May 15, 2008
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien to address graduates
Colorado Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien will deliver the keynote speech at Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Spring Commencement, May 18 at 2 p.m. in the Colorado Convention Center. She will speak to a crowd of more than 1,400 graduates, the largest graduating class ever at the College. Of those graduating 20.3 percent are students of color, with 11.3 percent being Latino. “We currently have 1,401 candidates for spring 2008 graduation,” said Ellen Boswell, coordinator of Institutional Research. “In spring 2007 we had 1,228 graduates, which was the largest graduating class up to that point.”
O’Brien is a strong advocate for education. As Colorado’s 47th lieutenant governor, O’Brien is actively involved in education, health and wellness, and aerospace issues. She serves as co-chair of the Governor’s P-20 Education Council, which oversees education reform and innovation from preschool to postsecondary education. In addition, she is working with the Metro Denver Health and Wellness Commission and LiveWell Colorado, a public-private partnership to encourage small steps toward healthier habits in schools, workplaces and communities.
Lt. Gov. O’Brien also co-chairs the Colorado Space Coalition, a group of business, government and military representatives who support and promote Colorado’s aerospace industry, the second largest in the country. In this capacity, O’Brien actively promotes science, technology, engineering and math education to prepare Colorado’s next generation of aerospace workers. She also currently chairs the Education Committee for the Aerospace States Association.
A longtime advocate for young children and teens, O’Brien has a history of creating and implementing innovative policy initiatives in both health and education. From 1990 until 2006, she served as president of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, a statewide public policy and advocacy nonprofit organization. Under her leadership, the campaign produced major policy initiatives that increased funding for schools, expanded early childhood education, increased access to health care for uninsured children, reduced teen smoking and expanded after-school programs. She co-chaired the Amendment 35 (tobacco tax increase) campaign committee and was a leader in the effort to get Amendment 23 (K-12 school funding) approved.
In addition to the Colorado Children’s Campaign, O’Brien has served on the Mayor's Leadership Team on Early Education, the Governor's Commission on Children and Families, the National Kids County Steering Committee and the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Fund. She also founded and co-chaired the Kids Caucus, a bi-partisan group of state legislators committed to supporting policies that benefit children.
O’Brien was a policy advisor and speechwriter for Gov. Richard Lamm in the 1980s. She also has significant experience in higher education, having served as the University of Colorado Denver’s director of campus affairs and executive director at its Institute for International Business.
O’Brien earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and her doctorate from Columbia University.
For more information on the commencement ceremony, go to http://www.mscd.edu/commencement/index.shtml.
The ceremony can be viewed live online during the proceedings. Go to http://www.mscd.edu/commencement/webcast/.