The Late Ricardo Falcon Chosen as LCC’s 2022 Alumnus of the Year


Courtesy Photo: From right to left Ricardo Falcon, Jr., Ken Roe, and Ricardo Falcon

Late Chicano activist and Lamar Community College (LCC) graduate Ricardo Falcon was honored as the 2022 Alumnus of the Year during commencement activities on May 6 and 7.

Falcon joined the more than 40 former Lopes, including doctors, judges, professors, entrepreneurs, and an Academy Award winner who received the title. Mr. Falcon was nominated by Ken Roe, a fellow graduate from the class of 1965. Falcon and Roe were also on the wrestling team together.

“Honoring Mr. Falcon’s memory means so much to everyone who knew him, including his fellow students, teammates and family. He left a larger legacy in the Chicano/Latinx community,” commented Anne-Marie Crampton, director of Institutional Advancement.  “Honoring excellence in our alumni is also meaningful to our staff and faculty and inspirational to our students.”

Falcon, a lifelong Coloradan, was born on June 2, 1945, in Fort Lupton, Colo. as the second eldest of nine children. His family, much like many of the Chicano families that lived in the area, worked the sugar beet fields for low wages in deplorable working conditions.

Falcon saw firsthand the toll it took on his family and others like his, as year after year, his classmates would drop out of school to begin farm labor.

He would be one of the lucky ones. With the support of his family, Falcon would graduate from Fort Lupton High School with honors in May 1963. As an excellent student and champion wrestler, Falcon was offered a scholarship to attend LCC, then known as Lamar Junior College.

It was there he completed two years, graduating in 1965.  Between 1965 and 1967, he took various jobs in Denver, but felt the call to continue his education by the late 1960s. He enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in History. During this time, he helped start the United Mexican American Students Program (UMASP); its goals included recruiting Chicanos to higher education. He later served as both the program’s Tutorial Coordinator and Assistant Director.

At this point in his life, he found his true reason for being: to serve and bring about change for the Chicano community. As one of the first Chicanos from Fort Lupton to make a better life for himself, he felt compelled to use it to help other Latinos.

During this time, he helped form the Mexican American Correctional Helping Organization (MACHO), which was dedicated to helping those incarcerated at state prisons in Cañon City. He worked tirelessly and undertook book drives for prisoners. He also met with prison officials to host conferences and cultural events within the walls and believed that rehabilitation was possible. He held classes for youth on the history of Mexican people where he taught about identity, history and that education is liberation.

He founded the Zapatistas, a middle and high school student organization, and worked with parents and community advocates who helped to challenge the deplorable living conditions at the Fort Lupton migrant camp.

“I have seen prejudice and discrimination. I believe in equal treatment and equal justice for all,” Falcon said in 1970 as he ran for Weld County Sheriff. “Keep in mind that all men were created equal and shall be respected as human beings with dignity regardless of race, color, creed; that they have the right to determine their own lives in order to eliminate poverty, corruption, discrimination and that all men will be protected and defended under the Constitution of the United States and the Espiritu de Aztlan.”

While driving to El Paso, TX for a La Raza Unida national convention with other attendees on August 30, 1972, his life was cut short during an argument over water for the traveling party’s overheating radiator. At the young age of 27, Ricardo Falcon became a victim of racial violence.

At the time of his death, he was enrolled at University of Denver Law School. Ricardo Falcon was a man of great charisma, a leader, and a defender of his people. His courage and determination opened many doors that were considered closed. Many regard him as the first martyr of the Chicano movement in Colorado.

His widow, Priscilla, and son, Ricardo Jr., continued this passion for education. Both have their doctorates. Dr. Priscilla Falcon is a professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, and Dr. Ricardo Falcon, Jr. is an anesthesiologist and the Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

The Falcon family was in attendance at Antelope Night, the college’s student awards night, and Commencement. Dr. Ricardo Falcon, Jr. accepted the award on his family’s behalf at LCC Antelope Night. In his acceptance, he thanked the college for honoring his father’s memory fifty years after his death. After taking the weekend to celebrate their achievements, he challenged graduates present to ‘be the change they want to see in the world.

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