John Jay Dinner 2002
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  Peter Cincotti '05
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  Alisa Weilerstein '04
Columbia College Fund
  Turns 50


Roar Lion Roar


Preserving Sedona’s Natural Beauty
By Shira J. Boss '93

Steve Rivo '93
Paul Chevalier ’60

When Paul Chevalier ’60 and his wife, Maggie, were ready to retire, they hit the road in search of a new nesting spot. “We looked around for the prettiest place in the 48 states,” Chevalier says. The winner, where they relocated from Los Angeles four years ago, was Sedona, Ariz.

The stunning town about 90 miles north of Phoenix, set at an elevation of 4,500 feet amidst unusual red rock formations, is home to an eclectic group of 10,000 residents — many of them artists and retirees, with a few famous people, too — and hosts many more tourists every year. The area is known for its pure air, hiking trails, and what many say is some sort of special energy emanating from the red rocks.

“We have cowboys walking around, and people who wish they were cowboys. Cowboy hats are big here,” Chevalier says.
Chevalier, who also holds degrees from the Law School and the Business School, serves as chairman of Sedona’s Arts and Cultural Commission, one of four commissions appointed by the city council. One program he has supported is the town’s “Art in the Classrooms” initiative, which brings local artists together with teachers to create interactive curricula.

For a recent unit on the Roaring ’20s, in addition to reading The Great Gatsby and studying the history of the era, high school students learned the Charleston, made stained glass windows, listened to period jazz music and ate foods like Jell-O that were invented at the time.

The commission also has passed an ordinance requiring developers to donate money to a fund for public art displays.

Chevalier is involved in local debates surrounding growth versus environmental preservation in Sedona, which is no longer the well-kept secret it once was. “We want smart growth,” he says, explaining that the town is growing at about 4 percent per year and houses are getting larger and larger. Sedona is debating whether to widen its main street. “Do we focus more on getting the traffic up here, or scenic beauty?” Chevalier asks. He votes for scenic beauty.

Before retirement, Chevalier worked in labor relations in the retail sector for 25 years. He last served as senior vice president of employee relations for Federated Department Stores.


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