She’s an educator, a leader and a human-rights activist. Now Lisa M. Calderón would like to put Denver mayor on her resume. 

Calderón, who has taught as an affiliate faculty member since 2009, joined Regis’ sociology and criminology departments full time in the fall while mulling over a bid for city mayor. Too many people throughout the city had stopped her and asked if she’d run. 

“Running for public office is the last thing I ever wanted to do,” Calderón said. “As a longtime community activist, I challenged politicians and never considered myself one.”

Calderón, who declared her candidacy for mayor in October, will face Mayor Michael Hancock, who is seeking his third term, and several other candidates in the May 2019 election.

Meanwhile, she’s getting acclimated to a Loyola Hall office and a full course load. 

“I love Regis' emphasis on social justice where students are open to critically thinking about local and global issues and what they can do to effect change,” she said. “The Regis environment is rooted in dignity and respect not only for students, faculty and staff but for the surrounding community. As a community activist, that’s important to me.”

Calderón’s activism informs her research: She’ll continue to study how people of color are over-represented in jails and prisons and focus on incarcerated women’s needs and safety. 

Growing up poor in North Denver fostered resiliency, and ambition – for a better life. Calderón remembers the poverty she endured as a young single parent all too vividly. 

“I never want to forget what it feels like to count out my food stamps in the grocery line,” she said. “There’s a brutality about poverty.”