SFCC history of Katie Besser Awards and Richard Bradford Scholarship

SFCC celebrated Katie Besser Award winners and announced the winners of the Richard Bradford Creative Writing Memorial Scholarship on May 5, 2021. Read more in this press release.

Here’s a brief history of the Katie Besser Student Awards and the Richard Bradford Creative Writing Memorial Scholarship.:

Nearly 20 years ago, they first began when associate dean Colleen Lynch started a Student Writing Contest in the early 2000s. Fulltime COM/ENGL/READ Faculty member Shuli Lamden ran the event for several years. In 2009, Faculty member Daniel Kilpatrick took over the endeavor and shifted the focus from a contest to the idea of awards, and changed the name to the Student Writing Awards. Moving forward, students had their celebration readings at Collected Works Bookstore in downtown Santa Fe.

Soon after, when Deborah Boldt came on as the director of SFCC Foundation, she brought a lot of support and enthusiasm for the event. Deborah Boldt created the connection to the Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship in 2011. Michael McGarrity, celebrated local author, chief donor to the scholarship, and personal friend to Richard Bradford, became a regular part of the celebration a couple years later, ensuring that Braford’s legacy was part of the event.

Most recently, Deborah Boldt also facilitated an endowment of the prizes in 2017 through Bruce Besser, in memory of his wife Katie Besser, and the endeavor has included her name since then.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, Emily Stern took over directorship of the awards and has implemented exciting new ideas like a text and image category, an instructor-nominated category, and collaboration with SFCC Media Arts. In 2019 the Katie Besser Student Awards Celebration Reading was hosted by Meow Wolf to a full house. In spring 2020 and spring 2021, SFCC was honored honored and grateful to the SFCC Library for hosting our Celebration Reading on Zoom. 

For information about the awards competition, please contact Emily Stern via email at or call 505-428-1467. For more information about Santa Fe Community College Foundation visit the SFCC Foundation web page