The volunteer board of directors governs the CSU Foundation and has fiduciary responsibility for managing and investing all charitable gifts to CSU. The board is comprised of up to eleven voting members, four ex-officio members from the university and a representative from the Board of Governors. The board has five standing committees: executive, audit, governance, investment and compensation. They meet at least four times per year, with additional meetings as needed to fulfill fiduciary duties. All of our board members are deeply committed to CSU and the CSU Foundation.
Ric Thomas – Board Chair
Ric is the chairman of the CSU Foundation board, chair of the executive committee and has served on the CSUF investment committee since February 2011. He received his B.A. in economics from CSU, has a M.B.A., and is a chartered financial analyst. After spending 25 years in the investment management industry, Ric recently joined the faculty of Suffolk University in Boston as an instructor in finance.
Ric’s areas of expertise include: investment research and portfolio design – designing systematic investment strategies in asset allocation, quantitative equity, absolute return, and fixed income. He has raised billions in assets for various investment strategies over his career and is published in various leading journals, including the Financial Analysts Journal and the Journal of Portfolio Management. In addition to the CSU Foundation board, Ric serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Investing and as a senior advisor to the World Bank.
Deb DeMuth – Vice Board Chair
Deb DeMuth is a CPA and the former executive vice president & CFO for the Colorado Trust. Prior to the Colorado Trust, Deb was the CEO of CollegeInvest, the state of Colorado’s 529 college savings plan and the largest originator of federally guaranteed student loans. She was also the CFO for the Denver International Airport during its construction. Prior to working at DIA, Deb worked for Coopers & Lybrand and worked in the Denver and Boston offices.
She is an active board member of the Denver Public Library Foundation and Mental Health Center of Colorado. Deb also serves on the investment committee for the Rotary International Foundation. Her prior board experience includes Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of Colorado, Rotary Club of Denver and the Rotary Foundation, and she is a past investment committee member for the Junior League Foundation.
Jim Martell – Past Board Chair
Jim is a third generation native Coloradoan with deep roots in Fort Collins. An attorney who received his B.S. degree from CSU and his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Jim’s practice is focused in the areas of real estate and business. Jim was the attorney for the Alumni Foundation of Colorado State University from 1979 until December 1987 when the Alumni Foundation and the CSU Foundation (CSUF) merged.
Over the past several years Jim has taken one class per semester at CSU in philosophy. He has presented papers on applied ethics at various American Philosophical Conferences and in Prague. Three of his papers have been published, and Jim also wrote an unpublished paper on pacifism that has been cited in two books. In addition to the CSU Foundation board, Jim is heavily invested in his community and has served on the advisory boards of Colorado State University Art Museum, the Family Center/La Familia, Open Stage Theater, the Downtown Development Authority of Fort Collins, One West Art Center, the Affordable Housing Consortium and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Luke Daniel – Investment Committee Chair
A certified financial planner with almost twenty years of industry experience, Luke joined the CSUF investment committee in 2011 and became the committee chair in 2018. He has a B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in finance and real estate from CSU College of Business.
Luke is the principal and senior financial advisor for Colorado Financial Management TM. Formerly, Luke worked as a portfolio consultant for Charles Schwab, where he managed more than $480 million in client assets and worked with more than 380 clients. He previously held the series 7, 66, and 63 securities licenses. Luke formerly served on the board of HealthSet, a nonprofit improving the lives of low income senior citizens.
Jim Detterick – Investment Committee Vice Chair
Jim is a managing director, institutional consulting director and corporate client group director for Graystone Consulting, a business unit of Morgan Stanley’s Corporate & Institutional Services. He is responsible for managing one of the largest advisory groups within the firm, focused on advising companies around equity plan strategy as well as serving as a fiduciary investment consultant on qualified plans, non-qualified plans as well as managing and advising on retiree medical and health plans (HSA & VEBA trusts) and consulting to foundations and endowments. Jim sits on the firm’s institutional consulting advisory board.
He has received numerous awards and acknowledgements during his career from various industry leading publications including being ranked in the Top 10 Institutional Consultants nationally by Barron’s magazine. Jim received his undergraduate degree from CSU and earned his MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, is a CRPS and an ARPC and has his Series 7, 31, 63 and 65 and insurance licenses.
David Diehl – Compensation Committee Chair
David is a partner at OneSeven Advisors, a tax and family office advisory firm based in Fort Collins, Colorado. After earning his undergraduate degree in finance from CSU, David worked with Norwest Banks before returning to CSU for a graduate degree focused on tax, which led to getting his CPA and working for Deloitte in Denver.
An appreciation for family and community takes a high priority for OneSeven and for David, which extends through the firm and into their non-profit board involvement.
Michelle Martinez – Governance Committee Chair
Michelle Martinez is a native of Colorado and attended CSU as a first-generation student. She earned her law degree from the University of Denver in 2005 and was the recipient of the University of Denver Outstanding Law Student award.
After law school, Michelle was a criminal defense attorney for 10 years with the Colorado State Public Defender. She was appointed to the Denver Mayor’s Latino Advisory Council and in 2009 the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association recognized Michelle with the Outstanding New Hispanic Lawyer award. Michelle was appointed to the bench as a Magistrate in 2017, and in March of 2020 she was sworn in as Denver County Court Judge.
Cherí O’Neill – Board Member
Cherí has served higher education for three decades, initially working for 17 years at Indiana University in admissions, alumni relations, international recruiting and advancement. For the past 12 years, she’s worked from the c-suite, first as CEO of the 200,000-member Alpha Chi Omega women’s fraternity, foundation and housing corporation; then as CEO of the Ball State University Foundation (her alma mater).
Since 2018, Cherí has been CEO of the CSU Foundation, working closely with the Foundation board to provide prudent financial oversight that delivers long-term, sustainable support for CSU. As a member of the University president’s leadership team, she’s also a key partner and resource to CSU. She serves on the Association of Governing Boards’ Council of Presidents and Council of Foundation Leaders and is a frequent panelist and author in her field. Cherí spearheaded the formation and launch of the Mountain West/Central Plains Consortium of University Foundations.
Morris Price – Board Member
A graduate of CSU and an accomplished senior management professional with over 30 years of experience in higher education, foundation/nonprofit and government, Morris currently serves as the vice president of grants for The Colorado Trust. He is the previous vice president and executive director of City Year Denver, past district director for Colorado’s 1st congressional district, and previously served as the national program officer for the Gill Foundation. Morris was one of the founding employees of the Daniels Fund and the Daniels Scholarship Program and spent 15 years in higher education administration.
Morris currently serves as a member of Rose Community Foundation’s committee board of trustees and the Colorado Nonprofit Association board. He has received the Professional Man of the Year Award from the Denver Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the 2013 Whitney M. Young Award for civic engagement from the Urban League of Metro Denver and the Colorado State University Charles A. Lory Public Service Alumni of the Year Award.
Mark Smith – Audit Committee Chair
Mark received his B.A. in business administration (finance and marketing) from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and his M.B.A. (finance and marketing) from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Mark is a retired vice president of finance and CFO of Hewlett Packard’s Personal Systems Group (PSG). Mark became the CSU Foundation’s audit committee chair in 2018.
Scott Thisted – Board Member
Scott holds a B.S. degree in business administration from CSU and has earned the 7, 31, and 66 securities licenses. Scott joined Merrill Lynch in 1998 and is now Managing Director – Investments and is a member of the Hoover-Thisted Team based in the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Cherry Creek office.
He is a member of the Investments & Wealth Institute and achieved the designations of Certified Investment Management Analyst designation and Certified Private Wealth Advisor. Barron’s named Scott one of the Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in the United States in 2020 for the 11th consecutive year, and he was also named to Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” in January 2020 for the third consecutive year. In addition to the CSU Foundation Board, Scott serves on the board of CASA Advocates for Children.
Ex-Officio Non-Voting Members
Amy Parsons – Colorado State University President Parsons, a Colorado native and CSU alumna, had previously served as vice president for university operations on the Fort Collins campus and as deputy general counsel. She left the university in September 2020 to become CEO of an e-commerce company, Mozzafiato.
Parsons, who has 16 years of higher education leadership experience, as well as seven years of private sector experience, led some of the most comprehensive projects in CSU history during her executive leadership roles at the university. As vice president of operations at CSU, she helped navigate through the fiscal challenges of the Great Recession, supported the first comprehensive salary equity survey to uncover and remedy gender-based inequities, and oversaw an historic physical transformation that included construction and renovation of state-of-the-art classroom buildings, parking structures, research facilities and an on-campus stadium. As executive vice chancellor of the CSU System, she led System-wide initiatives, including creation of the CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center in Denver.
Brendan Hanlon – Vice President for University Operations, Chief Financial Officer
Hanlon earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and history, and a master’s of public affairs with a concentration in public budgeting, from the University of Connecticut.
Hanlon has served the City and County of Denver for 20 years, including more than six years as the city’s chief financial officer. His leadership has impacted more than a decade of city budgets, three General Obligation bond programs to fund hundreds of city projects from parks to museums to mobility improvements, and supported the establishment and subsequent doubling of the city’s first affordable housing fund. Hanlon has worked closely with the community and city council to close the city’s structural budget gap and led the Budget Office and the Department of Finance during the recovery from the Great Recession and the pandemic while maintaining the city’s AAA rating since 2010.
Karen Dunbar – Interim Vice President for University Advancement
Karen is a long time-leader in University Advancement and has stepped in as the Co-Interim Vice President. Assistant Vice President of Gift Planning, Karen has a B.S. in accounting from CSU. She joined University Advancement in 2016 after serving for 23 years as the Chief Financial Officer for the CSU Foundation.
Rudy Garcia – Interim Vice President for University Advancement
Rudy is a long-time leader in University Advancement and has stepped in as the Co-Interim Vice President. He graduated from CSU with a B.S. in business administration and has worked for the university since 1984 – first in the Warner College of Natural Resources and then as a member of the leadership team of University Advancement.
Board of Governors Representative - Colorado State University System
Senator Polly Baca served in both the Colorado House of Representatives (1975-1978) and the Colorado Senate (1979-1986). She was the first Latina in the U.S. to serve in both chambers of her state legislature. In addition, she was the first woman elected to chair the Democratic Caucus of the Colorado House (1977), the first minority woman and first Hispanic woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1978-1986), the first Hispanic woman to be nominated by a major political party for the United States Congress (1980 Democratic Party Congressional nominee), and the first Hispanic woman to co-chair two National Democratic Conventions (1980 and 1984). She served as Vice Chair of the National Democratic Party for eight years, from 1981 to 1989.
Sen. Baca has worked for three Presidents of the United States. She was a Public Information Officer for a White House Agency during the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration, was the Rocky Mountain States Coordinator for President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 Presidential campaign, and was Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton for Consumer Affairs and Director of the United States Office of Consumer Affairs. During the 2012 Campaign, Sen. Baca served as a National Co-Chair of Catholics for Barack Obama.
Recognition received by Sen. Baca includes being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Hispanic Hall of Fame, being listed in the World Who’s Who of Women, Who’s Who in American Politics, and Who’s Who in the West. Sen. Baca received a B.A. degree in political science from CSU, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wartburg College, in Waverly, Iowa. In April 2012, the Denver Post listed Sen. Baca as one of the 75 Most Influential Women of Colorado.
Sen. Baca has two children, Monica Barragan Perez and Miguel Baca Barragan, son-in-law Eddie Perez, and grandchildren: Eduardo Manuel Perez, Jr., Elicia Monica Perez, Elianna Mila Perez and step-granddaughter Dr. Rhiannon Garcia. Her daughter, Monica, is a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census, and her son, Miguel, is a radio talk show host.
Independent Audit Committee Members
Gina Eisenach – Independent Committee Member Gina is a Certified Public Accountant (Colorado) and member of the Colorado State Board of Accountancy, AICPA, Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA).
She earned her B.S. in finance and accounting from CSU, and her Master’s in healthcare management from the University of Minnesota. She has 25 years of experience in public accounting, healthcare internal audit and compliance, and enterprise risk management.
Julie Stackhouse – Independent Committee Member
Julie served as the executive vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis for eighteen years and worked in the Federal Reserve Bank system for over thirty-two years. She was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women and received the Delta Sigma Pi Career Achievement Award.
Julie earned her B.S. in finance – accounting from Drake University and earned her certificate in advanced bank coursework from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking. She has served on the board and financial committees of the Saint Louis Parrish, Neocova and a Saint Louis Humane Society.