Denison University Alumni Citation awarded to Margaret Rakowsky, Ph.D.


Denison University is a private liberal arts college in Granville, Ohio founded in 1831. Among its graduates are former Indiana U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Hall of Fame Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, former CEO and Chair of the Walt Disney Company Michael Eisner, and two of Greenwood Village’s most accomplished residents, Mayor Emeritus Ron Rakowsky and retired Air Force Academy Chemistry Professor Margaret Rakowsky, Ph.D.

Margaret Rakowsky is a 35-year resident of Greenwood Village and the spouse of its former mayor, Ron Rakowsky.

On June 3, the 2023 Alumni Citation was conferred upon Dr. Margaret Rakowsky at the university’s Alumni Convocation. The Alumni Citation “is awarded to Denisonians who have achieved recognized leadership among their peers through outstanding contributions and services to the professional, civic, or religious life of the nation, or to the advancement of the university.”

Dr. Rakowsky was described by Denison as, “leading a life devoted to education and service,” having followed her attainment of a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at Denison with a Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside, while moving around the country with her husband as he pursued his career as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force. 

Along the way, Dr. Rakowsky had two children, Catherine, who also graduated from Denison, and Robert. She was also a founding member of a new library in Texas, directed the chemistry teaching assistant program at UC Riverside, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., received a National Science Foundation fellowship to conduct research in chemistry at the University of Denver, taught chemistry at Regis University, University of Colorado Denver, and the Air Force Academy, and served 14 years as an elected member of the board of directors of South Metro Fire Rescue in Colorado.

While teaching general, as well as inorganic chemistry, serving as an academic advisor at the Air Force Academy, and commuting 100 miles daily between Greenwood Village and Colorado Springs, Dr. Rakowsky also performed as the Cadet Summer Research Program representative that selected cadets for the CIA, the Defense Forensic Sciences Center, and the National Labs at Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia. She even spent six weeks of several summers at Lawrence Livermore conducting research at the High Explosive Applications Facility. 

In November 2020, Dr. Rakowsky was recognized with the E. Ann Nalley Rocky Mountain Region Award for Volunteer Service to the Colorado Section of the American Chemical Society for 22 years of service to her local section, as well as the national society.

GV Mayor Emeritus Ron Rakowsky was bestowed the Alumni Citation Award in 1996 in recognition of his 30 years of service in the United States Air Force and service as the Denison Alumni Club President.

In addition to having both served on Denison’s Board of Advisors and Class Reunion Committees, Dr. Rakowsky and Mayor Rakowsky have established the Rakowsky Family Endowed Fund for Summer Scholars that alternates its support between a chemistry or science major (Marge’s passion) with a history or political science major (Ron’s passion).