Tribute to alumnus Richard Sanders '74

Sep 10, 2009

Alumnus Richard Sanders '74, national forensic pioneer and UC Denver professor, won't be with his classmates at Reunion Weekend this year, but he left his mark on the field of audio/video forensics.

Missing from this year’s Bulldog Days Alumni reunion is Kettering/GMI alumnus Richard Sanders ’74, who died Aug. 3 at age 57 of an inoperable brain tumor. A memorial service was held Saturday, Aug. 29.

Sanders is well-known as a national forensic pioneer and University of Colorado Denver Professor, whose work in audio/video forensics has been instrumental in helping national and international investigations in well-known cases including the JonBenet Ramsey and Kobe Bryant investigations, as well as the Columbine High School shootings and the Oklahoma City bombing trial.
An Electrical Engineering major at GMI, Sanders also earned a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Colorado University. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor of music at the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) in 1998, and promoted to full professor in 2004.  In 2008, he became director of the National Center for Media Forensics (NCMF). Sanders single-handedly established an audio forensics graduate program at UC Denver and served as a mentor to new faculty in Recording Arts.
In addition to teaching, Sanders was a musician and an entrepreneur. He founded and served as president of Salt Pro Audio LLC in Denver from 1980 to the present.
“All of us in the College of Arts & Media are deeply saddened by the loss of Rich Sanders,” said David Dynak, PhD, dean of the UC Denver College of Arts & Media. “He was a leader in his field, recognized internationally for his seminal research in media forensics.  But, he was also a wonderful composer, a caring mentor to undergraduates, graduates, and new faculty, with a vibrant personality that left its mark on all who were touched by him.  He was quite simply a complete citizen of the academy.”
In 2008, Sanders and the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media received two Federal Earmark Grants for the purpose of establishing a new National Center for Audio/Video Forensics. The grant totaling $709,700 was handled through the U.S. Department of Justice. Sanders had recently received a third Federal Earmark Grant of $500,000 for the newly renamed National Center for Media Forensics established in 2007. The monies will fund the center through its startup period and enable increased knowledge while fostering a new generation of experts in the field of media forensics – the study of audio and video ‘fingerprinting.’”
Sanders was born in Flint, Mich., in 1951 to Etta May and Wayne Sanders. He married Ann Marie Powers in 1997. In addition to his wife, Ann, who serves as the assistant to the associate deans for the School of Education and Human Development at UC Denver, Sanders is survived by his daughter Sarah, son Jeffery, step-son Andrew, and seven grandchildren.

For more about Richard Sanders visit the memorial tribute on the UC Denver web site at

Information courtesy of the University of Colorado Denver Office of Media and Public Relations.