Written by Jeramey Reamer
The Front Range family is remembering one of its most prominent members who passed away earlier this month.
Dori Benavides‘ role serving as the Director of Front Range Community College’s Brighton Center was marked by countless achievements. Among these many accomplishments was her ability to brighten the day of everyone she met.
“Dori could work magic,” said Tina Sauceda, coordinator of Brighton Center Student Affairs and Operations. “Not just in her office; she did this everywhere she went.”
The somber hallways of Brighton Center have become a tribute to the enormous impact that their beloved director made. Large boards with Benavides’ photograph can be found in the Commons, where everyone is invited to leave heartfelt words to the life and memory of Dori Benavides.
Sauceda vividly remembers the many times that overwhelmed students found renewed motivation through their meeting with Benavides.
“They may have been a discouraged first year student, but they would leave Dori’s office uplifted,” said Sauceda. “Dori was always an encouragement to everyone.”
Benavides served as a compassionate mentor to both students and staff. She was a loyal friend to all, drawing her strength from both family and faith. In addition, her graceful ability to juggle the pressures of senior leadership was inspiring.
She was talented at relating with people from all walks of life. No matter who they were, Benavides’ deep connection to others came from her own strength of character. Being missed is an understatement, and the residual effects of her passing will be felt for years to come.
Displaying its resiliency as a campus, the Brighton Center boosted its efforts to soothe the loss of their strong leader. By offering grief counseling, staff reached out to their students by responding with both sympathy and a steady shoulder for those who feel this loss deeply, but have nowhere to turn.
This practice of engaging people through the college has not always been in Brighton. John Rocha, Westminster campus’ assistant director of academic advising, still remembers the shadow that existed before Benavides. Brighton Center was just beginning to gain momentum, but did not yet offer student services, activities or community outreach. However, under the guidance of Benavides, the Front Range team became the light that pierced the darkness.
“She completely changed the way the campus operates,” said Rocha, “Brighton Center blossomed into a place where students want to be.”
Through innovative strategies, Benavides reimagined the way the campus recruited students. This level of dedication resulted in exponential growth in the college’s enrollment. Significant partnerships were cultivated by her skilled efforts to build relationships with the community. Her team worked tirelessly to bring the Brighton Center more recognition.
“She lived and breathed making this center what it is today, and it will continue to grow because of everything she did,” said Rocha. “The continued success of the Brighton Center will be her legacy at Front Range.”
As students and staff begin to look forward, the memory of Benavides’ passion will continue to be an inspiration to each of us.