Recently we celebrated the 100th anniversary of teacher licensure at the University of Colorado at Boulder. While celebrating this milestone, I have been thinking about how all the teachers who have passed through our halls and made a difference in childrens’ lives symbolize the reach of the university.
As we celebrated this landmark anniversary on campus, I met alum Mark Mavrogianes (Hist’72, MA’77) who recently retired as a social studies teacher and student council sponsor at Northglenn High School. Mark was certified in 1973 and was named Colorado Teacher of the Year in 1998. His students called him “the Mav.” They once invited him to deliver their commencement speech.
As I chatted with Mark, I was struck by how often the university is at the center of lives touching other lives. Mark has taught thousands of students in his 35-year-career as a teacher — many of them have gone on to become teachers and community leaders, touching numerous lives themselves. His students have included Northglenn’s own mayor, Kathy Johnston Novak (Bus’83, MS’88); Bronson Hilliard (Hist’86), CU-Boulder spokesperson and media director; and Kent Zimmerman (Edu’80, MPubAd’90), our former alumni association director, as well as dozens of teachers, administrators and professionals throughout Colorado, the nation and indeed, the world.
Thanks to thousands of alums like Mark — not just educators but also business and community leaders, engineers, performing artists — the circles of influence emanating from the university grow increasingly larger like ripples from the proverbial pebble tossed into a pond.
Mark says when he was a CU student preparing to be a teacher, the expectation of the education school was for students to commit to making a difference in the lives of children and young adults. He never forgot that commitment, and it proved to be a guiding light throughout his career.
In living this commitment, Mark, and really all our alumni, are pebbles creating ripples that extend further than any of us can imagine. Those ripples, in turn, create currents that shape the world in which we live. We are asking a new generation of students to make that same commitment, often through the question, “What kind of Buff are you?”
The challenge for the university is to help new generations of students to answer that question, and alumni like Mark — and you — are the keys to answering it and to keeping these currents forever flowing.
See the video of the 100th anniversary celebration of teacher licensure at www.colorado.edu/news and search for “100 years of teaching.”