We must acknowledge our past leadership, engage and empower today’s leaders, and inspire tomorrow's generation of Latino leaders.

2016 Latino Hall of Fame InducteesThank you for your contribution to our Community

Casimiro Barela
Casimiro Barela
Legacy Award

In 1871, Casimiro Barela came to Denver as a territorial representative from newly-organized Las Animas County. In 1875, he was chosen to be one of the 49 delegates to draft the Colorado state constitution at the constitutional convention. At Barela’s urging, the laws of the new state were printed in English, Spanish, and German. In arguing his case, Barela exclaimed, “You may say that ignorance of the law does not excuse the breaking of it. I say it is the only excuse.” In 1876, Barela was elected into public office as a Las Animas County senator.

Honarable Federicko Pena
Honorable Federico Peña
Public Service Award

The Honorable Federico F. Peña is a Senior Advisor to the Colorado Impact Fund and to Vestar Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in New York, Boston, and Denver. Peña has practiced law, served in the Colorado Legislature, served as Mayor of Denver, founded an investment advisory firm, and served in two cabinet positions as the Secretary of the Departments of Transportation and Energy in the Clinton Administration. Peña was a National Co-Chair of Obama for America 2012. In 2008, he served as a national board member of the Obama-Biden Transition.

Ron Tafoya
Rod Tafoya
Business, Science, Technology, And Innovation

Rod Tafoya has nearly 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, including more than 25 at the helm of Mission Yogurt. Tafoya opened Sara Lee Sandwich Shoppe and Colombo Yogurt in Denver International Airport (DIA) in 1995. From there, Tafoya’s portfolio continued to grow at DIA. He opened the first authentic Mexican restaurant, Que Bueno, and added the busiest Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise location in the nation. He also operated the airport’s highest sales-grossing restaurant at Timberline Steaks and Grille. Tafoya was honored as the Denver Business Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

Dr. Joe Vigil
Dr. Joe Vigil
Entertainment, Media, Arts, And Sports Award

Dr. Vigil was the head coach of the men’s cross-country team at Adams State University for nearly 30 years. In 1988, he was the long distance running coach of the U. S. Olympic Team. He was also the head coach for the U.S. team in the 1997 Pan-American Games. Vigil was an influential committee member of The Athletic Congress, conducts clinics all over the world and has coached more than 10 times in international competition. He was recently awarded an international honor for his Olympic coaching.

Susana Cordova
Susana Cordova
Unsung Hero Award

Susana Cordova is the Deputy Superintendent of Denver Public Schools (DPS), which is the state’s largest school district with nearly 90,000 students. She was formerly the Chief Schools Officer of Denver Public Schools. A life-long Denver resident, Cordova was formerly the Chief School Officer of DPS and has served in a variety of roles at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She believes in the power of DPS schools to transform communities through visionary leadership and effective classroom instruction.

Salazar Foundation
Salazar Family Foundation
Philanthropy And Community Service

The Salazar Family Foundation was founded in 1999 by V. Robert (Rob) and Lola Salazar. The foundation’s core mission is to encourage Denver-area students to achieve their educational goals. The foundation does this by supporting organizations that are committed to improving the quality of education. The foundation has been a major contributor to The Denver Foundation, the Denver Public Schools Foundation, Jefferson Foundation, Latin American Educational Foundation, and Escuela de Guadalupe.

The LLI’s Latino Hall of Fame ensures that the Latino legacy of leadership is never forgotten and honorably recognized.

Five individuals and a local family foundation who have achieved extraordinary success and made significant contributions to the State of Colorado will be inducted into the Latino Hall of Fame annually at the LLI’s Latino Hall of Fame Gala.