By William J. Dagendesh
Sharon Hatton-Montoya, who was known for her generosity and her love for students, died Friday at age 59. Cause of death is unknown.
Hatton-Montoya, who served as director of Student Academic Services at CSU-Pueblo, would have started her 17th year with the university in August. Hatton-Montoya was dedicated to the success of her students and CSU-Pueblo, and her death is a great loss for the university, said Interim President Julio Leon.
“We are all very saddened by the loss of such a valuable member of our university family,” Leon said. “Our students have lost a great friend and educator.”
Hatton-Montoya dedicated her life to CSU-Pueblo, said Zav Dadabhoy, dean of Student Life at CSU-Pueblo. Hatton-Montoya genuinely loved students, he said, and that her death is a great loss for both the university and community.
“Sharon was an exceptional advocate for students and (was) very passionate about finding ways to work with students to enable their success,” Dadabhoy said.
Hatton-Montoya served with the university more than 20 years having graduated here before climbing the corporate ladder, according to Ken Nufer, the director of Human Resources,
“She had a very distinguished and dedicated career, and will be greatly missed,” Nufer said.
Hatton-Montoya started her career with the university in August 1995 when she was hired as the coordinator for the Writing Center. She was then appointed as the center’s director in July 1997 and as the campus’ disability specialist in September 1999. That year she also received the Provost’s Outstanding Employee of the Year Award.
The year 2002 was a year of professional achievement for Hatton-Montoya. In February she was appointed as interim director of the Learning Center. In July she was appointed as interim director of Student Academic Services and then in October she was appointed as director.
Always seeking to assist students beyond her job description, Hatton-Montoya taught English, chaired the university’s Affirmative Action Board and served as a member of the university’s Board on Diversity and Equality.
Hatton-Montoya was a member of the University’s Multi-cultural Council and the Academic Advising Task Force, and served on the First Year and Advising Sub Committee of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee. She was also a faculty advisor for the Tempered Steel Literary Magazine of CSU-Pueblo.
Additionally, she was an active member of the CSU-Pueblo Administrative Computing Advisory Committee, and served on the ADA Advisory Committee.
Ever an advocate of higher education, Hatton-Montoya earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the former University of Southern Colorado in 1989 and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Juan Morales, a professor with the English Department, first met Hatton-Montoya when he was an undergraduate student and a tutor at the Writing Center. Hatton-Montoya was a leader who supported people and was friends to everyone, Morales said. Hatton-Montoya even wrote a letter of recommendation which lead to Morales receiving a teaching fellowship.
“Her passing is a truly saddening,” Morales said. “She contributed to my teaching career and I am eternally grateful for that. I will miss her, as will everyone who (has had) the pleasure of knowing her.”
Sue Pettit, an assistant professor with the Teacher Education Program, served on a committee with Hatton-Montoya. Pettit was impressed with Hatton-Montoya’s love for students and CSU-Pueblo, and her “wonderful laugh,” she said.
Shirley Duran, a program assistant with the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, said she agreed. Hatton-Montoya had a kind heart, Duran said, and always waved to her as she walked past the office door.
“From my desk I can see folks passing through the hallways,” said Duran, who works in the president’s office. “She always had a friendly wave and smile as she was walking to one of her meetings.”
Hatton-Montoya loved her work and sought ways to provide improved services in order to help students be successful academically, professionally and personally, said Erin Frew, assistant provost of Assessment and Learning.
“She was a pleasure to work with and will be greatly missed,” Frew said.
Hatton-Montoya’s compassion for people made her a natural role model for people, said Katie Velarde, the campus registrar.
“Sharon was someone I looked up to personally,” Velarde said. “She did everything with a friendly demeanor and a smile on her face. I will miss her and I am certain the entire campus will too.”
Hatton-Montoya has been a champion of higher education, and was a true supporter of the campus and students as a longstanding member of the CSU-Pueblo community, said Cora Zaletel, executive director of External Affairs.
“The university expresses its sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Hatton-Montoya,” Zaletel said in a campus email.
Services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 22, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 4720 Surfwood Lane, Pueblo. Condolences may be sent to Gina Gallardo, 2718 Acero, Pueblo. The Student Counseling Center will accept appointments from people seeking assistance and can be contacted at 719-549-2479 or 719-549-2830.