Having earned three degrees at Adams State University and with pleasant memories growing up with a father who worked for the institution, Board of Trustee Vice Chair Donna Griego has deep roots in the San Luis Valley and the University she serves. And some strong opinions about the mission of the University.
Griego says it’s two-fold: First, Adams State has a responsibility to provide access to teacher education in rural Colorado and also to serve as a regional education provider. Second, the University should be committed to promoting the culture of the region.
Located in a rural agricultural area in the Upper Rio Grande and Southwest heritage, Adams State is unique. “What we offer is meshed into the very core of the Valley. It is important we strive to offer our services to the region we serve.”
Whether Adams State is turning 100-years-old, or 200, Griego said the focus will always be fulfilling the statutory mission.
“Providing access needed to educate all of our diverse populations is critical, especially our rural and first-generation students,” she says. As a board member, she focuses on removing as many obstacles and barriers as possible that keep students from obtaining their educational goal.
She herself had to overcome some obstacles: She herself was a first-generation Latina, a non-traditional student, who is a native of Alamosa. Fast forward a few years, and she now chairs the Adams State Hispanic Serving Institution Advisory Committee. The committee includes other trustees and a group of diverse leaders on the campus and in the community. As HSI committee chair, her main objective is to advise the board of best practices regarding all students’ academic success.
And Griego is not just an alumna of the University. She worked at Adams State for almost 30 years before retiring. She appreciates the school’s positive economic impact on the San Luis Valley. “Higher education is a catalyst for upward social mobility. Research shows that college graduates earn a higher income and are more apt to become involved in the communities in which they live.” She is living proof of that.
While at Adams State, Griego taught a freshman experience course, Academic Achievement Strategies. Her last position on campus was the manager for Counselor Education Online Master’s Plus and Doctoral Programs. She was selected as a fellow and leader for the Adams State Center for Equity in Learning and Teaching. She co-founded the SLV Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America that provides support for mothers who have sons and daughters in active duty in the United State Armed Forces and served on the Colorado Humanities Board of Directors.
Still, her first love is the difference she can make at her alma mater. “I am very passionate about Adams State,” she says. “It is near and dear to my heart and has always been in my life.”