Colorado’s lieutenant governor and community college system president visit Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado’s lieutenant governor and community college system president visit Craig

Craig's college impresses officials with its art, facilities and innovative programs

— Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne traveled to Northwest Colorado Wednesday on her statewide tour of state facilities.

It was her 95th day on the job as lieutenant governor.

Her task for the next two years is to be the state's chief operating officer and to work with the Colorado Department of Education by holding higher education in Colorado accountable.

Lynne visited Craig with Colorado Community College System President Nancy McCallin so they could meet the new president of Colorado Northwestern Community College Ronald Granger. The pair toured CNCC's Craig campus followed by a brief roundtable discussion about college finance.

State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, his wife, Joyce Rankin, and Colorado Department of Local Affairs Executive Director Irv Halter were also at the college. Joyce Rankin is a member of the State Board of Education.

The biggest challenge Lynne sees for Colorado education is keeping college affordable for students and funding education in general. CNCC Dean of Instruction Donna Theimer also believes the college needs to consider how it can contribute to meeting community needs.

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"Education is still expensive, and student loans are hard to pay-off," Theimer said, noting that many entry-level jobs don't pay a high enough wage to help graduating students make a dent in loan payments.

Colorado ranks 48th in the nation for funding higher education, meaning it's at the bottom compared to other states, McCallin said.

"Education financing is something we'll all have to tackle together," Lynne said.

CNCC impressed Lynn and McCallin with its innovative programs like the new soccer teams, paleontology and nursing. Such programs make McCallin "very proud."

As for Lynne, her overall impressions of CNCC were positive.

"I love the art work and the nice community feel," she said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.