Soon after Ann Stanford ’86, ’91 arrived in Alamosa as a first-generation, non-traditional college student interested in the sciences, she repeatedly heard Adams State’s motto at the time: “Quality education with a personal touch.”

Through an inspiring blend of teaching and tutelage, Stanford has lived out those words ever since.

Quality education? For more than 30 years, Stanford delivered top-level science instruction to a variety of students in the San Luis Valley, first for the Adams State Upward Bound program and then for the Sanford School District, Good Shepherd Middle School, Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy, Alamosa High School and Trinidad State College.

Personal touch? Stanford did more than teach kids about science; she looked for ways to create bonds with them. Throughout her career, she has aimed to serve as a role model for young women interested in the sciences. She also took numerous students to regional and state science fair competitions, and has served as a volunteer for the San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair since her college days.

Patrick Stanford, Ann Stanford, David Tandberg, Darin Tandberg
Patrick and Ann Stanford (left) with President David and Darin Tandberg (right)

Stanford says, “I thought, ‘OK, I have helped individual students, which is my job, but I want to go a step further. What can I do?’”

That spirit of giving back led her and her husband to establish the Ann and Patrick Stanford Scholarship for STEM majors at Adams State. The new endowment scholarship is open to Grizzly sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 3.0 GPA or higher during the award year who are working toward undergraduate degrees related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“We want to encourage someone to apply for the scholarship and continue their education, and we’re going to provide the financial support as much as we can for them to do that,” she says.

The scholarship is rooted in Stanford’s devotion to education, and its transformative power to improve lives. It’s intended to financially support the kind of student she has been encouraging for years – learners who are “highly motivated by their own desire” and plan to carve out a career of contribution in a STEM field, she says.

“I believe education is everything. It’s the key to a better life in every sense of the word,” Stanford says.

She says she’s proud to provide encouragement and support to her alma mater. “I owe my career and the person I am to Adams State. I feel like they helped me transform myself to become a professional in a fulfilling career and to help me live my dream. They were always there throughout my teaching career for anything and everything. They approach teaching in the Valley in such a personable way. They’re a jewel in this community. I can’t even imagine how many lives have been changed, touched and bettered by Adam State.”

Stanford also believes in the university’s ability to profoundly impact a brighter future that includes more women in the sciences. She hopes the new scholarship will serve as both an inspiration for future STEM professionals and a guiding light toward a brighter, more inclusive future.