jwu:denver news

jwu:denver news

Discussing Genocide
JWU Denver Campus DVP David Akerson, JD

UN Attorney Reflects on Rwandan Atrocities

In the dim light of Jared S. Polis Auditorium, hundreds listened as David Akerson, JD, a former trial attorney with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), detailed bloody atrocities that occurred in Rwanda between April and June 1994. In a few short months, ethnic Hutus viciously murdered 800,000 Tutsis in retaliation for years of subjugation.

During Akerson’s January visit to campus, he provided an in-depth history and background of the conflict, as well as the formation of the international process for criminal prosecution. Touching on his personal experiences as chief of the Information and Evidence Section in the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTR, Akerson spoke of individual families affected by the genocide. When he reflected on the personal nature of his time in Africa, it was difficult for him to hold back his raw emotions. He choked up as he explained his work with one family of Africans who experienced the violence and horrors of the genocide.

Business student Mia Fite ’11 observed, “It was encouraging to see something being done about the issue ... that action was being taken on a global level.”

JWU Denver Campus Roland Mesnier '93 Hon.Serving at the Pleasure of Presidents
Roland Mesnier ’93 Hon. worked for five presidents, starting with President Jimmy Carter and ending with President George W. Bush. In January, the former executive pastry chef of the White House visited campus bringing stories about his life and career serving world leaders.

Mesnier was born in a small village in Bonnay, France, where he started baking at age 12. His passion for a career in desserts and pastries catapulted him into a world of prestigious establishments. In 1979, First Lady Rosalyn Carter hired Mesnier to work in the White House as executive pastry chef. During his 26 years there, he never made the same dessert twice. Mesnier told students during his visit that every item was made from scratch to create more than just a “good dessert.” Chef Mesnier retired from the White House in 2004, and has since written three books about himself, his career and his desserts.

Image above: During his visit in January, Chef Roland Mesnier ’93 Hon. told a pastry class about his experiences as White House pastry chef.

President Bette Matkowski

“Our JWU alumni are proof that our unique education model opens doors and creates great career opportunities. Our alumni are doing good work in our community and across the nation and globe.”