Skip to main content Skip to main content

Welcome to our new Trustees

Marissa Molina and Russell Noles are appointed to the MSU Denver Board by Gov. Jared Polis; Barbara Grogan is reappointed.

By Lindsey Coulter

April 11, 2019

Gov. Jared Polis recently announced two appointments and a reappointment to the Metropolitan State University of Denver Board of Trustees. The MSU Denver Board welcomes new members Marissa Molina and Russell Noles as well as returning member Barbara Grogan. The three will serve as Trustees through Dec. 31, 2022, and were officially confirmed on April 4 by the Senate Education Committee.

Barbara GroganBarbara Barnes Grogan, vice chair

Grogan was first appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in 2015 and serves on the body’s governance and finance committees. She is the founder of Western Industrial Contractors Inc. and was the company’s CEO for 22 years. During her career, Grogan also served on the boards of directors of three New York Stock Exchange companies and was the chair of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City – Denver Branch and the Denver Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout her life, Grogan has remained deeply involved in our community, focusing primarily on early-childhood, K-12 and higher education. She has worked on public education policy at a national level as a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development and at the state level as co-chair of Colorado’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission and as a member of Colorado’s Education Leadership Council.


Marissa MolinaMarissa Molina

Molina serves as Colorado State Immigration Manager for, a bipartisan political-advocacy organization started by business and tech leaders committed to meaningful reform within the country’s immigration and criminal-justice systems. In 2015, she was named a White House Champion of Change, an honor given to “extraordinary educators with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status who have been strong role models for students and families as well as change agents within their communities.”

Molina is a 2014 graduate of Fort Lewis College and a former public-school Spanish teacher who began her career in education with Teach for America. Since 2015, she has participated in the Urban Leaders Fellowship, the Education Pioneers Career Track Fellowship and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Public Policy Fellowship. Prior to joining, Molina also served as manager of community engagement for Rocky Mountain Prep.

Learn more about Molina in her recent interview with Gov. Polis and CBS4.


Russell NolesRussell Gordon Noles

Noles is a business strategist, Certified Public Accountant and executive who has spent more than 30 years in the telecommunications and financial-services industries. As chief operations officer for Nuveen, a wholly owned subsidiary of TIAA that Noles helped acquire in 2014, he helps oversee nearly $1 trillion in assets. He previously held senior leadership positions with Qwest Communications and the St. Paul Cos.

Noles is also an MSU Denver graduate (’81) who selected the University because of its Cooperative Education program and an accounting scholarship as an accounting student trainee at Lowry Air Force Base, which paid for tuition, books and fees the first year and provided a job that helped fund his tuition in subsequent semesters. He went on to earn an MBA in finance from the University of Denver.

After graduation, Noles spent more than 17 years in nine jobs in the telecommunications industry before a move to a Minneapolis property-and-casualty firm brought him the financial-service expertise that caught TIAA’s attention. He quickly moved through the ranks at TIAA, from internal audit to acting chief financial officer, product development and management, corporate strategy and development and his current role as COO for Nuveen.

Topics: Board of Trustees

Edit this page