The Colorado General Assembly today confirmed two longtime state leaders – both Colorado State University alumni – to the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System.
Former Senator Polly Baca, the first Hispanic woman in the country elected to serve in both a state House and Senate, and Nathaniel Easley, former head of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, will join the Board for four-year terms. Governor Jared Polis appointed Baca and Easley to fill seats vacated by Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn and Trammell Crow executive William Mosher, both of whom completed two full terms on the Board.
“Nate Easley and Polly Baca are outstanding additions to a Board that has a critical mission to serve all of Colorado,” Board Chair Nancy Tuor said. “Their wealth of experience and strong connections across the state will be valuable as we strive to advance this mission in new and important ways.”
The Board of Governors is the governing body of the CSU System, which encompasses CSU in Fort Collins, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global, the System’s fully online campus. The System is also preparing to launch Spur, its new public campus at the National Western Center, which will break ground this year. Tony Frank, longtime president of the Fort Collins campus, now serves as CSU System chancellor.
The Board of Governors includes 15 total members, nine of whom are voting members appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. Voting members may serve a maximum of two terms. The six non- voting members of the Board include a faculty and student representative from each System campus.
Polly Baca – Biographical Summary
The Honorable Polly Baca served in both the Colorado House of Representatives (1975-1978) and the Colorado State Senate (1979-1986). She was the first Latina in the U.S. to serve in both chambers of a state legislature. In addition, she was the first woman elected to chair the Democratic Caucus of the Colorado House (1977), the first minority woman and first Hispanic woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1978-1986), the first Hispanic woman to be nominated by a major political party for the United States Congress (1980 Democratic Party Congressional nominee), and the first Hispanic woman to co- chair two National Democratic Conventions (1980 and 1984). She served as Vice Chair of the National Democratic Party for eight years, from 1981 to 1989.
She received a B.A. degree in political science from Colorado State University, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
Baca has worked for three U.S. presidents: she was a public information officer for a White House agency under Lyndon Johnson, was the Rocky Mountain States coordinator for President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 Presidential campaign, and was special assistant to President Bill Clinton for Consumer Affairs and director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. During the 2012 campaign, she served as a national co- chair of Catholics for Obama.
Recognition she has received includes being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Hispanic Hall of Fame.
Nathaniel “Nate” Easley, Jr., Ph.D. – Biographical Summary
Dr. Nathaniel “Nate” Easley has worked at the state, national, and international levels to create opportunities for first-generation, low-income and ethnic minority students. Through his consulting firm, Easley Found Solutions, LLC, Dr. Easley applies more than 30 years of experience in public education leadership to providing strategic advice to college access professionals, philanthropists, public education advocates, schools districts, and education nonprofits. Dr. Easley served as the CEO of RootED, a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on increasing the availability of high-quality public schools in Denver through leveraged investments in educator/leader talent, high-performing schools, and a supportive policy environment. Prior to RootED, Dr. Easley served as CEO of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit public charity focused on inspiring and empowering Denver Public Schools students to achieve their postsecondary education goals by providing the tools, knowledge, and financial resources essential for success.
Dr. Easley has served as President and Secretary of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. He also worked as Vice President for National and International Programs for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. He is a current member of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Education Compact, Board vice president of the National College Access Network, Board member of the Colorado Education Initiative Board, and a Board member for School Board Partners. He previously served as a member of the Denver School of Science and Technology Public Charter School Board, the Denver Public Schools’ Roots Public Charter School Board, the Community College of Denver Advisory Council, the Colorado School of Public Health Advisory Council, and Colorado Latinos for Education Reform. He is also a past member of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council and the National Advisory Council for Texas Guaranteed Inc. (the third largest student loan guarantee organization in the United States at the time) and previously co-chaired the Denver Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Education Committee.
Dr. Easley has extensive experience helping public school students realize their dream of a college education and securing grant funding to sustain student programs. His master’s and doctorate focused on how higher education can better support the academic success and college completion of Black and Latino/a students. A graduate of Denver’s Montbello High School, he earned a B.A. in History and master’s in Higher Education at CSU, and a Ph.D. in Education from American University.