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Mayor John Suthers presented the Spirit of the Springs Lifetime Achievement Award to Lyda Hill after his State of the City address on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.

Lyda Hill, 79, was born and raised in Texas but spent her childhood summers in Colorado Springs. She continues to call Colorado Springs her second home. Hill is an entrepreneur and philanthropist committed to funding initiatives that impact major issues like water conversation, green spaces, and medical research. She began her career in 1967 by founding Hill World Travel, which she sold in 1982. She served as president of Seven Falls and built the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, which funds the maintenance for Garden of the Gods Park. 

“It’s impossible to measure the enormity of the impact Lyda Hill has made on the City of Colorado Springs,” said Mayor John Suthers. “Her love of our community, visionary leadership and philanthropy are unparalleled.”

Hill has donated, often anonymously, to countless organizations and causes in our local community. Her vision and generosity have impacted places like the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and many more. Hill is currently involved in several local initiatives, including a project which aims to revitalize a 7-mile stretch of Monument and Fountain Creeks into a recreation destination while also bolstering the downtown economy.  

“She has pledged to give the entirety of her wealth to charity and she hopes to do the bulk of it during her lifetime,” said Hill’s friend and colleague, Dolly Wong. “Fortunately for all of us who live in Colorado Springs, we are part of that plan.”

Mayor Suthers' Remarks

Each year at this event, it’s my pleasure to present the Spirit of the Springs Lifetime Achievement Award.

I have had the pleasure of recognizing remarkable individuals during my time as mayor:

  • Former parks director Nancy Lewis, 
  • Harry Hoth, local media pioneer
  • George Fellows, who served as our city manager
  • Former City Council Member and community advocate Mary Ellen McNally
  • Public servant and business leader Chuck Murphy
  • Former City Council member and activist, Kathy Loo 
  • Bill Hybl, former leader of the El Pomar Foundation
  • And former Colorado Springs Mayor Mary Lou
  • Makepeace

Today, I am so pleased to add an incredibly deserving name to this impressive list … Lyda Hill.
Let me share another list with you:

  • Garden of the Gods
  • Seven Falls
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center
  • Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
  • UCCS

These are a small number of places impacted by Lyda’s generosity. And that’s just here in Colorado Springs. 

Lyda Hill Philanthropies is an organization investing in major, catalytic initiatives which are changing lives all over the world. She brings her entrepreneurial spirit to projects, creating meaningful and lasting impacts.

Just last month, she was named the recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. And today, the City of Colorado Springs joins the effort to recognize her exceptional example of giving and advocacy with our Spirit of the Springs Lifetime Achievement Award. 

It would take me a very long time to fully describe her impact on our community, but we want to share a few highlights. Please turn your attention to the screen and join me in watching this video tribute.