Alice Dodge Wallace will receive an honorary degree from Colorado State University at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, in Moby Arena during the College of Applied Human Sciences’ undergraduate ceremony. The degree will be presented by President Tony Frank.
Wallace is president of the Avenir Foundation, which is located in Lakewood. Throughout her lifetime as a humanitarian, Wallace has worked to advance education, fairness and equality for all.
“We award traditional, academic doctoral degrees based on a substantial contribution to the person’s field – symbolic of the transformative impact we believe our graduates will have over the span of their careers,” said Frank. “We award honorary doctorates to those who have also had a transformative impact, either through their professional achievements or philanthropy. This year’s degree recipients have each had a profound, transforming impact on Colorado State University.”
“Alice Dodge Wallace has a deep, lifelong respect for education and the arts, and through the Avenir Foundation, she has helped to create a textile museum at CSU that will come to rank among the finest at any American university, benefiting both CSU and the state of Colorado. Her leadership and vision have significantly elevated the quality of the learning experience we provide our students and greatly improved and expanded opportunities for the public to view and learn from this historic collection.”
In 2008, the Avenir Foundation’s gift to Colorado State initiated the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising in the University Center for the Arts. The museum’s gallery, storage facility and conservation laboratory, all constructed to meet international museum standards, provide the university and Front Range communities with access to textiles and costume as a window to the world’s history and cultures.
The museum is home to more than 12,000 historical textile artifacts, including hundreds of international, Western United States and Civil War era pieces, and couture from some of the most celebrated American designers including Mr. Blackwell, James Galanos, Arnold Scaasi, Calvin Klein and Carolina Herrera. The collection also includes chairs by acclaimed furniture designers.
Wallace is an active member on the education council of the Denver Art Museum and the boards of trustees of the Santa Fe Opera and of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.
“Alice’s involvement in these organizations illustrate her dedication to the arts in Colorado and nationally,” said Nancy Hartley, interim dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences. “Textile arts are part of Alice’s earliest memories, and she fondly recalls walking on Navajo and oriental carpets in her childhood home. As an adult, she has become deeply committed to the conservation of textile arts.”
“Coming from a family dedicated to education, it is a great honor and privilege to receive an honorary degree from Colorado State University,” Wallace said. “As a long-time resident of Colorado, I have observed the progress of the university’s development. Today I see a vibrant educational institution that is dedicated to enabling its students to be prepared for the world of tomorrow. I am very proud to be associated with Colorado State University, the College of Applied Human Sciences and the Department of Design and Merchandising.”
Wallace earned her Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Oklahoma and her Master of Arts in education from Stanford University. Her commitment to education follows that of her great-grandfather, Norton Strange Townshend, a physician, anti-slavery activist and congressman who led support for legislation that would become known as the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862 – of which Colorado State University is a result.
The Avenir Museum collection includes a night shirt worn by Townshend and a small linen bag that belonged to his daughter, Harriett.