Gomez to be honored in name of summer youth program


A summer program that brings 20 Denver Public Schools students to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus will be renamed in honor of longtime faculty member and university ombuds Nina Gomez.

Kee Warner, associate vice chancellor, Diversity and Inclusiveness, announced the renaming of the 2-year-old Marquez Scholar Program to honor Gomez, who has helped foster diversity efforts at UCCS for more than 30 years. The program will now be known as the UCCS Adelina Gomez Scholars program.

“This was a great opportunity to recognize all that Nina has done as this program comes of age,” Warner said. “Her advocacy for students of color, and work to make UCCS an inclusive university is legendary.”

Gomez developed and taught an intercultural communication course in the 1980s and taught undergraduate courses for more than 30 years as an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Communication. In 2008, she was named the first university ombuds, utilizing her communication skills to mediate conflicts between faculty, staff and students. Her intercultural communication course encouraged discussion about race, gender and orientation and was a cornerstone of early campus diversity and inclusiveness efforts. Gomez was a key team member in early efforts to give inner-city and minority youth better exposure to college life and the value of higher education.

The Adelina Gomez Scholars program will bring 20 Denver Public School students identified by their high school counselors and principals to campus May 30-June 10. The students will live in campus housing and take a sociology course that counts toward high school graduation requirements and provides college credit. They also will participate in a two-day outdoor leadership program in Florissant and get special attention from UCCS leaders including dinner at Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak’s home.

The program offers help in navigating college admission and financial aid processes. In the first two years of the program’s operation, 40 students representing 21 different schools participated. The program is supported through a partnership with the Denver Public Schools and the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Start-up program support was provided by the Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation, Denver.