Published: Oct. 21, 2021

In an Oct. 19 ceremony, the CU community honored the four recipients of the 2021 Regent Awards. The awards include honorary degrees, a university medal and a distinguished service award for some of the greatest contributors to CU, the state and the nation. This marks the second time the award recipients were honored in a ceremony other than the annual university spring commencment ceremony.

Given since 1882 and approved by the University of Colorado Board of Regents, the Regent Awards include:

  • Honorary degrees for outstanding achievement in intellectual contributions, university service, philanthropy and/or public service.

  • University medals for those persons whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the university.

  • Distinguished service awards for those whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the state and/or the nation.

The 2021 Regent Award recipients are Ceal Barry (honorary degree); Cleo Parker Robinson (honorary degree); Rebecca Roser (university medal); and Charles Sisk (distinguished service award).

Ceal Barry

Doctor of Humane Letters

During more than 37 years as a CU Boulder coach, administrator and mentor, Ceal Barry embodied what it means to be a Buff.

Barry is best known as a 22-year coach of the women’s basketball team. She led the Buffs to a 427-242 record, along with 12 NCAA tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet 16 six times and the Elite 8 three times.

Barry was named Big 8 Coach of the Year four times and the District V Coach of the Year twice. She won more regular-season games (118), league titles (4), tournament titles (4), Coach of the Year honors (4) and coached more Newcomers of the Year (4) than any other Big 8 coach. After her second straight Big 8 title in 1994, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Basketball Times magazine named her National Coach of the Year. In 1996 she was assistant coach of the gold-medal U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball team.

A member of three Halls of Fame (Colorado Sports, CU Athletics and Women’s Basketball), Barry never lost sight of the students at the center of the game. She mentored hundreds of young women, helping them flourish on the court, in the classroom and in their lives after graduation. As senior woman administrator, she led the effort to create a new Title IX and Gender Equity plan, which continues to guide the Athletic Department.

The Board of Regents is pleased to award Ceal Barry the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for leading players and administrators with integrity and devotion.

Cleo Parker Robinson

Doctor of Humane Letters

Cleo Parker Robinson has a firm belief in the healing power of art and dance as a universal language.

Founder, artistic director and choreographer of the Denver-based Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Robinson leads a professional dance ensemble, youth and junior youth ensembles, a dance academy, an international summer dance institute, a 240-seat theater that bears her name, and myriad community outreach programs.

A native of Denver, Robinson graduated from Colorado Women’s College (later merged with the University of Denver) with a degree in dance, education and psychology. She established her eponymous dance company in 1970 and persevered with determination, ingenuity and unwavering optimism. In the years since, she has become renowned as a master collaborator whose work crosses artistic genres and engages diverse audiences, including at-risk youth and prison inmates. She has taught and performed with her ensemble in such diverse places as Iceland, Singapore, Israel, Turkey and throughout the African continent.

As one of the founding members of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Robinson has long worked to present the complex and faceted histories of Black dancing bodies. Among her notable artistic creations is Lush Life, a jazz, poetry and dance collaboration she created with Maya Angelou.

Robinson is a member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence, the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Kennedy Center Medal of Honor.

The Board of Regents is pleased to award Cleo Parker Robinson the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her commitment to the power of dance to transform people and communities.

Rebecca Roser

University Medal

A longtime lover of the piano and passionate supporter of CU Boulder, Becky Roser has distinguished herself through service and philanthropy as a tireless advocate and champion of CU and, in particular, the College of Music. 

Five years into chairing the college’s advisory board, Roser, who learned to play the piano as a child, stepped down to chair the college’s $50 million music+ campaign. She led this effort by example, making the first major gift to the campaign after its public launch: a $2 million commitment that led to the establishment of the Roser Piano and Keyboard Program. 

In addition to this generous gift, Roser has endowed a scholarship for undergraduate students in music, created a support fund for the college’s musicology department, led a fundraising effort to refinish the grand pianos in Grusin Music Hall, and set up (with her late husband Jim) the Roser Visiting Artists Program, which brings musicians, dancers, filmmakers and other artists to campus to work directly with students. Her transformative philanthropy led the CU Boulder campus to name the Roser ATLAS Center in her honor. 

Roser holds a master’s in speech-language pathology from CU Boulder and was for 10 years the director of clinical services for the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She was previously honored with the Outstanding Service Award from the College of Music and the Alumni Recognition Award from the CU Alumni Association.

The Board of Regents is pleased to award Becky Roser the University Medal in recognition of her enduring support for the arts at CU Boulder.

Charles Sisk

Distinguished Service Award

Chuck Sisk has had a remarkable career in service to the state of Colorado as a deputy district attorney in Boulder County in the 1970s, longtime Louisville council member, and mayor of Louisville (2003–11). He has been a pivotal voice on important issues, including open space;  economic development and transportation; and library, recreation and senior services. 

In addition, he served on the board of directors for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and was chair during completion of Denver’s Union Square renovation, resulting in a major expansion of regional transit services. 

For 20 years, Sisk served as a college football referee for the Mountain West Athletic Conference, where he contributed to the standards of fair play and sportsmanship. In this role he forged friendships with players, coaches and fans that continue to this day. 

Sisk served as Boulder County’s public administrator for several decades. As such, he is regularly appointed by the court to represent minors, the elderly, and the mentally or physically challenged who need legal representation. He is a law partner with Hurth, Sisk & Blakemore in Boulder. 

A fourth-generation Coloradan and diehard Buff, Sisk received his undergraduate (BA’67) and graduate (JD’69) degrees from CU Boulder. He has taught undergraduate business law classes at the university. 

The Board of Regents is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Chuck Sisk for his decades of dedicated service to the people and institutions of Boulder County.