The College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University recognizes individuals each year who have supported the college in extraordinary ways. This year’s Friend of the College award recipients are Ria Vigil, director of diversity education and training at CSU, and Marcella Wells, a semi-retired volunteer and guest curator at CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising.
Vigil is a two-time CSU alumna with a B.A. in ethnic studies and women’s studies and an M.S. in student affairs and higher education. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Higher Education Leadership Program in the School of Education. Vigil brings humor, compassion, and deep expertise to her role as director of diversity education and training in CSU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity. She is a highly regarded trainer who has worked with the President’s Cabinet and Deans at CSU; the City of Fort Collins; the Community College of Aurora; and the University of Colorado.
Vigil has created a diversity certificate program for both faculty and staff at CSU and has trained more than 3,500 CSU employees over the last three years. In addition to training on campus, Vigil serves as a strategic thought leader and consultant to institutional departments in the ongoing process of infusing social justice, diversity, and inclusion into the culture of CSU. She has been an inspiring mentor, teacher, and coach for CHHS through many trainings, workshops, and consultations.
“Ria Vigil has been an outstanding friend of our college and the entire university with her work in diversity education,” said Jeff McCubbin, dean. “Our faculty and staff who have participated in her workshops value her efforts and her insights. Ria has helped guide our college leadership to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as an essential part of our mission. We are honored to work with her on our journey toward inclusive excellence and grateful for her collaborative efforts toward positive change.”
Wells is a CSU alumna, holding a Ph.D. in Human Dimensions and Natural Resources. She is a passionate advocate for learners. As a natural resource interpreter for five years, an environmental education professor for 10 years, and a museum consultant for 17 years, Wells inspires excellence in informal education and evaluation. Today, in semi-retirement, Wells extends her love of teaching and learning and a life-long love of fabrics, history, and costume, as a volunteer in CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising.
At the museum, Wells works as the reference librarian and is involved in exhibit design and development. Doreen Beard, executive director of the Avenir Museum, credits Wells with stepping in to fill a myriad of roles during the Avenir Museum expansion from 2015-17, including the shelving and inventory of 5,000 volumes in the museum’s reference library. Wells also guest-curated the recent exhibit, “The Allure of the Moroccan Caftan.”
“Marcella Wells’ wide-ranging and vital role at the Avenir Museum over the past three years has been a major factor in the Avenir’s success,” said Beard. “As a credentialed subject matter expert in the areas of interpretive planning, exhibition development, and visitor evaluation research, she has volunteered several hundred hours alone to developing diverse exhibitions at the Avenir. I appreciate her patron-centered focus on every constituent who enters the museum: from students, to community members, to visiting dignitaries and scholars– all are recipients of Marcella’s warm welcome, great knowledge of CSU, and appreciation of the historic apparel and textile collection. I am personally and professionally humbled by her commitment and so very grateful for her service to the University.”
Vigil and Wells will be recognized at the CHHS All-College Awards and Reception on Monday, April 2, from 3 – 5 p.m. in CSU’s Lory Student Center Ballroom D.