Dubbed the “Girl of the Golden West” by her friends, Barbara Neeley Yalich ’53 found more than she bargained for when she arrived at Colorado College in the fall of 1949. She met her husband (Milo “Mike” Yalich ’50 – WWII veteran and 1950 NCAA hockey champion), became a lifelong sports fan, and launched a career in public service and higher education that lasts to this day.
Attending Colorado College for one year, 1949-1950, before leaving to marry her college sweetheart and love of her life Milo, Yalich devoted her future to service and community involvement. In 1968, Yalich launched her career in the public service sector, as the international president of the Association of Junior Leagues of America, an organization of women committed to volunteerism, improving communities through leadership, and effective action. Broadening her involvement in the Pikes Peak region volunteer community, Yalich also served as the first executive director of Health Association of Pikes Peak Region, and as the executive director of El Paso County Mental Health Association.
Colorado College never left Yalich, though, as in 1971 she returned to serve briefly as an alumni trustee of the college – a position she resigned from in 1973, when she was appointed director of alumni support. Two years later, in 1975, she was promoted to director of alumni affairs – a role she would come to thrive in for 10 years, revitalizing alumni relations and supporting the creation of 20 metropolitan alumni clubs across the U.S. and Canada. Continuing to be active in the community beyond the college, Yalich dove headfirst into work with Citizens United (now Leadership Pikes Peak) since its founding in 1976. In 1978, she was appointed president of the group, expanding community partnerships and service across the Pikes Peak region. Yalich’s involvement in community volunteerism also includes a lifelong connection to the Inasmuch Foundation, established in 1982 by Edith Gaylord ’36. The foundation, based in Oklahoma City, continues its late founder’s interest in Colorado Springs by giving to nonprofits that directly serve the residents of the city. The Gaylord family has been associated with the college for over 100 years. Of all her experiences, Yalich says “one of the assignments I enjoyed the most was serving as a trustee of the Myron Stratton Home for 12 years.” The Myron Stratton Home provides community support and housing to senior citizens and homeless families, named for Winfield Scott Stratton – one of the early philanthropic founders of Colorado Springs.
Back at CC, in 1985 she became the director of development; handling the day-to-day responsibility for all the fundraising efforts of the college. In her time as director, Yalich was directly responsible for dramatically increasing the financial well-being of the college. Ever the groundbreaker, in 1991 Yalich was one of the three first ever women in the history of the college to be appointed to vice president positions within the administration. As the VP for development and college relations, her workload grew significantly; she now handled all alumni, community, and media relations. She remained in this position until her retirement in 1994. Following her retirement, Yalich was awarded an honorary bachelor of arts degree by the trustees of the college.
Yalich’s long and distinguished career spans some of the most tumultuous and important times in the college’s history – from the implementation of the Block Plan in 1970, to the Vietnam War protests and construction of the World Arena. In 2003, Yalich was the induction speaker at her class’s 50th Year Reunion. Today, she serves as the civic leader for Innovations in Aging Collaborative – a local grassroots effort she helped found in 2010 to connect the local aging population with resources and opportunities across the Pikes Peak region. We at CC will be proud and thrilled to honor Barbara Yalich ’53 on September 9, 2015 in naming the boardroom of the newly redeveloped Spencer Center the Barbara L. Yalich Class of 1953 Boardroom.
Share your good wishes, anecdotes, and recollections about this wonderful member of our community!
If you have photos of Barbara to share, please email them to email@example.com.
18 Responses to Barbara Yalich ’53
Barbara always had the perfectly coiffed hair and it was usually in the same style for many years. We always knew that Barbara would look like a million bucks with her tailored clothing, shoes, and hair. Before I started working for the college but when she was the Director of Development, some of my friends like Kevin McTernan, Marshall Keane, Michael Hannigan, and others told me of a day when they all donned “Barbara Yalich style” wigs and wore them to work so that they would be Barbara look-alikes. I heard that it was a riot and that no one got a bigger kick out of it than Barbara herself. I have a few of them that were worn that day (in my wig and hat collection) and occasionally I look at them, when needing some dress-up outfit stuff and I always think of Barbara when I take them out of the bag.
True story. We found every used wig we could locate at every thrift store in town. It was everyone in the department and we surprised her with a little party on her 10th anniversary at the college.
Most of my memories of Barbara come back to one thing – gratitude. Gratitude for all I learned from her, for her partnership in our efforts to strengthen relationships between alumni and the college, and for her ongoing support. Perhaps most important of those is my gratitude that she encouraged me to come back to CC as staff – or as she always said to “take her job!”
As with all alumni, I am grateful for her efforts to make an alumni House a reality – and I’ve always felt a bit guilty that Barbara did the work to make Tutt Alumni House a reality, but I was the one instead of Barbara who got to spend so many years working in its beautiful environs.
And in the process of working together, we became, and continue to be great friends.
I am so pleased that Barbara (or BLY as she was known to us) has received this appropriate recognition for all she has done for CC.
Hearty congratulations, Barbara! I’m sending you a note via traditional mail. With warmest wishes,
What a fitting tribute to Barbara. My husband Bob and I so admired her, as does everyone. For being so competent, she is very warm, welcoming, fun, easy to know, and such a good role model for C.C. She’s the best! What a privilege to know her.
Warmly, Sarah Hite
Hello Barbara what a surprise to see you on the CC web page and doing what you always have done. We’re all very proud of you and your accomplishments for CC have been outstanding.
I’m doing fine and will be going back to Fort Lauderdale for the winter. Went to CC last year in October and visited with Andy quite a few times. He didn’t have much information about where you were or maybe I couldn’t remember. Give me an email to tell me how things are.
I’ve always been humbled to call myself a successor to Barbara as VP of Advancement at CC. Barbara really led and nourished the “modern era” of advancement at CC, building relationships across the country, engaging alumni, parents, faculty and staff in the endeavor to position CC to go after the goal of providing the finest liberal arts education in the country. As I went on the board of CASE — the international professional organization for educational advancement officers — I found her name to be synonymous with CC discovered that she is seen as a gracious ambassador to all things Colorado, community, and excellence in education.
In these ways and in many others, Barbara has been a generous guide and inspiration to me and to many others in the profession. I am grateful personally, as someone who remains committed to CC’s mission, a CC parent, and an honored friend of Barbara’s to this day.
Congratulations on this honor, Barbara. I know you — you won’t accept it without a fight — but you deserve it!
Congratulations and many thanks for all the fine guidance you have given so many lives and organizations. In a few weeks my class of ’55 will be at C.C. enjoying our 60th reunion and can hardly wait to see you again. At least five of us were Thetas and remember your important guidance and kindness as our Alum director. We will attend the Fifty Year Club meeting and breakfast and Freedom and Authority and hope to see you at one of them so we can catch up and reminisce a little. Suzi
I have had the pleasure of providing hospitality service to Barbara at the Penrose Club in the World Arena for 3 years. Also, after accepting a catering position on CC campus I found myself crossing paths with Barbara regularly. She is a genuine lady and has always interacted with me in such a way that left me feeling appreciated. Her sense of style and choice in words projects her as an admirable woman. Thank you, Barbara; for being so gracious, patient, and showing gratitude for the smallest of things. Reading this detailed account of your involvement in our community makes me smile and increases the respect I’ve always had for you.
Barbara, I remember sitting with you and your husband on my North Carolina porch decades ago.
You arrived wearing a Development Hat and left as a friend.
You listened to me and then described CC initiatives and programs that meshed with my interests.
Not buildings, but people and service.
You remain the invisible mentor who sits on my shoulder when others come to call.
You set the Gold Standard, Barbara, and deserve every honor that comes your way.
I wish you all the best.
Sat next to Barbara and her husband at many a hockey game. Her class and well-coiffed hair (mentioned for you Ron Rubin!) were always a win. Congratulations on the honor.
Over the years you have been the lifeblood of Colorado College. You greatly deserve this honor and I am so happy that you are receiving it. Besides all your great accomplishments I I would like to thank you for your wonderful friendship with my brother Ron Hartwell he and Mike were great friends and Ron always spoke so highly of you.
It always seemed to me you were the development office at Colorado College, and you were on the campus. In my experiences on several university campuses this was rare. I don’t think the faculty ever came in contact with development personnel. At Colorado College our paths did cross at hockey games and other college events, and we all knew the development office was alive and well.
When Martha and I were retiring, planning to move to New Mexico, and wanted to make our relatively small contribution to the long-term future of the plant sciences at Colorado College, you were extremely helpful. You developed a proposal that fit our wishes, that we could afford, and you and Mike delivered it to us in Silver City. We later met in Tucson, signed the gift plan, and it has allowed us to see our gift grow, and we feel good about our contribution.
Under the leadership of Tass Kelso several students each year get the funding they need for their research projects, and they may use and contribute to the herbarium. These young people develop an understanding of the the important connections between basic research and the role of the flora in conserving planet earth.
Martha and I are pleased that your contributions to the college are being recognized, and we wish you and Mike the very best.
Barbara, you set the gold standard for what an active, engaged college alumni program should be. I’m so pleased Colorado College has chosen to honor you with the special room in the Spencer Center. Best wishes!
Dear Barbara, This is an honor you richly deserve. You have been the best possible ambassador for CC Alumni and a friend to all. Loved your picture in the latest CC Bulletin.
Without you there would not be a modern alumni program at Colorado College, and but for you I wouldn’t have been present at the creation. You even made sure your successor would be strong enough and smart enough to take what you started and grow it stronger.
You rock, and always have. Working with you was an absolute delight and I still treasure it today.
Barbra was a wonderful person to follow as Executive Director of the Health Association of the Pikes Peak Region. Working with her was an enlightening experience, and I appreciated her grace and intelligence.
You have gone on to greater and better accomplishments in making our City and El Paso County a better place to live.
The best to you,
Barb.. I have missed seeing and visiting with you through the years…… sure wish I could come to the Springs and create a time to chat, perhaps eat lunch or just do some “Hob knobbing” some place or time….. I do not drive anymore and that really creates some problems… Phyllis passed away in Dec 2020 (just before our 61st anniv) and that has also messed up my life ! ! ! Sure wish a way to “hob-knob” with you and lots of other CS classmates could be achieved ! ! ! ! Do you ever come Fort Collins, way??? To you and any other readers of this message that might want to visit a bit… drop me a note or better yet, let me know when you might be visiting in the Fort Collins-Loveland area…. Our farm is halfway between the two towns….. errrr cities ! I appreciate learning about your great endeavors in your later life…… take care and shoot me a note…….
e-m (this was cut out by web org.).. ….. 970-663-6698 ; 8420 S. County Rd 13, Ft Collins, CO 80525 Ken Goldsberry