Oringdulph gives back to alma mater & community
Quiet leadership in the spirit of Billy Adams
Patient, kind, considerate, altruistic - that’s Robert Oringdulph, Adams State alumnus ‘71, the first Billy Adams Award recipient from Adams State University. His service to his alma mater and community demonstrate the ideals of the university’s founder.
He will accept the award at the Adams State Homecoming Alumni Awards Banquet, Friday, Oct. 12. The banquet begins at 5:30 p.m.; tickets are available for $25 per person by phoning 719-587-7609, or 800-824-6494, ext. 8.
When Adams State President David Svaldi asked for suggestions from the university’s Executive Council, he said, “Rob’s name came up over and over, and when I decided, there was unanimous agreement.”
Oringdulph said: “I am much honored to be selected as a Billy Adams Award recipient. It is quite a humbling experience. Adams State provided me with the skills needed to do what I’ve done with my life. The history of Adams State is in my family.”
Adams State in his family
His grandmother, Lida M. Oringdulph, received her degree in 1930 and went on to be a lifelong educator in the San Luis Valley. The tradition was carried on by three of his six children, Mandy Jackson ’95, ’97; Wendy Kelson ‘95, and Shane ‘04. Oringdulph and his wife, Susan, also have 12 grandchildren.
Willing to dedicate his free time to his alma mater, Oringdulph has been a board member of the Alumni Association for 14 years, making him one of the longest-serving board members. “Adams State is a great institution, and my fondness for the institution motivates me to give back when I can.”
Scanning through years of homecoming and commencement photos, Oringdulph is often sighted in the background, helping prepare the alumni float or handing out alumni t-shirts at commencement ceremonies.
Although the hours are long and the weather unpredictable, Oringdulph said he enjoys volunteering during homecoming and graduation ceremonies. “Homecoming is my favorite time to be on the board and associated with Adams State.” He also attends the meetings and serves on the alumni awards committee. “Reading through the nominations reminds us of the amazing accomplishments by so many of our Adams State graduates.”
Toney H. Cantu, Adams State alumnus ‘70, senior vice president for the San Luis Valley Federal Bank and another longtime member of the Alumni Association, has known Oringdulph for 47 years. They attended Adams State together and have served on the alumni board together. “Rob has always had a passion and commitment to Adams State and is always there when you need him. He inspired me to become more involved with the college.”
Oringdulph recalls the positive influence of his professors. “We had outstanding scholars in the history department and throughout campus.” He believes it is important that alumni make an effort to not only provide monetary support, but to give back through involvement.
Cantu said Oringdulph is a role model who leads by example. “Rob is a leader who is willing to listen to others. He is a great ambassador for ASU.”
Oringdulph said he encourages students to pursue higher education. “Not everybody is suited for a four-year institution, but today’s world continues to become more competitive, and additional training beyond high school helps individuals succeed.”
His daughters Mandy Jackson and Wendy Kelson remain grateful for their father’s influence. After high school, Jackson received a scholarship for a college in Wyoming. “My dad just mentioned that the education program at Adams State is the best in the state, and I would be a little closer to home and that I would get a wonderful education for a wonderful price, and he was right.” Kelson said her father always talked about graduating from college “not as a, maybe it will happen, but as absolutely it will happen.”
Oringdulph’s son, Travis, said: “I always noticed my dad doing the right thing.” Oringdulph has community spirit to spare. He founded the non-profit organization, the Alamosa Uptown River Association (AURA) in 1999, and volunteered as the president every year, except one. He led the board and shaped AURA's direction and commitments to historic preservation projects and downtown revitalization for over 13 years, including establishing the downtown farmers' market, the Art Walk, and the Engine 169 Train Lighting celebration, as well as the restoration of the Alamosa Masonic Hall, the American National Bank Building, now Community Banks of Colorado at State and Main, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Adams State grant specialist Tawney Becker, who served as the executive director of AURA from 2002 to 2010, said Oringdulph gives unselfishly to the organizations he supports. Oringdulph’s years of solid commitment to multiple causes are a testament to his “belief in each individual's power to make a difference in helping others and building community for the greater good,” she added.
Oringdulph also serves on the board of San Luis Valley Boys and Girls Clubs and volunteers with his church.
San Luis Valley native
His education began in a two-room school in the little town of Mesita, Colo., and continued at San Luis’ Centennial High School and Adams State. After earning degrees in history/political science/secondary education, he found teaching wasn’t for him.This prompted a move out-of-state, where he worked for Woolworth’s Department Stores in Texas and Oklahoma. Within a few years, he returned to the valley and worked with his father at Colorado Aggregate, a mine for lava rock used in landscaping and gas grills. In 1997 he started working for Edward Jones in Alamosa. “Edward Jones holds the same values that most reflect my values on how a business should run – for instance, the client always comes first.”
Travis noted: “Dad has also been a man of his word. If he said he was going to do it, then expect it done.”
Oringdulph’s colleagues also admire his sincerity “Rob is a great listener, an active problem solver, and a community-minded doer,” Becker said. “His depth of experience, perseverance, good humor, sense of community, and commitment to Adams State are unparalleled.”
According to his children
- Sense of humor
- Caring and understanding
- Good listener
- Offers good advice
- Man of his word
- Stands up for what he believes
- Enjoys skiing and camping
- Lives to ride roller coasters, “bigger the better”
- Family orientated, playful with children & grandkids
- Morning person
- Avid voter