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Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni of George Washington High School of Denver, Colorado:

Gail Heitler-Klapper, '61

High-profile attorney; White House Fellow (under President Gerald Ford). She directs the Colorado Forum, which comprises 65 of the state's leading CEOs and power players. The group advocated for the private sector on issues such as transportation, education, water, health care, fiscal policy, and the environment. She was the founding president of the Hotel Authority Board (which built and operates the Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel in Denver) and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Western Stock Show Association.

Monty Hoyt, '62

Figure skater, Marshall Scholar at Oxford. He was the U.S. Men's National Figure Skating Champion in the 1962 and Junior Men's National Champion in 1961. He represented the United States in the 1964 Winter Olympics, where he place 10th. He served on the Presidential Commission of Olympic Sports.

Gary Jackson, '63

Noted attorney. Served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. In 2012, received the Award of Merit, the Colorado Bar Association's highest honor. The aware is given annually for outstanding service to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice, and the community.

Fred Ris, '64

Rhodes Scholar, distinguished career with IBM. He was the technical lead on major proposals to the U.S. Air Force on large-scale missile defense simulation and to the U.S. Forest Service for the introduction of high-performance workstations to their 25,000 employees; IBM prevailed in both of these competitions. Named an IBM Distinguished Engineer in 1997. Served on the Harvard Alumni Association's Board of Directors from 2006-2010.

Rear Admiral Richard R. Jeffries, '65

Commander, National Naval Medical Center. Formerly Medical Officer of the Marine Corps.

Cleo Parker Robinson, '65

Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She has received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Denver Mayor's Awards. She has traveled internationally with her dance troupes and was appointed by President Clinton to the National Council of the Arts.

Dan Ruth, '65

Star Cu Buff baseball player. Selected to the Big Eight all-conference team; led the Buffs in home runs in all three of his seasons. Drafted by the New York Mets; later signed by the Detroit Tigers and played one season in the minor leagues.

Charlene Porter, '68

Author of Boldfaced Lies, a novel about a black woman's experience with the Ku Klux Klan in 1930's Denver. Nominated as outstanding Debut Author at the 38th NAACP Image Awards. Finalist for Denver's "One Book/One Denver" project.

Mark Hellerstein, '69

Ventriloguist and puppeteer. Successful business executive recently retired from St. Mary's Land & Exploration Co., a Denver-based oil and gas company.

Anite Diamant, '69

Author of best-selling novel and bookclub favorite, The Red Tent. She has also written several guidebooks for Jewish people, including The New Jewish Wedding, and Living the Jewish Life.

Dianne Denholm, '71

Fabric artist and entrepreneur. Founded the TACtile Textile ArtsCenter, a place where fiber artists can meet, work, and display their art. Winnter of a 2012 MasterMind Award for her creativity and contributions to the Denver art scene

Marla Spivak, '73

Entomologist, 2010 MacArthur Fellow (i.e., recipient of the "Genius Grant"). Her research investigates bee biology with the goal of protecting honey bee populations from decimation by disease. Her studies of the ability of certain strains of bees to detect and remove infected pupae from their hives have led to more disease-resistant strains of bees for use in the beekeeping industry. Honey bees pollinate about one-third of the U.S. food supply, therefore are critically important. In 2009 she was named the Distinguished McKnight Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Dianne Reeves, '74

Jazz vocalist. Winner of four Grammy Awards. Currently holds the creative chair for jazz with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Joseph Phillips, '79

TV actor and author. Star of The Cosby Show, in which he played Martin Kendall, husband of Denise Huxtable played by Lisa Bonet. Author of He Talk Like a White Boy: Reflections on Faith, Family, Politics, and Authenticity (pub.. 2006).

Julie Dannebert, '79

Children's book author: First Year Letters, First Day Jitters, Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure, Women Writers of the West, and several others.

Rhonda Whitworth Richmond, '90

Author: Journal by the Bedside, Thoughts of the Broken Self-Soul, Dare I Scream Asylum, The Wailing Song: Memoir, Journal and Writing Guide.

Caryl Smith Gilbert, '93

Track and field star athlete and coach. Former national record holder in 550 and 60-meter dashes. Two-time Colorado state champ in the 200 meters and long jump, and three-time winner in the 100 meters. Three-time All American at UCLA. 2005 USTCA National and Mideast Region Assistant Coach of the Year for Springs/Hurdles. Assistant coach of the University of Tennessee women's track and field team, which has 26 All-American honors. Former head coach of GW! (1994-97).

Chauncey Billups, '95

Professional basketball player. Played for the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and other NBA teams.

Brian Eichenberger, '95

Director of the Columbine Chorale and Vocal Music Director at West High School, DPS.

Sierra Boggess, '00

Star of The Little Mermaid on Broadway. Portrayed Christine in the Las Vegas Venetian production of Phantom of the Opera.

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