Mark Safty, Wirth Chair
Mark Safty was appointed as the Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado in 2013. The Wirth Chair is housed within the School of Public Affairs at UC Denver and honors the environmental and sustainable development achievements of former U.S. Senator and Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth. Following his work with the federal government, Wirth served for nearly a decade as the President of the United Nations Foundation.
In over 25 years as a partner at Holland & Hart, LLP, companies operating on five continents have turned to Mr. Safty for virtually every type of infrastructure development and financing transaction. He has extensive experience developing and financing infrastructure projects in the energy, healthcare, water, wastewater, and transportation sectors.
Mr. Safty has served as lead counsel in the development, acquisition, financing, and refinancing of dozens of power generation facilities across the spectrum of energy technologies. Since the 1990s, Mr. Safty has focused his practice almost exclusively on development, construction, financing, and M&A activity in the renewable and sustainable energy industry. His earlier years of experience included the positions of general counsel and COO of a regional bank holding company, and he served as an outside director and chairman of the board of a $2.5 billion financial institution.
Mr. Safty currently serves as the practice group leader for Holland & Hart’s Energy & Infrastructure Group. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for project finance law and his practice group is recognized as a global leader by Chambers USA. He was recently selected as “Colorado’s Best Renewable Energy Attorney” by Law Week Colorado. Mr. Safty is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Law School and at University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, where he teaches Renewable Energy Development, Regulation, and Finance. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on renewable and sustainable energy topics.
Jennifer Kagan, Wirth Chair Director
Jennifer Kagan joined the Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development in 2013 after completing her Master’s in Public Administration at the School of Public Affairs at UC Denver. Ms. Kagan earned her juris doctor in 2004 and spent six years as an attorney in the private sector, working primarily in class action litigation.
In 2011, Ms. Kagan returned to school to earn her MPA. While completing her coursework, she worked as a policy research fellow for the Buechner Institute for Governance and as a graduate assistant for the Global Women Scholars Network, a National Science Foundation funded international network of scholars and practitioners, designed to provide support to women promoting sustainability in developing countries. For her master’s thesis, Ms. Kagan spent time in Uganda, exploring the relationship between interorganizational partnerships and nongovernmental organization institutional sustainability.
Ms. Kagan continues to work as a research assistant on an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded study examining policymaking related to hydraulic fracturing. She is also a registered yoga teacher and teaches weekly yoga and meditation classes.
Senator Timothy E. Wirth
Timothy E. Wirth is the former President and current Vice Chair of the United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund. These organizations were founded in 1998 through a major financial commitment from R.E. Turner to support and strengthen the work of the United Nations.
Wirth began his political career as a White House Fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the Nixon Administration. In 1975, Wirth returned to his home state and successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District from 1975-1987. In the House, he concentrated his efforts in the areas of communications technology and budget policy. In 1987, Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he focused on environmental issues—especially global climate change and population stabilization. After a successful term, Wirth chose not to run for re-election.
Following those two decades of elected politics, Wirth served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs from 1993 to 1997. In this position, he coordinated U.S. foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science, human rights and narcotics. As President of the UN Foundation since its inception in 1998, Wirth has organized and led the formulation of the Foundation’s mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, children’s health and peace, security and human rights. The Foundation also engages in extensive public advocacy, resource mobilization, and institutional strengthening efforts on behalf of the UN.
Prior to entering politics, Wirth was in private business in Colorado. He is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he also served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. Wirth is married to Wren Wirth, the President of the Winslow Foundation; they have two grown children.