Pomona College alumni Linda Alvarado ’73, Michelle Williams Court ’88 and Peter Shelton ’73 are the recipients of the 2023 Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award. The three alumni are recognized for high achievement in their professions or community service. The 2023 Alumni Distinguished Service Award recipient is Ann Rose Davie ’58.
Linda Alvarado ’73
A respected business leader and entrepreneur, Linda Alvarado is founder and owner of commercial contractor company Alvarado Construction; president of franchisee fast-food business Palo Alto Inc.; and co-owner of the Colorado Rockies. In 1992, she made history as the first Latina/o owner of a Major League Baseball team and was the first woman in a bid for ownership of a major league franchise.
Working her way through college she earned money as a laborer for a landscape firm, later taking courses in estimating and computerized scheduling, and began her career as an onsite contract administrator on construction projects. Undaunted by the construction site harassment she experienced as a woman, in 1976 she got a crazy idea to start her own company.
Starting with sidewalks and bus-stop shelters, Alvarado’s company has since developed and built multi-million dollar projects across the U.S. and internationally including Broncos Empower Field, the Colorado and Phoenix Convention Centers, hotels, high-rises, healthcare, technology, offices, retail, schools, government, manufacturing and Fortune 500 facilities.
Alvarado was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Minority Business Enterprise Hall of Fame and the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame. She was named “1 of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America” by Hispanic Business and Latino Leaders magazine.
“This award embeds in me again the ethics and values of Pomona College that has had such a positive impact in my career paths,” says Alvarado. “It is the foundation and reflection of integrity in my leadership as an executive. Much like the values of President Blaisdell and Pomona College, I am committed to continue the legacy to assist, inspire and create opportunities for other people, both younger and older, to achieve their goals.”
Michelle Williams Court ’88
Michelle Williams Court is the Supervising Judge of the Civil Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the largest court in the United States. She was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in December 2011 and was re-elected in 2020.
Judge Court has dedicated her career to serving the public interest. In private practice, she litigated numerous multi-plaintiff and class action civil rights cases in federal and state court. Among them were cases breaking new ground and advancing the rights of women and people of color in the workplace, farmworkers’ employment and housing rights, and the civil rights of tenants living in government-subsidized housing.
Judge Court is chair of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Technology Committee, which was instrumental in bringing remote access to the court in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis.
Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Court served as vice president and general counsel at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, one of the nation’s premier legal services organizations. She was also one of six post-graduate fellows selected nationwide to work on Fair Housing Act policy and enforcement initiatives as part of the HUD/Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Community Builder Fellowship. She earned her law degree from Loyola Law School.
“I am very grateful for the foundation of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility and spirit of innovation fostered by my time at Pomona, says Court. “I am honored by the recognition of my efforts to further equity, inclusion and access to justice.”
Peter Shelton ’73
Peter Shelton is a contemporary American sculptor based in Los Angeles. An art major at Pomona, he became known for his abstract sculptures that suggest a blending of organic anatomy, architecture and essential geometric shapes.
Shelton works in both large and small scale, in metals (steel, iron, lead, bronze), glass, cement, water, paint and a variety of fiberglass and resin composites. His sculptures incorporate both abstracted and figurative forms along with anatomical and architectural motifs. Themes in his work include the interrogation of opposites or complementarities: in and out, space and object, heavy and light.
Shelton’s works are included in the collections of the Getty Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His sculpture sixbeastsandtwomonkeys was commissioned for the new Police Administration Building in downtown Los Angeles in 2009; thinmanlittlebird was commissioned for the Indianapolis Central Library building that same year.
Shelton has exhibited extensively, including solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and many group exhibitions, including the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid; Tate Gallery in Liverpool, England; and Centre Pompidou in Paris.
“This honor reminds me of the day my parents dropped me off at my Norton dorm room on my first day at Pomona,” says Shelton. “They had done their best to prepare me to leave home and begin a life on my own. My time at Pomona launched me into an ever-expanding universe where the small world of my youth became a little star in the night sky. I wish they were here now to learn what a good job they did.”
Ann Rose Davie ’58 Recognized with Alumni Distinguished Service Award
The 2023 Alumni Distinguished Service Award recipient is Ann Rose Davie ’58. It is bestowed annually in recognition of selfless commitment and ongoing volunteer service to Pomona College.
Davie is part of a cohort of classmates who have remained connected to Pomona and to each other for decades. Today, they share their appreciation for their Pomona College experience by attracting up to 40 classmates to monthly Zoom meetings.
Ann married Bruce Davie ’58 in the summer after graduation. Together they moved east to attend Harvard University, where she studied education. After completing her studies, Ann and Bruce moved to Washington, D.C. and raised three children.
Davie was instrumental in documenting the work of Frank Lyman, her colleague in the field of teacher education, as he developed and taught strategies applicable to all levels of teaching. She joined the staff of the Heath Resource Center, a project sponsored by the American Council on Education, with the goal of improving educational and physical access on college campuses for students with physical or intellectual challenges.
Throughout her time in Washington, D.C., Davie was a devoted member and leader at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. In her mid-50s, she enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister at the age of 60. She served for 13 years as chaplain in a retirement community and continued serving their church after her husband’s death in 2003.
Davie has always drawn on her belief that life is a gift. Focused on hope, progress and beauty in the world, she has used her talents to help others. Now retired, she remains engaged as a participant and leader in many activities in her retirement community in Maryland.
“Dean Jean Walton was a role model for me in my years at Pomona, always assuming that women can lead from a variety of strengths, not only ‘the best’ in a field, as long as the goal is to help the community/world,” says Davie. “I think she would be pleased that this award acknowledges that looking back on a varied pathway gives much satisfaction and pleasure. So, thank you for that gift.”