2005 Willis Fasset Jr. Award - Larry and Sharon Wright

(06-21-2005)

Larry and Sharon Wright's first home on the Adams State campus was no bigger than their current master bathroom. The high school sweethearts from Del Norte were married in 1954, and the first of their four children was six weeks old when Larry graduated from Adams State in 1959 with a degree in accounting.

Now retired after 36 years operating a very successful business, the couple is honored with the Adams State College Foundation's Willis Fassett, Jr., Award. Jenny Cooper, chair of the Adams State Foundation, said, "Larry and Sherry are lifelong residents of the San Luis Valley and long time strong supporters of Adams State and the community. They embody the spirit of the Fassett Award and it is very appropriate that we honor them."

"The college has been a good asset for us - it got us started," said Sharon Wright, who also attended classes and worked in the records office at Adam State. She also worked in other local area companies before joining her husband at Wright Valley Oil. "Larry started business with just a truck and a bulk plant, then grew to a company of 69 employees. He learned a lot and made some good choices. We've been blessed."

The couple's rec room reflects Larry's interests in hunting and fishing, and also exhibits antique tools of his trade, such as 100-year-old gas pumps - still operable.

Prior to selling their business and retiring in 2000, the couple sponsored the Wright Valley Oil Scholarship for 13 years. The fund provided four scholarships for business majors at Adams State.

"We wanted to provide some help to kids who couldn't get a dime in other aid," Larry Wright explained. "There are many good students who don't qualify for financial aid, yet their families cannot easily afford college tuition." He added that he and Sherry hope to renew that scholarship effort. "We want to put money where we know it's getting results."

Sherry Wright said their desire is to share some of their blessings to the benefit of the community: "You don't ever lose your commitment to the valley. It's still home, and there are still challenges to face."