Karen won more athletic and academic awards during her collegiate career than any other woman in University of Denver sports history. Named Female Athlete of the Year three times in a row, she also was DU’s Outstanding Senior Woman in 1983 and graduated cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. The four-time all-America gymnast earned seven individual and two team titles in national competition and collected a host of other honors such as Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society, Outstanding Young Women of America, Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, and GTE/CoSida First-Team Academic All-America.
Karen’s league and conference performances twice led the Pioneers to the AIAW Division II National Gymnastics Championships. Her prestigious all-around victory in the 1982 meet helped DU win its first national title in gymnastics and heralded her parallel triumphs in three of four individual event finals…uneven bars, floor exercise, and balance beam. In the 1983 Nationals, she again won Division II all around laurels while the team successfully defended its title. En route to repeat crowns for uneven bars and balance beam, she qualified for Division I Nationals and proved with a tie for second on bars that she was top-notch anywhere.
With a full year of eligibility remaining, Karen chose to remain on campus as a business and accounting graduate student to help her gymnastics team make the transition from Division II to Division I competition, a transition in which her own athletic achievements played a major role.
The Pioneer pacesetter, now Karen Beer Cannon, is a certified public accountant in Jefferson County.