BSN Bill Sponsors with their awards pose for a photo with Nancy McCallin and Dr. Byron

June 13, 2018 (Denver) – The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) and the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) honored five Colorado legislators for their outstanding support of community colleges during the 2018 legislative session. Representatives Janet Buckner, Paul Lundeen, and John Becker, and Senators Tim Neville and Irene Aguilar were each presented the Legislator of the Year award at today’s SBCCOE meeting.

The Legislator of the Year award is given annually to legislators who make an extra effort to understand and champion issues facing the community colleges.

All of our awardees are truly passionate about the work that we do in advancing student access to quality post-secondary opportunities and growing student success outcomes. We are grateful to have partnered with them on several important legislative initiatives this session.

– Dr. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System

Representative John Becker receives Start Award

Representative John Becker receives his Start Award from CCCS President Dr. Nancy McCallin and Board Chair Dr. Byron McClenney

Representative Becker, a consistent champion of CCCS, rural community colleges, and specifically Morgan Community College, was one of the honorees.  This year, he sponsored HB 18-1005, concerning improving notice of post-secondary course enrollment options and SB 18-069 concerning the enforcement of statewide degree transfer agreements. In addition to sponsoring these successful bills, he went above and beyond with his steadfast and persevering support for Front Range Community College’s project on the Larimer Campus, which received funding this year from the Capitol Development Committee.

I am honored to receive this award. The work we accomplished this session will further strengthen opportunities for students, just like me, to achieve their dreams.

– Representative Becker

Representative Becker went on to share his appreciation for the positive impact Morgan Community College had in his life.

The work CCCS and its colleges do transforms lives. Morgan Community College gave me a path and pushed me to take on leadership roles while attending and helped me to transfer on to a four-year university. Now I have the opportunity to serve the college and give back as an adjunct professor.

Representatives Janet Buckner and Paul Lundeen, and Senators Irene Aguilar and Tim Neville were collectively honored for their tremendous work on the passage of HB 18-1086, allowing CCCS colleges to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) as a completion program.

There was never a doubt in my mind that this bi-partisan bill [HB 18-1086] would advance forward. The inherent principles of the bill – opportunity, quality, and competition to address a societal challenge – made it a good bill, which received overwhelming support from the General Assembly. It has been my honor to sponsor and promote legislation, like this one, to help strengthen our community colleges.

– Representative Lundeen

Senator Tim Neville echoed remarks of his colleagues and also reflected on his academic journey, made possible by community college.

At the age of 17, I did not have a lot of resources and the community colleges offered me the opportunity to work and go to school, and finish my 4-year degree at a later date after I had already started a family. What excited me about supporting this bill was the opportunity to broaden the vision for ways in which students could access and achieve their goals in higher education.

Representative Buckner shared her continued enthusiasm for the bill and positive feedback she has received from the public

It was an honor for me to champion such a worthy cause alongside my fellow bill sponsors. I am overwhelmed by the amount people who have reached out to me, since the bill’s passage, to let me know that they or their student now have hope in completing their BSN.

Senator Aguilar was unable to attend today’s award ceremony but was still recognized for her dedication and great work in advancing bill. Her medical background and experience with the medical community played a critical role in working with those groups to address questions and industry needs.