It will be more than just a class reunion Thursday at Sorrel Sky Gallery when Fort Lewis College alumni gather for one more history lesson from Duane Smith.
Smith is the author of the colleges new centennial tome, Rich Heritage, Shining Future: Fort Lewis College 1911-2011. The book traces the history of FLC from its origins as an U.S. Army fort through its establishment as a boarding high school near Hesperus and finally to the four-year liberal arts college that has overlooked Durango from its mesa since 1956.
Writing the history of FLC is nothing new for Smith; his book Sacred Trust: The Birth and Development of Fort Lewis College has been the standard reference on FLC history since the early 90s. But what makes Rich Heritage different is the inclusion of more than 200 photographs and profiles of notable graduates. Among Smiths subjects were Bob Beers (1931), Roberta Barr (1933) and Fred Kroeger (1938), all of whom studied at the Forts old location west of town.
The retrospectives continue through the decades to include more recent graduates, including Sorrel Sky owner Shanan Campbell Wells (1994), who will host Thursdays festivities. Her husband, John Wells, is also an FLC grad who has owned his real estate firm, The Wells Group, since 1985.
Shanan Wells, whose self-constructed art and business major was the first at FLC, has made the most of her degree. She also owns SCW Art Consulting, a company that provides design and art collection services for commercial and private clients nationwide. The Wellses are typical of the local alumni success stories featured in Rich Heritage, and she said hosting Smiths book event is a fun privilege.
Its very personal to me, she said. Its amazing that we still have such a collection of alumni who still live here and contribute to the college. I wanted to participate, and this was something right in line with what I wanted to do because Duane was my favorite professor when I was a student.
Among the other notable FLC alumni featured in the book who are expected at Thursdays event are Fred Kroeger (class of 38) and Don and Ann Brown (1959 and 58, respectively), all of whom served on Durango City Council at one time, and Wells said she expects to see many other FLC grads just celebrating the colleges 100th birthday.
All sales from the commemorative book, which was self-published by the Fort Lewis College Foundation, will benefit the Centennial Scholarship Campaign.