2004 Willis Fassett, Jr. Award - Alice Acheson

(09-14-2004)

Treasures and fond memories are stored in attics. Acheson's Attic had an abundance of both. From the southeast end of Alamosa's Main Street through the move to the northwest side of the street proprietors Miles and Alice Acheson did more than sell furniture; they gave Adams State College students jobs to help them with expenses and supported the campus through athletics and more.

This spirit continues even after the passing of founder, Miles Acheson (1990), and the selling of the store (1997), as Alice Acheson '67 '68 established a scholarship for ASC students in memory of her husband. It is with reverence for Miles, and respect to Alice, that Adams State College honors her with the 2004 Willis Fassett, Jr. Award.

President of ASC Dr. Richard A. Wueste says, "It is because of remarkable people like the Achesons that Adams State College continues to be an institution providing quality education for the people of the San Luis Valley, and beyond. We are proud of the chance to pay tribute to Alice, not only because of the remarkable contribution to student's education, but also to let the community know about her generosity of character."

Alice established a memorial scholarship in Miles name soon after his passing. She said, "We believe in sponsoring a scholarship to give young people a chance to get an education." She believes the small size of ASC is beneficial to the students. "When a student needs assistance with their school work, or any problem, it isn't hard to reach the professor," she added.

During the 43 years of the store's existence Alice estimates over 300 ASC students worked in the store. She says, "It was a beneficial arrangement for the students and Acheson's Attic. Besides an income earned while attending classes, students also received practical experience of what it means to be out in the work-force. We were fortunate to have a good source for hiring part-time help."

Adams State College was more than a supply of employees. Alice took advantage of the college in her community. "I went back to school when my youngest was four. My neighbor, Dolores McLean '65, suggested trading babysitting so we could both go back to school. And we did," she says. Alice received her BA and her Master's degree at ASC, "I became an instructor in the English Department during the late 60s and 70s. All my children attended ASC, Sandy '69 and '70; Erna '82; and Ruth transferred to the University of Colorado in Boulder after attending two years."

Ruth appreciates the classes she took from the smaller college, "The science classes at Adams State were superior to Boulder across the board. All of the professors were so dedicated. As a lawyer, my profession involves a lot of writing. The ASC English Department was outstanding. I credit them with honing my writing skills. I had a wonderful time at Boulder, but the basics at Adams State College were superior to those at CU."

Alice believes Adams State brings opportunity to the Valley, "I believe the young students rejuvenate the community. An education makes all the difference in the world, and more so all the time. Our world is very competitive and people with an education have a much better chance at making a good living."

Chairman of the ASC Foundation, Jenny Cooper, speaks for the entire board, "Once a year the Willis Fassett, Jr. Award is given by the ASC Foundation. We looked at a number of wonderful candidates. Tammy Lopez (Executive Director of the Foundation) thought it timely to recognize Mrs. Acheson for her long service to the community and significant contribution to Adams State College."

Wueste agrees, "We are grateful for people like Mrs. Acheson who help create a new world for others. The scholarships mean a great deal to our students. Adams State College is doing our part as well; we pledge to keep our tuition down."

Alice spoke with tears in her eyes, "I am very happy to be chosen as a recipient for the award. It is a worthwhile cause, and makes you feel you've done something significant. Miles would be very pleased; I am accepting it for him as well as myself."