The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus celebrated its commitment to diversity with a community reception at the Four Seasons Hotel on Monday.
The event served as an opportunity for the university to introduce three key leaders of diversity enhancement to city and state leaders. Provost Rod Nairn said the leaders — all new in their positions within the last 18 months — are not only standout in their areas of academic expertise, but also exceptional role models.
He introduced, in order of recruitment, Evelinn Borrayo (below right), Ph.D., director of the Latino Research and Policy Center at the Colorado School of Public Health; Raul Cardenas (bottom right), Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for student affairs; and Brenda Allen (above right), Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion.
About 100 people attended the event, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (a CU Denver alumnus), representatives from state and federal government, Regents Dr. Irene Griego and Stephen Ludwig; representatives from the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, and senior university leadership from both campuses.
Chancellor Don Elliman welcomed the attendees, saying that diversity and inclusion “is an enormously important subject for all of us in higher education.” He added, “If I learned one thing in my four years working for the state of Colorado (chief operating officer and director of the Office of Economic Development) it is that if we don’t resolve the diversity problem in education we will be a third-rate state 20 years from now.”
Nairn said that improving diversity and inclusion is “tremendously important” at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, noting that CU Denver is one of the most diverse campuses in the state. “It’s a place where students get a chance to reach for the future and many students get a second chance. One of the things that’s important is for students to have role models.” He said Borrayo, Cardenas and Allen “certainly are in that category.”
The reception also served as a prelude to the university’s April 23 Diversity Summit, which is being presented by Allen’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Allen said the diversity reception was not only a great way to reinforce the university’s commitment to diversity “but also begin conversations about strengthening relationships and building new ones.”
(Photo at top: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Chancellor Don Elliman enjoy the diversity reception on April 1.)