By Chris Casey and Marcia Neville | University Communications
DENVER - Milo the Lynx prowled the halls of some of the state's most prominent leaders this week -- CU Denver alumni as well as CU President Bruce Benson -- to formally invite them to Thursday's CU Denver Block Party.
On Monday, Milo popped into the offices of Jamie Van Leeuwen, chief of staff to Gov. John Hickenlooper; Bill Vidal, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver; and Kelly Brough, CEO and president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. He presented gift bags full of CU Denver swag -- Lynx T-shirts, pennants, mugs, stickers and a letter of invitation to the second-annual Block Party.
Scenes from Milo making the rounds to VIPs:
Van Leeuwen greeted Milo in the Governor's Office in the State Capitol. Gov. Hickenlooper's dog Skye took an interest in Milo's paws, sniffing and tugging at some fur, before the feline and canine became fast friends.
"It's exciting to be in partnership with such an extraordinary leader in the community with the passion that Milo brings to the table," said Van Leeuwen, who earned a doctorate in public policy from the School of Public Affairs in 2007. "In my eight years of public service, I've been profoundly impressed by how many leaders in this community have been part of this university."
Showing he's a mascot with a sense of adventure, purpose and style, Milo sported a tie-dye shirt, headband and bell-bottoms to promote the Block Party's 1970s theme. Vidal earned an engineering degree in 1973 and was one of the last graduates before the school was designated as an independent university by state legislation in 1973. Vidal said Milo's tie-dye reminded him of his college days.
CU Denver continues to celebrate our 40th anniversary, so the Block Party will be an ode to that magical decade: '70s-theme costume contest, pet rocks, tie-dye shirt station and music.
"We finally have a mascot!" exclaimed Brough as she hugged and high-fived Milo. "Where were you when I needed a mascot?"
Brough earned an MBA from CU Denver in 1989. "I think he can help forge an identity for the school," she said. "I think it's good he's a lynx -- small but powerful."
Milo wrapped up his tour of VIPs with a stop at Benson's office on Tuesday. "We are delighted to have a new mascot representing the University of Colorado so well," Benson said. "Milo the Lynx is a great addition to our mascot world. Milo, Clyde the Mountain Lion and Ralphie the Buffalo are a great team."
He added, "I remember wandering around CU Denver and the Auraria Campus when they were both starting out, so the 40th anniversary is a great milestone. CU Denver has a long history and a great relationship with the city."
(Photo at top: Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Brough poses with Milo and a lynx T-shirt in her office.)