Gala 2015

 Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership Award

Joseph A. Garcia

Lieutenant Governor of CO & Executive Director of the Department of Higher Education


Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia, elected in 2010 as the running mate for Gov. John Hickenlooper and reelected for a second term in 2014, brings a passion for education and public service to the state Capitol. Lt. Governor Garcia graduated from the University of Colorado, where he earned a business degree and served in the Navy Reserve. Subsequently, he earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. After graduating from Harvard, he joined the law firm of Holme, Roberts, and Owen, LLP where he became their first Hispanic Partner. Lt. Governor Garcia was appointed by former Governor Roy Romer to his Cabinet as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and also served in the Clinton Administration as the Secretary’s Rocky Mountain States Representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He also served on the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority under two separate Governors (Owens and Romer) and went on to the Chair the Board. Before he was elected Lieutenant Governor, he was president of Colorado State University - Pueblo. While president of CSU-Pueblo, he served as co-chair of the Governor's P-20 Education Task Force, as Chair of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), and on the Board of Trustees for the Higher Learning Commission for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Lt. Governor oversees the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, Serve Colorado, and the Education Leadership Council amongst other programs.



Lola A. Salazar Student of the Year Award
Ana Perez Portillo
LAEF Scholarship Recipient
Student at the University of Colorado at Denver

Ana Perez Portillo was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of three.  She is currently a first-generation student attending the University of Colorado at Denver.  Ana is a second year student majoring in Public Health and minoring in Ethnic Studies.  In addition to her full course load, Ana also holds down two jobs as a Student Assistant at CU Online and a server at IHOP. Ana is dedicated to helping and serving diverse and marginalized communities and plans to pursue a medical degree to become a healthcare provider for underrepresented communities.

Mistress of Ceremony

Belen de Leon


Belen joined 9NEWS in February 2012 as the weekend forecaster. She's been nominated as one of America's Favorite Weather Forecasters through and has reported for The Weather Channel during winter weather and wildfire coverage. Beyond forecasting, Belen donates her time to visit local schools and teach children about weather. She is very proud of her Mexican culture and has become a big collaborator of the Hispanic Heritage Month Series. 

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