2009 Distinguished Alumni Press Release

Contact Bethany Kendrick, Director Public Relations
Labette Community College | (620) 820-1212

LCC Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Announced

The Distinguished Alumni Award was developed by the Foundation and Alumni Board of Labette Community College to honor alumni of LCC that have proved to be successful individuals within their communities, careers, and families. The recipients for 2009 will be honored at a luncheon on commencement day, May 15, at the Parsons Municipal Auditorium. Jim Bishop, of Pittsburg, KS, Wanda Ladage, of Parsons, KS, and Aaron “Skip” Smith, of Parsons, KS are the three persons receiving the 1st annual Distinguished Alumni Award. These three individuals are all graduates of LCC and have accomplished many great things in the years following their time at the college. The following biographies give insight to how they have made an impact on whom and whatever they are involved in and why they are deserving of this award.

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.

Bishop is involved in numerous community service activities such as the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce (Past President), the Pittsburg State University Alumni Board of Directors, and the Pittsburg United Way, as well as many others. Bishop has also held offices such as President, Foundation Director, and has been the chair for different committees within the Pittsburg State University Foundation. He is very involved in the Pittsburg Board of Realtors, Kansas Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. Bishop was President of the Kansas Association of Realtors in 1997 and was named Realtor of the Year in 1999. He has held office several different times and been on several committees such as the Risk Management Committee of the National Association of Realtors and Membership Services Committee of the Kansas Association of Realtors. Bishop is also an active member of Rotary.

Bishop has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 42 years. They have two children, Gina and Lisa, and five grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the LCC Alumni Association and continues to support the college through his activities.

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. Following is a list of colleges attended, employers, professional education and civic activities and awards:

Colleges & Universities Attended: Labette Community College—ADN 1972; Pittsburg State University—BSN 1976, MS Tech. Teaching 1979, EdS Vo-Tech Ed. 1980; Kansas State University PhD Adult and Oc. Ed. 1985

Employers: Katy Hospital 1 year, Coffeyville Memorial Hospital 5 years, Parsons State Hospital 6 months, Labette Community College 21 years.

Professional Organizations: American Nurses’ Assoc. 26 years, Kansas State Nurses’ Assoc. 26 years, KSNA #3 26 years, EDNA Emergency Dept. Nrsg. Assoc. 4 years, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society 1977, Nat’l Org. Ad. Of ADN charter member, KS Org. Ad. Of ADN 8 years, National League of Nrsg. 17 years, KS Council of ADN Educators 17 years, nurse consultant 17 years, Advisory Q/A Brd and Pharmacy Brd, Woodworth Enterprises Club 25 years, LCMC-CEU committee 4 years, SEK Reg Mental Health Com. Advisory 3 years.

Civic: LCC Board of Trustees, current member, 11 years served; LCC Foundation 8 years; LCC Alumni Association Charter and Lifetime member; Labette Co. Extension Council 2 years; LCC Athletic Booster Club; and many more.

Articles Published: “Caution! Don’t Toss Out the Baby with the Bath

Water,” AD Nurse 1986; “What Images Do You Display?” AD Nurse 1988.

National Honors: 1984 Who’s Who in Midwest, 1987; Who’s Who in American Nursing, 1989; Notable American Women 1990; Who’s Who in American Education; Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive Professional Women in Nursing & Health Care 2007.

Dr. Ladage is employed by Woodworth Community Services to make home visits in Labette County. She has continued to be interested in nursing, health care and Labette Community College and continues to be an outstanding citizen in the Labette County area.

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.

He has done portraits of Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Senator Tom Harkin, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, actor Chris Tucker, and singer Chili, from the group TLC.

Smith has since returned to his hometown of Parsons, KS and is working at the Southeast Kansas Independent Living Resource Center. He continues to be a nationally known artist for his depictions of scenes of the Black Experience, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Disability Rights Movement.

Smith has continued his connection with Labette Community College in many ways. From 1998-2002, he taught Drawing I and Art Explorations part-time for the college. He has also been a member of the LCC Alumni Association and makes regular donations of original artwork to the annual LCC Auction for Scholarships. He can also be seen at almost every home LCC basketball game taking photos and creating illustrations of current student/athletes.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award or to nominate someone for next year, please contact, Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of Alumni and Foundation at LCC, at (620) 820-1212 or by e-mail at lindif@labette.edu.

Nominate Someone

To nominate someone please send a letter and brief biography to:

Labette Community College 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) 421-6700, ext. 1212.