Adams State Donor Recognition Dinner honors supporters


Adams State College honored exceptional donors at its 2007 Donor and Student Recognition Dinner, Nov. 2.

"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.

The Adams State College Foundation presented William '51 and Joan Porter with the Willis Fassett, Jr. Award, its highest honor. The college's most prestigious award, The Billy Adams Award, was presented to Dr. Glenn Burnham.

The Grizzly Club presented its Corporate Partner of the Year Award to the current and former owners of the Alamosa McDonald's Restaurant: current owners D.J. and Rachel Mitchell, previous owners Paul and Nellie Dias, and Loyd Nelson, who brought the chain to Alamosa. The Grizzly Club Individual Partner of the Year Award was presented to Don and Gloria Wuckert. The Alumni Association and the Grizzly Club are under the umbrella of the Adams State College Foundation.

Guests were treated to a performance by the William D. Finnell Chamber Music Group. Finnell, a 1962 graduate, donated money last year to support chamber music trios.

"I want to recognize the students and thank the donors. The purpose of Adams State is to provide a first -class education for these students," said Adams State President, Dr. David Svaldi.

Jenny Cooper, president of the Adams State College Foundation, discussed the difference between restricted and unrestricted giving. Money donated for a specific purpose, such as scholarships, is considered restricted. A donation received by the college, without being designated, is unrestricted.

"Colorado has not sufficiently funded higher education for some years," she said. "The only way to bridge the gap between the needs of the college and the funding received by the state is through contributions to the Foundation. Unrestricted giving is used to upgrade computers and support new programs." This year, Adams State developed two new programs, agribusiness and health care administration.

Cooper presented The Willis Fassett, Jr. Award, which was accepted on behalf of the Porters by their grandniece Zaineb Frawan, an Adams State junior. "The Willis Fassett, Jr. Award is given to a major supporter of Adams State," Cooper said. "It is hard to even talk about the Porters. This last year they gave the single largest gift to the college."

The Porters recently contributed $5.8 million worth of stock in E*Trade to create scholarships for science and mathematics students. William Porter founded E*Trade, the first real-time, on-line electronic brokerage service. In 1997, the Porters donated $4 million worth of E*Trade stock, prompting the college to name its new science and mathematics building for Porter, who holds a degree in mathematics from Adam State.

"Thank you for recognizing my great uncle and his contributions to the college," Frawan said.

Svaldi presented the Billy Adams Award. "It is a privilege and an honor to introduce Dr. Glenn Burnham," he said. "It is appropriate last year's recipient was Dr. Marv Motz (emeritus professor of psychology). Their two careers are intertwined." Svaldi said

He added that Burnham was instrumental in his own decision to pursue a career in higher education administration. "Glenn's long service to Adams State has helped make it a special place. He was always the consummate professional. He always kept in mind the student, and without the tough choices he had to make, we would not be here today."

While he was interim president in the early '80s, Motz, class years of 1958 and 1959, asked Burnham to serve as interim vice president of academic and student affairs.

"When a great friend receives an award held in such high esteem, you share the feeling." Motz said. "To know Glen is to admire and respect him. He went above and beyond the call of duty. I always felt he had Adams State and my best interests at heart."

Burnham asked his wife, Kerry, to accept the award with him. "I am deeply honored by the award," he said. "For me it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to be a part of Adams State College. I interacted with a lot of people who had so much pride in this place. I was able to work with faculty who put teaching as their number one priority and at the same time pursued their scholarly work. It was a privilege to watch the students grow and know Adams State added value to their lives…I will continue to share the spirit of Billy Adams as his college grows every stronger."

The Grizzly Club Awards were presented by Steve Valdez, class of 1987, president of the Grizzly Club, and a college trustee; and by interim athletic director Larry Mortensen, classes of 1988 and 1993.

"I am proud to present this award to Don and Gloria Wuckert," Valdez said. "They have been married 57 years and have been actively supporting Adams State College for all the years of their marriage. They represent total engagement with the college."

Don Wuckert said: "We have bled green for 57 years. It has been a lot of fun."

"Adams State College is about community and engagement in the community," said Mortensen as he presented the Grizzly Club Corporate Partner of the Year Award. "Our corporate sponsors support the athletes. Lloyd was gracious as the first owner of the local McDonald's, and the Dias' stepped up and increased the giving. Anytime we have asked the Mitchells, they have been very gracious and generous."

As he accepted his award, Nelson said it was easy to leave his business with people like the Mitchell's. D.J. Mitchell said: "We are thrilled to continue to grow and continue our relationship with Adams State."

Students dined with their scholarship benefactors. Marni Zabel, class of 2008, recipient of the Kay Prendergast Kelloff Scholarship, said, "I sat with the Kelloffs (Kay and Harold), and it was great to get to know them."

Sophomore Erin Baldwin spoke on behalf of the students. "I love the small town atmosphere and support from everyone at Adams State," she said. "Each and every donor makes a dream come true. Thanks to all of you, for making it possible for someone like me to attend Adams State College."

By Linda Relyea