The Hornet Heritage Award
The Hornet Heritage Family award, sponsored by the ESU Alumni Association, annually recognizes a multigenerational family of Hornet alumni and former students with Hornet fever in their bloodlines. A new family is recognized annually at Family Day.
Click here nominate a family online or call the Alumni Relations office at (620) 341-5440.
The 2016 Hornet Heritage Family:
The Harkness Family
Harkness family members are longtime supporters of Emporia State University whose legacy in Hornet Nation not only began over half a century ago but will also span well into future generations. Based on their deep connections to the institution, the Harkness family is being recognized as the 2016 Emporia State University Hornet Heritage Family. Sponsored by the Emporia State University Alumni Association, the Hornet Heritage Family Award annually recognizes a multigenerational family of alumni and former students who have maintained close relationships with Hornet Nation. “Recognizing a Hornet family with such deep ties to Emporia State University is a special honor,” said Tyler Curtis, executive director of Alumni Relations. “The Harkness family is another great example of a family who has made Emporia State a tradition, and we are proud to officially name them as a Hornet Heritage Family.”
Out of the three generations of the Harkness family who have attended college, all have become Hornet alumni. The Harkness family’s Hornet Nation connection began with the late Mildred (Sturgis) Harkness. She attended Emporia State University, then known as Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC), and earned a bachelor of science in education degree—elementary education in 1961. Ten years later, Mildred earned a master of science degree—educational administration at KSTC. The late Milan “Scotchy” Harkness, Mildred’s husband, loved Emporia State as well. Not only was Milan a loyal supporter of Emporia State, but he also had a passion for Emporia State Athletics. While alive, Milan gave numerous gifts to both Emporia State University and Emporia State Athletics. Milan and Mildred Harkness’ Hornet pride was passed on to their son Darrell Harkness, as he obtained his bachelor of science in education degree—mathematics from KSTC in 1964. During his time as a Hornet, Darrell was a three sport student-athlete in baseball (four years), basketball (one year) and football (four years), while also a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.
To this day, Darrell is a loyal Emporia State supporter. Continuing the legacy of his parents, Darrell supports Emporia State with a variety of generous gifts and is a devoted Emporia State Athletics fan. Two of Darrell’s most recent gifts include the founding of the Scotchy and Mildred Harkness Educational Scholarship and the Harkness Family Athletic Scholarship. “Emporia State was well known for their education programs, and I wanted to be a teacher,” Darrell said. “My three daughters and I went into education, so it was a natural fit and close to home. Emporia State is a great university, and I believe in giving back. My daughters and I all received financial assistance while in school, so hopefully I am able to help other students by giving back.”
Hornet Nation’s spirit continued to spread within the Harkness family when the late Barbara Harkness, Darrell’s wife, graduated with a master of science degree—special education from Emporia State University in 1981. All three of Darrell and Barbara’s children—Tracy (Harkness) Watkins, Kelly (Harkness) Brakenhoff and Christy (Harkness) Over—earned teaching degrees at Emporia State. Tracy earned a bachelor of science in education degree—mathematics in 1993. In 2004, she received a master of science degree—instructional design/technology. Dave Watkins, Tracy’s husband, graduated with a master of science degree—educational administration from Emporia State in 2001. As Kelly earned a bachelor of science degree—elementary education in 1997, Christy received a bachelor of science in education—elementary education just four years later. Christy earned her master of science—special education in 2014.
The fact that so many Harkness family members have earned their college degrees from Emporia State University isn’t the only thing they have in common. Family members have also pursued very similar degree paths. Mildred, Kelly and Christy pursued elementary education undergraduate degrees; Darrell and Tracy earned mathematics education undergraduate degrees; Mildred and Dave earned masters degrees in educational administration; and Barbara and Christy earned masters degrees in special education. Overall, Harkness family members have committed themselves to the profession of education.
The 2015 Hornet Heritage Family -
The Holub/Vajnar/Tajchman Family
The extended families of Anton and Adolph Holub definitely have Hornet pride running through their veins. With 24 family members having earned degrees at Emporia State and many more former students in their family’s tree, the Holub-Vajnar-Tajchman family was an easy selection for the 2015 Hornet Heritage Award honors.
The Hornet Heritage Family award, sponsored by the Emporia State University Alumni Association, annually recognizes a multigenerational family of alumni and former students who have maintained close relationships with Hornet Nation.
“Recognizing a family with such deep ties to Emporia State is a special honor,” said Tyler Curtis, executive director of alumni relations. “This family’s reunions constitute an alumni event in and of themselves.”
The family’s Hornet gene pool includes Emporian Marvin Tajchman. Tajchman was the youngest of three cousins who graduated from the university between 1962 and 1974 — all grandchildren of Adolph and Lucy Holub of Marion County. A proud supporter of Hornet Nation, Tajchman’s family has built a legacy at the university through the cousins, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters — and eventually grandchildren — who have and continue to earn degrees at ESU.
During Family & Friends Day on September 26, Tajchman and his immediate and extended family will be recognized with the Hornet Heritage Award for their Emporia State ties on their Holub-Vajnar-Tajchman family tree. They will be honored during halftime of the day’s football game.
Past Hornet Heritage Award Recipients
The 2016 award was given to the Harkness Family
The 2015 award was given to the Holub/Vajnar/Tajchman Family
The 2014 award was given to the Grimsley Family
The 2013 award was given to the White/Crumb Family
The 2012 award was given to the Seacat Family
The 2011 award was given to the Prophet-Brady Family
The 2010 award was given to the Simkins-Hartzler family
The 2009 award was given to the Spencer-Smith-Brown-Hopper-LeClear family
The 2008 award was given to the Hoelting family
The 2007 award was given to the Edwards family
The 2006 Hornet Heritage winner, the McGee - Hoffmans family
The 2005 winner, the Hastert, Peat and Schlobohm families
The 2004 winner was the Goldsmith family
The 2003 winner was the Breukelman family
The 2002 winner was the Wendling family
The 2001 winner was the Van Voris, Litchfield and Grimwood family.