Colorado Mountain College Foundation Logo


News from the Colorado Mountain College Foundation

Video thumbnail for the Week of Thanks 2023 video showing a group of happy CMC grads.

Greetings, here is your monthly CMC Foundation news update


Week of Thanks from CMC Foundation scholarship recipients

The CMC Foundation extends its heartfelt gratitude for your invaluable support. Your generous contributions have played a crucial role in empowering students to pursue their educational aspirations, and we are immensely thankful for your commitment to our mission.

As we enter our "Week of Thanks," we invite you to experience the impact of your generosity through a special video presentation. This video features scholarship recipients sharing their stories and highlighting the transformative effects of CMC Foundation scholarships. Your support has made a significant difference in their lives, and we are excited to showcase the tangible outcomes that your donations enable.

Watch the Week of Thanks video »

Your belief in the power of education is creating a lasting legacy, and we are honored to have you as a valued member of the CMC Foundation community. Thank you for being a catalyst for change and for making dreams come true.

Make a gift to support CMC students »

Jim & Sharon Nieslanik with Kristin Heath Colon and Carrie Besnette Hauser in front of the new Nieslanik living room sign.

Recognizing Jim & Sharon Nieslanik 

On November 2, 1965, voters approved Colorado Mountain College's formation by a 2:1 margin, leading to the opening of the East Campus in Leadville and the West Campus at Spring Valley on October 2, 1967. The West Campus became a reality with the generous donation of 811 acres by local ranching families. Jim and Sharon Nieslanik were pioneers in this effort, contributing 75 acres of their Spring Valley ranch in June 1966.

The decision to donate land had a whimsical beginning when Jim Nieslanik's neighbor, Jim Quigley, proposed the idea while Jim was in the milk barn. Initially skeptical, Jim Nieslanik later recalled that he thought Quigley had "a screw loose." Despite being newlyweds with a young family, Jim and Sharon agreed it was the right thing to do. ” Fifty years later, the Nieslaniks knew they had made the right choice. “It’s turned out pretty good, don’t you think?” Jim said in front of an appreciative crowd gathered to celebrate the college’s 50th milestone.

Over the years, the Nieslanik family's continued involvement led to the creation Uncle Jimmy’s Pig Roast & Carnival. Jim, affectionately called "Uncle Jimmy," annually donates a hog for the event, a tradition that started when his niece, Mary McPhee, suggested using cafeteria compost to feed his hogs.

The Nieslaniks' enduring contribution is commemorated with the Nieslanik Living Room, where the Colorado Mountain College family gathers. Gratitude extends to Jim, Sharon, and their children—David (Lisa), Sandy (Brian), Thad (Tonya), Eric (Joetta), and Jeff (Britton).

CMC Ski team member smiling while waving a Eagles skiing flag above his head.

U.S. Snowboard & Freeski Team CMC Athletes

Colorado Mountain College proudly celebrates the announcement of seven outstanding individuals who have made this year's U.S. National Team either after or during their time with CMC.

Chase Blackwell and Brooklyn DePriest, have been selected as members of the 2023-24 Hydro Flask U.S. Snowboard Team. This recognition highlights not only the remarkable talents of these CMC students/alumni but also the college's commitment to providing students with the ability to gain a college education while participating in winter sports.

In addition to the success on the U.S. Snowboard Team, CMC extends its congratulations to five more exceptional individuals named to the U.S. Freeski Team for the upcoming season: Hanna Faulhaber, Alex Ferreira, Riley Jacobs, Nick Geiser, and Matt Labaugh. These accomplished students/alumni showcase the depth of talent emerging from Colorado Mountain College, reinforcing our reputation as a breeding ground for winter sports athletes.

We will be sure to watch out for more news this winter season from Chase, Brooklyn, Hanna, Alex, Riley, Nick, and Matt as they embark on their journeys with the national teams.

View the U.S. Freeski Team Roster »

View the U.S. Snowboard Team Roster »

Book cover for The Bill of Obligations the ten habits of good citizens by Richard Haass.

The Bill of Obligations, CMC's Common Reader

CMC’s Common Reader program selects one book every year and offers it for free distribution across the dozens of communities CMC serves – followed by a series of discussions, author talks and conversations at CMC campuses.

CMC’s 2024 Common Reader engages students, staff, and community members with a series of events in spring and fall, culminating in a series of visits by author Richard Haass.

About The Bill of Obligations

The United States faces dangerous threats from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, terrorists, climate change, and future pandemics. The greatest peril to the country, however, comes not from abroad but from within, from none other than ourselves. The question facing us is whether we are prepared to do what is necessary to save our democracy.

The Bill of Obligations is a bold call for change. In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Richard Haass argues that the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. The Bill of Rights is at the center of our Constitution, yet our most intractable conflicts often emerge from contrasting views as to what our rights ought to be.

Learn more about the Bill of Obligations and CMC's Common Reader »


For a full list of scholarships available at CMC please visit

R.A. Nelson Scholarship

QUALIFIED STUDENTS CAN RECEIVE UP TO $3000 / As a champion of sustainability in the construction industry, longtime local general contractor R.A. Nelson believes in giving back to the community by opening doors for the next generation. With this philosophy in mind, the company offers a full tuition, in-district scholarship to forward-thinking students pursuing a Bachelor degree in Sustainability Studies. Along with this scholarship, R.A. Nelson extends the opportunity for a paid internship at their Avon office.

This scholarship is available to Vail Valley at Edwards campus students pursuing a Bachelor degree in Sustainable Studies or Sustainable Business. Minimum 3.0 GPA.. Learn more about the R.A. Nelson Scholarship »

For a full list of events at CMC please visit

November 24 - December 3

CMC Spring Valley

SOPRIS THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS "THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME" / Join the Spring Valley's Sopris Theater company for their presentation of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" based on the novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens. Learn more about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time »

November 28,29,30

CMC Breckenridge

CHEF'S TABLE / What could be more fun than having two professional chefs preparing you dinner? Join our chefs for this demonstration-style class while they prepare a seasonally inspired four course dinner for you and your friends. Includes one glass of wine.

Learn more about the Chefs Table event on the 28th »

Learn more about the Chefs Table event on the 29th »

Learn more about the Chefs Table event on the 30th »

UPCOMING STUDY ABROAD TRIPS, Open to community members For a full list of available trips visit

March 2024


Study human rights, Mayan cultural resilience, and strategies for sustainability in the context of Guatemala’s complex and tumultuous history. In this 11-day seminar, we’ll discover the roles that politics, history, culture, migration, and sustainability play in a society that recently came out of nearly four decades of civil war. Learn about the Guatemala study abroad opportunity »

May 2024


Immerse yourself in and on the land, sea, and culture of Baja, Mexico while refining your sea kayaking/outdoor leadership skills and learning the natural history of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems! The coastline and islands of the Baja peninsula provide an unparalleled ‘classroom’ to be trained in kayaking guidance on the open water and explore the marine life and natural history of the region’s ecology. Learn about the Baja Mexico study abroad opportunity »

January 2026


Our 2024 trip is now full! The next Japan trip is scheduled for 2026. Japan is the hub of action-sport winter media. With the effect of global warming, the ability to capture high-quality action in perfect conditions has become a difficult reality for the snowsport industry for their promotional media needs. In turn, this makes Japan the natural choice to study action-sport media and distribution. Learn about the Japan study abroad experience »


Photo of the CMC Foundation's 2021-2022 Impact Report.

Helpful Links:

Make a gift to Colorado Mountain College

CMC Foundation 

Contact the CMC Foundation Staff

Learn about Planned Giving

CMC Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Our tax exempt ID # is: 74-2393418.

Gifts to the CMC Foundation can be made in honor of, in memory of, or to thank a loved one. For more information call 970.947.8378.