Trinidad State honors employees of the year
Trinidad & Valley Campus / November 10, 2016 / By Greg Boyce
Four employees at Trinidad State have been chosen by their peers to receive special recognition as employees of the year. Their lives before Trinidad have literally spanned the globe.
Faculty Member of the Year is Dr. Adam Dunham, now in his third year in the English Department. He took an unusual path to college professor. Overloaded by family problems, he quit school during sixth grade and never finished high school. His higher education journey started at Pueblo Community College, and then went to CSU-Pueblo. Eventually he earned a Master’s at Naropa University and then a Ph.D. in Writing and Literature from the University of Denver. Homeless two different times over a period of many years, he says the writings of Virginia Woolf saved his life.
Of Dunham, one of his co-workers said, “He is very approachable to students, yet always very professional when dealing with both students and co-workers.” Dunham said, “Trinidad is unique in that I feel like it’s the least judgmental place I’ve ever lived. Which is really surprising to me for the size. That’s an amazing thing.”
LiAnn Richardson was chosen Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year. She’s known for her friendly nature and quick laugh. She’s making a difference in a challenging environment at Trinidad Correctional Facility where she teaches a hand-picked group of inmates in a new and acclaimed Entrepreneurial Program. “That’s what I do in the evenings,” said Richardson. “Then I teach an English readiness class and I’m a teacher’s assistant for a logic class, two English classes and a psychology class.” She graduated from Trinidad State in 2003 and has taught in area private and public schools since then as well as at the Upward Bound Math Science summer program at Trinidad State. She’s been married for 20 years and has five children.
Josephine Chacon was selected Classified Staff Member of the Year. She was raised in Sugar City, about 55 miles east of Pueblo. “I moved here in 1971 when I graduated from high school,” she said. After working for a year she started college at Trinidad State in 1972. She graduated in 1974 and went to work at the local Workforce Center, got married and had two children. She came back to Trinidad State in 1988 and got another degree and then got a job on campus in 1989 as a math tutor. Josephine is now Library Coordinator. She’s on a years-long quest to update the Freudenthal Library. One of her co-workers remarked, “She goes out of her way to greet students coming into the library and make them feel welcome.” “It’s rewarding,” Chacon said, “but I have a lot to do.”
Ira Williamson is this year’s Administrative/Professional-Technical Staff Member of the Year. He is one of three employees in Trinidad State’s IT Department. He grew up in Trinidad, graduated from Trinidad State in 1997 and was a work study student in the IT Department. Days after graduation he moved to the United Kingdom. He worked at the University of Darby for 14 years, reaching the level of IT Manager of Buxton Campus. During those years he got married and he and his wife had five children. He come back to work at Trinidad State on April Fool’s Day, 2011. One of his co-workers noted Ira ”…is positive and always has patience with questions. He’s near sainthood!” Though he grew up in Trinidad he has a hint of a British accent left over from those years abroad.
Each of these exemplary Trinidad State employees will be honored early next year at a series of ceremonies at the Colorado Community College System headquarters in Denver early next year.