Founders and Champions

Committed to the Mission, Championing the Vision

The Women and Philanthropy community would not exist today if not for the dedication and leadership of its founding volunteer members. Responding directly to the charge issued by former CSU President, Tony Frank – to make our University the best place for women to work, learn, live, and give – these community volunteers provided the strategic guidance to bring this community to life in March 2018. Now, because of that solid foundation, our community has grown to more than 700 members. Through personal investment, these leaders continue to be our champions by engaging a diverse group of women to create philanthropic impact at CSU.

Founders | Champions

Paula Edwards

Paula, LHD 2014, is a remarkable community volunteer and dedicated Ram, with more than 25 years of support to Colorado State University and our community. She enjoys traveling, biking, skiing, and spending time with her family. Her philanthropic passions lie in promoting philanthropy, building community, education, and supporting women and their families.

The mission of Women and Philanthropy is meaningful to Paula because she has seen the impact that a community can have in terms of elevating women. She believes that when women thrive, so too, do families and communities. Through her role on the Women and Philanthropy Development Council, she hopes to enrich relationships that already exist at the University, to develop new relationships, and to form leaders who will be champions for excellence at Colorado State University.

Nancy Richardson

Nancy is a local business owner and a long-time supporter of Colorado State University. She received her B.S. from CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences in 1982. Outside of her work, Nancy enjoys the outdoors- riding ATVs, hiking, playing golf, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Nancy’s philanthropic heart leads her to support causes that help our youth and the fight against the injustice of human and sex trafficking. Nancy is committed to helping Women and Philanthropy grow and flourish, and is inspired every time the WP community comes together. She believes that there is nothing more powerful than bringing women together for a common cause.

Carol Cochran

Carol is the co-owner of Horse & Dragon brewery located in Fort Collins, CO. Though she is currently dedicated to the success of the brewery; she hopes to get back to hiking, gardening, reading, traveling, cooking and eating with friends before long.

Carol’s Philanthropic passions lie in early childhood literacy, attainable and secure housing, and educating others about the self-accruing benefit of giving. She hopes to bring her enthusiasm and an appreciation for the way the Development Council might work together and utilize their varied strengths to accomplish fantastic things for CSU and women.

Ella Fahrlander

Ella is the Vice President for Community Engagement at the Community Foundation of Colorado. She leads the events and communications team and carries out fund-development efforts focusing on northern Colorado’s nonprofit sector. In her free time, Ella enjoys exploring the beautiful Colorado outdoors and the Old Town Fort Collins live music scene.

Ella is passionate about empowering others to achieve their potential, and about mainstreaming mental-health services by decreasing the stigma often attached to seeking them. She is excited to help create a positive space for women to pursue their personal, philanthropic, and professional goals, and do to so with a wonderful group of philanthropically-minded women.

Candace Mathiason

Candace serves as the faculty representative for the Development Council. Candace is an Associate Professor of Pathobiology from CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is the co-founder of the CSU Women in Science Network.

Candace’s philanthropic passion is Women in Science, a CSU group that works to advance the careers of innovative women and improve the diversity of voices present in leadership roles at CSU and beyond. She enjoys working with a diverse cohort of women that are interested in supporting women’s initiatives and bringing her own personal experiences in the development of small group environments that encourage open and honest conversation.

Kristin Kirkpatrick

Kristin is the Regional Director for a national non-profit and mother to three children. She loves to spend time with her family, and enjoys doing just about anything that involves the outdoors and bringing people together. Kristin is a Ram through and through, and is passionate about philanthropic efforts that improve the future for children.

Kristin loves the efforts of Women and Philanthropy because so much of the programming serves to connect women across campus and inspire the campus community about the leadership contributions of women. She is excited to continue the work of making CSU the best place for women to work and learn.

Peggy Smith

Peggy is a dedicated Ram supporter who enjoys traveling, golf, tennis, biking, reading, playing cards, and entertaining. She believes deeply in access to education, and providing opportunities to women and children to further their own passions.

Peggy loves that women are banding together to help other women, and that people are starting to understand the significance of women’s philanthropic impact. Peggy loves to tell a good story and is excited to use that skill as an ambassador for the Women and Philanthropy community.

Erin Mercer

Erin is a Strategic Senior Program Manager for Accenture and a Fort Collins native. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and three young children playing and watching sports, doing yoga, reading, and traveling. Her philanthropic passions lie with causes that support women, children, education and animals.

Erin hopes to leverage her experience and skills in her consulting career and passion for philanthropy to help make things happen! She is most excited to develop relationships and see the impact we can make together. “When women rise, we all rise.”

Leslie Walker

Leslie Walker is a University of Colorado graduate and obtained her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Denver, but since moving to Fort Collins, she has quickly become “Ram-ified.” Leslie loves the outdoors, and spends time bicycling, playing tennis, and hiking. On the quiet side, she enjoys reading, writing and painting. Other than her husband, Dale, her main squeeze is her 100-pound labrador. Leslie and her dog often volunteer as a therapy dog team.

Leslie is proud to serve with a team of accomplished, action-oriented women on the Development Council. Together, she enjoys creating opportunities for giving and recognition for women who want to make an impact with their assets while supporting CSU.