business owner, Aguilar is a member of Bear Biz — a university program that partners with local businesses to create a home for UNC students in the local community.
He has offered career advice to students through multiple channels, drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur for the annual Entrepreneurial Challenge hosted by the Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business and a virtual Entrepreneurship Alumni Career Panel hosted by Alumni Relations.
His hometown has also benefited from Aguilar’s generosity. He has been a board member for United Way of Weld County, served meals at the local cold weather homeless shelter, volunteered at the annual Weld County Project Connect, and built homes through Habitat for Humanity.
Natalie Lindeberg ’06
Natalie Lindeberg is a well-known figure among members of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. Since graduating, Lindeberg has maintained close connections to the César Chávez Cultural Center and Lambda Theta Nu’s Kappa Chapter at the University of Northern Colorado, and she has channeled her passion for these groups to keep others connected as well.
Lindeberg has presented at the annual Latina Youth Leadership Conference, which she helped organize as a student, and attended or planned many events through the Chávez Center. She has supported the conference and sorority philanthropically, and for several years has organized a drive for Lambda alumnae to help current students pay their sorority dues so the students could remain active in the organization.
At the national level, Lindeberg has been a member of the National Association of Lambda Alumnae and was elected to serve on the National Board of Directors as the Directora of Alumnae Relations. Lindeberg was selected to the Order of the Roses in recognition of her exceptional service to and support of the organization.
A special education teacher, Lindeberg has influenced and intervened for students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Her next step is to complete her master’s degree in Developmental Disabilities from Columbia University so she can work with a broader group of individuals with disabilities, including adults.
John ’84 and Angela ’89 Schmidt
Finance, Speech Communications
John and Angela Schmidt believe in the spirit of reciprocity, a philosophy that recognizes their success is a blessing they choose to pay forward. The value of reciprocity is embodied in their family of four, in their philanthropic and business pursuits, and importantly in their commitment to empowering the success of Colorado’s student athletes.
Angela, who serves as the family CEO, manages their philanthropic and community investments, which include generous support for various Colorado nonprofits and a personal commitment to supporting the success of student athletes at Regis High School in Denver and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where the couple met. John, who serves as the chair of the Regis Board of Trustees, is a tech and financial entrepreneur currently serving as Co-CEO of WeFi Technology Group and managing partner of Jam Capital LLC.
Their collective impact at UNC rises from more than $2 million in philanthropic gifts, including the lead gift to fund UNC's new Empower Center. UNC’s first 100% donor-funded campus building will be a new strength and training center for Bear student-athletes. John and Angela chose the name “Empower Center” because they hope the new facility will empower student athletes to succeed — and will help them apply the confidence and achievements they gain through their UNC experience to succeed throughout life.
John and Angela’s support for UNC extends well beyond athletics to many areas of campus. They generously fund student scholarships, sponsor and host events to bring awareness to UNC priorities and opportunities, serve on university boards and councils, and encourage the hiring of fellow Bears in finance and investment careers.
Tom Severtson ’70, ’71
K-12 Physical Education
The accomplishments on Tom Severtson’s resume reveal a baseball mastermind. Severtson coached high school and amateur baseball in Colorado, leading his teams to multiple championships and taking many trips to tournament finals. He coached several players who were drafted into Major League Baseball, some with long careers. He was also a scout for the Cincinnati Reds for 15 years.
For all this personal talent, Severtson focused his career on supporting his players and students. He helped student athletes see their potential through his own examples and personal advice, and he gave them the confidence to face whatever challenges may come to them — on or off the field.
Former players credit Severtson for bringing out the best in his team by setting high standards and instilling discipline in them as players and people. Fellow coaches recognize his excellent mentorship and player development.
Pride in his alma mater and enthusiasm for the baseball program led Severtson to become an active ambassador for the university to his students, bringing some to campus and motivating many to enroll.
Severtson’s career success has been recognized through induction into the Colorado Softball Hall of Fame, East High Athletic Hall of Fame, Colorado Dugout Club's Hall of Fame, and Colorado High School Baseball Umpires Hall of Fame.
Armando Silva ’10
Artist Armando Silva has left his mark on Northern Colorado and across the state in a larger-than-life way. His murals can be seen on buildings throughout downtown Greeley, adding an artistic touch to the area's business revitalization.
Silva’s talents are also showcased across the University of Northern Colorado. Early in his career as a professional artist, he painted a mural of a bear on a large empty wall in the Campus Recreation Center. More recently he participated in celebrating the 35th anniversary of the César Chávez Cultural Center by creating a mural in the Campus Commons titled "Somos Porque Eres" (We Are Because You Are) that features longtime center director and fellow Honored Alumni recipient Patricia Escobar ’07,’11.
Silva is committed to giving back to the community and has partnered with numerous museums, community centers, non-profits, and schools. He served as an Artist-in-Residence at the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus where his piece Corazon is permanently displayed on the outside of the building.
Silva is well known among the faculty of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and he was featured as an alumni success story through Bears Go Big. He has been recognized with the Governor's Creative Leadership award from Colorado Creative Industries and the EY Next Wave Leadership Award from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts.