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Board of Regents member Kyle Hybl listens Friday as CU Board of Regents chair Sue Sharkey acknowledges his accomplishments while serving for the past 12 years of serving on the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents at Berger Hall at the UCCS campus on Friday November 9, 2018 in Colorado Springs.

A man of great intellect, a leader who inspires calmness and a true statesman are among the descriptions colleagues use when talking about Kyle Hybl, who received a resolution of appreciation Friday for his 12 years of service on the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents.

Hybl said it’s been his privilege to help guide the four-campus university system through some difficult years.

“I played a small part in a number of large projects,” he says, reflecting on the accomplishments the state’s largest university system has realized since he came on board in 2006.

Hybl and departing Regent Steve Ludwig were recognized during a board meeting at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Ludwig is the first UCCS alumnus to serve on the board.

They are leaving two term-limited seats on the CU Board of Regents

They also received “Regent Emeriti” designation, as it was their last board meeting.

Republican Chance Hill won Hybl’s seat in the Nov. 6 election and will be sworn into office in January, when Hybl, also a Republican, officially departs.

Hybl attended the CU Law School in Boulder and interned for Vice President Dan Quayle and for U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colorado Springs, before he was elected to the six-year regent’s seat in 2005 and again in 2011.

“So I had an interest in politics, and I also have an interest in higher education,” he said. “That combination is unique to the position of regent.”

The university system was in a tough spot in 2006, with a recruiting scandal in its athletics programs and rape charges against some athletes. In 2007, high-profile Boulder professor Ward Churchill was fired for academic misconduct associated with plagiarism and fabrication in his work. He sued the regents and won $1 but didn’t get his job back.

“Favorability ratings (for the CU system) weren’t that great,” Hybl said.

But when U.S. Sen. Hank Brown became the system’s president, he began “righting the ship.”

Brown led the board and staff to realize “the importance of a shared vision and mission,” Hybl said.

That aligned with Hybl’s goals.

“One of my objectives, when I came on the board, was that CU had been a Boulder-centric group of leaders,” he said, and that has changed to becoming “a bona fide system.”

Brown moved the system office from Boulder to an off-campus site in Denver. “That was truly separating. The office stands alone, which separated the campuses into a system,” Hybl said.

Hybl, who is president and chief operating officer of El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs, also pushed for the board to become “a higher-forming, policy-based governing board.”

“We’ve worked hard to develop a mission, vision, guiding principles and strategic directions for the campuses,” he said. “We’re now at a place where we have strategic principles, to which we hold the chancellors and president accountable.”

“You’ve been a stalwart in your service and unselfish in your generosity,” CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell told Hybl at Friday’s meeting.

“Though you’re a Buffalo, you decided to be a Mountain Lion, having your footprints throughout this campus,” said UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy.

Hybl was elected by fellow members to head the board four times — the most of any regent.

Regent Linda Shoemaker said she had no idea what a tough job that was because Hybl made it “seem easy and seamless.”

“You managed to get us moving in the same direction,” she said, “and I realized how important it was to have a leader like you.”

Regent Irene Griego told him: “The Democrats have always been the minority, and you never let us feel it. You taught me so much. You kept me informed. You truly want to do what’s right for all of us.”

When the recession led to slashed state funding for higher education, to the point that students now pay two-thirds of the cost, Hybl worked closely with former UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak to ride out the budget crisis.

“When I started, the UC (system) budget was $2 billion,” Hybl said. “It’s now $4.5 billion and gets $235 million from the state of Colorado.”

Despite the struggles, UCCS has amassed a mountain of achievements in recent years.

Enrollment has grown from 7,000 in 2006 to more than 12,500 this semester. The campus’ economic impact has ballooned from $250 million to nearly $600 million, Hybl said.

The system as a whole has grown similarly, expanding economic impact from $4 billion in 2006 to an estimated $8.3 billion today, he said.

Projects he’s worked on include attracting a branch medical campus to Colorado Springs.

“For a city of our size, we were one of the few that did not have a branch medical campus,” he said. “It’s helpful to the future of medicine.”

Hybl is also proud of the board’s role in City for Champions, the city’s four-part economic development and tourism project. Ground was broken last month for one part: UCCS’ William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center.

The 104,000-square-foot, $61.4 million center, scheduled to open in 2020, will integrate undergraduate and graduate education with clinical practice and research in a sports medicine and performance environment, operating in partnership with Penrose-Sr. Francis Centura Health.

It is named for Hybl’s father, Bill Hybl, chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation and twice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Hybl also helped to arrange the UCHealth Memorial Hospital lease with the city of Colorado Springs.

“I think our community also has benefited from that,” he said.

Hybl and his wife, Sally, led fundraising for the $70 million UCCS Ent Center for the Arts, which opened in January. The Hybls also headed a $1.5 million drive to name the theater in honor of Shockley-Zalabak.

In addition, Hybl helped create the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs, which is becoming a think tank for federal and state agencies to share information on cyber-based criminal and national security threats.

Hybl said he leaves the board at an “exciting and challenging time for higher education.” The regents are searching for a new system president, as Bruce Benson has announced he will retire in June. And, “With the disruptive nature of technology, artificial intelligence, the flipped classroom, how people are going to learn in the future is changing,” he said.

“It’s been a true honor and real privilege to be part of an institution that’s whole mission is to educate people, be a workforce driver, a cultural driver, an economic driver.”

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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