CU Denver Alum confirmed as first female FEMA leader

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Deanne Criswell, Courtesy: CU Denver Media Relations

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Senate confirmed University of Colorado alumnus Deanne Criswell as the first female administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Criswell has an extensive background in emergency management, having been a firefighter for 21 years in addition to serving in the Colorado Air National Guard. Criswell graduated CU Denver with a master’s in public administration in 2006. She then went on to manage the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Aurora.

Criswell’s experience led her to work in FEMA under the Obama Administration. From there, she became the commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management department. Criswell organized delivery of critical aid and relief to New Yorkers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Deanne Criswell brings honor to CU Denver and all of Colorado,” said Michelle Marks, chancellor of CU Denver. “Deanne has had an impressive career working in the Obama Administration and leading the New York City Emergency Management department. I can’t wait to see her success as the leader of FEMA.” 

Criswell is the highest placed federal employee of any CU Denver alum.

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