Carrie Besnette Hauser

President & CEO, Colorado Mountain College


Since 2013, Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser has served as president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College, a dual mission, public institution enrolling 15,000 students annually at 11 campuses in the central Rocky Mountains. Previous to CMC, Hauser held leadership roles at the Kauffman FoundationMetropolitan State University of Denver and the Daniels Fund. While at Daniels, she was a loaned executive advising Denver’s mayor on a citywide college scholarship program and assisting the Metro Denver Sports Commission on an initiative to attract top-tier sporting events, including the Olympic Games. She co-chaired the 2012 Women’s Final Four.

Hauser is currently chair of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, a member of the El Pomar Northwest Regional Council, and serves on the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Vail Valley Foundation boards of directors. At the national level, she serves on the American Council on Education Board of Directors and the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Economic Advisory Council, and is past president of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA).

Hauser’s prior board service includes American Rivers, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Vail Valley Partnership, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its foundation, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Metro Denver Sports Commission, American Red Cross Mile High Chapter and Visit Denver. Previous gubernatorial appointments were to the Colorado Women’s Centennial Vote Commission, Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. She has been recognized as the 9News Leader of the Year and one of the Fifty for the Future of Colorado.

Hauser’s background includes teaching assignments at UCLA, the University of Denver and Colorado State University. She has held research and legislative staff roles as well as positions with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the University of Arizona, her undergraduate alma mater. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business.

An avid outdoorswoman, Hauser has climbed to the Mt. Everest base camp and has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Rainier, and 56 of Colorado’s highest peaks (14ers). She held the proud title of “Swamper” while working many summers for Hatch River Expeditions in Grand Canyon National Park near her beloved hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona. She and her husband enjoy skiing, hiking, boating, biking and exploring the Rocky Mountain West and remote places around the world.