winter 2021 the magazine of adams state university
VOL. 61, NO. 3 • WINTER 2021
Published by Adams State University Foundation Adams State University • Alamosa, CO 81101 719-587-7011 • 800-824-6494 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Digital magazine: adams.edu/alumni/astater/
Amy Kucera ’05, Linda Relyea ’96, ’10
Amy Kucera ’05
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS
Andy Brown • Linda Relyea ’96, ’10 • Michael Clifford Eric Flores ’11 • Brianna Robles ’23 • Garrett Carroll ’21 Chris Burtschi ’21 • Greg Carter ’22 • Kris Owens ’25
PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY Dr. Cheryl D. Lovell
BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR ADAMS STATE UNIVERSITY
Michele Lueck Chair David Tandberg, Ph.D. ’02 Vice Chair Pam Bricker ’03 • Amanda DeLaRosa • Donna Griego ’03, ’12 Jonathan N. Marquez ’13 • Arthur Ortegon • John Singletary Randy Wright ’84 Dr. Beth Bonnstetter Faculty Trustee Mary Benevedez Student Trustee
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD
Sandy Ortega ’74 President Delzia Worley ’97 Vice President Olga Montano ’06 Secretary Jacqueline Archuleta ’11 • Darrick Garcia ’17 • Alfonso Lopez ’70 Reyna Martinez-Ramirez ’10 • Robert Oringdulph ’71 • Carol Osborn ’84 Chris Page ’02, ’03 • Richard Scanga ’75 • Marcus Shawcroft ’15 Elizabeth Watts ’70 • Jeremy Wilder ’96 • Loren Wright ’08
ADAMS STATE UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION BOARD
Ron Howard ’98 President Dr. John McDaniel Vice President Joe Martinez ’99, ’12 Treasurer Fred Bunch ’77 • Duane Bussey ’82 • Keith Cerny • Jennifer Chavez ’00 Joshua Cody ’05 • Jenny Cooper • Ed Crowther • Bill Fassett Chuck Houser ’62 • Dorothy Lucero ’61 • Liane “Buffie” McFadyen ’91, ’93 Cathy Mullens ’82 • Richard Scanga ’75 • Cheryl Schroeder ’07, ’09 Jesse Torres ’97 • Tyree Walton ’08
FOUNDATION HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Stephen Bokat ’68 • Marguerite Salazar ’75, ’76 • Michael Ware ’69
FOUNDATION EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS
Glenn Burnham • Harold Kelloff • John Marvel Jr. ’70 Izora Southway ’66 • J. Byron Uhrich • R. Paul Wagner
FOUNDATION EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS
Dr. Cheryl D. Lovell ASU President Tammy Lopez ’91, ’00 Executive Director of the Foundation Pam Bricker ’03 Trustee Liason
GRIZZLY CLUB BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Hoyt Anderson ’97 President Ted Morrison ’69 Vice President Chas Moeller ’98 Treasurer Keith Cerny, Donna Wehe ’12 Secretaries Ron DeSautell ’76 • Joseph Garcia ’73 • Nicholas Lara ’12 Amanda Maez • Marcus Shawcroft ’15
ADAMS STATE UNIVERSITY PURPOSE STATEMENT
Adams State University’s driving purpose is to provide equitable access to education for all. We promote successful and engaged lives by caring for, connecting with, and challenging our students, campus, and community. As Colorado’s premier Hispanic Serving Institution, Adams State University draws on its rural location in the San Luis Valley, to serve and empower all students, especially those from historically underserved populations.
To become the university community of choice for diverse, historically underserved groups, and all who value quality education and inclusivity. Adams State does not tolerate discrimination in any form. Go to adams.edu/ads for the full anti-discrimination statement.
President’s Letter: Happy New Year! Adams State has had the fortune to be around 100 years and we are looking forward to the next century, which we will continue to celebrate over the rest of the academic year. We celebrate this major milestone with dedication and focus as we look ahead to a bright future. We have planned many exciting events and hope you will join us. Fortunately, my focus is solely on Adams State. Saturday, December 18, I conferred degrees that matter to the latest class of Adams State graduates. I remarked on the significance of hosting the Fall 2021 commencement ceremony in Richardson Hall Auditorium. From the Doric pillars that grace the main entrance to the three-tiered cupola extending from the central roof, historic Richardson Hall continues to stand for the philosophy originated by Dr. Ira Richardson. In his words: “Here at Adams State, the teacher as well as the student is in quest of truth, in a search for information. Thus, faculty and students join forces in a common cause, for a common reason, and for a common result.” All our graduates accomplish great feats in order to cross the stage and pick up their diploma. Some among them stand out including Mathew Burcin, who delivered the student address. A molecular and cellular biology major, Mathew graduated with highest honors in three-and-a-half years, and was a student athlete – he played on the soccer team. You can read more about him and other outstanding students on page 14 of the magazine. In November, our outstanding cross country teams dominated at nationals. The women brought home the 57th Adams State national championship title and the men finished second. Coach Damon Martin, and his assistants Sadie Baker and Emma Wren continue to bring out the best in their athletes. This year, 2022, is the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sex. Before 1972, women across the nation had fewer opportunities to play collegiate sports competitively. Read more about the impact of this act in Brianna Robles own words on page 16. Brianna was the first Adams State runner to cross the finish line at nationals and she brought home the individual championship title at regionals. She is also a talented writer, majoring in communications and marketing. Our academic departments rise to the challenge of remaining significant, recruiting new students and developing new programs. Thanks to efforts of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, led by Matt Nehring, Adams State partnered with Colorado State University and brought a mechanical engineering degree to campus. Adams State professors will teach the first two years and CSU faculty will teach the second two years – all in-person classes – all held on our campus. The first cohort for this degree begins in the fall of 2022. The AStater will keep you posted with latest updates. Immersing students in the Adams State Experience, we do more than prepare them for the next chapter of their great story. We provide them with the means to achieve current and future goals. On February 15, Billy Adams’ birthday, we will host the third annual Adams State Gives Day. Please mark your calendars and join us at 7 p.m. in Richardson Hall Auditorium or online at adams.edu/live. I believe you will be delighted with the talent show and telethon. Til then, Happy New Year and thank you for keeping Adams State in your heart.
Contents Sign up for our campus e-newsletter. It will provide ongoing updates and news about Adams State and all the events and activities being held on campus.
Re-Engage and Re-Connect. Pictured above, Adams State National Champions from 2008. Read about women participating in Adams State athletics on page 16.
Donor and Student Recognition
Homecoming of the Century
Run of the Century Photo Recap
4 Keeping Current
8 Willis Fassett, Jr. Award Recipients
30 Staying in Touch Class notes from alumni
12 Fall Commencement 14 Spotlight on Outstanding Graduates 20 Athletics: Cross Country Championship 22 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
To sign up send an email to email@example.com and you’ll get Adams State e-news delivered to your email inbox.
32 Adams Family Album 34 Final Chapters Remembering those no longer with us 35 Letter from Alumni Director
ON THE COVER: Precious Robinson and Brianna Robles share the excitement of being on the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship team. AStater 3
^ Adams100 sponsors were recognized at the Adams100 documentary film premiere.
Pictured, left to right, President Cheryl D. Lovell; Adams State Alumni Relations and Engagement Director Ashley Maestas; Adams State Office of Title V Initiatives Project Director Marcella Garcia; First Southwest Bank Credit Analysts Paul Dickman and Nick Capra; San Luis Valley Federal Bank CEO Mark Bechaver and Chief Lending Officer Joe Martinez; and Alamosa County Commissioners Vern Heersink and Lori Laske.
President Cheryl D. Lovell thanks Alamosa State Bank President, Chas Moeller, for the bank’s continued support. Alamosa State Bank was the largest donor for Adams100.
The annual Chemistry Magic Show keeps burning bright. The 2021 virtual presentation can be accessed through the Adams State YouTube channel. Pictured, left to right, back row, Frank Novotny, Ph.D., Michael Earhart, Atticus Fredrickson, Paige Heersink, Chris Adams, Ph.D., and Umesh Bhattarai, Ph.D.; front row, Breanna Shaffer, Hailee Velasquez, and Christy Miller, Ph.D.
< Richardson Hall is aglow in holiday lights this December.
^ Kicking off its 95th year, the theatre program produced, “Night of the Living Dead Live,”
a fun re-imagining of George Romero’s horror film. Directed by John Taylor, Ph.D., the comedy re-created, live on stage, the original film in the first act. In the second act, it presented a series of alternative endings which hilariously tested the question: Can anyone survive a night of the living dead?
^ Lathen Tsalate and President Lovell post the Land
Acknowledgement Statement in McDaniel Hall on October 11, during a brief ceremony.
^ The Colorado Farm Brewery in
Alamosa, Colo. created a Centennial Pale Ale in honor of Adams100. photo courtesy of The Colorado Farm Brewery
^ The Department of Auxiliaries and Housing hosted an appreciation breakfast for facilities services staff in early October.
^ Adams State hosts Colorado Competitive Council Legislative Tour on October 5. AStater 5
Award Recipients, back row, Adams State President Cheryl D. Lovell, Carolyn Kawanabe, Frederick St. Cyr, Jr., Leroy A. Espinoza; front row, Hoyt Anderson, Karla Shriver, Paul Morley
Adams State honors students and donors H
oliday cheer and goodwill came early to Adams State University. Hoyt Anderson, Class of 1997, pledged to match all donations up to $10,000 at the Adams State University Donor and Student Recognition Dinner on November 4. The evening contributions totaled over $20K and will ease the financial burden for students on their way to achieving their full potential. “As a community, we can ensure the success of Adams State,” Hoyt said. “I challenge everyone to share their available resources and make a positive difference.” Tables buzzed with conversation and laughter as students engaged with donors who support their academic careers through scholarships and donations. The annual event recognizes the Adams State University Foundation Willis Fassett, Jr. Award recipients as well as the Athletic Department Grizzly Club Awards.
Scholarship recipients expressing their gratitude is always a highlight of the evening. As first-generation college students who worked alongside their parents in the fields, twins Jazmine Palacios-Molinar and Jaqueline Palacios-Molinar truly understand the privilege a degree in higher education can provide and acknowledge the generosity of those who share their resources. Adams State provided many opportunities for the sisters. They started their academic career through the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which provided much needed support their freshman year and continues to offer resources. As an Hispanic Serving Institution, Adams State has made them feel accepted. “We appreciate the financial assistance through scholarships and are very thankful to all the donors who believe in us,” said Jazmine Palacios-Molinar. “One day we hope to give back.” Athletic director Katelyn Smith, Class of 2016, presented Alamosa Building Supply, accepted by Anderson, with the Grizzly Club Corporate Partner of the Year; and Leroy A. Espinoza and Frederick St. Cyr, Jr., with the Grizzly Club Individual Partners of the Year. The recipients of the Willis Fassett, Jr. Awards receive a “Buffalo Chant” bronze, created specifically for the Foundation by the late William Moyers, Class of 1939. Past Adams State Foundation President Duane Bussey, Class of 1982, recognized Paul Morley, Class of 1966, and the Outcalt Foundation for their continued financial support. Trustees Carolyn Kawanabe, Class of 1987, and Karla Shriver, accepted the award on behalf of the Outcalt Foundation.
Alamosa Building Supply named Grizzly Club Corporate Partner of the year Alamosa Building Supply has been a Grizzly Club member since 2010 but has a long-standing tradition of helping Alamosa and the San Luis Valley. According to Hoyt Anderson, Class of 1997, one of the four partners in the business, Alamosa Building Supply was opened in 2008 and then La Jara Building Supply was acquired in 2009. “We have a great rapport with the coaches in the Adams State athletic program, and that has led to one of our greatest success stories,” noted Anderson. “My yard foreman is Daniel Kelly; he was a wrestler from out of state. Jason Ramstetter sent him over, and he worked part-time for me as a student and wrestler. He really blossomed, and he is now my foreman and in a management position.” “Adams State is a real key to the success of the San Luis Valley,” noted Anderson of the connection between Adams State and the community. “Adams State gave a lot to me, and we want to pay it forward and give back to Adams State.” Alamosa Building Supply has been an integral part of the growth that Adams State, as a campus, has seen. “We’ve worked with a lot of the general contractors to supply some of the different components for McDaniel Hall,” said Anderson. “We also did a lot with the restoration of Richardson Hall and with the building of Rex Stadium.” Anderson is an avid fan of the Grizzlies and notes that he will make sure to stay until the end of the game, no matter what the score is. He recalled several favorite moments in recent history, including a buzzer-beater in basketball. His favorite was Adams State football’s biggest comeback against rival Western Colorado a couple of years ago. “When we were down to Western by 35 at the half, everyone seemed to write them off and left early. However, I stayed,” said Anderson. In that game, Adams State erupted for 36 unanswered points and forced overtime before winning the game in double overtime, 52-51. “One of my buddies left, and he kept hearing the cannon go off,” explained Anderson. “He thought there was a mechanical malfunction. I said it was too bad he left.” Alamosa Building Supply will continue to be Grizzly Club members for years to come, supporting Adams State. “Adams State is doing a wonderful thing for the economy and for jobs,” Anderson concluded.
Leroy A. Espinoza and Frederick St. Cyr, Jr. named Grizzly Club Individual Partners of the year Grizzlies share the spirit of community and supporting students. Frederick St. Cyr, Jr. and Leroy A. Espinoza prove you don’t have to be an alumni to be a Grizzly. They can be seen at almost all athletic events cheering on the Grizzlies. The two started attending games in 1998, and since then, for about 23 years, they have been Grizzly Club members. They believe in supporting local athletics and enjoy live sports in general. What makes these two unique is not the fact that they are the loudest. The two share something in common not many other fans attending Adams State every week can claim, they are both deaf. Anyone who has been to several Grizzly events can tell their cheers from anywhere. They appreciate the hard work and effort of all the Grizzly athletes. “All the players are friendly, and we just love going to events.” Of the 21 sports that Adams State has to offer, Fred and Leroy have their favorite sports including basketball, volleyball, football, softball, and baseball. Even though they have been to thousands of Grizzly sporting events over the past 23 years, they plan to keep attending games as long as possible. “Just know we will continue to support ASU as long as we can,” said Leroy. “We want everyone to know we have always felt welcome, and we want to thank you all for being part of our lives’ greatest sports pleasures.”
Willis Fassett, Jr. Award Recipients
Outcalt Foundation Trustee Karla Shriver, Desiree Lewis, Sydney Thompson, Ariel Caldon, Brooklyn Hogan, Chris Burtschi, DeOnna Salazar, Adison Vick, Outcalt Foundation Trustee Carolyn Kawanabe, Taylor Lewis, President Cheryl D. Lovell.
The Outcalt Foundation makes educational opportunity its mission Ralph Outcalt was a longtime resident and business leader of Alamosa. As an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former board member of the Adams State University Foundation, he made a tremendous impact on the San Luis Valley. Ralph passed away in 2014, but his legacy continues through the work of The Outcalt Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the growth and prosperity of the valley’s youth and good will organizations. For its important work, The Outcalt Foundation has been named the recipient of Adams State’s 2021 Willis Fassett, Jr. Corporate Award. The award, “Buffalo Chant,” a bronze by William Moyers, Class of 1939, was presented to the Outcalt Foundation at the Annual Donor and Student Recognition dinner on November 4. “One of Mr. Outcalt’s legacies and directives for the foundation was to focus on youth development,” said Karla Shriver, trustee of The Outcalt Foundation. “Ralph loved the valley. He thought it was an extraordinary place, and he was very adamant that we support the education of our youth.” To that end, the Outcalt Foundation awarded Adams State $150,000 for student scholarships, including a fullride scholarship of up to $25,000 per year for four years, and multiple one-time awards of up to $3,000 to cover direct educational costs that include tuition, fees, books and supplies. “Many families just don’t have the funds to pursue higher education. Ralph wanted to make sure that kids, no matter what their financial background, had the opportunity to further their educations. If they were willing to put in the time and energy, he wanted to help them out,” said Shriver. Ralph’s childhood experiences influenced his attitudes about education. His father passed away during the 1918 flu pandemic, when Ralph was just five years old. To help support his mother and two siblings, Ralph dropped out of high school as a junior so he could work. However, he 8
continued to pursue his education, eventually receiving his diploma and surveying certificate via a correspondence course. “He was always one that cherished education and wanted to see youth have the opportunity to have education available to them,” said Shriver. “He was also clear that the students we support don’t have to be right out of high school. He wanted us to support people no matter what their age. If they’re a nontraditional student who wants to learn and better themselves, we’d make sure to help them.” As a prominent businessman and long-time resident of the valley, Ralph Outcalt knew Adams State well. “He had a long-term relationship with Adams State and recognized its importance,” said Shriver. “He felt that Adams State was a huge component of the valley and a tremendous asset, not only for education but as an economic engine.” Scholarships and Other Initiatives While the Outcalt Foundation provides funds for scholarships, it also supports education at Adams State in other ways. Recently, it provided a $125,000 grant to renovate an industrial kitchen in the east campus building. The kitchen is for students in the University’s food studies program, which prepares graduates for food-related careers. Community members also have access to the kitchen. In addition to Adams State, the Outcalt Foundation supports other local organizations, especially those that promote and protect youth development, including vocational schools and after-school programs. “We’ve helped make sure that these important organizations prosper, stay open and that they maintain their viability,” said Shriver. “Ralph was always involved in the community and supported it not only with his funds but with his time. He was involved in many things, and he wanted the foundation trustees,
which include Carolyn Kawanabe and myself, to stay involved in the community and support it any way we can.” In fact, residents of the valley might be surprised at just how much the foundation does. “The foundation is pretty low-key, and we do a lot in the valley that I don’t believe the public knows about. That’s by design,” said Shriver. “Ralph was very humble. He was generous, kind, and not out for the glory. We try to maintain that philosophy, but it is nice to be recognized for the work the foundation is doing. So we are very proud and honored that the foundation is being given this prestigious award.”
Paul Morley helps the school that helped him By his own admission, Paul Morley, Class of 1966, had some growing up to do. During his senior year of high school in South Denver, he didn’t give much thought to college or anything else, for that matter. “I got a new car and a new girlfriend,” he said. “I was not taking school seriously. I was skipping a lot. I even thought of dropping out, but my parents and guidance counselor forced me to graduate.” The summer after graduation, Morley had a change of heart. “I thought, maybe I better make something of my life. Maybe I need to go to college,” he said. What changed his mind? A visit to Alamosa, where older brother Stephen was a junior at Adams State. Stephen showed him around campus, and they talked about Paul’s future. “Adams State is the only place I applied to and the only place I wanted to go. I hadn’t thought about other colleges, and it was a late decision on my part,” said Morley. “I thought it was the best place for me because the influence of my older brother would be good for me. My parents probably agreed with that too.” After a year at Adams State, Morley discovered just how much he had changed. To his surprise, the University recognized him as an outstanding freshman and awarded him a scholarship. “I was quite surprised. I didn’t apply for it or anything,” he recalls. Fast-forward nearly 60 years and Morley has earned another recognition from Adams State, this time as the recipient of the 2021 Willis Fassett, Jr. Individual Award, for his generous support of the University.
“I really appreciate any recognition that my college gives me,” said Morley. “I think the award shows that I’ve been helpful to my college, and that’s important because the college has done so much for me.” From Adams State to a Distinguished Career After graduating from Adams State, Morley went to law school, then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served four years as a JAG officer. On completion of his military service, Morley was hired by the District Attorney’s Office for San Diego County, where he served for 29 years before retiring in 2003. “I was an economics major at Adams State, but a career in economics didn’t seem that appealing,” Morley said. “I had read a book about law when I was in high school, and it just sort of stayed in the back of my mind.” Still, he didn’t make the decision to attend law school lightly. He sought advice and support from his favorite professors – Dr. Norma Peterson and Mr. William Gillies – who encouraged him. “The attention and wisdom they shared was very important. They didn’t guide me to law, but they supported my desire,” said Morley. He hopes that current students take the same advantage of Adams State’s close-knit community, one in which students can get to know their professors. “I think you learn a lot from some professors, and they will have an influence upon you,” he said. “I think you should get close to those professors who seem to offer the most guidance and hope, because that can be very beneficial in many ways.” It’s Never Too Late to Reconnect Living in San Diego and pursuing his career, Morley didn’t stay as connected to Adams State as he’d have liked. “I would say I kind of drifted away. You sort of naturally drift away, particularly when you live 1,200 miles away,” he said. He reconnected through an alumni association event about 15 years ago, finding real delight in hearing about the University and its plans. That’s when he really began to reflect on the University’s role in his own life. “Adams State really got me started. It got me started in a career, and it helped me to mature and to become a better citizen,” he said. “I started feeling more and more that I really owed Adams State a lot and that I wanted to be helpful to the college.” He decided to make a series of donations. Moreover, he made those gifts without restrictions, allowing the University to direct the funds where they were most needed. “I don’t know what would be the most helpful to the University,” he said. “I figured, let them use it the way they think is best for the college. I just want to make it available. Nowadays, the way that state funding goes, colleges need more support. This was my opportunity to give back.” by Andy Brown AStater 9
Door prizes, coffee, and burritos warmed golfers before teeing off for the Adams State annual Alumni Golf Outing on Friday, October 15.
Homecoming of the Century
The annual Awards Banquet honored alumni award recipients including, front row, left to right: 2021 Exceptional New Alumna Carissa Sidor, Class of 2016 and 2017; 2021 Billy Adams Award Dennis Lopez, Class of 1974 and 1978; 2020 Billy Adams Award J. Thomas Gilmore, Ph.D., Class of 1967 and 1968; standing: 2020 Exceptional New Alumna Katherine Schultz, Class of 2015; 2021 Outstanding Alumnus Edward Atencio, Class of 1968 and 1973; President Cheryl D. Lovell, and Alumni Relations and Engagement Director Ashley Maestas, Class of 2013 and 2020. Not pictured, 2020 Outstanding Alumnus William Manzanares, Class of 1967.
The Adams State Homecoming of the Century Parade filled Alamosa Main Street with Grizzly pride and excitement on Saturday, October 16. Artist Kathy Park, Class of 2007, pictured left, discusses her 50-year retrospective with Lisa Clements. Her exhibition opening was October 15 in the Cloyde Snook Gallery.
Rashad Murphy, and KatyRose Heldstab were selected for the 2021 Adams State Homecoming GrizzLeads. Nominations included, left to right, Tessa Coffelt, Jazmine Palacios-Molinar, Mary Benavidez, Rashad Murphy, Jose Villagomez, KatyRose Heldstab, and Courtney Hocking.
The Adams State University Homecoming of the Century hosted a free carnival for community and campus. The beautiful autumn day drew hundreds of participants who enjoyed rides, sweet snacks, games, and more for over four hours.
Harriet Dalzell Hester Sponsor
Proud sponsor of Adams100 1930 graduates line up in front of Richardson Hall
Your support is greatly appreciated. The land of cool sunshine lived up to its reputation as the sun did little to warm the latest class of graduates and their guests at the Adams State University Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremonies on December 18, 2021.
1955 B.A. graduates in front of Richardson Hall
Mathew Burcin, 2021 cellular and molecular biology major, aptly compared a hike up Mt. Whitney with the journey from incoming freshmen to graduating seniors.
Adams State students pick-up their diplomas and cross the stage in the historic Richardson Hall Auditorium.
Few noticed the near freezing temperatures as they gathered after the ceremony on the front lawn of Richardson Hall to reunite, with flowers, hugs and smiles for the class of 2021.
> San Luis Valley native Armando
Valdez was the Adams State Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony speaker.
Adams State graduates continue their journeys well prepared Armando Valdez exuded positive energy and shared encouraging advice at the Adams State University Fall Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, December 18. “Today’s cheer is for you, your hard work, your leadership, and your followership in your journey of learning, growth, enhancement and refinement.” Assistant Professor of Marketing, Valdez capped his tenure at the University as the commencement speaker before continuing his professional career as the State Director of the United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Development for Colorado. He spoke to the students about their responsibilities to share their new skills and knowledge to support family and community. “Part of your responsibilities are to be ambassadors to the world on behalf of Adams State University. Take this as additional confidence in your talents, skill sets, ideas, creative approaches, logical and analytical evaluations, and your ability to help others and cultivate relationships.” Valdez spoke from his background in business and as a farm and ranch owner encouraging the Class of 2021 to be entrepreneurial. “Being entrepreneurial is not exclusive to business functions. It is about idea implementation. Be creative, develop ideas and work on action plans to put your ideas into tangible outcomes which benefit you and others. It is okay to be a dreamer. Dreamers offer progress and lead to the evolution of our collective success. We all need creative dreaming, but find ways to make your dreams a reality. Focus on big dreams, and big ambitions…it is your pursuit and ambition that matters.” He sent the newest Adams State graduates off to continue their exciting journey, “which will lead to fulfillment and contribution.”
Welcoming the graduating class and guests, Adams State President Cheryl D. Lovell, Ph.D., remarked on the significance of the ceremony being held in Richardson Hall Auditorium. “The very foundation of Adams State began in this one building, named in honor of the first president, Ira Richardson.” The intimate space filled with cheers as students crossed the stage to receive their diploma. Among them, Mathew Burcin, molecular and cellular biology major, delivered the class message. An Eagle Scout, Burcin graduated with highest honors in three-and-a-half years. He compared a tough climb up Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States, with his academic journey at Adams State. “Now my story of climbing Whitney serves to represent our academic story, you all get to hike to the top with me,” Burcin said. During his analogy, he recalled getting closer to the top. “We can see where we began but that mountain top is still quite a distance away. The semester is coming to a close and we make the final push up the mountain, see the top, touch it, and let out a sign of relief.” Burcin’s words inspired the audience to continue their great story. “…Every moment you wanted to quit, you ignored, kept hiking and accomplished an incredible feat. You learned a lot, matured, and now have the skills to conquer the next mountains you face... as our time here at Adams State University comes to an end, many more and greater mountains are to come. But we are prepared now. We have the tools for success. All our hardships and challenges strengthened us. We are certified mountaineers.”
Spotlight on Graduates Fall 2021 Nohemi Baca Aragon Elementary Education Minor in Spanish
Hometown: Del Norte, Colo. Although she took a couple years off for personal reasons, which meant her college degree took six years to earn, she persevered. “I am proud to be a Latina immigrant and a first-generation student,” said Nohemi. A resident in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) she juggled two to three jobs at a time while being a full-time student. Although DACAs are not eligible for many federal loans, Nohemi received a few small scholarships from the Latin American Education Foundation located in Denver and some Adams State education and foundation scholarships. She managed to graduate debt-free. She is a kindergarten teacher in Del Norte, Colo. “I look forward to continuing with my position as a kindergarten teacher for a few years and possibly moving up to first or second grade.” She appreciates Chrissy McKinney, teacher education coordinator, and Lynnea King, assistant professor of English, for pushing her and believing in her and helping her become a better writer.
“With my story, and my hard work, I look forward to making an impact in my community and on younger generations to come.” Shania McAlear Kinesiology Minor in Psychology Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: San Luis, Colo. For Shania, being the first in her family to attend and graduate college means she is opening doors to better career opportunities for her future. Attending Adams State helped her establish connections and made the college experience less financially stressful. “My advisor, Maria Martinez, instructor of kinesiology, was a lifesaver. Whenever I was stressed out over classes and felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, she was always there to push me to succeed.” Shania was a teacher’s assistant for English and a peer mentor for kinesiology majors. Off-campus, Shania was a lifeguard, an intern as a pediatric occupational therapist, and she currently works as a registered 14 AStater
behavioral technician to help children with autism. She has received the SLV Promise Award, the President’s Scholarship, the COSI Scholarship, the Sally T. Chavez Memorial Scholarship, and the Alumni Scholarship and is graduating without student loan debt. Shania stayed active on campus through the Psychology Club and Psi Chi.
“I have become more confident over the years. As a freshman, I was very shy. Now I carry myself with confidence. I learned how to see the world from other people’s perspectives.”
Accounting Minors in Taxation and Economics Cum Laude
Hometown: Tierra Amarilla, N.M. “Being a first-generation college student means that I can pursue something greater to help provide for my family in the future. I am thankful to have the support of my family.” Mandy will attend the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in the fall of 2022 to pursue a master’s degree in taxation. “It is something I have become very passionate about and something I would be able to bring back to my small community.” Sheryl Abeyta, assistant professor of business and Natalie Rogers, assistant professor of business, were pivotal in encouraging Mandy to pursue her master’s. Mandy was a member of Pacioli, the accounting club, serving as the club secretary. She received the Los Alamos National Laboratory 4-year Bronze Scholarship, the Colorado Society of CPAs Deloitte Scholarship, and the President’s Merit Scholarship. She had an internship with Wall, Smith, Bateman, Inc., and was a tutor and work-study. She worked at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in the accounting department. Mandy will graduate with no student loan debt.
“I was able to excel in my work, based on the education I received at Adams State. From the diverse homecoming events to the small study groups, Adams State is a place to find yourself and that is ultimately what I did.”
Sociology with emphasis in Criminology, Social Welfare
Hometown: Center, Colo. Balancing work and college is an incredibly difficult task, but for Amanda, becoming a first-generation college graduate is an achievement well worth the effort. For the last two years, she has been a building manager through work-study in the Student Union Building. Along with that, she has been working at McDonalds. Both jobs have taught her useful skills that will help her in future occupations. “My professors became an amazing support system and have always been professional, helpful, and encouraging. I was always one to contribute to discussions on tough topics during class.” During 2021, Amanda was an intern with La Puente, a local nonprofit helping those in need in the San Luis Valley. “This was an amazing learning experience that has offered me opportunities to engage and connect with professionals in our Alamosa community.” Working and receiving financial assistance allowed Amanda to graduate with zero student loan debt. When first starting college, Amanda didn’t reach out to professors. “Now as a senior, non-traditional student I have learned how to make the best of my college experience.” In spring 2021, she made the President Honor Roll by earning a 4.0 GPA while taking 16 credit hours. After graduation, she is planning to apply for and work at La Puente.
“Earning my college degree means that more doors will open for me and my family—helping us on our road to success.” Cynthia K. Merchant Interdisciplinary Studies Online Student Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Salida, Colo. Cynthia is the first female in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and the first to graduate with honors. “I am pleased with my accomplishment; it has been a long time coming and I have worked hard to reach my goals.” As an online, non-traditional student, Cynthia wanted a university
close enough to attend in-person classes or summer workshops, as an option. “The small campus size and friendly atmosphere made it easy to find the assistance I needed and led me to take some in-person classes. I enjoyed the personal connections I made along the way. I received a tremendous amount of support from my advisor. My professors made the classwork interesting, challenging, and relatable.” She especially appreciates Michael Stewart, Ph.D. and Heidi Schneider, Ph.D., assistant professors of sociology. “They inspired curiosity, critical thinking and exploring concepts outside the box.” Cynthia started as a volunteer at a non-profit restorative justice program which led to a full-time position with the organization. She has seen tremendous growth since her first semester. Along with improving her writing skills, her familiarity with technology has increased. “I learned how to conduct research and think
critically about the world around me. I continue to question and examine the information I receive from mass media sources, and have a comprehensive understanding of sociology concepts and intersectionality.”
Cellular and Molecular Biology Minor in Chemistry Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Escondido, Calif. “My interest in pursuing research and STEM involvement were fostered by my professors and advisors by involving me in their own research or providing me with the path to begin on my own.” His work-study supervisor, Angela Sandy, Title V STEM activity director, and professor Umesh Bhattarai, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, connected with Mathew and helped him reach his academic and research goals. “They often offered to review cover letters and medical school applications, connected me with physicians to speak about the medical field, and truly cared about my success. I could not have asked for better support.” Mathew was recruited to play soccer. He took the fall semester off to coach, rather than play. He received the Porter Scholarship and the President’s Scholarship and worked as a teaching assistant, and tutored in the STEM Center. He is graduating with no student loan debt. He plans to move back to California and pursue work in biotechnology until he attends medical school.
“I’ve improved by huge margins in my knowledge of both biology and chemistry while simultaneously developing a well-rounded knowledge of English, arts, and humanities.” AStater 15
Women’s basketball 1952-53 Deb Gilbert ’83, Adams State Hall of Fame inductee in 2000 Pam Klecker, Adams State Hall of Fame inductee in 2013
“ To think, if this was a different era I wouldn’t have
been standing on that stage on November 20, 2021, with my teammates holding up a national trophy as the crowd around us chanted our names.”
Hear Her Roar Brianna Robles shares her passion for running and the Title IX effect on collegiate athletes. In 1981 the first women’s cross country team was established at Adams State University, which included legendary runners Mary Jacqua, Denise Falzone, Lucy Paine, Lisa Kallbach, Denise Sonne, Andrea Ogg, and Fay Woodward. They were on the first women’s team in RMAC history to win a national championship. That team started a legacy that continues through today and may not have happened without an act of congress. In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act became a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex including in collegiate athletics. I believe it should have always been culturally acceptable for women to be able to compete in sports like men. This image of being “too fragile” or “too delicate” has always been one of the motives behind not allowing women to compete in sports – but the reality is women are tough. Sports were originally male dominated as they were often the only college athletes encouraged and supported to compete and showcase their abilities – now the door for opportunities remains equal for women. To be a runner on the women’s cross country team means to be a part of a culture. I would say the expectations and the goals are the same across both genders, which keeps this program balanced. Being a part of the Adams State cross country team provided me an experience I don’t think I would be fortunate enough to experience anywhere else. We are a very diverse team and it is interesting to see how sports can bring many people together who share the same dream about achieving greatness. I am grateful for the opportunities I received, actually I wouldn’t say received, but earned. Every opportunity in my life was a stepping stone created from previous hardships and
Adams State women-athletes through the years
dedication. It has taken a lot in order to reach a level of greatness – nothing is ever given. It is now my fourth year with the Adams State cross country and track program and each year always has something new to offer. The dynamic created on this team is that we are family, which I feel doesn’t create a separation among gender. Through these past years there have been workouts where I try to run with the men, and of course I tried my best to stay with them to prove that just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m incapable of running just as fast. I think this approach motivates me and causes some friendly competition among the men but also demonstrates how this sport has brought us all together. Thinking back to the time before women were encouraged to compete in sports is still a thought I can’t wrap my mind around. It means I would not have accomplished all that I have these past three years. To think, if this was a different era I wouldn’t have been standing on that stage on November 20, 2021, with my teammates holding up a national trophy as the crowd around us chanted our names. Every moment where I complained about running another mile, every moment when coach yelled at me to go faster, are moments I will never take for granted. The feeling of racing at a national meet is unexplainable but holds so much significance and is a moment like no other. I will always remember “ASU! ASU! ASU!” being chanted as we looped around to another mile. I will never forget the pain I felt but still pushed through it because six other girls depended on me to do so. I will never forget embracing all my teammates in a hug after I crossed the finish line only to learn – we had done it. We were the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Champs. We were going home with title number fifty-seven, and it almost felt like all of it was a dream. Putting all of that into perspective, these are the kind of memories: hard work, dedication, and support, that are formed through sports. For women to have an equal opportunity shows the world that we are capable of accomplishing great things. I am very fortunate to compete and participate in sports. Along with receiving a scholarship, sports have given me a chance to dream, and the chance to work with a group of talented women that chase after greatness. I can’t wait for the next two years at Adams State to see what other accomplishments will come my way. by Brianna Robles ’23
From the start, Adams State women During the first regular college year, President Ira Richardson, Elizabeth Briggs, and Tessie M. Degan, with student librarian Harriet Dalzell taught forty-two students during the fall quarter. Harriet, later Harriet Dalzell Hester, pictured above, was the first faculty librarian after being the first to receive a degree from Adams State. Beryl McAdow wrote the first two Adams State history books, “From Crested Peaks” and “Our Voices Raised,” and served as an early faculty member. Currently, four out of the eight schools/departments are led by women including School of Humanities and Social Sciences Director Colleen Schaffner, Ph.D.; School of Counselor Education Director Cheri Meder, Ph.D.; School of Business Director Liz Thomas-Hensley, Ph.D.; and Department of Nursing Director Melissa Milner. Four out of seven Executive Council members are women including President Cheryl D. Lovell, Ph.D.; CFO Heather Heersink; Interim Director of Public Relations and Marketing Peg Blake, Ph.D.; Director of Athletics Katelyn Smith. Across campus there are currently 20 department directors that are women.
Run of the Century
The green and white balloon arch complemented a cloudless blue sky the morning of the Run of the Century. At the starting line, the arch swayed in a slight breeze as runners took their mark for the 5K. Competitive collegiate athletes checked their watches and, with determination on their faces, prepared for the sound of the shot. The 100+ other runners, alumni and community members, stretched and engaged in light conversation as their race was less about time and more about the shared experience.
Clutching copies of “Chasing Excellence: The Remarkable Life and Inspiring Vigilosophy of Coach Joe I. Vigil,” crowds gathered in Vistas on Saturday to have their book autographed by Coach Vigil and author Pat Melgares, Class of 1988, national champion and Adams State athletic hall of famer.
Coach Damon Martin, Joseph Frank “Boogie” Romero, and Joe I. Vigil, Ph.D. draw a crowd of admirers.
Current and former runners captured the moment, taking photos of their name inscribed on the obelisk that stands in front of Rex Stadium as witness to the 50-year winning history of the incredible running sport at Adams State.
Bronze plaques will grace three sides, the fourth is dedicated to future successes. The wall facing west tells the story of the Adams State dynasty; the opposite side has every national championship team title, each team member, as well as every coaching staff member; the north panel includes every student athlete who earned All-American honors, a denotation of each individual national championship, and Olympic rings for those who competed in the Olympic games. Due to current bronze shortages the plaques are yet to be placed. Temporary banners were fixed to the monument for the unveiling.
Grizzly Athletics Adams State secures women’s cross country championship Adams State student-athlete, Brianna Robles, recounts her experience being a part of a winning team When I first arrived at Adams State and earned a scholarship for cross country and track, the first thing I was most eager about was being able to get on stage one day with my teammates, embracing all our hard work and efforts as we held our national champion trophy in the air. On November 20, 2021 those dreams became a reality when I got to experience my first race at the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship. It was the moment we each dreamt about and knew was a possibility. But it wasn’t going to be handed to us – it was something that had to be earned. At the beginning of summer, we were all sent a schedule to follow and even though coach wasn’t present, we each knew we had to do our part to make the most of this opportunity. There were many obstacles we encountered along the way, such as trying to win conference and then regionals for both the men’s and women’s teams. Now even though these two races were not our end goal, we understood that it would help us pave the way to have a chance at winning a national title – and it did. There were moments when we doubted ourselves, especially towards the end when all we wanted to do was take a break. We knew it was small details like this that would separate us from our competitors. Going into conference we had targets on our backs as everyone wanted to beat the number one ranked team. The men’s team had been ranked second leading up to the national race and did their best to bring home a national title as well. We each knew what was at stake but didn’t let that get the best of us. Every time we run together, we run for each other, and we always try our best to rise to the occasion. That is exactly what took place that day as we took another conference title, and I earned my first individual conference title. When regionals came around, we still had the same ambition to chase after greatness and continued to run with our hearts as the gun went off. We were able to add our own regional title to the list of many before us, but we 20 AStater
knew after that race it was only the beginning. Even though the men’s team were runners-up, it didn’t deter them from having high goals as we made our way to Florida. When we approached nationals, we were very excited to show everyone around us what we were capable of. We had no idea what the outcome would be in the end, but we knew as long as each one of us did our best there was a possibility that we would bring home the 57th national title – and we did. The men’s team ran tough and closed the gaps between each other but fell short of the national title, earning a secondplace trophy along with four men who earned All-American. On the women’s side there were six women who earned an All-American spot, placing in the top forty. Throughout this whole season we carried a chip on our shoulder, and we owed everything to ourselves, to our team, to our parents, and to our fans, to go out there and bring home another national title. by Brianna Robles ’23
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Fish out of water The Adams State swim teams adapted to changing conditions The Grizzly swim teams nearly became polar bears this season as they swam in unheated water. Wearing wetsuits, the men’s and women’s teams continued work-outs in the Plachy Hall pool after heat for the pool was disrupted due to building renovations. “Mental toughness is important for swimmers because you have to be able to push through pain and mental barriers,” said Jon Griffin, interim head coach for the men’s and women’s swim teams. In the third week of October, the temperature fell below a comfortable level for the safety of the swimmers and the athletes started using the local swimming pool, Splashland, heated by a natural hot spring. The team workouts were supplemented with dryland activities and daily morning practices included resistanceband training, three-and-a-half mile runs, ab workouts, and strength and conditioning. “We’ve done a number of things to stay competitive,” said KatyRose Heldstab, a junior from Austin, Texas. The team faced great difficulties since 2020, with COVID-19 erasing any sort of season the team had anticipated. “Even though we have hurdles to jump, we’re making progress,” said Griffin. “To be in such a situation, you have to make sure the swimmer does what they have to do to be competitive.” You can’t keep a Grizzly down. Both teams finished strong at recent meets. Indiana Steving, a sophomore from Loveland, Colo., won two out of his six events at the Nov. 5 and 6 Kearney, Neb. meet. He was nominated for RMAC Athlete of the Week. The season’s challenges brought the athletes closer as a team. “In the end we’re going to help each other no matter what,” said Heldstab. The first full week of December the Grizzlies returned to Plachy Hall with the heater up and running. The season concludes with RMAC Championships in midFebruary. “We train hard, we keep a positive outlook, and we can overcome any obstacle thrown our direction,” Griffin said. “We are proving it every day. Now we get to have fun and do what we love to do, swim.” by Garrett Carroll ’21 AStater 21
Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet
Athletic Hall of Fame 2021 Inductees Katelyn Lovato ’14 • Softball Larry Mortensen’88, ’93 • Men’s basketball coach and athletic director Melanie Schiele ’95 • Volleyball Ray Ramsey Sr. • Football Amber Klein ’03 • Cross country and track and field Chris Holman • Cross country and track and field Shane Palmer • Wrestling Stephen Gitten • Track and field 22 AStater
Victoria Martinez • Cross country and track and field William Rakow ’69 • Football 1990 & 1992 Indoor Track and Field Teams and 1990 & 1992 Wrestling Teams Dianne Lee • Business Manager and Senior Woman Administrator honored as the Ted and Janet Morrison Special Citation recepient, pictured right
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Athletics Recap Grizzlies Football
ASU ended the season with a 1-10 overall record and 1-8 in the RMAC. They finished ninth in the conference.
ASU ended the season 11-16 overall, 7-11 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Grizzlies missed out on the RMAC Tournament by virtue of the third tiebreaker with New Mexico Highlands.
Women’s and Men’s Cross Country For the 19th time in school history and second straight time, the Adams State women captured the NCAA crown while the men finished in second. Adams State snagged a meet-high six All-America honors at the Division II National Cross Country Championships in Saint Leo, Florida. The Grizzlies placed four athletes in the top 15 – Brianna Robles (6th), Franziska Althaus (10th), Precious Robinson (11th) and Morgan Hykes (15th). Remaining All-America athletes for the Grizzlies are Nicole Lawrence (21st) and Fiona Hawkins (34th).
Visit adams.edu/athletics to keep posted on the latest Grizzly Athletic events.
The 2021 men’s soccer team presented President Cheryl D. Lovell with a signed ball on October 5. Pictured, left to right, Head Coach Brett Bently, graduate player Benji Rogers, freshman Thomas Waggener, junior Tanner Marsh, and sophomore Hayden Noll.
Dianne Lee was instrumental in Adams State’s success during her time as the Business Manager and Senior Woman Administrator. Her ability to keep the Athletic Department running was unmatched. She was also pivotal in growing the Grizzly Club and helping Adams State as they hosted two NCAA Division II National Championships.
The 75th Spud Bowl Queen is Priscila Zapata-Chavez
Priscila Zapata-Chavez, Center High School, is the 2021 Spud Bowl Queen.
Priscila Zapata-Chavez, a senior at Center High School, was crowned the 75th Spud Bowl Queen during halftime of the Adams State University vs. Mesa State football game on November 6, 2021. Autumn Yocom, a 2020 Sargent High School graduate and current Adams State student, also received recognition at halftime. Due to COVID restrictions, Yocom’s crowning as the 2020 Spud Bowl Queen was not public. The Spud Bowl tradition began in 1946, when the potato farmers in the Valley were asked to contribute sacks of spuds to the University, which, in turn, were converted into cash to supplement the athletic program. The tradition and spirit have continued, and Spud Bowl remains a highlight of each football season. Each year, San Luis Valley high schools are asked to nominate a senior candidate for Spud Bowl. The candidates are interviewed by a panel of judges, and the winner is selected and announced at halftime of the football game. The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee and Adams State University Foundation award scholarships of $1,000 to each contestant to attend Adams State and $2,000 to the Spud Bowl Queen. Judges for this year’s contest were Roger Mix and Matt Seger, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, and Maria Valdez, Adams State accounting technician II.
The 2020 Adams State Spud Bowl Queen, Autumn Yocom, during the 2021 Spud Bowl halftime show. Due to COVID restrictions, Yocum did not receive public recognition when she was selected by the judges in 2020.
^ The 2021 Adams State Spud Bowl candidates included, left to right, front row, Jessa Christensen, Centauri High School; Kyla Davis, Sargent High School; Aracely Pedro-Pablo, Alamosa High School; Hannah Trujillo, Del Norte High School; Camille Rawinski, Monte Vista High School; back row, Marissa Chacon, Antonito High School; Priscila Zapata-Chavez, Center High School; Dailin Estrada, Sanford High School; Sofia Minchaca, Sierra Grande High School; and JaeLea Maestas, Centennial High School. Not pictured, Yessenia Vera, Mountain Valley High School, and Kamryn Rogers, Sangre de Cristo High School.
The Adams State 2020 Spud Bowl Queen, Autumn Yocom, congratulates the 2021 Spud Bowl Queen, Priscila Zapata-Chavez, during halftime of the Adams State vs Mesa State football game on November 6.
Spud Bowl candidates through the years
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News History Repeats Itself Starting this fall, 14 departments were consolidated into seven schools, each with a director, while keeping nursing as the only stand-alone department. Department chairs retained some program-specific responsibilities, with directors overseeing all the programs and reporting to the Vice President of Academic Affairs Kent Buchanan, Ph.D. Programs that span across many departments including general education, associate’s degrees, interdisciplinary studies, and first year seminar report to Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Margaret Doell. “There have already been some payoffs from the restructuring in the development of new major emphases with an interdisciplinary approach that we feel will be beneficial to our students,” Buchanan said. Adams State is currently developing non-degree credentials, certificates and micro-credentials, that research indicates are critical for traditional and non-traditional students now and in the future. The collaborations between schools will help in the development of these credentials. Reorganization: The School of Science, Mathematics, and Technology • Interim Director Matt Nehring, Ph.D. • Department of Biology, Geosciences; and Department of Chemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics The School of Humanities and Social Sciences • Director Colleen Schaffner, Ph.D. • Departments of Psychology; Sociology; History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, and Spanish; and English, Communication and Media The School of Visual and Performing Arts • Director John Taylor, Ph.D. • Departments of Music, Art, and Theatre The School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences • Director Terry Dupler, Ph.D. • Departments of Kinesiology; Outdoor Education & Stewardship and Food Studies programs The School of Counselor Education • Director Cheri Meder, Ph.D. The School of Education • Director Curtis Garcia, Ph.D. • Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration and Leadership The School of Business • Director Liz Thomas-Hensley, Ph.D. The Department of Nursing • Director Melissa Milner, Ph.D.
Pictured, AHS CNA students include, left to right, first row, Hiral Patel, Mica Raya, Kayla Medina, Kailyn Vigil, Delia Pablo; second row, Mayra Cristobal, Lia Castillo, Ariel Vigil, Skyler Cerny, Antonia Jimenez-Gonzalez; third row, Aracely Pedro Pablo, Ben Jackson, Jacqueline Gonzalez, and Kristi Hillis, MSN, RN, Alamosa District School Nurse. Not pictured, Angelica Chacon, Jada Pinto, Sara Salas, and Lila Velasquez.
Alamosa High School students ready for CNA exam Alamosa High School partnered with Adams State University to offer students the opportunity to participate in a Certified Nurse Assistant program during the fall semester. Upon successful completion of their coursework, students will take their board exam and then be able to enter the field of healthcare. Andy Lavier, Adams State Class of 1997 and Alamosa High School principal, approached Kristi Hillis, MSN, RN, Alamosa District School Nurse, with the idea of starting the program. He wants more career and technical education classes for students. “With the current nursing shortage, we wanted to help get more students in the healthcare field,”
Hillis said. “Our hope is that they are able to enter the workforce as a CNA and then continue on into the nursing field if they choose.” Hillis appreciates the help from Adams State. “We could not have done this without Adams State.” Adams State Nursing Department Chair Melissa Milner, D.N.P., helped Hillis with the state board application. “Melissa and Kim Chacon (assistant professor of nursing) are there for me as a reference when I have questions.” Renae Haslett, Adams State Extended Studies program director, helped get the program set up so that it is a dual enrollment class.
A Week in Celebration of Veterans and their Perspectives Veterans Day at Adams State was different this year. For the first time, the university’s Veterans Center hosted a weeklong series of events to commemorate the sacrifices soldiers have made. The week began with a bake sale that helped a local group raising funds for a military memorial. The next day brought students and community members together for a viewing of the movie Zero Dark Thirty. Midway through the week, a panel of veterans discussed their perspectives on the global war on terror. On Veterans Day itself, the Center hosted a barbecue luncheon, and the week ended with an informative lecture on the evolution and future of U.S. military small arms. Of all the events, the luncheon stood out as a highlight for James Owens, Adams State’s veterans and military affairs coordinator. “The lunch was in the student union building, and we had about 40 guests, a mix of students, veterans, dependents and community members who came out,” he says. “Folks showed up to have a meal and good
conversation. It was really nice. We had a table in the back left corner of the room where we showed gratitude for those who were not able to make it—our POWs and MIAs. On the right side, we had all the service flags hanging, with the Stars and Stripes in the center of the room.” Owens designed the events to align with the center’s overall mission, which is to advocate for Adams State students who are veterans. “I try to bring their voices into the conversations that might impact them,” he says. Along those lines, the panel discussion was particularly relevant. “The whole point of the panel was to give service members’ perspectives of the war, what it was like to be there, to meet and talk with locals, and our perspective on how everything ended,” he says. “One community member told me it gave her something to think about. To me, that was a big success. I didn’t want us to repeat common political tropes in the presentation. I wanted people to get the human aspect of the war.” by Andy Brown AStater 27
News Ramirez named first recipient of the Brody Geiser memorial scholarship Jeff Geiser, Ph.D. made a surprise return to Rex Stadium on November 3 to award a scholarship to Adams State defensive lineman and Alamosa native Angelo Ramirez. Geiser served as the head football coach at Adams State University for thirteen seasons (1984-1996), taking his team to back-to-back playoff berths. Earning his doctorate during his coaching tenure at Adams State, Geiser subsequently served as the department chair of exercise, physiology, and leisure science and as Adams State’s athletic director before serving as athletic director at Eastern New Mexico University. Following the tragic death of his son, Brody, in 2020, Jeff and his wife, Nancy, established a memorial scholarship to support a student athlete from the San Luis Valley. On November 3, 2021, the Geisers formally awarded the scholarship to Angelo Ramirez, currently a defensive lineman for the Adams State Grizzlies and a wildlife biology major. Ramirez was a standout player for Alamosa High School’s Mean Moose, earning all-conference, all-valley, and all-state honors in 2017, and is now a stalwart starter for the Grizzlies’ defense. “I’m hoping something good can come out of a tragedy,” said Geiser, recalling that Brody literally followed him on the sidelines of Rex Stadium, handling the cord for his father’s head set and serving as a ball boy for the football team. Coach Geiser reminded the Grizzly players to “have fun” as they pursue athletic success on the gridiron. Nominated by Head Coach Jarrell Harrison to receive the award, Ramirez represents the values inherent in the scholarship of teamwork and Jeff Geiser, Pd.D. with scholarship dedication. recipient Angelo Ramirez.
“Finish What You Started” Program to Help Valley Students Get Their Degrees Students who enrolled in college but dropped out before they could earn their degrees have a new opportunity to return, and the state of Colorado will help pay for it. The “Finish What You Started” initiative is administered by the Department of Education’s Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI). Adams State received $678,546 to help students in the San Luis Valley complete their postsecondary degrees. “Data shows many students enroll and never start, or never finish their first semester. Another group of students start school but drop out after one or two years,” says Chayne Boutillette, director of COSI programs at Adams State. “They came to school and for some reason, whether it was related to family issues or money issues, or something else entirely, they could not stay.” For example, Boutillette recalls a student who enrolled several years ago but immediately dropped out after a member of her household lost their job. That student felt she had no choice but to return to work to ensure the family had an income. If she were to return through this program, the state would provide funds to support her and students in similar situations. “For someone like her, the money might go towards child care or to pay past bills related to schooling. The program would help with that kind of support, as well as traditional tuition, fees, and books,” says Boutillette. “The state gives a lot of leeway in how we support students who return. If they’re committed to coming back, we’re committed to supporting them.” That support extends beyond financial help. The Finish What You Started program also ensures that returning students have a point of contact as they navigate their college experience. “I’m here to walk them through any barriers that come up, whether it’s financial, or they have trouble getting a transcript, or if they feel like they have to go back to work. They bring those issues to me, and we come up with a plan, so it’s less likely they drop out,” says Boutillette. “It matters, because our data shows that having a support person on campus increases persistence and completion.” by Andy Brown
Chance Strand is the first recipient of the Robby Henriksen Memorial Scholarship, established by Henriksen’s parents, Judy and Tom.
Robby, Class of 2008, was an organismal biology major. He passed away unexpectedly in 2020.
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Staying in Touch •1950s Jerrold T. Booher ’56, ’61 spent 40 years in Colorado teaching, coaching, and in administration, but has lived in Pocatello, Idaho for the past 18 years. His wife, who did not graduate from Adams State, is named Shirley. Clair M. Martinez ’56, ’75 with her brother Roy, received a “Heritage Award” for educators in recognition of their service to education as counselors for many years. Caroline Sanchez ’56 celebrated her 66-year wedding anniversary. Patricia J. Anderson-Richmond ’58, ’69 resides near Dolores, Colo. She retired after 25 years of teaching social studies, English, and music classes in Colorado towns Basalt, Del Norte, and Monte Vista. She was co-founder of the Gordon Cooper Library in Carbondale, Colo., and a founding member of the San Luis Valley Historical Society and the Old Spanish Trail Association. She served as the education director for the San Luis Valley Visitor Information Center and later as director for the Creede & Mineral County Visitor Center & Chamber of Commerce. She still participates in civic and educational activities and continues to write for historical journals and other publications.
•1960s Theodora Madrid ’60, ’69 writes that she is “so proud of” Adams State’s “tradition in the preparation of teachers,” and she hopes the school continues preparing school teachers and encouraging public education for all, pre-kindergarten through college. “We need teachers!” Ruth K. Nichols ’61, ’88 thanks the Adams State staff and professors that supported her at the school. She now works at the multinational computer technology company, Oracle. James E. Morlan ’62 had a class called Business Law at Adams State taught by Dr. Wick, which was most useful to him. After graduating in 1962, he went to Denver, hoping to find fame and money. He had three children, eight grandchildren, and four great grandchildren and worked as a casualty claims adjuster. Later, he sold his claims business and taught himself how to invest in dividend growth stocks as a retirement activity.
•1970s Donald L. Brown ’62, ’68 worked for school district 9-R in Colorado for 30 years and was selected Colorado Counselor of the year. He and his brothers liked Adams State very much, picking out the outstanding teacher education programs and “most of all, excellent instructors!” John S. Perry ’64, ’71 was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, on September 11, 2021, in Colorado Springs. He wrestled at Adams State for Dr. Frank Powell and in 1964 was named Adams State’s Outstanding Wrestler. After graduation, John taught and coached wrestling at Alamosa High School for three years. He continued to teach and coach at Kearney High School, Kearney, Neb., and McCook Junior College in McCook, Neb., finalizing his career at Sterling High School in Sterling, Colo., where he resides with his wife, Bobbi. He has two sons and six grandchildren. He is a world champion sled dog sprint racer, having won a gold medal with his six-dog team and a silver medal with his eight-dog team. Matthew B. Shoban ’64, ’68 is retired from teaching at Middlesex College and Kean University, both in New Jersey. His time at Adams State included pushing a bed on wheels to Denver and impelling a wheelbarrow with potatoes to Albuquerque, as well as more common pursuits such as running and ski club, according to Shoban. Larry A. Barker ’65 retired from coaching in Lubbock, Texas. Arlene C. Lockrem ’68 went on from Adams State to receive her master’s degree in social work at University of Denver in 1972. She moved to Wyoming a couple of years ago to be near family, and is now retired. Edward E. Atencio Sr. ’68, ’73 received the Warren Mitchell Award for the top track and cross-country coach in Colorado, in 2011. He received the Adams State Educators Hall of Fame award and the Colorado Coaches Hall of Fame award in 2019. In 2021, he was named Adams State Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. He is married to Josephine Atencio and has three children: Jozette, Joanna, and Edward.
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Wendy (Rawson) ’71 and Gordon Hoffman, MA ’71, were married on March 4, 1972 in Coronado Hall by the Reverend Lonnie Eakle, the campus chaplain. Wendy misses Gordon, who passed away in 2012. They have two children, Nick and Angela, and four grandsons. Eric Mead ’71 writes that it’s hard to believe he graduated 50 years ago, “halfway through Adams State’s existence,” and he has many fond memories of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley. William Hinz ’72 is in his 40th year of practicing primarily criminal law, and in his third term as a school board member. “I might be relocating back to Colorado soon.” Jeanne Sategna ’74 coached varsity volleyball for 23 years, varsity track for 10 years, and has officiated volleyball for the past 20 years. Phillip Sategna ’74, ’76 is in his 48th year coaching track. He was an administrator and teacher for 38 years. Sally A. Karg ’75 is a member of Oak Harbor Garden Club on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Charlene M. O’Leary Luke ’75 was a certified project management professional before she retired in 2014 and moved to Britt, Minn. Steven Stenersen ’76 and his wife, Ana, were fortunate to attend Adams State University’s Centennial Celebration in October. They had not been to campus since many of the extensive renovations and additions were completed. He wrote that all associated with them should be proud, but said more importantly, everyone was “friendly” and “down to earth,” mentioning especially President Lovell’s engagement, enthusiasm and commitment, as well as Adams State faculty invitingly offering to assist the couple. Registered nurse Ana took a tour of the nursing facilities and found them impressive. The Stenersens also appreciated the passion of Alumni Relations and Engagement Director Ashley Maestas. Most importantly, they found Adams State students to be “fully engaged, partisan, robust” and “fun-loving.” Steven
Family Bookshelf Mary Van Pelt ’81 recently published a chapbook, Finding My Pieces: Vignettes and Verse, with cover art by Kathy Park ’07, and layout and design by Bill Tite, M.F.A, professor of art. Van Pelt writes that she is inspired by the power of hope found in personal stories and in this chapbook, she shares a few of her own. “The really cool thing is going into the world with the support of friends,” according to Van Pelt. The book is available at Narrow Gauge Book Coop in Alamosa.
and Ana also approvingly made note of the school’s “academic progression, student compassion and … credo to be inclusive,” and they advise students to enjoy their time on campus because “it never gets better than the present.” Frances M. Montoya ’79 retired from District 60 in Pueblo, Colo., as an elementary teacher. She enjoys traveling and doing volunteer work, mainly at her church. Frances is married to John Gutierrez and her son Erick is married to Kourtney. She has always told her students that education is the key to success, according to Montoya. “Way to go ASU Grizzlies as they celebrate 100 years!”
•1980s Steven L. Heisterkamp ’86 enjoys retirement from the grocery business and wants to say hi to everybody that he knew at Adams State. “Thank you!”
•2010s Snowy Coleman ’18 met Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Russell Smith (MCPON) when he boarded Coleman’s ship on Thanksgiving Day. Coleman took a picture with Smith and they talked for about 15 minutes.
Thankful for Adams State Adams State sent holiday greetings to alums, thanking them for their support. Some returned the message with expressions of their own thankfulness. Wendy Hoffman ’71 gives thanks for her time at Adams State, where she made friends, learned lessons outside of class, and received a “world-class education.” Most importantly, she thanks the school because this is where she met her husband. In fact, she writes, their wedding reception took place in the Coronado Hall conference room without champagne, as they were on a dry campus. Adams State is the “best place on earth,” according to Hoffman, and the great story of her and her husband “definitely did begin” here.
What have you been up to since graduation? Your classmates want to know.
Arvilla Weldon ’70, ’92 says “thank you” for the Thanksgiving wish and wishes the same to all at Adams State. Darlene Brace-Torres ’04, ’05 is grateful for the amazing well-rounded education and leadership training received at Adams State, which gave her “a solid foundation” for her career, as well as lifelong friendships.
Bette McFarren ’76 is thankful for her wonderful Colorado family in Durango, Denver and La Junta, and writes that the last part of her career was made possible by her master’s degrees in special education earned at Adams State. “It was a great place to study and spend the summer, back in ‘76 where I made lifelong friends.” McFarren works part time at the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette and has retired from the East Otero R-l School District in Colorado.
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Adams Family Album
The 1966-1971 football team, including the Mineral Water Bowl, attended a Grizzly football game as part of their yearly reunion.
This year the theatre program produced a holiday variety show, CHRISTMASTIME! CHRISTMASTIME! that charmed audiences with the multi-talented theatre students. The in-person live audience was treated to comedy skits, singing, spoken word, and dancing.
Many familes including the Benavidas family, pictured above, and Atencio family, pictured right, enjoyed the Adams State holiday matinee of CHRISTMASTIME! CHRISTMASTIME! A Holiday Variety Show on December 5. 32 AStater
New Grad brunch December 13. Back row from left: Garrett Carrol, Tyrin Hollis, Shania McAlear, Jackie Cisneros, Michael Morales Front row from left: Zoe Serrano, Courtney Hocking, Elaoghaire Dunphy, Gihan Cardona, Mandy Salazar, Ashley Maestas ’13, ’20 and Sandy Ortega (Alumni Board President)
Cookies with Santa on December 4, 2021 in Centennial, Colo. A large group of alumni and family members enjoyed meeting Santa, aka Michael Cawthra, Class of 1976.
The Colorado Farm Brewery hosted an alumni social to celebrate their Adams100 Centennial pale ale on November 12. Pictured left: Amy Kucera ’05 and Karla Hardesty.
Final Chapters Shirley B. Voris Coats ’56 (Palm City, FL) passed away Apr 26 at the age of 99. Daniel J. Romero ’60 (Eloy, AZ) passed away Jan 25 at the age of 82. Jane F. David ’61 (Monte Vista, CO) passed away Nov 5 at the age of 97. John E. Marlman ’61 (La Junta, CO) passed away Sep 23 at the age of 83. David D. Garvin ’63 (Delhi, IA) passed away Oct 4 at the age of 81. Lawrence D. Wallace ’65, ’69 (Monte Vista, CO) passed away in May at the age of 77. J. Loomis Abbott ’67 (Mountain Home, AZ) passed away Jan 29 at the age of 89. Louis R. Myers ’67, ’69 (Durango, CO) passed away Jul 14 at the age of 78. Richard Cranford ’68 (Forgan, OK) passed away Aug 1 at the age of 82. Lawrence C. Muhr ’71 (Grand Junction, CO) passed away Apr 27 at the age of 77. Maxine Albertson ’72 (Hoehne, CO) passed away Aug 15 at the age of 74. Nikolay Makarow ’72 (Hackettstown, NJ) passed away Mar 11 at the age of 71. James Fromm ’73 (Grand Junction, CO) passed away Jun 8 at the age of 70. Michael A. Fernandez ’74 (Colorado Springs, CO) passed away Dec 17 at the age of 72.
Kenton J. Adair ’75 (Pueblo, CO) passed away Nov 7 at the age of 86. John P. VanTassel ’76, ’85 (Colorado Springs, CO) passed away Apr 1 at the age of 67. Dr. Thomas J. Powers ’79 (Lake Havasu City, AZ) passed away Sep 15 at the age of 65. Virgil N. Tafoya ’82 (Canon City, CO) passed away Sep 7 at the age of 72. Dale H. Pruett ’84 (Del Norte, CO) passed away Mar 21 at the age of 81. James M. North ’89 (Sugarland, TX) passed away Jun 4 at the age of 64. Daniel A. Lujan ’90 (Pueblo, CO) passed away Oct 14 at the age of 60. Judy Connally ’91 (Lamar, CO) passed away Jun 20 at the age of 73. Dr. Matthew J. Mann ’94 (Pleasanton, TX) passed away Nov 20 at the age of 49. Nichole Longo Martinez ’13 (Canon City, CO) passed away Nov 14 at the age of 38.
friends Lloyd G. Swenson (Castle Rock, CO) passed away Apr 24 at the age of 99. Sarah J. Johnson (Alamosa, CO) passed away Sep 28 at the age of 81.
Reserve your copy of our much anticipated Adams100 History Book Please use the link below to reserve your copy: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/ckzxio/event/841941/
A-Stater Adams State University Alamosa, CO 81101