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Liliana Rodriguez, James Larcus Receive Awards from NASPA

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Jeremy Jones

Recognized for their Work Within Student Affairs

News  •
Liliana Rodriguez and James Larcus

Two members of the University of Denver community have been recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) for their work within student affairs.

Honored by NASPA’s Region IV-West, Liliana Rodriguez, vice chancellor of Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence (SAIE), received the 2018 James J. Rhatigan Outstanding Dean Award, and James Larcus, project manager within DU’s Health and Counseling Center, received the 2018 Rising Star Award — New Professional.

According to NASPA, Rodriguez’s award is “presented to an individual who serves as the home institution's senior student affairs officer and has had a significant contribution to student affairs.”

Larcus’ award is presented to a new professional from each state in the NASPA IV-West region who has “been employed in a full-time position with a division of student affairs for less than three years. The recipient of the award has made significant contributions to his or her campus.”

Rodriguez says her award speaks to the collaborative spirit and effort that is taking place all across the University, adding that students are the soul of the work that DU does.

“I feel honored to have been nominated by the gifted students and staff I have the pleasure of serving. They inspire and challenge me to do better each day,” Rodriguez said. “This award is not just a reflection of me, it is testament to all the amazing work happening across this University, especially the staff educators committed to innovating the field of student affairs. I am beyond lucky to be at this University, in this position and with the team I have the privilege to lead.”

Larcus echoed those sentiments, expressing the importance of finding opportunities in which students can thrive and succeed.

“It is quite humbling to be considered for something like this and I feel great gratitude,” Larcus said. “More important than any award, however, is the opportunity to work with such great colleagues here at the Health and Counseling Center and Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence, where we think every day of opportunities for every student to holistically succeed.”

Niki Latino, associate vice chancellor of SAIE, applauded Rodriguez for her transformative and innovative approach to education.

“She is one of the most dynamic, intentional, thoughtful, inclusive, collaborative, innovative and transformative educators I have ever met in my nearly two decades in higher education,” Latino said. “I define a transformative educator as someone who challenges the mind, engages the heart and inspires the soul — Dr. Rodriguez exemplifies this definition.”

Rodriguez praised Larcus’ professionalism, noting his knowledge and devotion to his team.

“In my 15-plus years in higher education, I have rarely met a young professional who can match James in knowledge, innovation, and compassion,” she said. “James is everything one would seek in a colleague — a deep listener and empathic shoulder, a critical thinker who can improve upon most ideas without seeming overbearing, and a devoted team player.”

Rodriguez and Larcus will be formally honored in Kansas in October.