Campus & Community

Founders Day: Senior Richard Maez honored as outstanding undergraduate

Among Richard Maez's most notable experiences at DU have been studying abroad in Spain, which he says changed his perspective on life, and helping plan the 2012 on-campus presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney.

Among Richard Maez’s most notable experiences at DU have been studying abroad in Spain, which he says changed his perspective on life, and helping plan the 2012 on-campus presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney.

Richard Maez (’15) was determined to go down a different path when he arrived at the University of Denver.

“In high school I wasn’t super involved, and I didn’t want to do the same thing coming into DU,” he explains.

Maez, who is the first person in his family to attend college, may have outdone himself in his goal: The senior history and Spanish major is a member of the University’s Pioneer Leadership Program; external co-president of the DU Programming Board; coordinator of the Excelling Leaders Institute at the Center for Multicultural Excellence; and a fellow in the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

His work extends outside the University, too. Maez is involved with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program of Colorado, serving as chair of the four-day leadership seminar held every June for more than 200 Colorado high school sophomores.

It’s no wonder Maez is the recipient of the inaugural Founders Day Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.

Maez, who is minoring in leadership, also is a dual-degree student in the Morgridge College of Education, where he plans to complete a master’s program in curriculum and instruction in the spring of 2016.

Among his most notable experiences at DU have been studying abroad in Spain, which he says changed his perspective on life, and helping plan the 2012 on-campus presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney.

It hasn’t always been an easy journey, though. When his father died during his freshman year, Maez almost dropped out to help his mother and siblings, who live just 15 minutes west of campus.

But with the support of the DU community, Maez stayed — and thrived.

“My friends said I couldn’t [leave school] — because that was giving up, and that wouldn’t make my dad proud. So I came back stronger than ever,” he says. “It became about making my dad proud and enjoying my college experience, because my dad and mom didn’t have that experience.”

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