Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran’s office is crowded with the awards and commendations of a young and successful life in Colorado politics. She recently added another big one: a member of the University of Denver’s Distinguished Alumni Class of 2017, the distinguished institution’s highest honor.

At just 36, Duran is the youngest member among the six inductees: Debra Crew, the CEO of Reynolds American;Brenda J. Hollis. a prosecutor in Sierra Leone; Jim Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises; Imran Khan. the chief strategy officer for Snapchat; and Craig Patrick, a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame , NHL player and coach, as well as assistant coach on the 1980 gold medal hockey team.

“I would not be where I am today if not for the quality of education I received at DU,” Duran said in a statement. “I learned so much more than facts in a textbook while studying there—I learned life lessons I still carry with me today.”

Duran received her undergraduate degree in public affairs and Spanish from DU in 2002 and went on to get a law degree from the University of Colorado. At CU, she was president of the Student Bar Association and the Latino Law Student Association. She went to high school at Arvada West. Go Wildcats.

DU’s press office profiled Duran in February. She told her old school:

“I think far too often one of the greatest barriers that people put in front of themselves is lack of believing they can actually make a difference. Aim high, think of what you want to accomplish for yourself, and the sky is really the limit. It is great to be in a country like the United States where there are a lot of opportunities.”

Duran is Colorado’s first Latina speaker of the House. She has been regarded by Democrats at the state and national level as a rising star. Duran is term-limited from seeking another two years in the Colorado House after next year. She has not yet said what her political ambitions might be after the 2018 legislative session.

I’m all ears, Speaker.

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