‘Philantrepeneur’ to receive honorary degree

uccsThe University of Colorado Board of Regents will present an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Colorado Springs businessperson and philanthropist Lyda Hill at the spring 2014 UCCS commencement.

Ceremonies are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Boulevard. It is the 40th UCCS spring commencement ceremony. The ceremony was split into two to accommodate the large number of graduates and their supporters. More than 1,100 spring graduates are expected to participate in the festivities.

Graduates from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will participate in the 11:30 a.m. ceremony. Graduates of programs in the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Public Affairs will participate in the 3:30 p.m. ceremony.

The honorary doctorate of humane letters is CU’s highest honor and is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to society.

“Lyda Hill’s combination of approach and philosophy is unique,” said Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak. “Her generosity will benefit our university, our state and our region now and far into the future.”

A self-described “philantrepeneur,” Hill has strong interests in the non-profit sector and brings a business approach to philanthropy. A resident of Colorado Springs and Dallas, she founded a successful travel agency before launching various other start-up businesses including a breast care center, the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center and numerous real estate enterprises in Colorado Springs and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. She is president of LH Holdings in Dallas.

A believer in the power of science to solve many world problems, Hill helped launch a program at UCCS designed to create more science and math teachers and to provide professional development for teachers already in the classroom. She also contributed to develop a veteran’s trauma clinic as part of the UCCS Trauma, Health and Hazards Center, part of the UCCS HealthCircle clinics located in the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences. She has also made generous contributions to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and to the Hockaday School in Dallas.

Previously, she was awarded the University of Colorado Distinguished Service Award as well as the Dallas Junior League Lifetime Achievement Award, the President’s Volunteer Action Award, a Best of America Award, a Komen Foundation Betty Ford Award and an Outstanding Alumni Award from Hollins University, Roanoke, Va.

She also serves as a member of the Committee of 200, a group of the world’s most successful female corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, the International Women’s Forum and Charter 100, a business organization for the top 100 women in the U.S.

Recent previous recipients of the honorary doctorate include James L. Gallogly, a member of the class of 1974, who received the honor in 2012; and Don Birkeland, a member of the department of psychology faculty from 1971 to 1980, who received the honor in 2011.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 37 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 10,500 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.