Ellen Roberts has been confirmed by the Colorado Legislature to the Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College.
Roberts served in the state Legislature for a decade before leaving in 2016.
In the Legislature, she served in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Much of her work focused on natural resource issues. Among the groups she served on were the Water Resources Review Committee and the Wildfire Matters Interim Committee. At the end of her tenure, she was Senate president pro tempore.
She has been a longtime advocate for FLC. When the funding for the construction of FLC’s geosciences, physics and engineering building was threatened, Roberts worked quickly to ensure the building would be supported.
“As a community member, I’ve always valued what Fort Lewis gives to our community and the region,” she told The Durango Herald when she was nominated by Gov. John Hickenlooper in December 2017.
Roberts has lived in Durango since 1989, and both her children attended FLC.
Roberts, a lawyer, will fill John Wells’ seat.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University before graduating from the University of Colorado’s School of Law. After leaving the Legislature, she returned to Durango to continue her law and consulting work.
Roberts joins Steve Short as one of two residents of Southwest Colorado who must serve on the board.
The board consists of seven voting members. It is the governing body of Fort Lewis College, and trustees are appointed by the governor.
State funding for higher education is always tight, and Roberts’ experience with the state Legislature will be beneficial as the board plans for the future of the college, Short said.
Roberts also joins the board as the school prepares to name a new president. FLC President Dene Thomas will retire June 30.
Finding and hiring a replacement is the biggest challenge the board faces going into 2018, Short said. A search committee is narrowing down a large pool of applicants, he said, but the trustees make the final hiring decision.
“Ellen, as well as all of the trustees, will be integrally involved in all of that decision-making process,” he said.
FLC also faces declining enrollment, like many schools nationally, and a tight budget, Short said.
“Because of those issues, that’s why we need great people to help guide us,” Short said.
Roberts’ term on the Board of Trustees will end Dec. 31, 2022.