Glen Gallegos proud of his regent accomplishments, running for second term as University of Colorado regent
EDWARDS — Glen Gallegos knows almost every inch of Colorado’s Western Slope, where he is running for a second term for the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents.
Glen Gallegos, a fifth-generation Coloradan, was born and raised in the Vail Valley. His brother Gerald Gallegos launched Gallegos Corp., the family business, 47 years ago. Along with working for the company as president of operations, Glen Gallegos invested a 26-year career in education: kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education. He served on the Colorado Mesa University board before winning his first term on the CU Regent board six years ago.
His business background has been a big help, he said. He chairs CU’s finance and budget committees.
Glen Gallegos has been everywhere in the state but calls the Western Slope and 3rd Congressional District home. CU’s nine regents are elected from Colorado’s seven congressional districts, plus two at-large seats.
“You cannot rule out the western and southern parts of the state. It’s not all about the Front Range,” Glen Gallegos said.
He knows from experience that Colorado’s 3rd District is the nation’s third largest. The biggest is Alaska, then all of Wyoming, then Colorado’s 3rd District.
He also knows that some of the best Mexican food in our spiral arm of the universe is a restaurant in Antonito.
He’s pretty good at returning phone calls at specific times because he knows which parts of the 3rd Congressional District are Bermuda Triangles of telecommunications.
Forging statewide partnerships
He’ll talk about all of that, but he’d rather talk about the University of Colorado. He’s proud of everything the regents have accomplished during his first term.
Traveling the vast reaches of Colorado’s 3rd District for the past six years, he has seen rural communities struggle.
“We’re bringing the university’s resources to those small towns,” Glen Gallegos said.
CU must be careful, though, to avoid “coming in like they think they’re the big dog. They’ll send you packing,” he said.
Where CU doesn’t have campuses around the state, it’s forging partnerships with other colleges and local school districts.
The university landed record amounts of research grants and is enjoying record enrollment. Scholarships are way up, he said.
The number of high school grads from the 3rd District attending CU is up 8 percent, he said. At the same time, CU has one of the nation’s lowest default rates for student loans, 2 percent, Gallegos said.
“Like any successful business, we have to keep looking for ways to grow and improve, Gallegos said.
Not too liberal or expensive
People often tell him CU is too liberal and too expensive, Glen Gallegos said. They constantly ask him why families should send their children and their money to CU.
“Programs must continue translating into good jobs for graduates,” Glen Gallegos said. “People choose what they do for a living, but technology and research — that’s where the new jobs are.”
Boulder is liberal, but CU does not completely reflect that, Gallegos said. He emphasized that all points of view are guaranteed free expression on the CU campus. Academic freedom and freedom of expression are part of a CU Regent policy that also defines student rights.
That free expression can happen anywhere on campus, and often does, Glen Gallegos said.
Campus guest speakers range from conservative Ann Coulter to Barack Obama to Charles Kirk, who founded the conservative Turning Point USA.
“College should be a place for all ideas. We are not required to agree with each other, but we must be respectful,” Glen Gallegos said.
As for being too expensive, CU is trying some innovative ways to address that.
The university offers an online four-year degree that costs $15,000, he said. The university has six national classes, taught online, that each reach 15,000 to 20,000 students.
“It’s exciting to see education available on a global scale,” Gallegos said.
CU makes a difference
CU turns out 15,000 graduates a year, more than all of Colorado’s other colleges combined, Glen Gallegos said. New graduates are surveyed, as are alumni, asking about their CU experience and whether the university prepared them for their careers; 96 percent say it did, Gallegos said.
Other colleges and universities also do great work, Glen Gallegos said.
“We need every great university in the state we can have,” he said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.