Distinguished Alumni Award


The LCC Distinguished Alumni Award will be given annually to a living graduate who has distinguished themselves professionally, brought honor to Labette Community College, and/or made significant contributions of time and philanthropy to the College and/or their community.

Criteria

  • Must have attended Labette Community College for one year (2 semesters).
  • Nominations may come from faculty, staff, alumni or community at-large.
  • Selection shall be made by the President of the College.
  • Nominees not selected may be reconsidered the following year.
  • Must be present to accept the award at a luncheon given in their honor the day of commencement.
  • Up to four awards may be presented annually.

Recipients

2016 Janice Every
2016 Gregory Forbes
2016 Rick Ray
2015 Gale Brown
2015 Joe Heppler
2015 Kara McIlvain
2015 Susan Souders
2014 William "Bill" Devine
2014 Jim Orr
2013 Keith Shaffer
2013 Alice Beachner
2013 Sharon Brown
2013 Kanak Patel


2012 Joe Renfro
2012 Louise Holmes
2012 Kenny LaForge
2012 Shirley Chalker
2011 Calum McNeil
2011 Roberta (Adams) Hoffman
2011 Chuck Tredway
2011 James McKinney
2010 Charles "Chuck" Puckett
2010 Joseph A. Smith
2010 Patricia Ann Woodrum
2009 Jim Bishop
2009 Dr. Wanda Maxson-Ladage
2009 Aaron "Skip" Smith

Janice Every

2016 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Janice Every

Janice Every is a non-traditional graduate of Labette Community College (LCC) and lifelong Parsonian. She attended St. Mary’s grade school and graduated from Parsons High School. Immediately after graduation, she married and began raising a family of six, three boys and three girls. Her parents, Max and Edna Every, owned the Every Construction business in Parsons. Her father finished his working career for the City of Parsons with 20 years of service and the Labette County Health Department. Her mother was a nurse aide and a founding member of the St. Vincent De Paul. Janice remarks that her parents were such community minded people that she looks for community opportunities to honor them and continue their work.

Full Press Release

Greg Brown

2016 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Gregory E. Forbes

Gregory E. Forbes is a fourth-generation Parsonian, son of Michael and Evelyn Forbes. He is a life-long member of St. Patricks Catholic Church and a member of the 4th degree Knights of Columbus. He, his wife Audrey, and their four children have each attended St. Patrick Catholic School where he serves on the school council and as a member of the SPCS benefit auction committee.

Greg grew up in Parsons and is a graduate of Parsons High School in 1987. He graduated from Labette Community College in 1989. Greg enjoyed his time at LCC and especially liked being able to live at home, continue to gain experience in funeral service, and earn the college credits needed to complete his Bachelor’s Degree. He originally looked at LCC to begin his degree because there was actually a “Pre-Mortuary Science” curriculum.

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Rick Ray

2016 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Rick Ray

Rick Ray was born in Gardena, California but grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. Rick began his collegiate basketball playing career at Labette Community College. During his time a LCC (1988-91), Ray earned an Associate’s Degree in General Studies.

While at Labette, Ray formed long lasting friendships with teammates that still exist today. He credits his booster family, the Redmond’s, for helping him adjust from life in a big city to life in a small town. “I could not have made it through my time in Parsons without their hospitality and support,” says Ray.

Full Press Release

Gale Brown

2015 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Gale Brown

Gale Brown, Oswego, KS, graduated from Labette Community College with an Associate of Applied Science in Radiography in 1999. Gale worked on the radiography staff at Oswego Health Center from 1998-2002.

After graduating from LCC, Gale continued her higher education and earned several more degrees. In 2005 she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Friends University. In 2008 she earned a Master of Science Degree in Technical Teacher Education from Pittsburg State University. In 2012, she received and Ed. Specialist Degree in Technical Teacher Education from Pittsburg State University. She is currently working completing a Doctor of Education Degree in Adult and Lifelong Learning from the University of Arkansas.

Full Press Release

Joe Heppler

2015 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Joe Heppler

Joe Heppler, Parsons, KS, graduated from Labette Community College in 2013 with a degree in Psychology.

While at LCC, Joe was active in several campus organizations including the Campus Activity Board, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Student Ambassadors, and the Student Government Association. Joe was the Campus Activity Board President, where he helped bring in speakers and would organize student activities. As part of the Student Government Association, Joe was the Vice President and a Student Senator.

As a part of Phi Theta Kappa, Joe received an award in 2013 for being an International Distinguished Member of Phi Theta Kappa. In 2011 & 2012, Joe Received the “Broken Wing Award”. This award is given to students who have soared above adversities in educational pursuits. Throughout his time at LCC, Joe photographed campus events as a student photographer. For three years, Joe was also the Student ADA Liaison for LCC where he helped students struggling with disability or injury.

After graduating from LCC, Joe went on to attend Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. There he again served as a campus student photographer.

Full Press Release

Kara McIlvain

2015 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Kara McIlvain

Kara McIlvain grew up in Labette County and graduated from Labette Community College in 2000, with an Associate in Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy. While attending LCC, Kara was active in student life activities serving as President of the Respiratory Therapy Club. She was on the Presidential and Dean's Honor Rolls, and was part of the team that was runner up for a state respiratory therapy quiz bowl. After graduating LCC, Kara earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix - Online.

Kara’s leadership and business skills were demonstrated as she climbed ladder while working at Cox Health Systems in Springfield, MO. Kara earned a spot as the supervisor of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and then the Adult Medical ICU, Neurotrauma ICU, and Surgical ICU. She then became the Patient Assess and Treat Supervisor, and finally the Department Dayshift Supervisor. Kara developed Respiratory Protocols that helped save the Respiratory Department thousands of dollars, but most importantly saved lives. She worked with surgeons to develop a Post-Operative Assessment Protocol that statistically saved one person per month. As a result of that success, she was asked to develop a Post-Trauma Assessment Protocol. Kara was invited to speak at the International American Association of Respiratory Care National Convention to educate fellow Respiratory Therapists around the world about the benefits of respiratory protocols, specifically a ventilator management protocol.

Full Press Release

Susan Souders

2015 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Susan Souders

Susan Souders, a lifetime resident of Labette County, was born in Oswego, KS to Wanda and William “Bill” Hevel. She graduated from Oswego High School as Salutatorian in 1972. During her school years she was active in Girl Scouts and volunteered as a Candy Striper at the Oswego City Hospital and Oswego Nursing Home where she developed a passion for nursing. Over the next 10 years she took evening classes at Labette Community College while being a stay-at-home mom. In 1982 she entered the nursing program graduating in 1984 with an Associate Degree of Nursing.

During her second year as a nursing student, she worked part time as an LPN at the Oswego City Hospital. Upon graduation she accepted a full time position as an RN in the Emergency Room at Labette County Medical Center (now Labette Health) where she worked for over 20 years with the last 5 years as the ER Nurse Manager. She then spent the next 4 years working as a public health nurse at the Labette County Health Department. From May 2009, Susan has been employed by the Cancer Center of Kansas at the Parsons satellite office. She obtained her national certification as an oncology nurse in November of 2011.

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William "Bill" Devine

2014 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
William "Bill" Devine

William “Bill” Devine, an Ellicott City, Maryland resident, attended Labette Community College (formerly Parsons Junior College) in 1953. After LCC, Bill attended Pittsburg State University graduating in 1955 with a degree in political science.

After graduating Bill served in the United States Navy for nine years from 1955-64. In 1964 he resigned as Lieutenant Commander. Devine met and married his wife, Nancy Faidley, in 1958. Nancy’s grandfather opened John W. Faidley Seafood Market in 1886. Faidley Seafood is one of the oldest and best-known seafood markets in the Chesapeake region. Bill began working at Faidley’s in 1965 and has worked as a fish monger. Today, it is owned and operated by Bill and Nancy. In his words, Bill “does everything from sweeping floors to signing checks.”

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Jim Orr

2014 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Jim Orr

Jim Orr graduated from Parsons High School in 1961 and from Labette Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree in 1963. Transferring to Pittsburg State University, Orr received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1965 and a Master of Science Degree in 1971. Orr began his career in education teaching one year in Wellington, KS. In 1966 he moved to Monett, MO, where he first served as an instructor, then became the assistant principal, and ultimately was hired as the Director of Monett Area Vocational School, which provided training for juniors and seniors from fourteen area high schools. From 1991 to 2001, he was employed by a new community college in Springfield, MO, Ozark Technical Community College, serving in several administrative positions. While there, he saw the enrollment of the new college grow from less than a thousand to almost 15,000 students.

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Keith Shaffer

2013 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Keith Shaffer

Keith L. Shaffer attended Labette Community College in 1973. After LCC, Keith attended Kansas State University graduating in 1978 with a degree in business. Keith has spent much of his adult working life owning and operating a family farming operation, Shaffer Agriculture Services, which he now runs with his son Bryson. He’s also built a successful career in banking and insurance. He previously served as an insurance agent for Farm Bureau, a Senior Vice President at Labette Bank, and as the Agency Manager for Labette Insurance. Currently he is a consultant for Shaffer Financial Services LLC and Clemens Insurance Agency. Community involvement and service has always been important to Keith. He is the fire chief for Altamont and Mount Pleasant Volunteer Fire Departments. He is a member of the Altamont Jaycees, the Labette County 911 System, and the Labette County Fire Chiefs Association. He is the Secretary/Treasurer for the Labette County Extension Foundation Inc. and has served as the Labette County Fair assistant livestock superintendent.

(Full Press Release)
Alice Beachner

2013 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Alice Beachner

Alice Beachner graduated from Parsons Junior College, now known as Labette Community College, in 1962. Alice was born in Parsons and graduated from Galesburg High School in 1960. While attending Parsons Junior College, she was yearbook queen in 1962. During her time at the junior college, she worked at Superior School Supply.

Alice is a life-long learner who places education as a top priority. In the 1980s Alice graduated from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Paralegal Studies. She then graduated from Floral Design School in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1990s. After graduating Alice worked at Slane’s Floral Shop in Parsons.

(Full Press Release)
Alice Beachner

2013 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Sharon Brown

Sharon Stewart Brown was born and grew up in Parsons, Kansas to Wilson and Betty Stewart. She attended Douglass School and graduated in 1968 from Parsons Senior High School. She then went on to obtain her Associate of Arts and Associate of Nursing from Labette Community College in 1972. She attended Pittsburg State University and obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1978. Sharon received the Minority Student Scholastic Scholarship Award from the University of Kansas where she graduated in 1982 with her Masters in Social Work Administration.

(Full Press Release)
Kanak Patel

2013 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Kanak Patel

Kanak Patel earned two degrees from LCC. In 1995, he was awarded an Associate Degree in Mathematics and in 1998, he obtained an Associate Degree in Network Administration. While attending LCC, Kanak was very active in student life activities. He served as an officer of the Student Government Association, participated in the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business club and participated in the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. Kanak’s leadership and business skills were demonstrated more than ever through his involvement with the PBL club. He served in officer roles and earned several awards at state and national competitions.

After earning his degree from LCC, Kanak transferred to Pittsburg State University and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Information Systems.

(Full Press Release)
Shirley Chalker

2012 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Shirley Chalker

Shirley (Callahan) Chalker was born and raised in Parsons, KS. She attended Parsons Schools and graduated from Parsons High School in 1959. She married Hugh Chalker in 1960 and later attended Parsons Junior College. She graduated from PJC in 1964 with an Associates of Arts Degree. Shirley attended Pittsburg State University for a semester before the birth of her second child. Chalker has been active with the Labette Community College serving on the Alumni Board, and after merging with the Foundation, serving two terms on the Foundation and Alumni Board. She is currently a member of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee and has taken numerous college evening courses over the years.

(Full Press Release)
Kenny LaForge

2012 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Kenny LaForge

Kenny LaForge grew up attending Parsons Schools and graduated from Parsons High School in 1971. He then went on to receive his Associates Degree from Labette Community College in 1973. After LCC, LaForge went on to the University of Kansas and graduated in 1976. LaForge has two daughters, Kenna and Kate, who both live in the eastern United States and are recent college graduates. LaForge lives in rural Parsons with his wife, Debbie. He has been active in numerous local organizations and a supporter of many others. Currently, LaForge is a member of the local Rotary Club and a 30 year member of the Associated General Contractors of America. He served two terms on the Parsons U.S.D. 503 school board. LaForge was also one the founding directors for the Parsons Educational Foundation, which assists the students of Parsons. He has also served on numerous boards and committees for the City of Parsons and is a member of the Board of Kansas Food Bank. LaForge is now serving on the steering committee for LCC’s Capital Campaign in their fundraising efforts for a new health science building, endowed scholarships, and deferred maintenance.

(Full Press Release)
Kenny LaForge

2012 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Louise Holmes

Louise (Frame) Holmes was born in Parsons in 1937, the daughter of Howard and Kathryn Stallard Frame. She was a 5th generation Parsonian and attended Lincoln, McKinley, and West Junior High School. She graduated from Parsons High School in 1955 and from Parsons Junior College (PJC), as salutatorian in 1956. At PJC Louise was active in band, Student Council, Pep Club, and intramural athletics. Louise has been active in her community. She has served as President of the USD 484 Board of Education and President of the Fredonia Arts Council, where she is currently a member of the board of directors. As a Charter Member of the Fredonia Child Care Center, she helped establish the Child Care Center in 1972. She recently served a term on their board of directors. Also, Louise is also a member of the Fredonia Library Board of Trustees, the Secretary of Sacred Heart Church Parish Council, and she volunteers for Meals on Wheels and the Bloodmobile.

(Full Press Release)
Joe Renfro

2012 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Joe Renfro

Joe Renfro grew up attending school in Altamont. He graduated from Labette County High School in 1995. He was a four-time Kansas State Placer in high school wrestling with one of those being a State Champion title. His high school wrestling record was 126-16. After high school, he attended Labette Community College for two years and then transferred to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. While at Labette, Renfro was an Academic All-American and a two-time wrestling All-American, which means he placed 5th or better at the national tournament. He was also an All-American at UNK. Renfro was a member of the “Team of the Decade” at both Labette and UNK. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, Renfro went on to Ft. Hays State University where he obtained his Master of Liberal Studies in Health and Human Performance. Renfro holds numerous titles and awards as well as the team. He has lead the wrestling team to two National Championships, the first one being in 2005 and the second one is 2012.

(Full Press Release)
Calum McNeil

2011 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Calum McNeil

Calum McNeil was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. McNeil studied in the U.S. at Labette Community College and was a proud member of the wrestling team. After obtaining his Associates Degree, McNeil went on to obtain his Bachelor’s degree. McNeil began working as a Senior Staff Accountant for Ernst & Young in Hamilton, Canada after graduation. Other career history includes; Manger, Financial Control for Commcorp Financial Services, Audit Manager for Ernst & Young, Head of Corporate Financial Reporting for Investcorp Bank, Vice President, Head of Financial Management for Gulf International Bank, and most recently, Financial Controller for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (“ADIA”), the world’s largest Sovereign Wealth Fund.

(Full Press Release)
Roberta (Adams) Hoffman

2011 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Roberta (Adams) Hoffman

Roberta (Adams) Hoffman was a 1960 graduate of Labette Community College. She received her Associate of Art degree. She then went on to receive her Bachelor of Science from Texas Women’s University in 1963 and Master of Art degree from New York University in 1976. Hoffman was interested in dance from a very early age. She began her studies with Nell Ferguson in Parsons at the age of 10. By 16, she was teaching ballet, tap dance, and acrobatics once a week at the VFW hall in Oswego. In high school,she was a drum majorette, performed fire baton twirling and acrobatics, and led the annual parade doing cartwheels down Main Street in Parsons.

(Full Press Release)
Chuck Tredway

2011 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Chuck Tredway

Chuck Tredway was born in Parsons in 1947. He attended Parsons High School and Parsons Junior College. He then went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Pittsburg State University in 1970. Tredway’s first job was with Beneficial Finance in Topeka, KS. In 1972 he became the District Manager for FW Woolworth of Enid, OK. When GE Capital acquired FW Woolworth credit operations, he became part of Sales and Operations Management. In 1986, Tredway began working for Marine Midland Bank, in Buffalo, NY, where he was a Department Executive. He created and served on the Board of Directors, and managed automobile captive finance companies for Mazda, Porsche, Jaguar, Subaru, and Saab. Tredway then went on to become the Executive Vice President and Board of Directors member for Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America, Inc. in 1991. He was awarded the Top American Executive for the 400 person $11 billion company. He was also the Executive committee member for the North American holding company that managed vehicle imports from Japan, manufacturing operations in the U.S., vehicle distribution in the U.S. and Canada, and dealer and consumer finance operations in the U.S. and Canada.

(Full Press Release)
James McKinney

2011 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
James McKinney

James McKinney was born and raised in Southeast Kansas. In 1950, his family moved to Parsons where he attended Parsons Schools and Parsons Junior College. McKinney then moved to Wichita to attend Wichita State University where he majored in voice and opera. He completed his bachelor and master’s degrees at Wichita State University. McKinney continued his studies with post graduate work at Southern Methodist University, College of Lynchburg, Drake University and the Sorbonne in Paris, France. He obtained his PhD from Sorbonne.

(Full Press Release)
Chuck Puckett

2010 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Chuck Puckett

Chuck Puckett, of Tustin, CA, moved to Parsons at the age of 5 in 1948. Puckett graduated from Parsons High School in 1961. He then went on to graduate from Parsons Junior College with an Associate in Art Degree in 1963 and then a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University in 1965. Puckett married Donna Henry, also of Parsons, in August 1965.

Puckett spent three years with the John Deere Company in their Management Training Program from 1965 to 1968. He left Deere and went to work with Hunt-Wesson Foods Foodservice Division in 1968 and retired in 2000 after spending 32 years with the company.

(Full Press Release)
Joseph Smith

2010 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Joseph Smith

Joe Smith, of Erie, KS, graduated from St. Paul High School in 1969. He then went on to receive his Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Labette Community College in 1971. After LCC, Smith went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University in 1973. Smith also attended the Colorado School of Banking at the University of Colorado from 1974-1976 and the School of Agriculture at Kansas State University in 1975.

Smith began his career at the Stark State Bank in Stark, KS as an Agriculture Representative working in all areas of the operation. He received experience in lending, including consumer, commercial, and agricultural loans. He was elected Executive Vice President and a Director in 1980.

(Full Press Release)
Pat Woodrum

2010 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Pat Woodrum

Pat Woodrum, of Tulsa, Ok, graduated from Labette County High School in Altamont, KS. She then went on to earn an Associate’s Degree from Parsons Junior College in 1960, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature from Pittsburg State Teachers College in 1963, and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1966.

After graduating from OU, Woodrum began working at the Tulsa City-County Library System. She retired after 32 years. She spent the last 20 of those as the Executive Director. As Executive Director, she managed a 14 million dollar annual operating budget, developed a 7 million dollar endowment, supervised 280 employees and 750 volunteers, worked with architects and contractors in designing and construction of 17 library facilities.

(Full Press Release)
Jim Bishop

2009 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Jim Bishop

Jim Bishop of Pittsburg, KS attended Parsons High School from 1956-1960. He then went on to Parsons Junior College where he was a 1962 graduate. Bishop obtained his Bachelors of Science in Marketing from Pittsburg State University in 1965. From 1965-1970, Bishop was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. He is a private instructor and commercial licensed pilot.

Since graduating from the Realtors Institute, Bishop has been a sales associate, broker, and owner for Crawford County Realty and is presently a broker for and the owner of Coldwell Banker, Jim Bishop & Associates. He is a certified Residential Specialist and a Certified Residential Broker.

(Full Press Release)
Dr. Wanda Maxson-Ladage

2009 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Dr. Wanda Maxson-Ladage

Dr. Wanda Maxson-Ladage has been a lifetime resident of Labette County where she was the youngest of the six Maxson children. She grew up and attended Hawkins rural school, Edna Grade School and graduated from Edna High School in 1947. She was employed as a bookkeeper at Maxson Commission Co. at Parsons Stockyards and was soon married and had four daughters, Penny, Paula, Kim and Mona. Between 1947-1968, it was housework, instant hired man and raising children, which she enjoyed. However, in the late 60’s family life changed. She needed an education.

(Full Press Release)
Aaron "Skip" Smith

2009 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
Aaron "Skip" Smith

Skip Smith grew up in Parsons, KS. He attended Fredrick Douglass School and after graduating from Parsons High School, Smith joined the Navy to see the world. In 1972 Smith obtained his Associate of Art Degree from Labette Community College. He then went on to Pittsburg State University where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1974 and his Master of Science Degree in Graphic Illustration in 1975.

He then spent several years traveling from city to city and eventually settled in Atlanta, GA. In the 1980s, Smith emerged as a professional artist. His versatile and exuberant graphite depictions of the African-American genre and his paintings captured the imagination of many across the nation.

(Full Press Release)
  • Nominate Someone
  • To nominate someone please send a letter and brief biography to:

    LCC Alumni Association
    200 South 14th Street
    Parsons, KS 67357

    Or use the:
    Online Nomination Form

    If you have questions, please e-mail Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of the Alumni Association, or call (620) 820-1212.

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