Past Recipients of the Robert Wertheim Distinguished Service Award

1990 – Harvey Monroe

1991 – Betty Sabo

1993 – Smokey Sanchez-Davis and Gerald Fitz-Gerald

1994 – Lynn Reed and Dennis Andersen

1995 – AMF Associates for the Magic Bus

1996 – Robert Stamm

1997 – Jerome Goss and Norman Thayer

1998 – Harvey Grasty

1999 – Gay Betzer

2000 – Jeff Kalmus

2001 – Nancy Blaugrund

2002 – Louise Campbell

2003 – Keith Roth

2004 – Ann Maloney Conway

2005 – Gregory Ellena

2006 – Thelma Domenici

2007 – David Kleinfeld

2008 – Ted Garcia

2009 – Heather Badal

2010 – Steve Cogan

2011 – Bob Heiser and Judy Suiter

2012 – Jerry Goss

2013 – Tom Keleher

2014 – Jim Lowry

2015 – Elaine Roy

2018 – Julie Gutierrez and Beverly Bendicksen

2019 – Dr. Deborah Good

2020 – Alfred Volden

2021 – Pam Hurd Knief and Alan Weitzel


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 Wertheim’s daughter. 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.