Fort Lewis College Foundation
Gene and Sally Bradley: Travelers. Scholars. Stewards.
There’s a quiet force helping to drive massive change at Fort Lewis College, and it’s not just our engineering majors, trailblazing professors, or champion cyclists. Rather, it’s a humble couple named Gene and Sally Bradley. Parents of an alumnus, the generous benefactors see giving as a sensible use of resources they’ve spent their lives acquiring.
“If you have more money than you need to live, why not give some of it away?” wonders Sally.
Fueled by her passion for music and his affinity for numbers, the unassuming, dynamic duo add a dash of class to Southwest Colorado, whether supporting academic excellence or archaeological discovery. While Gene uses his business savvy with the FLC Foundation, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and Animas La Plata Water Conservancy District, Sally shines in the world of music, serving as chair of the FLC Music Department’s Artist in Residence Committee.
Both born and raised in small towns, the Bradleys met at the University of Missouri, where Gene studied accounting and Sally was an honors history student. They married in 1964 before Gene left for Vietnam. After his military service, Gene flourished as a CPA in Kansas City and then Chicago, a career that opened the door for the Bradleys to launch their philanthropic adventures.
The Chicago Symphony and city-life buzz held some allure, but the Bradleys longed for mountains, which led them to Durango in 1994. Their son, Eric, graduated from FLC in 1996, and so began the Bradleys’ legacy at the Four Corners’ basecamp for higher education.
“FLC is such an important and vital asset to the entire community,” says Gene. “Too many people take it for granted. Durango would look much different if FLC were not here.”
They’ve since donated their time, talent, and dollars to FLC’s endless pursuit of betterment, from helping fund the new Community Concert Hall, Sitter Family Hall, and Center for Southwest Studies, to assisting the Village Aid Project and founding the Gene & Sally Bradley Scholarship, which alternates between assisting accounting or music majors. Also, the Bradleys dedicated a Soaring Hawk gift commitment through their estate plan.
“The Soaring Hawk legacy is so easy to do,” says Gene matter-of-factly. “It requires no cash outlay and will benefit future generations at FLC.”
When they’re not practicing good stewardship, the Bradleys can be found gallivanting to archaeological sites in Turkey, Zimbabwe, or the sage-dusted desert sprawled beyond their own backyard.
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