Adams State celebrates life of Dr. Marvin Motz


Dr. Marvin Motz was many things to Adams State College: student, athlete, administrator, professor, mentor – even president, twice. His recent passing is mourned by the college and countless alumni who had the privilege to sit in Motz’s classroom. Motz was proud to have known every Adams State president personally.

“Dr. Motz was literally and figuratively a giant among men. I am proud to have known him both as a faculty colleague and as an emeritus president,” said Adams State President David Svaldi. “He always provided me advice laced with humor, and I have tried to copy his calm demeanor, even when it appears that the situation and the people in it may be about to dissolve into chaos. Marv was a strong, good, kind, and compassionate man who devoted most of his adult life to Adams State, ASC students, and the Alamosa community. The college is a better place for his years of dedicated service. He will be greatly missed by all of us at ASC; but not forgotten. Our hearts go out to Mary and the rest of his family.”

Motz was known for his philosophy of using humor to educate and relate to others. After his retirement as Emeritus Professor of Psychology in 1996, he started the Humor Academy and presented throughout the country and Europe for 15 years. True to that philosophy, Motz was fond of saying: "I have made it seven blocks in my entire life."

“Everybody who ever had a class with Dr. Motz or met him on the sidewalk, loves him,” said Adams State Director of Alumni Relations, Lori Laske. “Everywhere we travel, alumni ask about or remember Dr. Motz. His inspiration, humor, and compassion have touched more people then could ever be counted. “

Motz’s wife, Mary, and all four of their children also graduated from Adams State, as have many members of the Motz extended family.

After his first year in college, Motz served four years in the Navy during the Korean War, then returned to Adams State in 1954. After finishing his master’s in 1959, he joined the Adams State staff with responsibilities in public relations, alumni affairs, and admissions. He joined the psychology faculty in 1967, eventually sharing his knowledge, love, and laughter with approximately 9,260 students.

With the desire to offer more to students, he completed his doctorate in psychology, counseling and guidance at University of Northern Colorado in 1969. He said he tried to give his students the ability to observe their and other’s behavior in a positive way and to question everyone’s behavior.

He was particularly proud to be named Outstanding Educator in 1990 by the Consortium of State Colleges in Colorado. Motz served as faculty marshal at Adams State commencement ceremonies and was the first faculty representation on the Colorado State Colleges Board of Trustees.

Motz concluded his formal service to his alma mater in 1996, having spent his final year in a second term as interim president. He also held that post in 1980-81. He liked to joke: "I've suggested to some I kept doing it until I got it right."

Motz an All-Star on the court & in the classroom

Motz’s ASC basketball jersey has been retired, and he was an early inductee into the ASC Athletic Hall of Fame, in 1963. His career tally of 1,508 points remains the fourth most in college history. Motz was an All-Conference basketball player in his freshman year and an All-RMAC selection in his junior year.

Always active in the community, he served more than two decades on the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center Foundation board, most recently as vice president. After losing his daughter, Stephanie, to breast cancer, Motz was instrumental in founding the hospital's Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center. The SLVRMC Foundation recently presented Motz with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Adams State Alumni Relations and Foundation Offices are organizing an ASC team to honor Motz’s contributions by participating in the upcoming Stephanie L. Miner 5K Walk and Run, Oct. 8. Proceeds will benefit the imaging center. All Adams State employees, alumni, and supporters are invited to sign up by contacting Lori Laske, 587-7867, or Tammy Lopez at 587-7122.

By Julie Waechter