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President's Medallion for Distinguished Service to Education


District 60 - Daniel GironThe Eductors of Pueblo School District 60

Pueblo School District 60 is deeply rooted in tradition with an optimistic eye on the future. Led by Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso, District 60 has more than 2,400 employees, and nearly 18,000 students.

With the support of the community through the passage of a 2019 bond, the District currently has five new schools under construction. These state-of-the-art schools will help usher the District and community into the future. The economic impact from these multi-million dollar projects has been significant, with more than 80 percent of the work locally contracted and thus pumped back into the community.

The District is a proud partner of Colorado State University Pueblo, especially in the form of the Teacher Pipeline Project, which is designed to inspire and prepare the next generation of educators. District educators serve as mentors for future teachers, who spend a year with them as they gain invaluable experience in the education of children.

Hundreds of Pueblo School District 60 educators are proud CSU Pueblo alumni. Tonight’s award is being accepted by Daniel Giron on behalf of all District 60 educators. Daniel is a 2005 Alumnus of CSU Pueblo Although he originally planned to be a civil engineer, he found his calling building the minds and futures of children as an elementary school teacher.

Daniel has spent more than a decade and a half at Franklin School of Innovation, where he currently teaches third grade. Daniel has worked with CSU Pueblo students taking part in the Teacher Pipeline Project, helping them to become quality educators just as his professors and educators at CSU Pueblo did for him years ago.

District 70 - Karen HopkinsThe Educators of Pueblo School District 70

Pueblo School District 70 encompasses a land mass twice the state of Rhode Island covering Pueblo West, Beulah, Colorado City, Rye, Avondale, Boone and Blende. Under the leadership of Superintendent Ed Smith, the district has grown from 7000 to 11,000 students over the past 17 years. Students in Pueblo can attend one of the three high schools, six middle schools, 11 elementary schools, 11 preschools and four alternative schools. The Connect School a District 70 middle school is a National Blue Ribbon School.

District 70 schools boast a 90 percent graduation rate and less than two percent drop out rate. Also, there are many highly rated programs including the award-winning Academies at Pueblo County High including: The Arts Academy, The School of Engineering and Biomedical Sciences and The Academy of Manufacturing and Construction. Currently under development is the Academy of Law and Justice at Pueblo West High that will include a program to develop young cadets for the fields of law enforcement and the vocational agricultural program at Rye High School known throughout the state for its highly developed curriculum and activities.

The award for Distinguished Service to Education is being accepted by Karen Hopkins, an educator at Rye High School. She began her career in 1985 teaching high school English for five years and went on to teach in a variety of disciplines and subjects in elementary, middle and high school before returning to high school English in 2021.

President's Medallion for Distinguished Service to the University

Dr. Rick Kreminski and Mrs. Anne Casey Dr. Rick Kreminski and Mrs. Anne Casey have contributed more to the University than any current faculty or staff member. Their philanthropic impact on CSU Pueblo and its students is immeasurable.
Dr. Kreminski currently serves as Professor of Mathematics and Physics, but has served CSU Pueblo in the capacity of professor of mathematics, earth science, and quantum mechanics; Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; acting Director of Institutional Research and Analysis; and the first-ever Director of the Institute of Cannabis Research.

Anne, Dr. Kreminski’s wife of 33 years, serves as the Education Coordinator at the Pueblo Zoological Society providing animal and environmental conservation education programs, camps and field trips to children, teens, and adults in Pueblo County and the surrounding southern Colorado communities. A creative problem solver and critical thinker, Anne is on the cutting-edge of the virtual space. Her innovative ideas have translated into a $163,000 IMLS grant for the Zoo’s education programming.

They enjoy running, biking, tennis and skiing, gardening and yard work and spending time with their three children—Chris, Amelia, and Ben—and two grandkids—Rooz, 5 and Caspian 3.

President's Medallion for Distinguished Service to the Community

Vance Crocker - Black Hills Energy - Pueblo, COBlack Hills Energy

Ready to Serve. Words that define and affirm the unwavering commitment of the more than 435 Black Hills Energy Colorado employees who proudly serve our customers with the safe, reliable electricity and natural gas they depend on to power their lives and livelihoods. We are a customer-focused utility, serving over 300,000 customers in nearly 120 Colorado communities, and we put our customers at the center of everything we do.

Ready to Serve speaks to our deeply held values as an organization. Together, we are improving life with energy and our care for our customers runs deep. In 2021, our community support across Colorado totaled nearly $3 million, including over $113,000 in employee giving to United Way agencies and affiliates across our service territory and more than $160,000 in expanded energy assistance funding through our Black Hills Cares program, which matches customers’ charitable contributions dollar-for-dollar.

As a longstanding partner with Colorado State University Pueblo, it is our privilege to support this “university on a mission” as they work to impact society through transformative learning, student empowerment and sustainable living. It was our distinct pleasure to support CSU Pueblo in its journey to become the first university in Colorado to reach net zero efficiency with solar power. With the completion of their 23-acre solar project in late 2021, all academic buildings on campus are now powered by sustainable energy.

At Black Hills Energy, sustainability means we must make tomorrow better than today. We are proud to have designed and built Colorado’s most forward-looking energy grids, powered entirely by renewable energy and clean burning natural gas. We are committed to delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to serve our customers’ energy needs today and well into the future.

President's Medallion for Distinguished Alumni Achievement

Judy HildnerJudy Hildner, ‘70, Judy will always be one of the most widely respected and knowledgeable media professionals in the state. She made her living doing exactly what she loved, covering games ranging from high school sports in Pueblo and surrounding areas, to NFL football games.

Her love of writing and respect for journalism began at a young age while attending Pueblo Catholic High School. Judy’s interest in writing was piqued after observing her mother write a column for the Catholic newspaper. The budding journalist soon started keeping statistics for the school’s sports teams and attending all of the school’s sporting events. She shared that she “checked out books on baseball history and taught myself how to keep score, then I’d call in the results of the games to the newspapers.”

Those skills led to a part-time job answering telephones and taking scores at the Pueblo Chieftain while pursuing her degree in mass communications at the then Southern Colorado State College, now CSU Pueblo.

She was a founding member of the CHSAA Hall of Fame committee; and in 2016, she was honored as an inductee. She is considered to be the state’s first-ever female sports editor and served in that capacity from 1990 until her retirement in 2012.

Hildner was also a member of the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame, a member of and chaired the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee, served on the Pueblo City Schools District Strategic Planning Committee, was the long-time treasurer of Southern Colorado Press Club, and served on the CSU Pueblo Alumni Association Board of Directors on and off for nearly 15 years, with her last term ending in 2018.

Hildner paved the way for many young female professionals as they pursued their passion in the sports journalism world.

Judy passed away December 22, 2020.


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