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Governor Appoints Three to UNC Board of Trustees

January 6, 2020

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday announced appointments to the University of Northern Colorado’s Board of Trustees following the departures of three board members whose service ended in December.  

Newly appointed members, pending confirmation by the Colorado General Assembly, are Patricia Barela Rivera, Maia Babbs, and UNC alumnus Dr. Shashwata Prateek Dutta.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to welcome our new appointees," said Board Chairman Dick Monfort. "The experience they bring and their leadership will be instrumental as we continue to advance UNC." 

Barela Rivera portrait
Patricia Barela Rivera

Barela Rivera is owner and president of PBR Solutions, a Denver-based consulting firm. She previously spent 11 years as the director of the Colorado District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Her leadership experience also includes directing citizen advocacy and outreach in the governor’s office from 1994-97, being appointed by the governor as deputy director for the State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs from 1991-94, and serving on over 60 community and organization boards in Colorado during the past 35 years. Barela Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. She has been appointed to a one-year term to replace Tony Salazar, who resigned last fall after accepting a position with the University of Colorado.

“I'm honored to serve on the UNC Board especially in the northern part of the State of Colorado,” Barela Rivera said. “I look forward to working with the board members and President Feinstein to enhance the equitable representation and retention of a diverse student body. I also feel that my past community engagement and advocacy, entrepreneurial, state and federal experience will add value to the mission of UNC.”

Babbs is partner and vice president of Investments and Client Advisory for Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel. With over two decades of experience in the financial industry, she previously served as an equity research analyst at Denver Investment Advisors, a senior associate at investment banking firm Green Manning and Bunch, Ltd., and an associate in Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.’s debt capital markets group.

Maia portrait
Maia Babbs

Babbs earned a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy (International Affairs) with a concentration in international economics and finance from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. She was appointed to serve a four-year term on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education in 2015.
“I am thrilled to join the University of Northern Colorado community and to continue my service to higher education in Colorado,” Babbs said. “Higher education was the ‘family business’ as my father, mother and grandmother all taught at public universities, including several in Colorado. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to contribute as well, and look forward to leveraging my background in finance and investments and previous experience in higher education as we chart a course for the future.”

Dutta, who graduated from UNC in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, is the Colorado policy director for Democrats for Education Reform in Denver. In the role, he has worked with legislators to create a wide range of K-12 policies. He holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard. His experience also includes teaching fifth and sixth grade history, developing and implementing curriculum, and serving fellowships at the New Mexico Department of Education and Bellingham Public Schools in Washington state.

Dutta portrait
Dr. Shashwata Prateek Dutta

“Graduating from the University of Northern Colorado left an indelible mark on my life, professionally and personally,” Dutta said. “I am humbled and honored to serve as a Board of Trustees member at such a pivotal time for the university.”

The terms for Babbs and Dutta will run through 2023. They replace former trustees Paul Washington and Kevin Ahern, whose terms ended in December.

UNC's Board of Trustees consists of seven members appointed by the governor, a faculty member elected by peers and a student elected by peers. For more information about the board, visit its website. For more information on Boards and Commissions, click here.

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