After presenting at a June 3 conference linked to a Colorado Community College System (CCCS) effort to give high school and higher education educators tools to resolve opportunity-limiting gender imbalances in their career training programs, Commander of the Colorado Army National Guard Col. Dana M. Capozzella bestowed a high honor on CCCS.

Col. Capozzella presented CCCS with “The Commander’s Coin of Excellence.” Col. Capozzella recognized CCCS for excellence in fulfilling its state-designated responsibilities for not only supporting and coordinating community colleges but all aspects of career and technical education (CTE) delivered by public secondary (e.g., high schools) and postsecondary entities across Colorado.

The medallion Col. Capozzella presented stems from a military tradition that each military commander designs a coin that is uniquely their own to be given to individuals and units that perform with unusual excellence. Col. Capozzella’s coin has three words on its face: Professional; Proactive; and Passionate. This is her motto. She presented the coin to CCCS’ staff for “being excellent as professionals, as well as being proactive and passionate about CTE and higher education.”

“The Colorado Community College System and the Colorado Army National Guard both have the same goal – assisting people to reach their full potential,” explained Col. Capozzella. “CCCS is doing a remarkable job at equipping Coloradans to meet today and tomorrow’s workforce demands.”

“We are very humbled by Col. Capozzella’s recognition,” remarked CCCS President Dr. Nancy McCallin, adding, “the employees and students of CCCS are indebted to and deeply appreciate the Colorado Army National Guard for their on-going sacrifices to protect our national and local welfare.”

Col. Capozzella was recently appointed Commander of the Colorado Army National Guard and is the first woman to hold that position. At the June 3 conference on Denver’s Lowry Campus she spoke about the challenges she had faced being a woman in a traditionally male environment as she advanced in the Army to her current position. She is currently awaiting US Senate confirmation of her promotion to General.

During her presentation she related to the audience that she was raised in New York State where her father taught at a community college. As a senior in high school, she became bored with school
and as a remedy her father enrolled her in courses at the community college. She continued on to graduate with a BS in Psychology from St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, and to receive her Master’s in Strategic Military Studies from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but credits the community college as the start of her higher education. This has resulted in her becoming an enthusiastic supporter of community colleges.

Col. Capozzella is a traditional guardsman which means she has a civilian career in addition to her military duties. In the civilian-sector, she is the Compliance Officer and Operations Manager for Cascade Investment Group, an independent investment firm in Colorado Springs. She is married and lives with her husband, Rob Utter, and three children in Woodland Park, Colo.
The Colorado Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. National Guard units can be mobilized at any time by presidential order to supplement regular armed forces, and upon declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the state in which they serve.

The Colorado Community College System comprises the state’s largest system of higher education serving more than 134,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and seven other post-secondary institutions The system’s colleges include: Arapahoe Community College, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Front Range Community College, Lamar Community College, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pueblo Community College, Pikes Peak Community College, Red Rocks Community College and Trinidad State Junior College.

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