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3 Alumni to Receive Honorary Degrees at Opening Convocation

Opening Convocation will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24 at Shove Memorial Chapel, marking the beginning of Colorado College's 142nd academic year. In addition to welcoming the 586 members of the Class of 2019 and 25 transfer students, three Colorado College alumni will receive honorary degrees.

CC's practice of conferring alumni honorary degrees at Opening Convocation began in 1986 as a way of honoring graduates for their achievements and presenting them before the college community as examples of what students can aspire to when they graduate. The degree is restricted to CC alumni, and the individuals chosen exemplify the successful application of their liberal arts education.

This year's recipients are Inger (Thomsen) Brodey '87, nationally recognized Jane Austen scholar; Eric James Duran '91, Denver community leader and advocate for children of low-income families; and Douglas Pray '83, renowned film director and documentarian. Pray also will give the keynote address, titled "Serious Spontaneity." Following the welcome from Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler, Jacob Walden '16, president of the Colorado College Student Government Association, will deliver the student welcome.

Brodey, an associate professor of comparative literature at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, graduated summa cum laude from CC, majoring in liberal arts and sciences. Her primary interest is the history of the novel in late 18th- and early 19th-century Europe and Japan. The recipient of several teaching awards and honors, Brodey also has been a visiting instructor at Colorado College and has held academic roles at the University of Washington, the University of Puget Sound, Newberry Lyceum, and the University of Chicago. She is the author of several books and has written numerous articles and book essays. Her book "Ruined by Design" won a 2009 South Atlantic Modern Language Award.

Duran is a well-known community leader in Denver, noted for his efforts in providing children from low-income families with access to the Internet, computers, and books. He was actively involved with the creation of a new library in Northwest Denver. For more than a decade, he has worked at D.A. Davidson in Denver, a full-service brokerage and investment banking firm where he is a managing director and public finance banker. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Colorado Children's Campaign. In 2005, he was appointed to the Denver Library Commission and has served on the board of directors for Denver Health and Mi Casa, the Structural Financial Task Force in Denver, Denver's Latino Advisory Committee, Denver's Neighborhood Small Bond Project, and Leadership Denver. Duran majored in political science at Colorado College and received his master's in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Pray has been a mentor to many aspiring filmmakers, including several CC graduates and students who took his documentary filmmaking block. He started making films in the 1990s and gained exposure for his work about American subcultures and maverick individuals. His work has led to three Sundance Film Festival premieres and numerous awards. Pray produced and co-wrote "TransFatty Lives" about director Patrick O'Brien's life with ALS; the film won the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award. His 2014 film "Levitated Mass" won the Jury Award Feature at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival and his 2009 film "Art and Copy" garnered an Emmy. Pray won his first Emmy in 2006 for an advocacy campaign about HIV/AIDS awareness. He also is the recipient of the Contemporary Cinema Award, which honors mid-career filmmakers for challenging and innovative work.

Pray's involvement in film stems from his interests in sociology, people, art, and music. He received a sociology degree from Colorado College and went on to receive an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. Pray lives in Los Angeles where he is a member of the Academy of Pictures & Sciences, the Director's Guild of America, and has served on the jury for numerous film festivals. He's the co-founder of Wild Mind Film camp in Washington, an intensive, documentary filmmaking workshop for adults 21 and older.

Following Opening Convocation students and faculty will meet for class, then adjourn at noon for an all-campus picnic on Cutler Quad.

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