Leeds mentorship program to be supported by alumnus donation

By Staff

Personal experience with mentoring at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business inspired alumnus Gordon Trafton to donate $500,000 to support the school’s Professional Mentorship Program (PMP).

As part of the Creating Futures fundraising campaign, the gift is the cornerstone in an effort to build a $1 million endowment for mentoring over the next year.

“This investment will help establish our mentoring program as a national industry leader and positions us to be a model of mentoring excellence for business schools,” said David Ikenberry, dean of the Leeds School. “We are very grateful for Gordon’s generosity.”

Launched in 2009, the program partners current undergraduate and MBA students with business professionals and corporate leaders, many of whom are former Leeds business students. The program matches students with mentors based on such factors as major, geographic location, career interests and personality.

A 1977 graduate, Trafton is a member of the CU-Boulder Alumni Association's Board of Directors. He says he  is passionate about the value of mentoring, having been mentored as an undergraduate student in the CU-Boulder business school by emeritus Professor Jerry Foster. He gave Trafton career advice, connections to the business community and helped him land his first job after graduation. Trafton says his mentorship experience with Foster was the inspiration for his investment in the Leeds Professional Mentorship Program.

“That commitment from the top, from Dean Ikenberry and the school, convinced me to invest philanthropically in the program,” Trafton said. “I want mentoring to thrive at Leeds and want mentoring woven into the fabric of the Leeds experience to give that extra edge to all graduates.”

Said PMP Program Director Katie Connor, “Gordon has tremendous commitment, energy and connection to the PMP program and his mentees here at Leeds. Now, with his investment, we have the opportunity to grow and provide mentoring to all Leeds students.”