ALAMOSA – Adams State University and the surrounding community feels like family to Board of Trustee member Wendell Pryor. “There is a kindred spirit in small universities and their equally modest communities that you just don’t get on larger campuses.”
A graduate of a small college, Western State, Pryor recognizes that an intimate setting allows for personal attention and how students from small towns can navigate the campus without being overwhelmed. “At Adams State we accommodate first generation students and others looking for an affordable college experience that gives the feeling of being part of a family.”
He sees Adams State ready to position itself for the next 100 years as it stays relevant and meets the needs of students and as well as the community. From its founding in 1921, Adams State and the San Luis Valley have valued their symbiotic relationship. “For the next 100 years, Adams State will continue to support the business community and the community at large. We are well positioned to become an incubator of ideas and talent that helps create opportunity and prosperity.”
Whether strictly academics or students who participate in sports, clubs, or other organizations, Adams State offers students a beacon of hope for first-generation students or those who might not have another opportunity to obtain post-secondary education.
“Adams State remains dedicated to its mission to provide educational opportunities for those with limited resources, which creates a more inclusive society,” Pryor says.
A resident of Denver, Colo., Pryor received a J.D. from the University of Denver; a M.A. from the University of Colorado. He is currently director of Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation, an adjunct professor/lecturer with the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs, and was recently appointed a Senior Fellow for the Buechner Institute with the School of Public Affairs. He retired as the State of Colorado Civil Rights Director and has extensive executive level management experience in civil rights, human resources, and nonprofit management in Colorado and California. A former lobbyist and social entrepreneur, he served as chair of the Foundation Board for Innovage, a senior care organization, and on its Board of Directors. He does consulting with law enforcement, as well as with underrepresented and underserved populations.
He was a varsity athlete at Western State College (now known as Western State Colorado University). The friendly rivalry between the two rural universities continues today.
“We had a healthy rivalry because we were kindred spirits attending a small college in a rural small town.” He has remained friends with many of Adams State graduates he befriended. “We stayed in touch. A larger university cannot offer that same comradery.”
At this point in his career, it seemed a natural progression for Pryor to become an advocate for Adams State and its students. “It felt like a homecoming to be asked to serve Adams State.”