Meyer stepping into new role; Bohlender new head of Alumni

A new challenge for Meyer

By Tony Phifer

Colleen_190Colleen Meyer can’t wait for her next assignment.

Meyer (BA Liberal Arts ’94) is stepping away after serving the past seven years as executive director of the CSU Alumni Association. In all, she worked 15 years in the Alumni Association office, building relationships with CSU’s 200,000 living alumni.

Meyer, though, isn’t leaving CSU. And in her role as Managing Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship in the Division of University Advancement, she will continue to work with many of the same CSU supporters she has come to love.

15 years of service

“I can’t thank Colleen enough for her tremendous leadership of the CSU Alumni Association over the past seven years,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement. “Under her leadership the Alumni Association has achieved new heights. I am looking forward to Colleen’s continued leadership of another critical area of donor relations and stewardship. I know that her vision, passion and expertise will help us achieve more great results in this critical area over the coming years.”

Meyer is proud of the many achievements the Alumni Association has made in recent years. Most of all, she’s proud of the impact they’ve made in connecting alumni with their alma mater in ways that are meaningful to them.

“I’ve always felt that it’s not about us, but about serving the needs of our alumni and connecting their passions to CSU. Personally, I am proud that I’ve been able to give an authentic voice and personality to the Alumni Association,” said Meyer.

Fond (and funny) memories

Along the way there have been lots of memories, like the time CAM the Ram – the live mascot – made a break for freedom in downtown Denver during the annual Ram Rally prior to the Rocky Mountain Showdown. CAM was corralled unharmed despite wandering across a busy Denver street.

“We laugh about it now, but it was pretty scary at the time,” she said.

She also cringed when recalling how the staff put up a large tent in the backyard at the old Alumni Association building on Shields Street. Three days after the event, someone noticed that the tent was missing.

“We did everything back then – including setting up and tearing down tents,” she said. “We were really busy, and figured we would take the tent down when everyone had time. Somebody stole it, stakes and all. Now we let the pros handle things like that.”

Thousands of friends

Still, she’ll always treasure her time working in the Alumni Association and getting to know hundreds – perhaps thousands – of her fellow Rams.

“I’ve been blessed to cross paths with many alumni who, undeniably, are the most wonderful people I’ve ever met,” said Meyer, a Pueblo native who made a home in Fort Collins with husband Keith (BS Civil Engineering ’93) and daughter Karlie, a soon-to-be 6th grader. “It’s truly been a privilege to serve as the executive director of the Alumni Association. CSU holds a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be able to continue my professional career with this amazing university.”

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Bohlender ready for new role

By Gary Ozzello

Colorado State UniversityKristi Bohlender’s many unique experiences as a CSU ambassador with a variety of constituents will serve her well in her new role as executive director of the Alumni Association.

Bohlender, who begins her duties Aug. 1, succeeds Colleen Meyer, now Managing Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship in the Division of University Advancement.

While Bohlender (BS Business Administration ’93, MBA ’95) brings a wealth of assets and experience on campus and in the community, one item stands out in any conversation regarding her alma mater.

“I have a passion for CSU and for our community,” she said. “The leadership that Tony Frank has provided has put our institution in a position to continue our growth and success and is critical in educating our students for the challenges they face in today’s world.”

Proven leader

“We are so fortunate to have another proven leader who embodies this University and understands Colorado State’s mission, values and ongoing positive impact,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement. “We’re tremendously grateful to Kristi for her commitment to CSU and willingness to bring her passion for CSU to bear to step into this role, leverage the momentum we have and take us to the next level.”

A lifelong Fort Collins resident, Kristi’s father, Don Unger (’69), was the superintendent of Poudre School District. He instilled a deep respect of education in Bohlender, an appreciation for access to higher education and the desire to be a lifelong learner. Following graduation from Fort Collins High School, Bohlender came to CSU, where she was a residence hall assistant, an orientation leader and a ropes course facilitator before working as an intern in the athletics department and in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Always a Ram

Upon completing her MBA, Bohlender launched a 20-year career in athletics, including a leadership position as Assistant Athletic Director for Development. Bohlender then left CSU for a very brief period to become the regional general manager for Learfield Sports, the school’s athletics marketing rights holder.

She returned to campus in 2014 as the College of Liberal Arts’ director of development before moving to her new role.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and friendship (Dean) Ann Gill gave me in the College of Liberal Arts, and to be reintroduced to the academic side of our campus,” Bohlender said. “I am repeatedly amazed by the students, faculty and staff that CSU has been able to recruit and retain, and I love to see the direct impact of their efforts in the lives of our students and in our community.”

Bohlender is quick to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

“There are so many exciting things going on at Colorado State, and this is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “My role is about building genuine relationships and finding each unique touchstone that engage our alums. It is about creating esprit de corps among our alumni and reengaging them with the University.”

New challenges, new opportunities

The changing landscape across campus – figuratively and literally – also excites her.

“The landscape of the institution is changing.  It’s not just the stadium – which is exciting – but our entire campus is undergoing a facelift,” she said.

Bohlender has plenty of Ram pride in her family as well. She met her husband Troy, a project manager for Pinkard Construction, while both were students at CSU. The couple’s children, daughters Bailey and Brooke and son Blake, proudly wear the green and gold as well her brother, Kevin Unger (BA Sociology ’92, Ph.D. Education & Human Resources Studies ’13), and his wife Stacy (BS Psychology ’91). Her niece, Sydney, also just completed her first year as a Ram.

CSU University Communications Staff