Image of Trinidad State College's Berg Building with a vibrant rainbow overhead.

Trinidad State is One of 20 Community Colleges in the Running for $1 Million Award

Trinidad State College (TSC) has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among community colleges. TSC is the first college in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) to reach this milestone as it competes for the title and accompanying $1 million award.  

Held every two years, the Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding performance in six critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, broad access to the college and its offerings, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. TSC is one of 20 semifinalists nationwide.  

“At Trinidad State we see potential in every student who walks through our doors,” said Trinidad State president Dr. Rhonda M. Epper. “Our students are successful because our faculty and staff believe in them and are committed to making their dreams a reality. We are so honored to be included in this esteemed group of community colleges.” 


Our students are successful because our faculty and staff believe in them and are committed to making their dreams a reality.
Dr. Rhonda M. Epper
Graphic announcing a community college as a semifinalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence 2025. The design features a blue rectangular banner with white and blue text: 'Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Aspen Institute, Semifinalist, 2025.'

TSC rose to the top through a competitive selection process. The Aspen Institute invited 150 community colleges to apply for the prize in October 2023. From there, a selection committee of 18 higher education experts assessed TSC’s data and application responses and conducted interviews with TSC leaders. If selected for the finalist round this June, the college will host an onsite visit with selection committee members.  

Joe Garcia, the chancellor of CCCS, praised Dr. Epper’s efforts to transform TSC over her five-year tenure.  

“I am proud that Rhonda was the first president I had the opportunity to hire,” he said. “She has plugged away and inspired the whole Trinidad community. I really credit this achievement to her leadership.”  

The Aspen Institute will announce the winner in the spring of 2025. For more information, visit the TSC website.