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Iliff to Host Courage Celebration

November 05, 2012

CONTACT: Greta Gloven 303-229-8042 or
Mary Sue Alexander 303-765-3110

Concert and Awards Celebration Honoring Lee Everding, R.J. Ross,
& Building Bridges, a program of Seeking Common Ground

DENVER – It takes courage to make a difference! This year’s Iliff School of Theology Courage Award Celebration will do just that when it honors Lee Everding, volunteer, philanthropist, clinical social worker, founder and director of Denver Eclectics, co-founder of the Abrahamic Initiative, and former chief executive officer, Communicom, Inc.; R.J. Ross, president and chief executive officer, Samaritan Institute; and “Building Bridges,” a local non-profit program; with a concert and awards presentation on March 7, 7-8:30 p.m., University of Denver, Newman Center for the Performing Arts.

“Lee Everding, R.J. Ross and Building Bridges have made remarkable contributions to our world – exemplifying the fortitude and courage to make life better for all people,” said Albert Hernández, interim president, chief executive officer, and associate professor of the history of Christianity. “We are honored to present them the 2013 Iliff Courage Awards and to celebrate them with a concert by the ‘We are Voices Project’ led by local Emmy Award-winning songwriter Denise Gentilini.”

Everding is receiving the Courage Award for her life-long passion of providing educational venues for thousands of people through her commitment to many learning ventures promoting tolerance, peace, and justice. She is active in numerous organizations, serves on several boards, and has received the prestigious Daniel R. Ritchie Award from the Colorado Ethics Business Alliance.

“As the founder of Denver Eclectics, a local women’s group dedicated to learning about tough issues facing our world, Everding has grown the group to more than 500 members,“ added Hernández. “ Her commitment to educating the community is demonstrated not only through this activity, but by the many others she supports and advises.”

Ross is being honored for his life-giving work in establishing The Samaritan Institute, a nationwide system of counseling centers that offers clients low-cost mental health services emphasizing the unity of mind, body, and spirit.

“As one of the largest providers of professional counseling in America, Ross, one of the original founders of the Institute, has provided programs that have responded to the needs of congregations and communities since 1972,” commented Hernández. “His life’s work has helped thousands across the United States and abroad find sorely needed mental health services at little or no cost.”

Building Bridges, a program of Denver-based non-profit Seeking Common Ground, has been bringing groups of American, Israeli, and Palestinian teenagers together for more than 18 years in an effort to use relationship-building to encourage participants to work together across religious, cultural, ethnic, and other boundaries. Building Bridges has been effective in creating “social change agents” in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and various American communities.

The evening’s program will feature a concert led by Gentilini and her “We Are Voices Project” featuring noted singers, Mary Louise Lee, Mindy Sterling, Beth Avedis, Sheryl Renee, and other Colorado artists. A VIP reception will precede the concert.

Ticket reservations are underway, with prices starting at $20 for students (with current ID), $45 per person/$80 per couple. A VIP reception ticket is also available that includes an hors d’oeuvre reception prior to the concert, $95 per person, $180 per couple. Ticket reservations can be made by contacting Lisa Switzer, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 303-765-3171.


The Iliff School of Theology is a graduate theological school related to the United Methodist Church, serving more than 38 different faith traditions. Founded in 1892, the school provides several degree programs, including a Joint Ph.D. Program with the University of Denver.

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