The Legacy Award is a Lifetime Achievement Award given in recognition of a distinguished individual who makes profound and long-term contributions to the Leadership Program of the Rockies. The individual leads an exemplary life by living and promoting the timeless ideals of Freedom espoused by the Program.
2017 Legacy Award Recipient
Bruce Benson, a nationally recognized leader in business, education and philanthropy, continues to set a high bar for work ethic, integrity and a commitment to free-market principles.
Bruce currently serves as president of the University of Colorado. Under his leadership, he has shattered records for enrollment, donations to the university and research funding. He successfully instituted business-minded efficiencies and cut the university bureaucracy: CU’s overhead is now 28 percent below its national peers.
Just after graduating from CU Boulder, Bruce formed Benson Mineral Group, an oil and gas exploration and production company. In time, BMG expanded from oil and gas to banking, commercial real estate, cable television and a host of other enterprises. This maverick businessman has a history of promoting a free marketplace of ideas and fostering environments where discussion and debate are the building blocks of his success. In 2009 he was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
Bruce was an early supporter of The Leadership Program of the Rockies, helping to create the program which now has over 1,400 graduates. He served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party four times and has had leadership roles in many presidential, state-wide, and local campaigns. In addition, he has been active in a broad spectrum of educational, civic and political initiatives at the state and national levels.
Bruce and his wife, Marcy Benson, are avid philanthropists who have been enormously supportive of many groups, including Children’s Hospital Colorado, Boy Scouts, Denver Public School Foundation, the Denver Zoo and the University of Colorado. Their work has earned them the respect and admiration of the community and the high regard of charitable recipients throughout the state.
Bruce and Marcy live in Denver. He has three children and 10 grandchildren.
2016 Legacy Award Recipient
HONORABLE HANK BROWN
Senator Hank Brown, an example of timeless leadership, has long been known for his dedication to the values important to the Leadership Program of the Rockies. Throughout his career of government service in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, his many years involved with higher education, and his role as the head of the The Daniels Fund, Hank has championed the Constitution, free market capitalism, and the proper role of government.
Mr. Brown spent six years serving Colorado in the U.S. Senate, which was preceded by five consecutive terms in the U.S. House representing Colorado's 4th Congressional District and four years in the Colorado Senate. From 1975 to 1976, Mr. Brown served in the Colorado State Senate and was elected Assistant Majority Leader in his first term.
From 1962 to 1966, he served in the U.S. Navy where he volunteered his service in Vietnam and was decorated for his combat service as a forward air controller.
2015 Legacy Award Recipient
Alex Cranberg is the President and Chairman of the Board of Aspect Management Corporation which manages the Aspect family of companies. The name Aspect was derived from Alex’s philosophy of embracing diverse and innovative approaches to solving problems and creating opportunities. Aspect is now a respected and active global enterprise, which together with its partners, has invested over $1 billion dollars in exploration and production activities. Prior to founding the Aspect Group, Alex was as an operations and reservoir engineer for Houston Oil and Minerals Corp, later joining General Atlantic Partners, where he was responsible for its successful petroleum investments in the volatile 1980’s.
Alex was raised in Los Alamos, NM, Charlottesville, VA, and Austin, TX. He graduated from University of Texas at Austin in 1977 receiving a degree in Petroleum Engineering. He went on to earn his MBA from Stanford University in 1981. In 2011, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), appointed Cranberg to a six year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents where he also serves as Chairman of the University Lands Advisory Board and the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee.
Alex is also active in philanthropy. His philanthropic efforts are focused both on backing diversity and innovation in education (as Chairman of ACE Scholarship Foundation) and activism in a variety of public policy areas, including serving on the Board of Directors of The Leadership Program of the Rockies. He was named to them Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Hall of Fame in 2010.
Alex is married to Cathy Neville Cranberg and has four children: Hannah, Clare, Shane and Skylar.
2014 Legacy Award Recipient
HONORABLE BILL HYBL
William (Bill) Hybl has lead an exceptional career across various fields of public service before becoming the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs. Bill has been a generous supporter of the Leadership Program of the Rockies since its inception.
In 2008, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Hybl to Chairman of the U.S. Commission of Public Diplomacy and was later reappointed to this same position by President Obama in 2011. Hybl spent six years on the Public Diplomacy Commission, including four as Vice-Chair before his appointment as Chairman in 2008. He has served as the U.S. Representative to the 56th General Assembly of the United Nations in 2001.
On top of his public service in the international scene, Hybl has served the United States Olympic Committee in numerous capacities as well. He is the President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, and has served as the President of the Olympic Team Delegations at the 1992 Olympic Games.
Currently, Bill is the Vice Chairman of the Board of The BroAdmoor, Chairman of the Air Force Academy Foundation and The Hundred Club of Colorado Springs. He is a Life Trustee for Colorado College, while serving on the boards for Garden City Company, FirstBank Holding Company of Colorado, and Mountain States Employers Council. He and his wife Kathleen are the proud parents of two sons and six grandchildren.
2013 Legacy Award Recipient
SENATOR BILL ARMSTRONG
"Under Senator Armstrong's insightful guidance, the Leadership Program of the Rockies continues to flourish and create leaders in Colorado and beyond," LPR President Shari Williams stated. "Senator Armstrong's spirit of entrepreneurship and principled leadership sets a shining example for our alumni, who influence decisions at every level of government."
Armstrong's successes span both business and politics. He served six years in the House of Representatives and 12 as a U.S. Senator. Armstrong started or purchased four mortgage banking firms and was formerly chairman of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, which grew 4,000 percent under his guidance. Previous positions include being the director of six public companies, chairman/owner/operator of 13 private companies and serving on the board of Campus Crusade for Christ for 17 years. Currently, Armstrong is the President of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO, the chairman of software developer Blueberry Systems and director of oil and gas drilling contractor Helmerich & Payne.