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Alumnus Advocates for Alma Mater and Beyond
Angela Dougan ('95, Sociology)
"Hear people. Understand them: their motivations, how they
work, and how they relate to one another." These seemingly
simple words from Bob Hughes, UCCS professor of
sociology, remain in the mind of Colorado Springs City
Councilwoman Angela Dougan ('95) every day. In fact, they
may have transformed the course of her life.
A sociology major at UCCS, Dougan was frequently told
she'd make a good business student. While business was
clearly one of her strengths, however, Dougan chose to stay
the course and obtain a BA in sociology – a decision that
was largely influenced by Bob Hughes' approach to
"Multiple choice exams were not my strength," Dougan recalls, "but Professor Hughes
always gave us an option: a multiple choice exam or an essay. I chose the essay. After the challenge of responding to a difficult question, he encouraged me to give the multiple choice exam a try, just for fun. I got 100%. His encouragement taught me to try new things, even if I was afraid I'd fail."
Achieving a degree can improve anyone's career, but for Dougan, getting her
bachelor's degree at UCCS was a turning point in her life. As a working, newly married
student, the campus was a great fit for her, as it offered a great education and teaching
force, all with the feel of a small university. Here, Dougan learned about making
commitments, setting goals, and seeing them through to success.
Although Dougan never envisioned herself entering the world of politics, after the birth
of her two daughters, she began to see her role in the community differently.
"I see myself as a mom first," she explains. "It drives me to make my kids' lives better,
to give them opportunities to stay in Colorado Springs and to create resources that
foster the opportunity for a prosperous life."
As Dougan began thinking this way, she realized that Colorado Springs is – just on its
own – a huge win. "We are lucky to have a great local community that is generous and
wonderful," she says. "I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to create a city that was
business-friendly, education-friendly and downtown-friendly. I wanted people to understand that we can work well together without fighting if we can love who and
what we are and what we have in this city. We can work together to succeed."
Over the years, Dougan has been amazed at the growth of her alma mater and its
influence in the Pikes Peak Region. Looking toward the future, Dougan believes that
UCCS will continue to be an integral part of the development of Colorado Springs. She
envisions better transportation options to help students get to and from campus, as
well as the vast opportunities that will come from the branch medical campus.
Given her role on City Council, the concept of advocacy is something that Dougan
understands well. As an advocate for UCCS, Dougan wants to work to create
opportunities that will make it easy for UCCS to continue moving forward. She
envisions the City as a partner to University efforts, not an obstacle. UCCS, Dougan
states, "has everything students look for. We're great outside, but some people can't
see how we've changed inside. The campus offers one of the best educations you can
receive, and it's right here in our back yard. Don't overlook the opportunity."
By the same token, Dougan believes that all alumni, wherever they live, play a powerful
role as advocates for UCCS. As advocates, "alumni should learn about what UCCS is
today and tell that story," she offers. "Understand what a gem the campus is and be
vocal about the ways it has influenced you. The educational advantages UCCS gave
you will help you the rest of your life. Alumni might think they can't contribute in a
meaningful way, but if we work together to share the UCCS story, we can get a lot
When asked if she has any advice for her fellow graduates who might be considering a
future in politics, Dougan isn't shy about sharing the best advice she's been given. And
it's advice, she says, that works both in and out of the political sphere.
"Know your core principles and values. If you don't, you'll make decisions based not on them, but on everything that is happening around you. And, when you do decide, be able to defend that decision. If you can defend it, it's the right one."
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