Christensen to be honored at Heller Center celebration



A dual celebration on May 15 will fete Tom Christensen, dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, who is stepping down from the position July 1, and the completed restoration of the guest house at the Heller Center.

Christensen, one of the Heller Center’s biggest advocates, will return to the Department of Physics as a full-time faculty member after seven years as dean of the college.

The Heller Center for Arts and Humanities Guest House will be dedicated in the memory of Colorado Springs artist Herman Raymond, who was associated with Larry Heller. A collection of Raymond’s paintings selected by his widow, Karen Raymond, was donated to the Heller Center in his honor. The guest house will host visiting artists and scholars as well as serve as additional space for small meetings and both campus and community retreats, according to Perrin Cunningham, director, Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Raymond (1924-2010) settled in Colorado Springs in 1950 and operated a private art school for many years. The school continues to operate in the Old Colorado City area of Colorado Springs. A painter, Raymond worked in abstract, realistic and impressionistic styles and was known for his open air painting.

Naming the guest house in honor of Raymond was the request of a donor who contributed $400,000 to the project after receiving an impromptu tour of the restored Heller Center for Arts and Humanities main house. The donor wishes to remain anonymous but is in contact with representatives of the CU Foundation and has been kept apprised of the project’s progress, according to Jaime McMullen Garcia, associate director of development, CU Foundation.

The guest house will offer amenities that make it suitable to house visitors and for small meetings, according to Stan Rovira, project manager, Facilities Services. The renovations were extensive, beginning with a new foundation and extending to new walls, roof, electrical, lighting, and heating system. The work was completed by Gerald H. Phipps Construction, the same contractor as on the main house, earlier this month.