Distinguished Alumni

Each year, we celebrate our alumni who best represent the following: "Extraordinary distinction and success in fields of endeavor, commitment to community service, and/or exceptional leadership in one's community while successfully carrying forward ‘excellence in scholarship and character’."


Cambrie Nelson '05
2023 Distinguished Alumni Honoree

As a member of Kent Denver’s Class of 2005, Cambrie has worked or volunteered in an astonishing number of organizations and communities. 

Cambrie Nelson '05

      Photo by Vlad Petruniv

As a Kent Denver student, Cambrie was an outstanding athlete on both the basketball and soccer teams. She was also a student leader on this campus from her earliest days in the Middle School and was awarded the Christine D. Bullard Athletic Award, the Mary A. Bogue Trophy and the Herbert Moore Student Assembly Award in her senior year.

After graduating from Kent Denver, Cambrie was part of the Ervin Scholars Program at Washington University in St. Louis, where she founded a number of student and community organizations focused on promoting communication, understanding and social justice. Following college graduation, Cambrie returned to Kent Denver as a Middle School teaching fellow, history faculty member and basketball coach and served as our founding Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Her career continued with an MBA at Washington University’s Olin Business School and leadership roles as a director and consultant with multiple social impact consulting firms. 

Cambrie is now the Deputy Director of Strategy, Planning, and Management for the Gender Equality Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work includes a portfolio of projects related to economic empowerment, healthcare, digital connectivity, and policy & advocacy. 

Previous Distinguished Alumni Award Winners