Anthony E. Graves is CU Denver’s inaugural Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation and a member of the Cabinet. Anthony plays a critical role in creating and overseeing a holistic partnership strategy for CU Denver that advances economic and workforce development, equity, and quality of life for our community. As a strategist and connector, Anthony identifies and amplifies mutually beneficial partnership opportunities that advance knowledge, address societal challenges, fulfill Colorado’s business and talent needs, and enable communities and economies to thrive, all while enhancing CU Denver’s relevance and reputation in the Denver region.
Anthony brings 20+ years of experience in the private, public, non-profit, and higher education sectors and deep expertise in public affairs and economic development strategy at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
Recently serving as the Director of External Affairs for Economic Development for the City and County of Denver and as the Mayor’s former Director of Regional Affairs for the city, Anthony has been recognized across numerous sectors for his ability to bring together diverse audiences – including corporations, governments, and special interest groups -- to resolve complicated issues and strategize about emerging trends in the marketplace. He is regularly sought after to provide counsel on public engagement strategies for global events like Denver’s bids for the 2026/2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the 2026 World Cup.
During his time as Denver’s regional affairs chief, Anthony managed high-value economic relationships and developed agreements with neighboring jurisdictions on a wide range of topics from sustainability goals to gender equity. He was also part of the team that negotiated an expansion of Denver International Airport, and he built a statewide coalition to advance funding for the National Western Center development. A champion of economic equity issues, he supported the Mayor’s Race and Social Justice Initiative team that led city-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion planning for over 13,000 employees across all city agencies.
Earlier in his career, Anthony played a central role in strengthening Denver’s tourism industry as the Director of Government and Community Affairs at VISIT DENVER, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and held roles in international market strategy, operations, and corporate development at companies like Sun Microsystems and Covad Communications.
A life-long learner, Anthony earned a BA in History from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, an MBA in International Business from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, and is a recent graduate of the Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute (OU EDI) where he completed a certificate program covering workforce and real estate development, small business ecosystems, and business retention, expansion and attraction strategies.
Outside of work, Anthony is a proud father and husband. He, his wife Sakari, and six-year-old daughter Kinley are thrilled to be part of the CU Denver family.
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