Adams State Donor Recognition Dinner honors supporters

(11-11-2008)

Left to right, Jeni Jack, First Southwest Banks; Russel Achatz, Alamosa State Bank; Izora and Butch Southway; Donna and David Wehe.

Many individuals and institutions outside of Adams State College realize the importance of a well-educated society and offer their support, financially and otherwise, to the college and the students. The Adams State Foundation Donor and Student Recognition Dinner is held annually to honor the students and college benefactors.

"As a small state college, Adams State College relies on the generosity of contributions from individuals and corporations to assist students with scholarships, support athletic teams, and help the college continue to advance," noted Dr. Bruce Landis, vice president for Institutional Advancement.

This year's event took place Friday, Nov. 7, in the Student Union Building. Four highly prized awards were presented by Adams State, the Adams State Foundation, and the Adams State Grizzly Club, in appreciation of special college donors and supporters.

Freshman Amber Harlan appreciates how vital these contributions are to students' higher education goals.

A recipient of many Adams State scholarships Harlan encouraged her fellow students to "squander nothing" when awarded financial assistance and in the future to "pay forward" when presented with the opportunity. She thanked all the award winners and Adams State donors, "you are providing the means for a more knowledgeable world."

The generosity of Steve and Carol Otto will be expressed for years to come through the Rocky Mountain Panhandlers, Adams State's steel drum ensemble, which performed at the dinner.

The Adams State College Foundation presented Alamosa State Bank with the Willis Fassett, Jr. Award, its highest honor. The college's most prestigious award, The Billy Adams Award, was presented to Izora and Butch Southway.

The Grizzly Club presented its Corporate Partner of the Year Award to First Southwest Banks. The Grizzly Club Individual Partner of the Year Award was presented to Donna and David Wehe. The Grizzly Club is under the umbrella of the Adams State College Foundation.

Steve Valdez, class of 1987, president of the Grizzly Club and a college trustee; and Interim Athletic Director Larry Mortensen, classes of 1988 and 1993, presented the Grizzly Club Awards.

Mortensen said Adams State athletes are involved in the community and "most importantly, the community is involved with them." He said the First Southwest Bank has been a member at the highest level of the Grizzly Club for many years. "We ask and they are there."

Jeni Jack, executive vice president for the bank, said through the leadership of David Broyles, president of First Southwest Bank, the bank's "focus of funds and support" to Adams State is directed mainly to athletics. She said the bank appreciates how many students are recruited through athletics. According to Jack, 15 of the bank's employees, including herself and Broyles, are Adams State alumni.

Valdez described the Wehes' attitude towards Adams State athletics as "passion, bundles of enthusiasm, commitment, dedication, desire and focus. It is great to know you can count on some families to go the extra mile."

Donna Wehe said she enjoyed getting to know the athletes and coaches, especially the San Luis Valley students. David Wehe said: "Adams State is a great college with a great atmosphere."

The Willis Fassett, Jr. Award includes a Buffalo Chant bronze, created specifically for the Foundation by Adams State alumnus and famous cowboy artist, William Moyers, class of 1939. Jenny Cooper, president of the Adams State College Foundation, presented the award to Russell Achatz, president of the Alamosa State Bank.

She said the Alamosa State Bank supports the college in numerous, significant ways. The bank has established two memorial scholarships named after former board members and are long-time supporters of the Grizzly Club.

Achatz, an Adams State graduate from 1985, said the bank was honored and humbled to receive the award and acknowledged the bank's "great staff, owners, and directors."

Adams State President David Svaldi presented the Billy Adams Award to Izora and Butch Southway. He said the Southways represented the "same spirit" as Billy Adams, former Colorado Governor and Adams State's namesake.

As the Southways accepted the award, Izora said it was a "family award" and recognized their son, Rocky, and his wife, Trinette, and their oldest grandson, Dustin, as well as Butch's mother, Elaine Southway, who were seated in the audience. "Thank you for the honor and support," Izora said. "Thank you all very much," added Butch.

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By Linda Relyea