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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Alice Madden, The Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development

Alice Madden

University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

P.O. Box 173364 - Campus Box 142

Denver, CO 80217 - 3364

Phone: (303) 315 - 2097

Fax: (303) 315 - 2229


Bio: A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, Alice Madden started her career in the high tech industry and then practiced employment law for nine years before running for office.  First elected in 2000, Alice served four terms in the Colorado House of Representative.  Recognized as the architect of the stunning victories for progressives in 2004 and in 2006, her tenure included four years (2004 - 2008) as House Majority Leader.  

Alice’s focus on sustainability and climate change sprang from her desire to preserve what makes the American West so special and she played an integral role in building the policy foundation for what is now referred to nationally as the New Energy Economy.  She continued to apply her experience and passion for economic and environmental sustainability as Governor Ritter’s Climate Change Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff.  Alice also served as a Senior Fellow on Climate Change at the Center for American Progress.

Two key accomplishments include taking Colorado to a 30% renewable energy portfolio by 2020 – the 2nd most aggressive standard in the nation, and overseeing the implementation of the groundbreaking Clean Air Clean Jobs Act that will lead to the early retirement of over 900MWs of urban coal power, to be replaced with cleaner burning fuels. 

The mission of the Wirth Chair includes forming strategic collaborations among governments, businesses, academic institutions and non-profit groups to form sustainable practices and policies that carefully balance economic, environmental and social welfare concerns.  As Chair, Alice continues her work developing sustainable clean energy economies and educating future environmental stewards through a variety of efforts.  A sought after speaker, Alice develops programs training varied constituencies to better communicate their message and build broader collaborations, thereby increasing successful implementation of their sustainability goals.  Alice works to advance environmental literacy curriculums in K-12 education and increase the interest of minority students in sustainability fields.  She also hosts a monthly Sustainability Series and teaches Political Advocacy at the School of Public Affairs. 

Alice is a founding board member of the Rocky Mountain Sustainability & Science Network which creates collaborations in research relevant to sustainability.   The RMSSN Academy teaches a diverse population of college students to address the complicated issues surrounding building a sustainable future and Alice prepares students to communicate their research in a politicized environment.  She holds a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation; the Global Women Scholars Network focuses on increasing the number of young women in developing countries studying, researching and working in sustainability through mentorships and expanded support systems.

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