2024 CU Denver Regents Awards Ceremony 

April 16, 2024

The annual CU Denver Regent Awards is an opportunity to showcase individuals who—through their contributions to the university, state, nation, and world—help support the university as a place where students can meet their moments. This year, three CU Denver alumni earned this honor.

At the April 11 event, Chancellor Michelle Marks spoke about how these individuals were nominated by their peers, friends, and colleagues because of their personal and professional achievements and their influential contributions to CU Denver. “Each of these Distinguished Service Award recipients has left a lasting imprint on our campus in their own unique way, and for that we are so grateful,” Marks said. 

Community members and CU Regents Nolbert Chavez, Glen Gallegos, Wanda James, Frank McNulty, Ken Montera, Callie Rennison, Lesley Smith, and Mark VanDriel attended the event.  

2024 Distinguished Service Award Recipients 

Katy Anthes: An inspirational leader for educators across the state, Katy Anthes served as the Commissioner of Education for the state of Colorado for seven years. Anthes is a two-time alumnus of CU Denver, having earned a master’s degree and a PhD from the CU Denver School of Public Affairs. She joined the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) in 2011. When she was named commissioner in 2016, Anthes became Colorado’s first female commissioner in 65 years. She exemplifies exceptional leadership through her remarkable ability to listen to diverse voices and support common-sense solutions. As commissioner, she consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to inclusivity and collaboration. She recognized the importance of engaging stakeholders from all walks of life, from educators and parents to policymakers and community members, in shaping education policy. Anthes was instrumental in the launch of Universal Preschool’s efforts to work more closely with districts and administrative units, and she led CDE’s efforts to support and retain highly effective educators in Colorado. 

Katy Anthes (right)

Gary Kring: For Gary Kring, enhancing educational experiences and opportunities for students has been a lifelong pursuit. A Denver native, Kring earned his bachelor’s degree at CU Boulder and his master’s degree at CU Denver and had a long career as a certified public accountant (CPA). For decades, he has been a champion and partner in supporting higher education at CU. He holds leadership positions at two Denver-based foundations, the Schramm Foundation and the Clarence V. LaGuardia Foundation, the generosity of both of which is evident across CU. Via Kring’s stewardship, the Schramm Foundation, and Clarence V. LaGuardia Foundation have funded nearly 1,000 scholarships. In the spring of 2022, the Schramm Foundation made possible 69 scholarships for students whose homes were destroyed in the Marshall Fire. Kring also serves on the CU Planned Giving Advisory Council and is a board member at the Colorado School of Mines.

Gary Kring (right)

Ellen Zentner: Ellen Zentner’s prominent career as an economist took root at CU Denver, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics. Currently chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, Zentner has made significant contributions to individuals, companies, nonprofits, and states. After graduating from CU Denver, Zentner worked in the Revenue Estimating Division for her home state of Texas, developing her acumen, navigating a male-dominated environment, and providing important insights to inform policy. She later became the senior U.S. economist for the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and then at Nomura Securities. In 2013, she joined Morgan Stanley, where she is also a member of Morgan Stanley’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Demonstrating her skills as an economist and ability to lead a high-performing team, Zentner’s group received the Lawrence R. Klein Award in 2018 and 2020 for most-accurate forecasts over four-year periods. Zentner continues to share her time and expertise with the Denver business community, including delivering the keynote for the CU Denver Business School’s Annual Economic Forecast each April.