Anton to focus on diversity
Henry “Hank” Anton doesn’t see much difference between the Western Slope and southern Colorado when it comes to the University of Colorado.
“Pueblo is a stepchild, too,” said the Pueblo Republican. “They forget about us down here too, so southern Coloradans can relate to the problems people have over there.”
And one of those problems, Anton reckons, is a lack of diversity. Financial constraints often keep children from moderate- and low-income homes in rural Colorado from attending its premier state university. Anton is proposing a Regent’s Scholarship program that would give minority students $2,500 a year towards tuition as long as they maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
“I think it might just happen, because it would help every regent’s constituents,” he said.
Anton also takes credit for getting the admissions department to begin working more closely with college counselors in high schools around the state.
“I’m bringing the CU admissions officers over to the Western Slope,” he said. “CU used to have an admissions policy that went to the border in the north and El Paso County in the south.”
So far, the visits have been limited to Pueblo. In a questionnaire filled out for The Denver Post editorial board, Anton writes, “I have established an outreach for our admissions officers to meet with the local counselors to help in any way we can to increase minority applications to all three campuses. … We already met in Pueblo. By the end of October, we will have taken this program to Alamosa, Trinidad and Durango in my area.”
Another concern of Anton’s is out-of-state tuition. The TABOR amendment to the state Constitution, which limits the government’s power to tax and spend, affects the university’s ability to raise tuition for everybody, including its sizable proportion of students who call the East Coast and other out-of-state locales home.
“We need to work with the Legislature to find ways to increase out-of-state tuition,” he said.
Anton says his biggest accomplishment in his first term was stabilizing CU’s administration. When he was elected in 1994, the university was struggling under the leadership of President Judith Albine. Anton was elected chairman of the board of regents after six months on the job “because nobody else was able to do it. A lot of regents weren’t talking to each other. They would even turn their backs on each other at parties. Now we all get along.”
As an afterthought, he added, “I sure grew up in the job mighty quick.”
The biggest ongoing project for the regents is overseeing the relocation of the CU medical school to a former military base north of Denver. “I’ve been involved with that, and I feel it’s going very well,” he said.
Anton also said he supports voluntary prayer at CU sporting events and favors a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy for dealing with student drinking on campus. He also vowed to continue work on integrating the teaching and library systems at CU’s different campuses, so that students have an easier time transferring from one to another.
Anton first became involved with higher education in the late 1980s when he started an annual auction to raise money that would help financially needy Pueblo students attend CU. “We had many students in Pueblo who qualified to attend CU, but they couldn’t afford it,” he said.
The first year, Anton and his fellow CU alumni raised just $700; this year the auction of football tickets, jackets and other CU paraphernalia raised about $12,000, which will be spent on eight students.
Anton is an insurance broker in Pueblo, where he and his wife raised three children.
In addition to six years as a regent, he spent three years on the CU National Alumni Executive Board (1989-92) and 19 years as the Pueblo CU Alumni president (1975-94). He is currently serving on the Vestry of the Ascension Episcopal Church, a position he held for six years in the early 1970s. He served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1966.
Anton graduated from the University of Colorado in 1960 with a B.S. in accounting.
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