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Spring 2021 Marathon Award: Lieutenant General Laura Richardson 


The Marathon Award is given out at spring and winter commencement ceremonies to MSU Denver alumni, employees or community advocates who exemplify “the Roadrunner Difference.” 

Lieutenant General Laura RichardsonRepresentative of Roadrunner students who sprinted across Denver’s busy streets to get to class from the early days of the University, the Roadrunner Difference embodies that spirit of determination that our students use to be successful on campus and in their careers. Our graduates are diverse, tenacious, primed, purposeful and entrepreneurial, and this award honors someone who takes those characteristics to reimagine what’s possible for themselves and their communities. 

Lieutenant General Laura Richardson is a 1986 MSU Denver graduate who is the highest ranking woman in the U.S. Army, currently serving as the commanding general of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.  

Richardson, a Northglenn native, studied psychology and went through MSU Denver’s ROTC program before becoming a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, flying combat missions in Iraq and working her way to the top of the military.  

She was recently nominated for a promotion to four-star general, and when confirmed by the U.S. Senate will become one of just a handful of women to achieve that rank in the history of the military. 

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