Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included a picture of Regent Michael Carrigan, but identified him as Kyle Hybl. The photo has been removed.
In the midst of the search for President Bruce Benson's replacement, the University of Colorado's Board of Regents will swear in two new regents.
In early January, they will replace two regents who are each term limited after serving 12 years on the board: Steve Ludwig, a Democrat in an at-large seat, and Kyle Hybl, a Colorado Springs Republican.
"It's a significant loss," said board chair Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, of their collective 24 years of experience leaving the board. However, she added: "It's an exciting time for us as a Board of Regents. It is a time of transition, with the presidential search going on."
Boulder Democrat Lesley Smith will fill Ludwig's seat, and Colorado Springs Republican Chance Hill will fill Hybl's seat.
Ludwig and Hybl were first elected in 2006 and began their first terms in 2007. During their time on the board, they ushered in Benson's long-running tenure, helped the university endure the recession and oversaw immense growth in the university system. This June, the board unanimously approved a $4.5 billion total budget for the next fiscal year.
They also joined the board as the university was still recovering from fallout relating to scandals involving football recruiting, during which several women reported being sexually assaulted by CU players and recruits, and Ward Churchill, an ethnic studies professor who drew fire after he compared some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to a notorious Nazi.
Ludwig put himself through college and attended two community colleges before graduating from CU Colorado Springs. He ran for the at-large seat because he wanted to ensure that students could have the same access to college he did, he said.
"That was a personally transformative process, and I wanted to make sure that what I got remains available to as many people as possible, because it was such a great experience for me," he said.
The board's accomplishments are collective, Ludwig said, but he's proud of his efforts championing a guaranteed admission program for community college transfer students.
"It lowers a barrier for students that have a lot of barriers to begin with," he said.
He's proud of efforts to launch a three-year, online-only degree shared between the three campuses, and the ongoing push to launch $15,000 online bachelor's and master's degrees.
Ludwig also served one term as the board's vice chair, led multiple committees and advocated for increased budget transparency.
"Having transparency is important so we can say, 'Are we putting our money where our mouth is?'" Ludwig said. "Most of the time we are, so that's good, but better clarity is good for the public."
Looking forward, he's going to focus on his consulting business, Varus Insight; consulting on higher education; and possibly authoring a book.
"He is the most well-read regent," Sharkey said."He knows the issues, and it's apparent from the questions he asks in our meetings. Whether it's our board of regents meetings or our committee meetings, he's always on top of what the issues are. He's well-informed; he's well-read."
Hybl, meanwhile, ran because he believes everyone has an obligation to be in service to their communities, and he had an interest in higher education and Colorado's political process, he said. He earned a bachelor's and a law degree at CU Boulder.
Significantly, during his time as regent, he served four terms as chair of the board. He also led efforts to institute a shared vision, guiding principles and strategic initiatives to guide the board's efforts and the university system more broadly.
"The thing I'm most proud of is that we as a board of regents over the last 12 years have worked very hard at becoming a higher performing, policy-based governing board," he said.
He saw that work as an evolution of the university into a full-fledged system. Hybl also led academic prioritization efforts of the campuses' programs.
He'll continue as president and chief operating officer of the El Pomar Foundation.
"He was a strong leader for this board and always reminded us of our purpose," Sharkey said. "I would say that the regents on this board really admired and respected him. He worked in a really bipartisan fashion."
Both Ludwig and Hybl said the most pressing task before the new board will be selecting the next president of the university. Regents Heidi Ganahl and Irene Griego are leading the search committee, which will begin hearing names of potential candidates in January.
Other challenges the outgoing regents foresee include navigating funding and the changing nature of higher education.
Both also said they are honored to have served, and thankful for those they worked with at the university.
"It's been both an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity," Hybl said.
"It's so impressive to see what the university, its faculty and staff are doing on behalf of the state of Colorado."
Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, firstname.lastname@example.org