Gwyn Green’s legacy of social justice to be carried on by students

New scholarship at Red Rocks Community College bears the name of the former Colorado house Rep. Green


In the past year since Gwyn Green’s death, Golden residents approached Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan to ask her to come up with a way to memorialize the late state in one way or another.

They had suggested naming a street after her, Sloan said, or to set aside a special day in her honor.

“But none of these ideas seemed to strike the right chord,” Sloan said. “Then I realized that a Red Rocks Scholarship would be a lasting and meaningful tribute to Gwyn’s commitment to education, equity and social well-being.”

On Oct. 10, in partnership with the Red Rocks Community College Foundation, a small committee of local residents launched the Gwyn Green Memorial Scholarship Fund.

A scholarship is a fitting way to honor Green, said Jacob Smith, one of the committee members and former mayor of Golden.

“This embodies everything she (Green) believed in — helping people who need the help,” Smith said. “In her memory, people will have opportunities they might not have otherwise.”

The scholarship fund will be a $50,000 endowment that will provide one student a $2,000 scholarship per academic year to attend Red Rocks Community College, which has a campus in Lakewood and Arvada. The $2,000 will cover the cost of two classes and fees per semester.

The first scholarship will be awarded in May 2020 for the following academic year.

Any Red Rocks student, current or future, will be eligible for the scholarship and there is no residency requirement. The only caveat is that the scholarship will go to a student pursuing the social sciences, to honor the contributions Green made to the community.

Social Sciences studies at Red Rocks include psychology, sociology, communication, political science, criminal justice, anthropology, geography and economics.

Social Sciences are a field for anyone looking to better their community, said Ron Slinger, the college’s vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the Red Rocks Community College Foundation.

Green was “a champion for trying to help the underserved,” Slinger said. “The social sciences go hand-in-hand with that.”

Green of Golden died at age 79 on Sept. 12, 2018, following a five-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Green is remembered for being a fierce advocate for seniors and children. She was a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in assisting the elderly poor and children. She served as a Golden city councilmember from 2001-2004. In November 2004, Green was elected to represent District 23, which encompasses parts of Lakewood and Golden. She held the seat from 2005-2009 when she resigned for health reasons.

In addition, Green was involved with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), the League of Women Voters and Save the Mesas — a citizen-led protest group that formed following a 1997 proposal by Nike to relocate its world headquarters to South Table Mountain in Golden.

Green faced some difficulties in her life, but she had persistence and she was certainly a leader, said Green’s widower Dan Green.

The hope is that the students who receive this scholarship will be inspired by her lifelong commitment to social justice, Dan Green added. “I think she’d be pretty happy if it worked out that way.”


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