Highly Connected and Experienced Civic Leader Anthony E. Graves Named Inaugural Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation

Sent: May 3, 2021

Dear Lynx Community,

Please join me in welcoming CU Denver’s inaugural Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation, Anthony E. Graves, who will join our community on May 10. Anthony comes to us with 20+ years of experience in the private, public, non-profit, and higher education sectors and deep expertise in public affairs and economic development strategy at the local, regional, national, and international levels. He will play a critical role in creating and overseeing a holistic partnership strategy for CU Denver that advances economic and workforce development, equity, and quality of life for our community. As a strategist and connector, Anthony will identify and amplify mutually beneficial partnership opportunities that advance knowledge, address societal challenges, fulfill Colorado’s business and talent needs, and enable communities and economies to thrive, all while enhancing CU Denver’s relevance and reputation in the Denver region.

Anthony will serve as a member of the Cabinet and will report to Jennifer Sobanet, Senior Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, who shares my excitement about his appointment.

Recently serving as the Director of External Affairs for Economic Development for the City and County of Denver and as the Mayor’s former Director of Regional Affairs for the city, Anthony has been recognized across numerous sectors for his ability to bring together diverse audiences—including corporations, governments, and special interest groups—to resolve complicated issues and strategize about emerging trends in the marketplace. He is regularly sought to provide counsel on public engagement strategies for global events like Denver’s bids for the 2026/2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the 2026 World Cup. During his seven-year term as a mayoral-appointed executive in Denver, Anthony was part of the team that helped to preside over the city during an unprecedented period of growth and economic expansion before the coronavirus pandemic.

During his time as Denver’s regional affairs chief, Anthony managed high-value economic relationships and developed agreements with neighboring jurisdictions on a wide range of topics from sustainability goals to gender equity. He was also part of the team that negotiated an expansion of Denver International Airport, and he built a statewide coalition to advance funding for the National Western Center development. A champion of economic equity issues, he supported the Mayor’s Race and Social Justice Initiative team that led city-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion planning for over 13,000 employees across all city agencies. Through this initiative, Anthony led equity planning for the city’s economic development agency. 

Earlier in his career, Anthony played a central role in strengthening Denver’s tourism industry as the Director of Government and Community Affairs at VISIT DENVER, The Convention and Visitors Bureau, and held roles in international market strategy, operations, and corporate development at companies like Sun Microsystems and Covad Communications.

As an educator and strategic advisor in higher ed, Anthony has served as an adjunct professor and on numerous advisory committees to local universities since 2006, including strategic and institutional planning. He is a respected community leader and has received numerous civic honors, including the University of Denver's Community Service Award and the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship. Anthony currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and on the Executive Committee for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

A life-long learner, Anthony earned a BA in History from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, an MBA in International Business from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, and is a recent graduate of the Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute (OU EDI) where he completed a certificate program covering workforce and real estate development, small business ecosystems, and business retention, expansion and attraction strategies. 

Thank you to the executive search committee, including its chair, Vice Chancellor of Advancement Melisa Baldwin, who was instrumental in bringing Anthony to the CU Denver community.

Please be sure to give him a warm welcome.


Michelle Marks Signature

Michelle Marks

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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