Editor’s note: “Nate’s Take” articles are written by CU Denver student Nathan Fox, a business major and regular contributor to "The Connection" newsletter.
Graduating with undergraduate degrees in both Public Health and Ethnic Studies, William Mundo was one of more than 1500 students who crossed the University of Colorado Denver stage on Commencement Day but during his four years on campus he never even came close to getting lost in the crowd. Mundo was always in constant motion contributing to the university community, serving in either a leadership role or as a member of numerous student organizations and advocating for a wide variety of social justice causes.
In Spanish, “mundo” means “world” which led to the nickname “Dr. William World”. CU Denver staff member Leah Novak is the events and programs manager in the Division of Student Affairs and worked closely with Mundo in her advisor’s role with the newly formed Students Today Alumni Tomorrow organization (STAT). She recognized early in Mundo's career that he was a special leader and says his nickname fits him perfectly.
“William has made a lasting legacy to the university,” she said. “We hope he continues to strengthen that foundation through his future work and connections.”
Mundo’s journey to CU Denver started in Leadville, Colo. where he attended Lake County High School. He credits a large part of his drive to his relationship with his father who was a leader in his hometown.
“My father brought the people together,” said Mundo. “Anything that happened in the community he would handle.” Mundo is proud to follow in his father’s footsteps by building on his natural leadership instincts to help raise up others.
Mundo chose the numerous campus organizations he belonged to based on the three A’s— advocacy, activism and action. He worked with CU Denver DREAMers, a group fighting for the rights of undocumented students at the university. He more than doubled student participation in UMAS y MECHA, the United Mexican American Students and Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán which fosters relationships among Latinx students.
Mundo served on the Student Government Association College Council to ensure all student voices were heard, not just those from a select group. And, his student job with TRiO Student Support Services, mentoring and tutoring his fellow students in math, science and writing, also reflected his commitment to helping others.
Nearly every time he joined an organization, the decision was sparked by Mundo’s passion for social justice. That as much as anything is the trademark of his career. Once he chooses to get involved, he finds ways to help those around him in unique and insightful ways.
All his passions and leadership roles combined to make Mundo the perfect student leader to help establish the brand new STAT organization at CU Denver. Mundo commits himself to improving the things that are important to him and that’s what made him decide to serve as STAT’s first student president.
“I never really saw or heard anything from alumni about CU Denver until I received the Alumni Scholarship,” Mundo said. “CU- Boulder and Colorado State University have large alumni communities so I wanted to see that for my school.” He takes pride in his CU Denver education and is dedicated to establishing a community that includes both alumni and students.
“I want to develop networking opportunities with alumni so they can help guide incoming and current students on the pathway to success. When I first started attending CU Denver, I didn’t hear about any alumni groups or any efforts to keep former students involved. Everything was about current students. I want to be the one who changes that and puts an emphasis on relationships among alumni, students and staff.”
“William was the perfect choice to serve as our first STAT president,” Novak said. “He played a vital role in educating his peers on the importance of giving back to the university. Behind his efforts last spring, 20 percent of the graduating class made a contribution to support future Lynx. He built a strong bridge between students and Alumni Relations that will last for years to come.”
Always ambitious, Mundo plans to pursue his master’s degree at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus with a focus on global health policy and systems management. The legal issues of the underserved have always been of interest to him and he once considered attending law school. But, for now, he’s decided an advanced degree in medicine and public policy is his best choice.
Mundo plans to use his CU Denver degree and his future education in public health to advance the social justice causes of the underprivileged. From his start at Leadville to his success at CU Denver, Mundo has made himself a force for social change and expects his drive and passion will take him all over the world.
"I just like to serve people,” Mundo said. “I hope in the future I can continue to stay just as busy as I was in college, branch out, volunteer more and help with all the social justice causes I can.”
No wonder people call him “Dr. William World!”