2023 Sharon Wright
2022 Pam Hurd-Knief and Alan Weitzel
2020 Alfred Volden
2019 Dr. Deborah Good
2018 Julie Gutierrez and Beverly Bendicksen
2015 Elaine Roy
2014 Jim Lowry
2013 Tom Keleher
2012 Jerry Goss
2011 Bob Heiser and Judith Suiter
2010 Steve Cogan
2009 Heather Badal
2008 Ted Garcia
2007 David Kleinfeld
2006 Thelma Domenici
2005 Gregory Ellena
2004 Ann Maloney Conway
2003 Keith Roth
2002 Louise Campbell
2001 Nancy Blaugrund
2000 Jeff Kalmus
1999 Gay Betzer
1998 Harvey Grasty
1997 Jerome Goss and Norman Thayer
1996 Robert Stamm
1995 AMF Associates for the Magic Bus
1994 Lynn Reed and Dennis Andersen
1993 Smokey Sanchez-Davis and Gerald Fitz-Gerald
1991 Betty Sabo
1990 Harvey Monroe


The Robert Wertheim Award of Distinction honors an individual who has served the Albuquerque Museum and/or the Albuquerque Museum Foundation in an outstanding leadership capacity. It is only given when there is a worthy recipient, and not necessarily on an annual basis. The criteria for the award includes time commitment, fundraising facilitation, advocacy for the Museum and Foundation, and being a community ambassador for the Museum and/or the Foundation. Past recipients include Betty Sabo, Thelma Domenici, Tom Keleher, Dr. Deborah Good, and Beverly Bendicksen, among many others.

The Award of Distinction was started in 1990, and was named for Robert Wertheim after his passing in 2013. He served on the Albuquerque Museum Foundation Board of Directors from 2008 until his death and was deeply committed to the Museum and to raising money to fund the Only in Albuquerque exhibition. He was an advocate for the Museum and a dedicated member of the community. His daughter Helen recounts that Wertheim was part of a generation of business leaders who were committed to working closely together to improve the state. “My father loved New Mexico, and wanted to make our state the best it could be,” says Helen Wertheim. Part of the expression of that love was raising funds to develop an exhibition that brings the history of Albuquerque alive.

As a member of the fundraising committee for Only in Albuquerque, Wertheim inspired fellow committee members to raise twice the money of the original goal. “It was the interactive map (in Only in Albuquerque) that excited him,” Helen says. “He had a vision of kids on their hands and knees pointing to places in Albuquerque they know. He wanted to see it through.” Even though Wertheim battled cancer in the last year of his life, he never missed a committee or board meeting. In the days before his passing he made phone calls to raise money for the exhibition. “That made an enormous impact on me,” Helen says.

Robert Wertheim was the founder of Charter Bank, a recipient of the Individual Ethics in Business award, and a community leader with a deep love for New Mexico. Wertheim served on many boards, including Accion New Mexico, the University of New Mexico Anderson School Alumni Council, and Presbyterian Healthcare Services. He grew up in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and graduated from UNM with a business degree.

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