MSU Denver to bestow inaugural Marathon Award at spring Commencement
The award will honor distinguished campus and community members who exemplify the Roadrunner Difference.
March 15, 2021
Metropolitan State University of Denver’s spring 2021 Commencement ceremonies on May 14 will honor the tenacity, perseverance and academic excellence of several thousand hardworking Roadrunners. It will also include the presentation of a new award to be presented semiannually to MSU Denver alumni, employees or community advocates who exemplify the Roadrunner Difference.
The MSU Denver Marathon Award
Each May and December, a distinguished individual will be recognized at Commencement for reflecting the University’s values and for making a positive impact on campus, the community or the world. Marathon Award winners will serve as an inspiration to MSU Denver graduates, demonstrating what is possible to those who are launching new careers and blazing new trails.
The inaugural Marathon Award, bestowed during this spring’s Commencement celebrations, will honor Lieutenant General Laura Richardson, a Northglenn native and MSU Denver alumna who became the first woman to lead U.S. Army Forces North Command, the largest command in the Army. Richardson spearheaded the Army’s pandemic response in 2020-21 and has been nominated for the rank of four-star general, pending Senate confirmation.
The award’s name has a special significance as a group of roadrunners is known as a marathon. The idea of building and maintaining community and connections is part of the larger Roadrunner Difference, which focuses on five characteristics that describe MSU Denver graduates: diverse, tenacious, primed, purposeful and entrepreneurial. Awarded by the Office of the President in consultation with the Alumni Association and the Commencement team, the Marathon Award recognizes alumni and others who demonstrate this spirit and enhance the reputation of or advance the interests of MSU Denver.
Spring Commencement keynote speaker
The virtual ceremony will also feature a keynote address by another inspiring homegrown leader, Justice Monica Márquez, who has served as a member of the Colorado Supreme Court since 2010.
Márquez grew up in Grand Junction, earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a teacher and community organizer, and earned her law degree from Yale Law School.
Before joining the court, she served as deputy attorney general at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and as assistant solicitor general and assistant attorney general in the Public Officials Unit and the Criminal Appellate Section. Additionally, she served on the boards of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and the Latina Initiative.
In alignment with MSU Denver’s institutional values, Márquez is a co-leader of the Bench Dream Team, a group of judges dedicated to diversity and inclusion in Colorado’s judicial system. She regularly mentors students and aspiring young lawyers, including a first-generation Latina college student with Law School Yes We Can.
Márquez’s commitment to service has earned her a number of prestigious honors, including the Colorado LGBT Bar Association’s 2009 Outstanding LGBT Attorney Award, the Latinas First Foundation’s 2014 Trailblazer Award, the Hispanic National Bar Foundation’s 2017 Judicial Leadership Award and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado’s 2019 Minoru Yasui Community Service Award.
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