Pueblo Central Hall of Honor 2011 Inductee

Lester "Les" L. Ward (1948)

Les attended Harvard College and received an A.B. degree cum laude in 1952. At Harvard he was President of the Harvard Debate Council, winner of the Coolidge Prize for debate and was chosen as Class Day Orator at commencement. He then graduated from Harvard Law School with an LLB degree and was admitted to the Colorado Bar.

Pueblo is where he began law practice, a 32-year career. He was a partner in the firm of Predovich, Ward and Banner, a firm that built a state-wide practice. He was President of the Colorado Bar Association in 1983-84, the first Central graduate to ever receive that honor. As president of the Pueblo Library (1960-66), he helped conceive and fight for a new library and successfully saw it approved by a 2-1 voter majority. Governor Richard Lamm appointed him as one of the nine members of the Colorado Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.

A second career began in 1989 when the trustees of The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), an organization which he had helped create, persuaded him to leave law practice and move to Denver to become its President and Chief Operating Officer. Second only to New York's Lincoln Center in size and scope, the DCPA operated on an annual budget of between 30 and 50 million dollars. In 1998 its Denver Center Theatre Company received a Tony Award as the nation's outstanding regional theatre. After sixteen years he retired as President in 2005 but continues to serve as Trustee. He also is President of the Helen G. Bonfils Foundation, which supports the DCPA.

His loyalty to and affection for Central remains. He served as President of his Freshman, Junior and Senior Class and has seen to it that his class has had a reunion every five years since graduation.

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