Regents recognize commitment, service of exceptional individuals

2014 slate of honorary degrees, medal announced
By Staff

The 2014 slate of honorary degrees and university medal honoree, presented by the University of Colorado Board of Regents, has been announced:


Joan Charlotte von Bartheld Balsells was a pioneer among women in engineering and business, a distinguished alumna of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder, and a 1951 Aeronautical Engineering program graduate. Joan finished at the top of her class. Following a successful career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Joan and her husband, Pete Balsells, began a small manufacturing business from their home which grew into a worldwide leader and launched a new industry. Bal Seal Engineering Inc. has a global presence and creates custom sealing, connecting and shielding solutions for a variety of industrial, medical and aerospace applications and has been awarded approximately 200 patents. In 1994, Joan and her husband’s business success provided the assets to initiate a fellowship program that funded students from Catalan, Spain, to pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Irvine. Through the Balsells Foundation, the program has expanded to include fellowship programs at CU-Boulder and UCCS. There are currently 36 Balsells fellows pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at these three universities with the program having funded more than 130 past graduates since its inception. Joan lost a long battle with cancer in 1995, but her legacy lives on in Bal Seal Engineering Inc. and the Balsells Fellowship program.  (Honorary Degree Doctor of Science, CU-Boulder Commencement, May 9)

Henry N. Claman, M.D., was educated at Harvard College and New York University College of Medicine. After internal medicine training at Barnes Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and two years in the U.S. Army, he came to the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Henry's numerous contributions have been acknowledged by being named as a Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado and by his receipt of the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award of the University of Colorado. Henry was a pioneer in immunology research. His discovery that there are two types of lymphocytes (T and B cells) set the foundation for major advances in the contemporary science of immunology. Henry 's scientific contributions in immunology are widely recognized and acknowledged by his receipt of several awards from national and international organizations, most recently the 2009 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award for unique contributions to immunologic sciences. Henry has long been involved in the humanities and the arts, both inside and outside the School of Medicine. Henry is the Founder and Associate Director of the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, the Founding editor of The Human Touch, a University of Colorado School of Medicine literary anthology, and the original organizer of the School of Medicine's Monday Noon Humanities Lecture series. Henry is the author of several published poems and a book titled "Jewish Images in the Christian Church" (Mercer Press, 1998). Henry has been a significant financial contributor to the educational and scholarship missions of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Henry has established an endowed Chair for the Head of the Department of Immunology and Allergy within the Department of Medicine and has made numerous additional financial contributions to the missions of the University's School of Medicine. Henry has a track record as a superior scholar and citizen, and has acknowledged expertise in the field of medical history and the arts and humanities. Henry has demonstrated that a well-rounded scientist/clinician/educator with special knowledge of history and the arts can apply principles and lessons from the arts to enhance the humanistic aspects of medical practice. (Honorary Degree Doctor of Humane Letters, CU Anschutz Commencement, May 23)

Lyda Hill has accomplished many things during her lifetime. From her leadership roles in businesses and professional organizations to her philanthropic vision, Lyda is a woman who demonstrates the tremendous impact that one person can have in the lives of many. Lyda's  generosity is known throughout the country and around the world. In her primary role, she is President of LH Holdings and the Lyda Hill Foundation. She also is a member of the Giving Pledge, an organization started by the Bill Gates Foundation in which members pledge to donate all of their financial assets to charity. At UCCS, Lyda launched the UTeach program with a major donation and also made major financial contributions to develop a Veteran's Trauma Clinic. Lyda pledged $50 million to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and donated $20 million to the Hockaday School. Lyda funded the creation of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center in Colorado Springs and ensured that all revenue generated would be used to maintain the park's natural beauty. Lyda donated $1 million to National Public Radio in Dallas and significantly financed the rebuilding/renovation of the Fort Worth Stockyards. As a leader, Lyda is working to ensure that corporate leaders, and particularly women, continue to give back to their communities. Lyda has served as President of the World President's Organization. She has provided her vision and leadership to the Dallas Assembly, the Chief Executive Organization, the Citizen's Council of Dallas, the Garden of the Gods Foundation, the Colorado Thirty Group, and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Lyda is a member of the Committee of 200, which is a group of the world's most successful women who are corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Lyda is a member of the International Women's Forum and recently accepted an invitation to join the Charter 100, a business organization for the top 100 women in America who build and foster a network of communication throughout the world. Lyda's business success and philanthropy have been recognized with a number of honors and awards including the Dallas Junior League Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), Outstanding Alumni at Hollins University (2009), and the University of Colorado Distinguished Service Award (2002). (Honorary Degree Doctor of Humane Letters, UCCS Commencement, May 23)

Lanis “Lanny” Pinchuk was the College of Engineering and Applied Science's first Director of Engineering Development, Assistant Dean and Director of Alumni and Corporate Relations, and a longtime volunteer since his retirement in 1991. Lanny Pinchuk has been the ultimate "friend-raiser" and "fundraiser" on behalf of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the broader University of Colorado. Annual private support for the College of Engineering and Applied Science has increased more than tenfold during his tenure. CU development and alumni relations have benefited greatly from Lanny's dedicated involvement over the past 30-plus years as a member of numerous department, college, campus and foundation boards; his generous financial contributions; and his relentless recruitment of volunteers, advocates and sponsors. Lanny has received the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, CU's Alumni Recognition Award, the President's University Service Award, the Minority Engineering Program's Distinguished Service Award, the College's Centennial Medal and the Robert L. Stearns Award for Extraordinary Service. When he retired in 1991, friends  and alumni established an endowed undergraduate scholarship fund in his honor that has supported 54 students. Lanny is an incredible connector of people: He knows and remembers everyone, and seems to delight in introducing and sharing each person's strengths and interests. He is always on the lookout for opportunities to talk about the great things going on at CU, in the College of Engineering, and in the Aerospace Department. His pride in CU’s accomplishments makes it clear that he truly considers CU an integral part of his life.  (Honorary Degree Doctor of Science, CU-Boulder Commencement, May 9)


Bruce Schroffel. As the new President and CEO of University Colorado Hospital in 2006, Schroffel inherited a facility mired in debt, with foundering bond ratings, and facing a risky move of the whole facility from Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard to the campus of the former Fitzsimons Army Hospital. Through consistent hard work, remarkable vision, focus on key operational issues, and skillful identification, recruiting and hiring of talented staff, Schroffel oversaw a stunning financial turnaround for the hospital, a smooth transition to its new location, and the achievement of new standards of excellence in patient care and safety. UCH has ranked among the top 10 university teaching hospitals for the past three years, achieving the top spot twice. Schroffel's commitment and ability to work positively and productively with the University of Colorado School of Medicine resulted in a true collaborative partnership not only with regard to patient care but also medical education and scholarship. Schroffel bears an immense commitment to patients, which extends to students, trainees and faculty of the School of Medicine. Daily, he walked the halls of the hospital, introducing himself to residents, medical students, faculty and nurses, and working to build a close relationship with his employees.  Schroffel demonstrated his belief in the importance of positive and mutually respectful collaboration between the hospital and the School of Medicine by creating a major endowment within the hospital foundation for the School, as well as contributing to the Endowment for the Dean of the School of Medicine within the CU Foundation. In his new role as the CEO of University of Colorado Health, he has established an annual bottom-line profit distribution in support of the School's academic initiatives. His actions underscore what is consistently seen as a rare and unusual positive relationship between the leadership of a university teaching hospital and that of its affiliated medical school.  (University Medal, CU Anschutz Commencement, May 23)

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