A Message from President Aceves

Dear Colleagues,

Summer marks a new beginning with classes and camps bringing both students and visitors to campus. While we prepare for the year ahead, our summer programs present us with an opportunity to continue to build bridges of collaboration across our academic programs. When individuals from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate, they bring a range of unique ideas and approaches to the table, inspiring creativity and fueling innovation. One program that has thrived over the years is the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy (PBLA). Each summer, Regis has an opportunity to begin and deepen meaningful relationships with the youth in our community and their families. I asked Coach Lonnie Porter to reflect on what it has meant to build a lasting legacy through PBLA.

“As we reflect on the past 27 years that the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy at Regis University has been in existence, we would be remiss if we did not give gratitude to one of our biggest partners, Regis University. From President David Clarke and President Mike Sheeran to Father Fitzgibbons, Interim President Cody Teets and now President Salvador Aceves, Regis University has supported us by graciously offering academic space and financial support. Regis University’s schools of Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, Nursing and Anderson College of Business and Computing have joined us and supported our students by offering classes which provide exposure to a variety of career paths. 

We have had the privilege of watching seven of our students who began in third grade complete their college degrees this past May. Then there are students such as Megan Coffey-Parker, who completed her master’s degree in education. She returned to teach incoming PBLA students at the academy. Dr. Monique Gonzales completed her doctorate in pharmacy and Alma Vazquez, who now sits on the advisory board at Sooper Credit Union, completed her business degree. These are just a few of the many examples that show that without Regis University, none of their successes would have been possible. This fall, we will have six more incredible PBLA leaders continuing the PBLA and Regis legacy as freshmen.

The Porter-Billups Leadership Academy prides itself on presenting opportunities to at-risk students in the Denver metro area beginning in third grade and continuing on to the summer before their senior year. Many of these students are at-risk of not completing their high school degrees and may not even think they have a chance to attend a University.  However, the support does not end when the three-week summer academy ends in June. Teachers and administrators continue to collaborate with families to inform them of leadership activities available to them throughout the year. They offer support during the school year and collaborate with parents in assistance with encouraging students to show success in academics and behavior management. Out of 229 students, 99.5% of our students have graduated from high school. PBLA has had 83% of those 229 students attend college, proving that this support is integral to their future successes.

This summer, 225 students will arrive at Regis University with over 40 new scholars stepping foot on a college campus for the first time in their young lives. Twenty of those students will graduate from PBLA after having attended the academy for nine years. We are so very grateful to all of our generous donors and curriculum partners who have made all of this possible and hope to continue bringing up young leaders at the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy for many years to come.”

Thank you, Coach. Your story is a wonderful example of how fostering an open-minded spirit, through collaborative efforts, generates fresh perspectives and breakthrough opportunities. We’re honored to continue to be a part of such a formative experience for so many students. By forging these connections, collaboration becomes a catalyst for creating inclusive societies where diversity and inclusion is celebrated and valued, and divisions are bridged. I’m grateful for the dedication and hard work Coach Porter and the PBLA team have done to make this program a success.



Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D.