Tim Foster to receive Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medal

The Colorado Governor’s Citizenship medals represent one of the highest honors bestowed upon leaders of Colorado for their significant contributions to communities across the state.
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 12:58 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2021 at 1:53 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Each year, in partnership with Governor Jared Polis and all living Colorado governors, the nonprofit CiviCO recognizes those in Colorado who inspire excellence and public service. The annual award recognizes top community leaders from around the state with the Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals.

Governor Jared Polis announced the eight recipients for 2021 who will be honored in January as part of Colorado Leadership Month. One honoree being Tim Foster, who was chosen to receive the medal for public and community service.

The Colorado Governor’s Citizenship medals, established in 2015, represent one of the highest honors bestowed upon citizens and organizations of Colorado for their significant contributions to communities across the state. Each of the 2021 medal recipients represent Colorado values that are grounded in service, integrity, teamwork, respect and innovation.

“They were inspired by the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States,” said CiviCO Executive Director Jennifer Landers. “And the medals honor Colorado leaders who inspire excellence and community service.”

There are five traditional medals and an additional three Covid hero medals this year which Governor Polis selects out of the nominees. Tim Foster was nominated by the University of Denver and was awarded the Public and Community Service Award. This honors a leader who serves the public with innovation, operational excellence and progressive vision. He describes his initial reaction when he got the call.

“Kind of a surprise,” said Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medal Recipient Tim Foster. “The Governor’s scheduler called and scheduled and of course I asked what does the Governor want to talk about? And she was very polite but said I can’t tell you, you’ll have to wait. And so he then called and said I’m calling to let you know you’ve received in his words ‘the highest award given in the state of Colorado, which is the Governor’s medal for public service’ and basically I was like oh I did not see that coming, I had no idea. It was a shock, we chatted for a bit but just sort of stunning. It’s a privilege and and an honor. I’ll have to tell my wife, kids, brothers, sisters and friends.”

Tim previously served as the Executive Director for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and Head of the Department of Higher Education. He also served in the legislature in the Colorado House of Representatives under Governor Owens. He’s been a partner in a private law practice in Grand Junction and he’s coached a number of sports. He also held the title of Colorado Mesa University President from 2004 until earlier this year.

“Just having an opportunity to be present in their lives at some point in time and maybe hopefully being a positive influence really has been one of those honors over time,” said Foster.

CiviCO says they hope the stories behind each of the 2021 medal recipients inspires innovation and change in others around the state.

“It doesn’t matter where you look at his background,” said Landers. “He was a visionary and he connected with people in such an authentic way and I think that story tells itself of why he is an honoree and selected for this medal.”

The awards ceremony will be held during Colorado leadership month on Jan. 27 at the History of Colorado Center in Denver. There will also be a special on Rocky Mountain PBS on Jan. 20 at 7p.m. which will take an in depth look at the awards and the recipients.

To learn more about the Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals and past honorees, visit

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