In November Colorado voters elected two first-generation Americans — also among the youngest ever elected — to serve on the CU Board of Regents, making it the most diverse board ever. Monisha Merchant, 31, of Lakewood defeated incumbent Republican Pat Hayes to become the first person of Asian descent on the board. Merchant, the daughter of Indian parents, represents the 7th Congressional District.
And voters in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Boulder, elected Joe Neguse (Econ,PolSci’05), 25, a former student tri-executive and current CU law student. Neguse’s parents emigrated from the East African nation of Eritrea. He’s the first black regent since Rachel Noel in 1988.
The two Democrats will join Republican regent Tom Lucero (Phil,PolSci’94), a Hispanic, who’s served on the board since 1999.
In a third race, Republican Jim Geddes of Sedalia won to represent the 6th Congressional District in Arapahoe County, leaving the board with a 5-4 Republican majority, down from a 6-3 majority.
Nine regents serve staggered six-year terms without pay. They make policy and set tuition and budgets for the university’s three campuses and meet about eight times a year in various parts of the state.