Motz chosen as Adams State College 2006 Billy Adams Award recipient


Marv Motz

Marv Motz

It's been over ten years since I heard Dr. Marvin D. Motz '58 '59, give one of his humorous speeches to the local Farm Bureau meeting in Center, and I still smile secretly when I enter an elevator and think about his suggestion to face the crowd, rather than the doors.

It is a good indication of the influence this tall man, with an easy laugh, has on humanity.

The emeritus professor of psychology is a perfect candidate for the Billy Adams Award and will receive the honor at this year's Homecoming Awards Banquet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, October 6 in the Adams State College Student Union banquet rooms. Tickets are $25 per person, advanced purchase preferred by calling 719-587-8110. Dress is semi-final or Renaissance, in keeping with the Homecoming theme.

"It is an extremely humbling experience to be given an award for something you enjoyed doing," Motz said. "It is more than humbling."

The Billy Adams Award recognizes those who follow in the tradition set by Adams, who was committed to Adams State College and its continual growth. Motz does so in a variety of ways. His philosophy in life, in the classroom and in the board room, was to use humor to educate and relate to others.

When he first came to Adams State College, in 1964, Dr. Don Stegman, emeritus professor of English, met Motz and got to know him well over the consecutive years.

"We became really good friends," Stegman said. "I respect him and his family very much."

Motz spent 36 years at Adams State College. He was an administrator, professor and interim president (twice).

"I was in the Adams State College Public Relations Office from 1959 until 1966," Motz said. "Those days we all did more than one job. I was also an admissions counselor, director of alumni, as well as assistant director of public relations. I remember Don Brooks taught English, directed plays and was the financial aid director."

But the good-humored man said he wanted to connect with students on a different level. Motz attended University of Northern Colorado in Greeley for one year and returned to Adams State as a professor in the department of psychology. He continued working summers on his doctorate in psychology, counseling and guidance, until finishing in 1969. He also became a nationally certified counselor and consulted with the San Luis Valley Mental Health Center.

"I wanted students to have the potential to observe their and other's behavior in a positive way and to question everyone's behavior," Motz said. "When I retired, I took all of my class role books and counted a total of 9260 students. Some of those took more than one class, but that is still a significant number of people I hoped I helped to be objective and positive."

Motz said the psychology department was very close knit and liked playing tricks on each other.

"I remember crumpling newspaper and filling Lena's (Samora) entire office," Motz said. "She saw the humor in it, but I am not sure the custodian did."

Patricia Wilson, retired Adams State College employee, said she enjoyed working with Motz.

"When I first started at the college, I was an assistant in the psychology department," Wilson said. "I had already transferred to the office of the president when Motz was appointed interim president."

Motz was a professor of psychology from 1967 until 1980, served as interim president from 1980 to 1981, returned to the classroom until 1994, and served as interim president for another year before retiring in 1996.

"I've suggested to some I kept doing it until I got it right," Motz said.

"He had so many admirers," Wilson said. "He loves and accepts everyone and is willing to work through differences and is so good at making people feel good about themselves."

"Marv was outstanding in the classroom and did a superb job the two times he served as interim president," Stegman said. "I believe green and white blood runs in his veins, his love for Adams State College is that evident."

Motz said the responsibilities in a classroom are different than in the president's office.

"The pressures in classroom are daily, and the pressures in presidential office are periodic, but generally more extreme," Motz said. "Decisions made in the classroom affect the number in the class. Decisions made as president affect an entire campus."

With his myriad of accomplishments Motz could have gone to a larger university.

"Marv Motz cares about his family, his students, his colleagues, and of course Adams State College," Stegman said. "He is so good I don't know how we kept him."

"I have made it seven blocks in seventy-four years," Motz said. "The college itself was a factor in my staying. I received two degrees from Adams State College and I saw how much it benefited local students and appreciated the camaraderie between all faculty and staff."

In honor of his outstanding athletic record, he was All-Conference basketball player in his freshman year of 1954-55, All-RMAC selection in his senior year, and finished his career with 1,508 points, fourth most in Adams State history; Adams State College Athletics retired his jersey number and inducted him into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

His achievements as a professor were also recognized.

"One of things I am pretty proud about is being awarded Outstanding Educator by the consortium in 1990," Motz said.

Motz served as faculty marshal for Adams State College Commencement Ceremonies and was the first faculty representation on the Colorado State Colleges Board of Trustees. He has always been active in the community, as well, and now serves as vice president of the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Foundation.

"I have been on the board of the hospital for over 20 years," Motz said.

After losing his daughter, Stephanie, to breast cancer, Motz was instrumental in founding the hospital's Stephanie Miner Imaging Center.

"We raised over $400,000 in all new equipment purchased through the Stephanie Miner Imaging Center fund raiser," Motz said.

He started the Humor Academy and presented throughout the country and Europe for fifteen years.

"Dr. Motz taught me to maintain humor and laughter every day in my life," Wilson said.

Motz is also a US veteran; he served four years in the navy during the Korean War.

He enrolled as a student during the fall of 1950 and joined the navy in January 1951. He returned to campus in 1954, finished his undergraduate degree in 1958, and completed his master's in education in 1959."

Motz has known every president at the college personally.

"I would say every president was a person for the time," Motz said.

Motz is eagerly anticipating the Alumni Banquet and Homecoming 2006.

"I am looking forward to Homecoming," Motz said. "I always enjoy seeing former students."

Bill Waters '59 will receive the Outstanding Alumnus and Randy '98 and Micah '98 Jackson will receive the Exceptional Young Alumni Award at the banquet.

"Bill and I were classmates and Randy Jackson was a student of mine," Motz said.

Since retiring from Adams State College and the Humor Academy, Motz and his wife, Mary '62, enjoy cruises and visiting their children and 14 grandchildren.

Their children Natalie '99 (Mike Streeter '81 '85), Stephanie '82 (Chris Miner), Tom '82 (Kristy), and Susan '88 (Mike Arnold '84) are also all graduates of Adams State College.

"I would not have wanted to do anything else," Motz said. "I could write a book, and I may just do that."

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By Linda Relyea