Great Stories Celebration looks forward


The recent Great Stories Celebration of Adams State's becoming a university culminated Aug. 24 in a fireworks display that thrilled the approximately 2,500 people from all segments of the community who had gathered in Rex Stadium for a free concert by Los Lobos.

The arts, food, and goodwill similarly characterized other events in the two-day celebration. Four faculty members unveiled the sculpture, poetry, and music they were commissioned to create in commemoration of the historic event. Also premiered was an original film by Dannie Ledonne that documents their creative processes, Tribute to Commissioned Works. About 90 people attended the Gala Scholarship Dinner of surf and turf at Bistro Rialto.

Looking forward

Leon Memorial Concert Hall was nearly filled the evening of Aug. 23 with audience members eager to hear the premier of Ascendance, composed by Matt Schildt, assoc. professor of music.

"It captures some of my ideas about Adams State, about the energy at Adams State . . . and a sense of reflection that I feel is important," Schildt said. As his work progressed, he kept adding instruments, resulting in a septet. "Fortunately we have amazing musicians here. We got a collaboration going with faculty and students to create something that enhances what this change is all about. We're not resting, but looking forward, campus wide."

Performers on Ascendance included faculty: Dr. Tracy Doyle, flute; James Doyle, vibraphone, Dr. William Lipke, piano; Dr. Beth Robison, voice, and students: Ben Paden, glockenspiel; Chelsea Oden, clarinet; and Josh Wohlrabe, timpani.

Watch the concert premier.

Pillar of the community

In the Aug. 24 public lecture in conjunction with the 2012 Art Faculty Exhibition, Professor of Art Dana Provence described the development of his sculpture Pillars. The work will consist of three forms made of hexagonal basalt, bronze, and stainless steel to represent the three stages of Adams State, respectively: normal school, college, and now, university.

Provence completed the stone and bronze pieces over the summer and continues work on the third. The finished work will be installed outside the west entrance to the Student Union Building, adjacent to the North Campus Green.

Provence brainstormed with fellow art professor Gene Schilling to develop a timeless piece that would characterize the ideas and mission of the institution. Starting with the column concept, they eventually they arrived at the idea of a pillar.

"You think of pillars of the community, you think of strong people and institutions. I feel 100 percent that Adams State has taken its mission seriously. The most important thing is we're always looking for better ways to reach our students. All of those things are what make Adams State a very exciting place to teach."

The "miracle" of Adams State

Nielsen Library's comfortable Information Commons was the setting for a poetry reading by English faculty members Aaron Abeyta and Dr. Carol Guerrero-Murphy, who read their original poems inspired by and commissioned for the move to university status.

Guerrero-Murphy reflected on the significance of Adams State's move to university status."When you change the name of something, that's a change, and it ripples out, and the way we imagine all of this is transformed. I don't think it changes our mission of access, it just broadens. Access to what? What can we offer for meeting what students need?"

Her poem, Uni Verse City, was dedicated to: "All who create Adams State University: students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, antepasados. The piece provides a historical, cultural, and educational context for the university, as this excerpt conveys:

From this distant view, descending the pass, see
deep into the valley where our university floats above
the stories that made it: Pleistocene oceans,
cretaceous seaway, mastodons and camels grazing; ice ages;
Folsom people; the university rises out of the camps of the Utes, trails of the Comanches, explorations of the Spanish
who brought with them Moors, Jews, Africans, Arabs, and Greeks,
marked in the valley languages; of los cautivos, and Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Irish, Italian,
Mormons, Dutch, Mennonitos, Amish, Mixtec, Mestizas,
Recent waves of teachers and Americorps, Guatemalans,
Global citizens and Urban escapees-dreamers and workers, all--

Abeyta's piece, Letter to Mumper from a 4 a.m. Campus, focused on Adams State's core mission by recalling a now-deceased student who exhibited "faith in the power of education." Perseverence, he said, is the "miracle of Adams State."

Building scholarships

Ticket sales for the Gala Scholarship Dinner generated $5,542 for Adams State's general scholarship fund, while a silent auction and dessert auction raised $4,547 to support scholarships and professional development for graduate students in Adams State's HEAL program (Higher Education Administration & Leadership). The Great Stories Celebration was organized by Dr. Melissa Freeman, director of the HEAL program, and recent HEAL graduate Donna Griego.

The following donors made important contributions to the event:

Table Sponsors--University Friends Level ($1,000-$2,500)

Arnold & Marguerite Salazar
Alamosa State Bank
The Complete Nonprofit
1st SW Bank Michael
Mumper & Melissa Freeman

Friends of HEAL $4,547.50 

Dessert Donors

Bistro Rialto
Christine Burns
Lia Carpio
Tracy Doyle
Melissa Freeman
Donna Griego HEAL Cohort C
Melanie Jeppesen
Rodney Martinez
Julie Mordecai
James Trujillo
Leslie Widger

In-Kind Donors

Alamosa Community Gardens
ASU Admissions Office
ASU Bookstore
Bonaquisti Winery
Lia Carpio
Coors Brewery
Cowboy Up
Melissa Freeman
HEAL Cohort C
HEAL Program
Holiday Inn Express
Lori Laske
Tammy Lopez
Lucky You Salon and Spa
Music Department
David Mansanarez
Julie Mordecai
Monte Vista Country Club
Rustic Log Furniture
Shaft Restaurant
Dr. David Svaldi
Kristi Mountain Sports
Treasure Alley
The Turquoise Shop
Valley Girls Avon
Valley Lumber
Karen Widger
Wolf Creek Ski Resort

By Julie Waechter