LCC Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Announced

April 17, 2018

Parsons, KS- Labette Community College announces that the 10th Annual Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are: Trinity Davis, Henry A. Gatewood, Jr., and Ajit Pai. The Distinguished Alumni Award was developed by the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Association Board to honor alumni of LCC that have proved to be successful individuals within their communities, careers, and families. The recipients for 2018 will be honored at a luncheon on May 11th, 2018, and at commencement that evening. 

These three individuals all attended or graduated 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.

Trinity DavisTrinity Davis was born and raised in Parsons. She graduated from Parsons High School in 1993. After attending Labette Community College, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University, where she was an active member in the Black Student Union and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.  She has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University, and she received her a PhD in curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University in 2009.

Davis began her professional career as a classroom teacher in Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas public schools, where she taught first and second grade classes and provided literacy coaching. 

From 2004 until 2012, she was an Associate Professor at Pittsburg State University. At PSU, she taught Reading and Language Arts and Effective Classroom Management as well as supervised student teachers.  In 2008, she was named the College of Education Teacher of the Year at PSU. 

She has also served as an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri, Kansas City and as a district consultant for Parsons Middle School, Labette County High School, and the Treehouse Academy in Jackson, Mississippi.

Davis has served on numerous professional committees including the Advisory Board of Avila University, the Kansas State Board of Education Reading Curriculum Committee, the NCATE Steering Committee, and (as Chair) of the Missouri Program for Educational Renewal Operational Council.  

In addition to her committee work, Davis is an active presenter on a variety of topics: Raising Reading Achievement of African American Students, Preparing Confident Teachers, Six Trait Writing, and Classroom Management Strategies, among others.

Her book Prerootix: A Guide for Teaching Morphemic Analysis was published in 2008.

In 2010, Davis authored the article “Recruiting Minority Teachers: Benefiting All Students,” which appeared in The Advocate

Currently, Davis is Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development in Kansas City Public Schools (35 K-12 schools and as well as PreK) her duties include supervision of curriculum coordinators, district coaches, and instructional coaches. She also designs curriculum maps and directs grant activity.

Henry GatewoodRetired First Sergeant, Henry A. Gatewood Jr., was born July 6, 1941 to Henry and Maxine Gatewood Sr. of Parsons, KS. He has six brothers and three sisters. He attended Douglass School, Parsons West High School, and Parsons Junior College, now known as Labette Community College, before entering the military. 

In 1960 he entered basic training at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina. Next, he began advanced individual training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. 

Gatewood’s stateside assignments as an Army advisor with the 875th combat engineer battalion were: Ft. Meade, Maryland, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. Capp, Pennsylvania, West Point, New York, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. 

While serving, Gatewood also had many overseas assignments including: two tours in Germany, and tours in Panama, Nicaragua, Korea, and Vietnam with the 11th armored Calvary regiment, 919th engineer company, and fourth platoon. 

Gatewood had a very successful and highly decorated military career. He received the following awards: the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster (meaning that he received the award multiple times), a Meritorious Service medal with oak leaf clusters, an Army Commendation medal with oak leaf clusters, the Arkansas Commendation medal, an Army achievement medal, a Good Conduct medal multiple times, a National Defense Service medal, a Korean Service medal, a Vietnam Service medal with three Bronze Stars-Campaign TET 69 counteroffensive Vietnam summer/fall 69/ Vietnam winter-spring 70, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional development ribbon 3rd Level, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, President Unit Citation, IMJIM Scout Badge, Jungle Expert Badge, Driver-Mechanic Badge, Expert/Sharp Shooter Badge Small Arms. 

While in the military, Gatewood’s duty positions included combat engineer, squad leader, and platoon Sgt., drill Sgt., Army advisor, intelligence Sgt., instructor and First Sergeant.

Gatewood retired from the Army December 1, 1985 after 25 years of active duty. 

After retirement, he worked at Southland Care Center in Fayetteville, MO until 1990. He then worked at Kemper Military School and College in Booneville, MO from 1990-1999. Next he worked at the Labette County Correctional Camp in Oswego in a variety of positions. While there he was as a Drill Corporal, a Disciplinary Non-Commissioned Officer, and a Work Sergeant. In addition, he taught classes to staff and inmates until the camp closed. 

Presently, he is a trustee of Brown Bishop VFW Post 704 in Parsons and 3rd district commander in the state of Kansas VFW. In October 2017, he was inducted into the Kemper Military School and College Alumni Association Hall of Fame. He is a member of Hamilton Chapel in Parsons. 

Gatewood has been married to his wife, Martha S. (Cason) Sheley, for over 43 years. They have five children: Howard D. Sheley, Henry A. Gatewood III, Marvin L. Sheley, Julie Ann Robertson, and Adonus Stewart. In Gatewood’s spare time, he enjoys sports, cruising, and traveling to reunions with family and his fellow military veterans. He loves spending time with his kids, his grandkids, and his great grandkids.

Ajit PaiAjit Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas, the son of immigrants from India: Varadaraj Pai and Radha Pai.  Pai graduated from Parsons High School in 1990. In 1994, he graduated with honors from Harvard University; three years later, he graduated from the University of Chicago Law School where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. While in Chicago, he won the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy and Oral Argument. 

Following law school, Pai served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and, from 1998-2001, as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

From 2001 -2003 he was an associate general counsel for Verizon Communications, Inc. For the next four years, he served in several positions on U.S. Senate judiciary committees and for the U.S. Department of Justice. 

In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. 

Pai was Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, and Special Advisor to the Federal Communications Commission from 2007 to 2011.

In 2011 President Barack Obama nominated Pai for a position on the Federal Communications Commission, and he was confirmed by the United States Senate in May 2012.

President Donald J. Trump designated Ajit Pai as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in January 2017. 

Pai now resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Janine, their daughter, Annabelle, and their son, Alexander. 

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

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