Regents announce annual slate of honorees

Board grants degrees, awards, medals to outstanding individuals
By Staff

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has announced its selection of recipients of Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Service Awards and University Medals for 2022.

Upon the recommendation of the board’s Awards Committee, the regents in November approved the nominees. Each recipient has been invited to attend a campus commencement ceremony to accept an award; the dates and locations are to be announced.

Honorary Degrees recognize outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: intellectual contributions, university service, philanthropy and/or public service. Distinguished Service Awards recognize those persons whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the state and/or nation. University Medals recognize those persons whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the university.

The 2022 recipients are:

Honorary Degrees

Juan Espinosa (CU Boulder)

Juan Espinosa blazed a path through the University of Colorado School of Journalism for himself and other Chicano/a journalists to follow by starting El Diario de la Gente newspaper on the Boulder campus. He created a photo archive of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement history, which has been used in exhibits and a variety of media. In 1976, he was one of the founders of La Cucaracha, an independent alternative newspaper in Pueblo. Espinosa was at the leading edge of a generation of journalists who told stories of a community long ignored by major media. He went on to a 22-year career at The Pueblo Chieftain and later became a certified teacher of Chicano Studies. In recent years he applied the skills of his trade to photography, filmmaking and video documentaries.

Nancy Gary (CU Anschutz)

Nancy Gary completed her master’s of Child Health Associate degree with a specialty in ambulatory pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine. She worked for the Child Protection Team at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. Having soon recognized that the children she was encountering had unmet psychosocial needs, she went back to school and earned her doctorate in clinical child psychology from the University of Denver and dedicated her career to providing physical and mental health support to children and families through her Denver-based practice. With her husband, Sam Gary, she guided the work of the philanthropic Piton Foundation to focus on children and families.

Linda Hogan (CU Boulder)

Linda Hogan is an internationally recognized public speaker and author of poetry, fiction and essays. She is Professor Emerita in the English Department at CU Boulder, a faculty member of the Indian Arts Institute and writer in residence for the Chickasaw Nation. Her numerous publications include “DARK. SWEET. New and Selected Poems,” Pulitzer Prize nominee “Rounding the Human Corners” and “Mean Spirit,” winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, the Mountains and Plains Book Award, and Pulitzer finalist, among others. In poetry, “The Book of Medicines” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has worked with at-risk teens at the Chickasaw Children’s Home and lectures and reads extensively worldwide. In 2007, Hogan was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame for her writing.

Kyle Hybl (UCCS)

Kyle Hybl serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for El Pomar Foundation and Vice President of The Garden City Company. A Regent Emeritus and Chair Emeritus of the CU Board of Regents, which he served on from 2007-2018, Hybl currently serves as Chairman of the National Cybersecurity Center, Corporate Secretary for Junior Achievement USA and on the boards of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, Employers Council and Exponential Impact. He is a founding member of the UCCS Development Corporation, senior strategic adviser to the UCCS chancellor and served as co-chair of the Ent Center for the Arts capital campaign. The El Pomar Foundation has provided grants to CU totaling over $20 million; Hybl also is a longtime personal donor to the university. He earned bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degrees from CU Boulder and is a former Air Force captain and judge advocate.

Don Johnson (CU Denver)

After graduating from CU Boulder in 1962, Don Johnson made significant contributions to the fields of architecture and urban planning. He founded Aegina Associates, a major architecture and planning firm. In 1993, he began designing and building Erie Village, which would become one of the most desirable real estate developments in Boulder County. Johnson is now the Managing Trustee of the Dr. C.W. Bixler Family Foundation, which supports education, arts and community initiatives nationwide. He provides significant thought leadership to CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP). Through Johnson’s personal contributions and philanthropy through the foundation, his past and pledged total gifts amount to over $27.1 million, making him CU Denver’s largest-ever donor. He is a member of the Benson Society and Heritage Society, sits on the CAP Advisory Board, and served on the Board of Trustees for the CU Foundation from 2010-2016.

Tenzing Rigdol (CU Denver)

Tenzing Rigdol, one of the best-known contemporary Tibetan artists in the world, is an alumnus of CU Denver, having earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting and bachelor’s in art history. Rigdol is CU Denver’s most celebrated visual artist, with his artwork shown in museums and galleries around the world. He is the first contemporary Tibetan artist to be acquired by the Met in New York City in its permanent collection. At great peril, he transported 20 tons of soil from Tibet to neighboring India so exiled Tibetans could walk on their homeland as part of his artwork “Our Land, Our People.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessed the soil before Tibetan refugees walked on their missed homeland. He uses most of the proceeds from the sale of his artwork to fund an artist’s residency he founded in Dharamshala, India; it supports Tibetan artists in their poetry, visual art and writing endeavors, particularly focusing on disadvantaged Himalayan artists.

Distinguished Service Awards

Wayne Cascio (CU Denver)

Over the course of his 40-year career at CU, Wayne F. Cascio has brought great distinction and visibility to the university through his outstanding activities in teaching, research and service. He arrived as a tenured full professor in 1981 and currently is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and cofounder of the CU Denver Business School. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the Australian Human Resources Institute. Cascio is an active researcher, writer and speaker. He has published more than 200 articles and book chapters, and 33 books, including “Applied Psychology in Talent Management” (with Herman Aguinis, 8th ed., 2019), which is considered to be the most authoritative scholarly treatment of topics in industrial-organizational psychology. Cascio has delivered more than 750 presentations to professional and business audiences on six continents.

Ryan Haygood (CU Boulder)

Ryan P. Haygood is a nationally respected civil rights lawyer. As president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, he leads a majority-women of color team of racial justice advocates whose cutting-edge work seeks to build reparative systems that create wealth, justice and power for Black, Latina/Latino and other people of color in New Jersey. Under Haygood’s leadership, the institute’s advocacy led to the historic restoration of the vote to 83,000 people on parole and probation; automatic and online voter registration; ending prison-based gerrymandering for state legislative redistricting; a $15 minimum wage; the reporting of COVID-19 racial data; and New Jersey becoming the first state to test all its incarcerated youth for COVID-19. Before leading the institute, Haygood served as deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., where he litigated key civil rights cases. Haygood earned his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law and bachelor’s in American History and Political Science cum laude from Colorado College.

Rebecca Kantor (posthumous, CU Denver)

As dean of CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development (SEHD), Rebecca Kantor was the consummate academic leader, setting an example through her prominence as a scholar, educator and leader. Kantor served as a national leader in early childhood education, elevating the field with her pursuit of enriching and culturally affirming early care and education for young children. Kantor generated over $20 million in grant funding in early childhood education, helping to bolster the legitimacy and vitality of this important area of study. Kantor pioneered numerous advances in constructivist pedagogy, inclusive teacher and leadership preparation, and early childhood research and policy at the city, state, national and global levels. Her inclusive approach inspired numerous partnerships and led to true systems change. Under her leadership, the SEHD made gains in diversifying new hires, developing programs focused on equity and diversity, and ensuring that justice-and equity-focused knowledge is fairly and transparently infused in the curriculum at all levels.

Karen Zink (CU Anschutz)

Karen Zink is an early adopter of innovation and a positive agent of change since earning her master’s degree from the CU College of Nursing in 1987 and entering practice as a nurse practitioner. A Colorado native, she has dedicated her life and practice to ensuring residents of the Durango area have access to high-quality health care. Zink founded the Southwest Women’s Health Associates, which was the second nurse practitioner clinic in the United States. It is one of the only such clinics in the Durango area offering primary and preventive care for women, as well as gynecological care such as endometrial biopsies, colonoscopies and contraceptive care. She earned an award from the American Nursing Association for sustained contributions to the profession and was voted “best nurse” by The Durango Herald Readers’ Choice Awards.

University Medals

Bonnie Camp (CU Anschutz)

Bonnie Camp is a pediatrician and psychologist specializing in early childhood development, and a pioneer and leader in pediatric medicine. Her scholarly accomplishments, generosity and dedication to helping junior colleagues build their careers have made a great impact. She attended CU’s School of Medicine at a time when women were a small minority of the class – 10% or less – and joined the pediatric faculty when there were only a few other female faculty members. Camp has spearheaded numerous fundraising efforts to establish visiting professorships and lectureships, such as the annual John J. Conger, Ph.D., Lectureship and Visiting Professorship in Child Mental Health Policy. Her generous gifts to the university have supported many efforts, including funds honoring other pioneering women in health sciences at CU.

Thomas Noel (CU Denver)

Thomas Noel, professor emeritus of history at the University of Colorado Denver, is widely known as Dr. Colorado for his outstanding contributions to state history, including authoring or co-authoring over 50 books. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in history from CU Boulder, where his mother and grandmother also did graduate work. He devoted 50 years of service to CU, teaching a full load of courses nearly every term. He served as chair (1992-96) and vice chair (2017-20) of the CU Denver Department of History. Noel established the CU Denver Historical Studies Journal and the Public History Program. He was State Historian for the state of Colorado in 2018, the Colorado Preservation Inc. Dana Crawford Award Winner, and Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Advisory Board Member, 2007-Present.

William Weston (CU Anschutz)

William Weston is an influential medical educator and stellar clinician who spent his entire career with the University of Colorado, from 1972 until he became Professor Emeritus in 2006. He was chair of the Department of Dermatology (1976-2001), taking on a new department and elevating it to national recognition. He was a founder of Pediatric Dermatology, founder and past president of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology and had a role in the founding of the journal Pediatric Dermatology. He was a respected master clinician and started a clinic for children with the rare genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB). That clinic, which continues at Children’s Hospital Colorado, is one of the leading EB centers in the U.S. He made seminal observations in neonatal lupus, including its association with anti-Ro antibodies. He authored “Color Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology,” a highly valuable resource for pediatricians, family practitioners and child health associates.

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