Carrie Besnette Hauser, Ph.D.

Colorado Mountain College president brings diverse skills in education and leadership

Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser

Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser

Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser is president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College, a public two- and four-year degree granting institution with eleven learning locations serving 12,000 square miles of the picturesque central Rocky Mountains.  Hauser’s career has included leadership and management roles in higher education institutions, private foundations, and the public policy arena.

Prior to Colorado Mountain College, Hauser served as a senior fellow for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and as president and CEO of Kauffman Scholars, Inc. Before joining Kauffman, Hauser was vice president for advancement and external relations at Metropolitan State University of Denver and executive director of its foundation.

Consistent with her lifelong commitment to increase access to higher education, Hauser also served as vice president and an original senior officer of the Daniels Fund, where she led the design and implementation of the Daniels College Prep and Scholarship Program and the Daniels Opportunity Awards.  While at Daniels, she was a loaned executive advising Denver’s mayor on a citywide college scholarship program and assisting the Metro Denver Sports Commission on an initiative to attract top-tier international sporting events, including the Olympic Games.

Hauser’s background includes teaching assignments at UCLA and the University of Denver, and in Colorado State University’s executive M.B.A. program. She has held research and legislative staff roles as well as positions with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the University of Arizona, her undergraduate alma mater. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business.

Hauser’s board and commission service includes the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation (chair), the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Metro Denver Sports Commission (co-chair, 2012 Women’s Final Four), Visit Denver, the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, and AfricAid.  She received gubernatorial appointments to Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and a mayoral appointment to Denver’s Justice Center Taskforce. She is currently a member of the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows and the Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

At the national level, Hauser is past president of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), has served on the Pathways to College Network executive committee, and as an Educational Policy Institute board member. She has been recognized as the 9News Leader of the Year (Denver’s NBC affiliate and the Colorado Leadership Alliance), one of the Fifty for the Future of Colorado (Colorado Statesman), and the Outstanding Coloradoan Award (Colorado Jaycees).

An avid outdoorswoman and athlete, Hauser has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro (raising funds for the NSPA), climbed to the Mt. Everest base camp, and was a Grand Canyon river guide for over a decade.  She and her husband, Jeff, enjoy skiing, backpacking, biking, and exploring the Rocky Mountain West and remote places around the world.