Wonnett's focus is making UCCS meaningful

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Robert Wonnett

* Organization: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

* Position: Dean of Students

* Hometown: Colorado Springs

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 25 years

* Education: B.S., M.S. University of Colorado-Boulder; MPA University of Colorado at Denver; J.D. University of Denver and currently completing a Ph.D. in architecture and planning at the University of Colorado at Denver.

* A few words about your company: The best way to describe UCCS is through our vision statement: “The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will provide unexcelled, student-centered teaching and learning, and outstanding research and creative work that serve our community, state, and nation, and results in our recognition as the premier comprehensive, regional research university in America.”

* Recent accomplishments: My most recent accomplishment involved participation in the May 2004, UCCS Commencement Ceremonies, the largest in the university’s history.

* Biggest career break: My biggest career break came in the form of advice when I was a freshman at CU Boulder. A professor told me “Focus your energy on what you want to do in life, not what you want to be, this way you will seek to accomplish deeds not acquire titles.”

* The toughest part of your job: The toughest and at the same time the most rewarding part of my job involves ensuring campus resources are available for over 7,600 students while supporting and advocating for the individual needs of each of our students.

* Someone you admire: My parents, Henry and Senorita Wonnett are the greatest influence in my life. My mother passed away from cancer 20 years ago yet she and my father are daily inspirational guides in my life. Despite being denied certain educational opportunities in their youth, they constantly promoted education as the greatest gift one can share with the world.

* About your family: My family includes my wife Ann Smith, my father Henry Wonnett and sister Jamie Wonnett, who all live in Colorado Springs, my brother Richard Wonnet lives in Fort Collins and my sister Maria Wonnett lives in Maryland.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Every year I have the opportunity to make the campus environment as meaningful for our students as the previous year. This year the opportunity includes enhancing the campus living – learning environment with the opening of the Alpine Village Apartments.

* How your business will change in the next decade: Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak envisions our enrollment will grow to 20,000 students over the next 50 years. Through the chancellor’s leadership, our campus is initiating comprehensive plan, “Inventing the Future” to enhance our educational services while addressing increasing demands on campus facilities, services and financial resources.

* What book are you currently reading? “Discovering the Vernacular Landscape” by John Brinckerhoff Jackson.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I am confident as UCCS continues to gain a national reputation for our educational quality and services we will continue to enhance the reputation of Colorado Springs as a quality city and a wonderful place to live and learn.