2004 Billy Adams Award Winner - Billy Bond Jr.
Two Billys, both comfortable in cowboy boots out on the land, and equally at home in a board room fighting for affordable education in a remote, rural area. Billy Adams is the namesake and Billy Bond, Jr. is the recipient of the 2004 Billy Adams Award.
Established in 1971 the Billy Adams Award recognizes those who follow in the tradition set by Adams, committed to Adams State College and its continual growth. "I was really shocked when President Wueste called and informed me of the honor. I know I've donated time and money to the college, but holy cow, Joe Vigil received the award last year and he led Adams State College to national recognition. I can't compare to that, they must have been desperate for a recipient," says Bond.
Board of Trustees for Adams State College Vice Chair, Tim Walters, isn't surprised at all the Foundation chose Bond. He says, "I have known Billy for almost 30 years, we were neighbors for almost 20 years and our kids grew up together, so I think I have a rather good sense of what Billy is about and who he is. One of the main reasons that Adams State College is beginning to move in a progressive direction is due directly to Billy's guidance of the Foundation. His unselfish commitment to the Foundation and Adams is unequaled. A lot of people that have given lip service to a commitment to Adams State could take a lesson from Billy Bond."
Bond served on the Adams State College Foundation Board for nearly ten years, including two years as president. He says, "I am connected Adams State College because it is an important economic and cultural engine for the San Luis Valley. When the opportunity arose to sit on the ASC Foundation Board I took it and was president for a couple of years, too."
During his term, Bond has seen changes, including Adams State College being governed by its own board, rather than one governing board shared by three or more institutions. "ASC has a bright future. The new leadership, the Board of Trustees for Adams State College, can focus on our problems and sell our strengths. The Foundation plays an integral part and is also headed in a good direction. These are positive changes and give the college a strong base support in which to build more programs," he adds.
Bond is pleased to share the recognition with his wife. "I wouldn't have been able to accomplish all that I have done without the support of Kathleen. She is an incredible talent in her own right, including painting, photography and quilt making. She also played the major role in raising a couple of good kids (daughters Whitney and Lindsey)," adds Bond. Kathleen taught art in the Alamosa Public School District and has had artwork exhibited, including the 2004 Homecoming Quilt Show in Luther Bean Museum. Kathleen also enjoyed taking an occasional class at Adams State College.
Bond and Adams come from similar backgrounds, growing up in the country. Bond graduated from Sargent High School, the son of a successful potato farmer. He says, "I am pretty rough around the edges, and that has led to some embarrassing moments in my life. That approach might have been what the Foundation Board needed, in the past few years to shake things up. Now, I believe Jenny Cooper taking over as president is a good choice. She is very gracious and has charisma that will lend itself well to the Foundation's new role." He plans on staying on the board in a limited capacity, helping with special projects.
Back in the early 70s Bond started as an insurance agent, and stuck with the profession, which made him professional success. Insurance can cover financial needs, for both agent and client, but there is more to life for Bond. He says, "I was in my mid-thirties and decided I wanted to become a guitarist and perform on stage. I was very dogmatic about practice. It paid off. I played for awhile with the Rocky Top Bluegrass Band and migrated to the Rock Bottom Band and Hired Hands."
Music feeds the soul, and volunteering nourishes those in need as well as the philanthropist. "My professional success is more than I anticipated and I want to share the good fortune. Besides, what you give comes back, bigger and better," adds Bond. Besides the ASC Foundation, Bond has given time and money to other local organizations including La Puente, the homeless shelter. "La Puente is my favorite charity, they provide an invaluable service. They are also great stewards of their money. Adams State College has much to brag about as well. The Extended Studies Office is incredible, the Athletic Department has received national recognition, and the School of Business is a great program. I'm proud of what the campus has to offer."