stairs leading to graduation cap

The Leadership in Public Higher Education award recognizes a public official or other individual in the state of Colorado whose leadership on issues directly affecting public higher education results in significant positive change.


Nominees should be public officials, or other individuals who have chosen to assume a public role, who exercise leadership in policy-making, including legislation or regulations for institutions of public higher education. The award will be given annually as appropriate recipients are identified-the award need not be made in any given year. Recipients will be determined by the Executive Committee of the University of Colorado Faculty Council. The recipient will be honored in a public ceremony and will receive a plaque as well as a copy of the resolution supporting the award.


In times when higher education is under fire nationally-whether in the form of criticisms of faculty, students, or other members of the higher education community; debates about the purpose of higher education in a free, competitive, and value-conflicted society; or economic pressures-some people stand out for their untiring defense of higher education, for their dreams about what higher education can become and the energy that they devote to realizing such dreams, or for the goals that they express and seek to achieve. This award is for such people, those who care deeply about and work unflaggingly to support higher education. Such people are rare, and they should be recognized by those who benefit from their principles and actions.

Previous Winners

  • 2005 - Elizabeth Hoffman, President, University of Colorado
  • 2008 - Hank Brown, President, University of Colorado
  • 2014 - Kathleen Bollard, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Colorado 
  • 2015 -  Joe Garcia, 48th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
  • 2016 - Brenda J. Allen, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Colorado
  • 2017 - John Hickenlooper, 42nd and former Governor of Colorado (presented in 2018)
  • 2019 - Bruce D. Benson, President, University of Colorado