Former ASU Trustee Chair Steve Valdez receives the Billy Adams Award

(09-15-2015)

Article by Linda Relyea

Stephen Valdez

During the tenure of Stephen Valdez '87 as an Adams State Trustee, the university underwent many exciting changes, including evolving from a college to university.

His commitment to his alma mater as a trustee and Grizzly Club member, as well as his constant individual support, made him the top choice for the 2015 Adams State University Billy Adams Award. He will receive the award at the Adams State University Alumni Banquet and Awards Ceremony during Homecoming, Oct. 2. To reserve a ticket call Alumni Relations at 719-587-8110.

Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure said since 1971, the Billy Adams Award has honored individuals who dedicated their time and efforts to the betterment of Adams State University. "This year's recipient, Steve Valdez, exemplifies this value. He has a long history of selfless devotion and a pledge of continued support to Adams State. Mr. Valdez has proven his loyalty to the university and the students we serve, and we appreciate all of his time and effort."

Valdez' immediate reaction to this honor was the same humble attitude expressed by many noteworthy Adams State alumni and friends. "There are many others who have done more. I am not that special."

This is the same down-to-earth sensibility and man-of-the-earth tenacity that Adams State's founder, Billy Adams, brought to sponsoring the legislative bill that created the institution. Valdez said ASU still exhibits the core values and commitment shown by the founder and early professors and administrators.

"During my time on the Board of Trustees, I was always impressed by faculty and administration. They continually find ways to grow in an environment of budget cuts and lack of resources. I am amazed at the commitment and quality of Adams State employees."

Valdez was appointed to the Adams State Board of Trustees in 2007. He served as vice chair in 2010, then as chair from July 2011 through December 2013. "It was an exciting time to chair the board, with the enrollment growth the college was experiencing. But that was not surprising, because administration did some great things to bring that about. I was proud to be involved with Adams State."

"Exciting" may be an understatement: during Valdez's board service, Adams State became a university and underwent massive campus renovations. He remembers breaking ground on the new stadium and the transformation of the north campus, the positive energy during the transition from college to university, the remodel of McDaniel Hall and the Music Building, and renovations of student residences.

"I am proud of the students who had the foresight to approve the capital construction fee [to finance the renovations]."

While a trustee, he was the board's liaison with the Adams State Foundation. He is also a long-time member of the Adams State Grizzly Club Board of Directors, having served two years each as president and vice president. He was named Grizzly Club Member of the Year in 2009.

Valdez began working at the Alamosa City Market in 1985 while earning his Bachelor of Science in management with a minor in marketing. He continued with City Market after graduating, working in Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, including six years in the main office. He was named manager of the Steamboat Springs store after only two months as assistant manager. He seized the chance to return to Alamosa to manage the local City Market.

He said the 31 years he has spent with City Market seems like the "blind-of-an-eye; it is such a good company." City Market recognized his valuable leadership with the Superior Service Golden Key Award in 2003.

Valdez and his wife, Sandra, have four children Rachel, Erika, Olivia, and Garrett. He also owns and manages Valdez Farm and Ranch.

For Valdez, Adams State means opportunities. "In a rural area, Adams State affords people a venue to express themselves and become who they really want to become." He also appreciates the university's role in unifying the community. "We have graduates going out to teach and work in our community. Adams State brings us together to cheer on sports teams or attend a theatre, music, or art show."

"Adams State opens the door for many to reach their potential, many who would not have the opportunity otherwise," Valdez said, adding it is "always rewarding" to celebrate commencement ceremonies with ASU's many first-generation students and their families.