Published: March 31, 2022

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has announced its selection of recipients of honorary degrees, distinguished service awards and university medals for 2022, including three CU Boulder affiliates. 

Given since 1882, the regent awards include:

  • Honorary degrees, which recognize outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: intellectual contributions, university service, philanthropy and/or public service.
  • Distinguished service awards, which recognize those persons whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the state and/or nation.
  • University medals, which recognize those persons whose achievements and contributions are particularly associated with the university.

The 2022 CU Boulder awardees are Juan Espinosa (honorary degree), Linda Hogan (honorary degree) and Ryan Haygood (distinguished service award). They will be honored in a private campus ceremony on May 4, along with Michael Leeds (university medal), who was awarded in 2021 but chose to defer until this year.

Juan Espinosa

Honorary degree

Juan Espinosa blazed a path through the University of Colorado School of Journalism for himself and other Chicano/a journalists to follow by starting El Diario de la Gente newspaper on the Boulder campus. He created a photo archive of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement history, which has been used in exhibits and a variety of media. In 1976, he was one of the founders of La Cucaracha, an independent alternative newspaper in Pueblo.

Espinosa was at the leading edge of a generation of journalists who told stories of a community long ignored by major media. He went on to a 22-year career at The Pueblo Chieftain and later became a certified teacher of Chicano studies. In recent years, he applied the skills of his trade to photography, filmmaking and video documentaries.

Linda Hogan

Honorary degree

Linda Hogan is an internationally recognized public speaker and author of poetry, fiction and essays. She is Professor Emerita in the English Department at CU Boulder, a faculty member of the Indian Arts Institute and writer in residence for the Chickasaw Nation.

Her numerous publications include DARK. SWEET. New and Selected Poems; Pulitzer Prize-nominee Rounding the Human Corners; and Mean Spirit, winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, the Mountains and Plains Book Award and Pulitzer finalist, among others. In poetry, The Book of Medicines was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

She has worked with at-risk teens at the Chickasaw Children’s Home and lectures and reads extensively worldwide. In 2007, Hogan was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame for her writing.

Ryan Haygood

Distinguished service award

Ryan P. Haygood is a nationally respected civil rights lawyer. As president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, he leads a majority-women of color team of racial justice advocates whose cutting-edge work seeks to build reparative systems that create wealth, justice and power for Black, Latina/Latino and other people of color in New Jersey.

Under Haygood’s leadership, the institute’s advocacy led to the historic restoration of the vote to 83,000 people on parole and probation; automatic and online voter registration; ending prison-based gerrymandering for state legislative redistricting; a $15 minimum wage; the reporting of COVID-19 racial data; and New Jersey becoming the first state to test all its incarcerated youth for COVID-19.

Before leading the institute, Haygood served as deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., where he litigated key civil rights cases. Haygood earned his JD from the University of Colorado School of Law and bachelor’s in American History and Political Science cum laude from Colorado College.

Michael Leeds

University medal

The business school at CU Boulder might have no better friend than alumnus and namesake donor Michael Leeds. After graduating with a business degree in 1974, Leeds embarked on a successful career in media, health care, aviation and philanthropy. He spent more than a decade as president and CEO of CMP Media, founded by his parents in 1971, and took the company public. It was named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and later sold for more than $750 million.

In 2001, the Leeds family made what was then the largest single donation to CU Boulder and the only gift to name a school in the CU system. The donation led to the creation of two offices at the Leeds School of Business that support student success: the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and the Office of Diversity Affairs. Leeds continues to reach out to his network to increase the number of donors and donations to the school.

Leeds has remained a member of the business school advisory board and served as chair from 2002 to 2007. He developed and taught a leadership course and addresses new students every year during orientation. Leeds still pilots a corporate jet and maintains his longtime side gig as an instructor at Colorado’s Beaver Creek ski area.