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2013 Hall of Fame


KIM CHRISTIANSEN
 (Class of 1979) is a respected news anchor for Colorado’s 9News and one of the state’s most recognized television personalities. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism, she worked as a writer, associate producer and general assignment reporter before becoming a news anchor. Her work has brought her four regional Emmy awards for spot news, news writing and news reporting. Currently she is co-anchor of the 9News 4:00 p.m. newscast.Kim is also devoted to the fight against breast cancer. She is the spokesperson for the Buddy Check 9 program. She was instrumental in bringing this program, which has been nominated for a national community service Emmy, to Denver; and she speaks to dozens of community groups each year about the importance of self-exams and early detection. Kim is a former Miss Colorado and the winner of a special talent award at the Miss America Scholarship Pageant. She is also an in-demand “master of ceremonies” for many events promoting non-profit organizations. She has worked with the Colorado Nurses Foundation, the McKee Medical Center, the Junior Symphony Guild, Alzheimer’s Association, the Pink Tie Affair, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation, to name but a very few.  She and her husband Greg Feith still live in Arvada with their son, Tanner.


BOB DYER (Class of 1967) is a 4-term member of the Arvada City Council and was formerly mayor pro tem of Arvada. He has also been active in many civic groups and community development efforts, including the Arvada Economic Development Authority (AEDA), the Arvada Council for the Arts and Humanities. the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA), the Arvada Fire Protection District, the Jefferson Economic Council, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, the Arvada Jefferson Kiwanis, the Children’s Charity Foundation, the Rocky Flats Local Impact Initiative, the Wadsworth Cultural Corridor initiative, the Arvada Parks Advisory Committee and Red Rocks Community College. He has been the president or chairman of many of these Bob was actively involved in bringing the Red Rocks Community College campus to Arvada. He has also worked diligently to support local businesses and to attract national employers to the City.  In addition to his many civic activities, Bob is a successful financial adviser and has earned Master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Public Administration from the University of Colorado.


CONNI ELLISOR (Class of 1971) is an internationally acclaimed composer and violinist. She received her formal training at Juilliard and has been a member of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic, first violin in the Athena Quartet and soloist in the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. She is also an in demand session violinist and arranger.  Her compositions have been performed in international venues by the London Philharmonic, the Hamburg Radio orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony, Denver Brass, New York Treble Singers and many other groups. Her ballet, The Bell Witch, was premiered by the Nashville Ballet in 2005. Her works have been featured nationally on NPR.  Conni has also been successful as a contemporary jazz recording artist. Her “Night at the Museum” album reached #13 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative chart, and all four of her albums have been critically Conni has lectured at various colleges and universities and was composer-in-residence for Northwestern Louisiana State University in 2008 and for the Nashville Chamber Orchestra from 1999 through 2002.


CYNTHIA HESSIN (Class of 1969) leads decision-making and production of local information programming for Rocky Mountain PBS, and is a member of the I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS news team. She is producer and moderator of the weekly news discussion program, Colorado State of Mind, and produces a variety of other projects for the statewide network. Cynthia’s has received regional and national honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Women in Communications; and the Colorado Broadcasters Association. She has also earned six regional Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for writing, producing and performance. In July 2013 she was admitted to the NATAS Silver Circle, a broadcasting honor society. A Denver-area native, Cynthia previously worked as a news reporter and anchor at Denver television stations KCNC News 4 and KMGH Denver’s 7, where she specialized in government and policy news. She began her broadcast career at Denver radio stations KHOW and KOA. She has been active in professional organizations, including terms on the regional boards of NATAS; the Society of Professional Journalists; and was the first female president of the Denver Press Club (1996-97).  In 2004 her documentary about immigration, “The New Coloradans,” was distributed to government agencies and schools by The Piton Foundation of Denver, and was honored by the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Another documentary project, a history of the Van Briggle Art Pottery Company in Colorado Springs, was distributed nationally to PBS stations in 2005, and won a regional Emmy for Best Cultural/Artistic Documentary. 


DAVID KEEFER (Class of 1966) is a Senior Scientist with the United States Geological Survey and Adjunct Professor in the Climate Change Institute, University of Maine. He has a global reputation in both the study of landslides and earthquake science. He has conducted post-earthquake field investigations throughout the United States and in Mexico, Costa Rica, Japan, Taiwan, Argentina and Peru.  David is the author or co-author of over 140 scientific publications focused on natural hazards, including several articles published in such prestigious journals as Science and the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences. He has also organized several international symposia and edited volumes of scholarly papers for the worldwide research communities that study earthquake-induced landslides.  According the European Geosciences Union, which recently awarded him its prestigious Sergey Soloviev Medal, David’s work has defined the study of earthquake-induced landslides for the past 25 years. He is also a pioneer in the development of life-saving landslide early warning systems.  For the past several years, David has conducted a long term field study on the effects of natural disasters on pre-Columbian civilizations in Peru.


JAMES MIKKELSON (Class of 1966) is a scientist and engineer whose early work with semiconductors and integrated circuits at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hewlett-Packard was instrumental in the development of the computers and computer systems that we know today.  Jim later moved to California and co-founded the business which became Vitesse Semiconductor, a NASDAQ-listed company that develops high performance integrated circuits incorporating gallium arsenide (GaAs), which are significantly faster than silicon chips and circuits. He served as the Vice President of Technology Development and Chief Technology Officer of the company as Vitesse grew to employ more than 400 people, develop a strong international market and become an important part of the international telecommunications industry.  After retiring from that position, Jim returned to Colorado where he has worked to provide scholarships to graduating high school seniors and to assist educators in the development of K-12 math and science 


ARTHUR OHANIAN is the only hall of fame inductee who is not an Arvada West alumnus, though he has been referred to as the “godfather” of Arvada West. He is a World War II veteran who returned from the war to become an educator.  Arthur began his career as a junior high school “shop” or industrial arts teacher. He progressed into educational administration and was selected as the very first principal of Arvada West High School. As principal, he assembled the initial faculty and staff, orchestrated the myriad of tasks necessary to educate more than 750 students and made certain that the building was ready to open on schedule – even completing some of the work with his own hands, when necessary.  After guiding Arvada West High School through its initial years, Arthur moved on to higher administrative positions. He eventually became the Superintendent of Schools for Jefferson County School District R-1, and led the district through a period of rapid growth and great expansion.  Arthur is now retired and living in Arvada. Arvada West, the school district and the community have all benefited from his skills as an educator and leader.


PETER VAN ARSDALE (Class of 1965) is a cultural anthropologist who teaches at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is a co-founder of the school's humanitarian assistance program. In 1974, during his early field work, he led the first expedition to contact the Korowai people of Indonesian New Guinea. His career activities have been diverse and have focused on human rights, with a special focus on refugees; water resources and community development.
Peter has served as chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Explorers Club, as well as president of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology. His work has taken him to 15 countries, from South Sudan to Bosnia to Indonesia. He is the author or editor of six books, the most recent being Humanitarians in Hostile Territory (2010, co-authored with Derrin Smith). He has received many professional awards, including the prestigious Omer Stewart Memorial Award from the High Plains Society of Applied Anthropology and the Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of Peter co-founded the Hospice of Metro Denver (now, The Denver Hospice) and the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center, which assisted refugees and immigrants who suffered war trauma.  Peter was Arvada West’s first state athletic champion, setting a state record in the mile run of 4:25.1 in 1965. Later, he qualified for the U. S. Olympic Trials as a race walker.
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