One of the most important functions of the Colorado College Alumni Association Board is to recognize the contributions of distinguished alumni, faculty members, and members of the CC community to the betterment of society and to the enhancement of the college and its mission. The Alumni Association Board acknowledges these alumni and staff members through four awards typically given at the annual awards ceremony during Homecoming. This year, the college honors the following people with these awards:



The Lloyd E. Worner Award recognizes outstanding loyalty, service, and generosity to the college as evidenced by continuing concern and support for students and the quality of teaching and learning, as well as the general well-being and future excellence of the institution. These attributes characterize the many years of service and effective contributions of Lloyd E. Worner ’42, who served as a faculty member, dean, and ultimately president of Colorado College (1964-81).

Christine Moon Schluter ’65, P ’91Christine Moon Schluter ’65, P ’91 is the recipient of the Lloyd E. Worner Award. Following graduation from CC, she earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as a college teacher and administrator before spending the last 20 years of her career as a consultant to a wide range of colleges and universities, hospitals, museums, and private schools around the country.

Schluter has served as president of the CC Alumni Association Council (formerly the Alumni Association Board), as a member of the CC Board of Trustees, and on her class reunion committees since graduation. She has also served as president of the board of her homeowners’ association and as vice president of the Board of the Sanibel, Florida, League of Women Voters, and assisted various nonprofit boards with planning, board training, etc.

As president of the AAC, she worked to build the diversity of the council and increase the philanthropic support of alumni leaders. Having grown up in very rural Harlem, Georgia, she saw the effects of poverty, poor education, and racism up close. This galvanized her desire to help effect change. She has always believed that education is our best hope, and been passionate about providing educational and leadership opportunities to those who lack them, primarily poor people and people of color. Consequently, her top priority for giving to CC has always been scholarships, particularly for first-generation students and students of color.

She is the mother of two daughters, Heather and Hilary Van Ness ’91, stepmother of three, and grandmother of eight.



The Gresham Riley Award recognizes faculty and staff who have made a significant difference to the Colorado College community through outstanding service, commitment, and accomplishment. The continuing concern for and support of students and alumni demonstrated by such individuals ensures the general well-being and future excellence of the college. These accomplishments exemplify the important contributions made by Gresham Riley, the 10th president of Colorado College, 1981-92.

 Susan Grace

Associate chair, artist-in-residence, and senior lecturer in music Susan Grace is the recipient of the Gresham Riley Award. A Grammy-nominated pianist and Steinway Artist, Grace has performed solo and chamber recitals, and has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Korea, India, and China. She has also performed in numerous festivals around the world. Grace is a member of Quattro Mani, an internationally acclaimed two-piano ensemble with New York pianist Steven Beck.

Grace has recorded for Bridge Records, the Belgium National Radio, WFMT in Chicago, the Society of Composers, Wilson Audio, Klavier International, and Klavier Music Productions. Her recording on the Bridge label of Stefan Wolpe’s violin and piano music was listed in the London Sunday Times as one of the top 10 contemporary recordings of 2015 and was also included on the Fanfare “Critics Want List 2016.” Bridge Records recently released four new CDs by Quattro Mani featuring American and European composers, all to critical acclaim both nationally and internationally.

She was also awarded the Christine S. Johnson Professorship of Music from 2014-16. In June 2014, Mayor Steve Bach and the city of Colorado Springs presented Grace with the Spirit of the Springs award for her work as music director with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, now in its 36th season.


Victor Nelson-CisnerosVictor Nelson-Cisneros, retired associate dean of Colorado College, is the recipient of the Gresham Riley Award. Nelson-Cisneros joined Colorado College in 1981 to serve as the assistant dean of the college. Known for his candid, compassionate, and direct style, Nelson-Cisneros arrived at CC following graduate study in history at both the University of Texas and the University of California. He also spent time on the board of the National Rural Center, working on a government-funded grant to explore job growth and equal employment in the non-metro area of the Sun Belt.

During his 31 years of service, he was instrumental in developing inclusion and visibility across the college, and establishing the Riley Scholars Program, which brought over 65 minority faculty scholars to campus. He also played an integral role in founding the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Minority Concerns Committee, as well as the ACM Minority Scholars Program itself.

His role at the college primarily focused on faculty development and student experience, with particular emphasis on inclusion, representation, and opportunity expansion. CC’s renowned and celebrated Venture Grants Program grew under his leadership, and he initiated mentoring options for non-tenured faculty, as well as serving as an interim dean of the college for the 2004-05 academic year.



The Louis T. Benezet Award recognizes outstanding achievement in one’s chosen field, excellence through unusual success or contribution, innovation or research that has advanced a profession or a cause, and/or extraordinary contributions and achievements that have impacted people’s lives and exemplify the values of a liberal arts education. These attributes characterize the important contributions of the late Louis T. Benezet, president of Colorado College from 1955-63.

Raleigh Anne Bowden ’74Raleigh Anne Bowden ’74 is the recipient of the Louis T. Benezet Award. Bowden attended medical school and has worked in the cancer and palliative care field since 1978. Her early career was in academic medicine at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she was associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine until 1998. She was involved in national and international research in infections in transplant patients. She authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and edited the first book of its kind on transplant infections, which is in its third edition.

In 1998 Bowden left academics and began developing community-based programs to serve vulnerable populations facing life-threatening health challenges. She founded and directed the Seattle African American Comfort Program from 2002-08, subsequently moving to rural eastern Washington state. In 2010, she started the Lookout Coalition, where she currently works. The Lookout Coalition is a volunteer house-call-based palliative care practice serving people facing health challenges, including aging and end of life. Most recently, she built the Okanogan Palliative Care Team to provide services in the largest rural county in Washington state. In 2019, she and her team received the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Award to support that work and the development of clinical leaders for the future.


Lance Cheslock ’83Lance Cheslock ’83 is the recipient of the Louis T. Benezet Award. Thirty-one years ago, Cheslock began his work guiding La Puente — a small, rural homeless shelter serving Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Today it is considered the most comprehensive rural homeless program in the 50 states. Annually, more than 12,000 individuals and family members receive at least one of La Puente’s services.

Through the years, La Puente has blazed a path of innovation to overcome the barriers and challenges of becoming a viable nonprofit organization that can thrive within an isolated, high-poverty region. La Puente’s model integrates robust partnerships, a diverse family of social enterprises, a broad base of community volunteers, and decades of harnessing heartfelt energy from young adults who dedicate a year of service through AmeriCorps.

Cheslock has been a strong advocate in sharing the story and dynamics of the silent epidemic of rural homelessness, both in Colorado and nationally. He stayed as an anonymous guest in a diverse array of homeless shelters throughout the United States, gaining a deeper empathy and understanding of people’s experience of homelessness. As a legacy, Cheslock would like to silently and anonymously leave behind a multitude of changed hearts, individuals who believe in the worthiness of the homeless and the migrant worker, and individuals who make their own efforts to serve and uphold the dignity of the neediest in our communities.



The Spirit of Adventure Award recognizes an alumnus/a who exemplifies the unique CC experience through a life of intellectual, social, or physical adventure. These attributes are characterized by the late Robert M. Ormes ’26, a Colorado College English professor from 1952-73 who was the inaugural award recipient.

Shawn T. Sears ’98 and Laura Dickerson Sears ’99 Shawn T. Sears ’98 and Laura Dickerson Sears ’99 are the co-recipients of the Spirit of Adventure Award. Laura and Shawn co-founded Vida Verde in 2001 to help students experiencing poverty find new ways to see and feel their own potential, their bravery, and their awesomeness in the outdoors. With equity as a cornerstone of Vida Verde’s mission, they are committed to examining, understanding, and working intentionally to do their small part in dismantling pieces of racism and institutional injustice.

Vida Verde’s core program is a student-centered, three-day, two-night camping trip that is specifically designed to positively and powerfully impact students’ social and emotional learning, connection to themselves, the outdoors, and their academics. Vida Verde has led more than 600 of these trips, serving over 12,000 students and teachers from low-income schools in the San Francisco Bay area. Now Vida Verde also has a follow-up trip in the summers for the same students, once they reach high school age.

The unrelenting focus on the mission and values of the organization have driven its success and joy for 19 years. Shawn is currently the executive director and Laura is the director of strategy & improvement, and together they support a staff team of 15. They have raised more than $17 million for Vida Verde over the years, including funds for the recent purchase of a 23-acre camp property on the California coast, homes for staff, a stewardship endowment, and the construction of a “green” education center on the property.

Laura and Shawn met at CC. After graduating in 1998 and 1999, they both joined Teach For America and were placed in the Mississippi Delta region where they taught public school for two years.

Much of their non-Vida Verde time these days is spent wrangling their sparkling, wild, wonderful, and non-conforming twice-exceptional 7-year-old child.

If you know an alumnus/alumna, faculty member, or staff member who should be recognized for their contributions to CC, their field of expertise, or to the wider community, submit a nomination: