CSU fingerprints all over successful alumnus

SUCCESSFUL ALUMNUS

KEVIN UNGER’S DAYS ON CAMPUS A LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE

by Tony Phifer

Kevin Unger, CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, is the first to admit he faced challenges while an undergraduate at Colorado State University.

Mind you, he wasn’t a bad student – he just had some struggles. And that’s not such an easy thing to admit when your father, Don, was the superintendent of Poudre School District.

And yet, when you look at his resume, he has collected three degrees – including a BA in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies from CSU. Not bad for a guy who recruited his younger sister, Kristi, to help him with his math homework.

That’s Kristi Bohlender, executive director of the CSU Alumni Association.

“I have to admit, it was hard having my little sister help me with my homework, but Kristi was an exceptional student,” Unger said with a chuckle. “I think the fact that I wasn’t the best student propelled me to get my Ph.D.; I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.”

Bohlender laughed at the childhood memory.

“Kevin is a very smart and gifted person, but the rote memory stuff, he just wasn’t very good at,” she said. “I would sit with him for hours, hammering him with questions. I know that was hard for him, but I idolized my brother because of the way he treated people: me, our parents, others. He’s just a special person.”

It was at CSU that he discovered himself as a person and as a learner.

Sydney and Kevin Unger
Kevin Unger and his daughter, Sydney, pose for a portrait at the 2016 President's Gala, November 4, 2016.

Hey! I am first heading line feel free to change me

“It changed me completely. That’s why I always tell people that I owe my success to a lot of people at CSU who saw potential in me and encouraged me. CSU’s fingerprints are all over me.”

–KEVIN UNGER

LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE

Encouraged by professors like Jack Brouillette, the kid who was born in PVH and was very comfortable in his Fort Collins environment decided to enroll in Semester at Sea.

“It was a life-altering experience for me,” he said. “It changed me completely. That’s why I always tell people that I owe my success to a lot of people at CSU who saw potential in me and encouraged me. CSU’s fingerprints are all over me.”

Unger has been with PVH/ UCHealth since 2001, steadily moving his way up. In his position as CEO he has been a catalyst in transforming the health-care industry in Northern Colorado, with MCR serving as the flagship and new hospitals in Greeley and Longmont on the way.

At the same time he has been expanding UCHealth’s relationship with CSU. This summer, the spectacular CSU Health and Medical Center opened, offering a variety of health and wellness services to CSU students and the surrounding community. UCHealth is a partner in the project.

And Unger predicts the relationship will continue to expand.

“I think the Health and Medical Center is just the beginning,” he said. “The things I have talked with (CSU President) Tony Frank about doing in the future will have a great impact on CSU and UCHealth. We’ve got a lot of dreams and aspirations about where we can take this partnership. Honestly, I think we’re just scratching the surface.”

Series Navigation<< Popular SciencePerennial Home >>