University Service Citation Award
Started in 1980 by the ESU Alumni Association, the intent of the University Service Citation Award is to recognize unique and significant service to Emporia State University. Individuals chosen for this award are moved to service by a deep concern for and loyalty to ESU. Their efforts extend beyond the call of duty and usually are performed without expectation for compensation. Award nominations are made annually.
Click here to fill out a nomination form online or call your ESU Alumni Association at 620-341-5440 to request a nomination form. (please note: for consideration during the upcoming calendar year, nominations are due by December 1; nominations received after this date will be considered for the following year)
Gary Parks, an active participant in the South Central Alumni Chapter, was described as a "worker bee" in a nomination submitted by Mim Hiesterman, coordinator for South Central Kansas Alumni.
Parks is generous with his time, talents and resources, Hiesterman wrote.
He is involved in the Core Planning Group, taking a leading role in planning chapter activities. He also serves on the golf and Hornet Night committees and works at the events.
Parks is responsible for delivering packages to high schools and volunteers for the Teacher Appreciation Program luncheon project, which is a program designed to thank teachers for their service, recognize alumni and recruit students.
"He is a dedicated Hornet," Hiesterman said.
Mark and Pat Sevier have demonstrated their commitment to Emporia State, its students and alumni for many years, according to Roy Mann, director of development at the ESU Foundation, who nominated the couple for the award.
Mann said the Seviers had been tireless volunteers and advocates for the university. The couple had been hosting an active, but informal network in their home outside Atlanta; they wanted to broaden the connection with African-Americans who were connected to the university or the city of Emporia and organize a reunion.
The resulting "Emporia Connection" became recognized by the Alumni Association as an official chapter. It has become more than a social event; it has resulted in creating a legacy scholarship fund that helps create scholarship dollars for future Emporia State students.
Ron Thomas, general manager of Emporia's Radio Stations, was nominated by Kent Weiser, director of athletics. "It is safe to say that whenever the Athletics Department calls on Ron for help, he always is there to help," Weiser said.
Thomas donates his time and talents in a variety of ways. He tallies approximately 35 Hornet basketball games a year as public address announcer, as well as conference and national events hosted by Emporia State on behalf of the MIAA and NCAA.
"I have had many visiting administrators and conference officials comment that he is clearly the best PA announcer in our league," Weiser wrote.
Thomas also serves as master of ceremonies for fundraising and other events, including the annual auction and the KC Night of Champions event last summer in Kansas City.
Click here to see Don's video.
Don Hill, a retired pharmacy owner, has represented the Emporia area in the State House of Representatives since 2003. “Representative Hill has consistently supported and promoted Emporia State University in the Kansas Legislature,” said Vern Swanson, one of Hill’s Statehouse colleagues, in nominating Hill for the award. “I am hard pressed to find such an active supporter of Emporia State University and higher education,” wrote former Emporia State student government president Jonathan Krueger in supporting Hill’s nomination. “Not only does Don serve the state but he has a lengthy record of community involvement,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president.Gail and George Milton
Click here to see Gail and George's video.
Gail and George Milton have been a presence in the Emporia community since the late 1960s, when George was hired as the men’s and women’s tennis coach and a faculty member in physical education. Gail Milton served as a part-time instructor in the English department and later worked as an arts promotion professional with the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Over the years, the couple’s promotion of tennis for youngsters and the young-at-heart “symbolized the talents and a passion that brought the Miltons to ESU, but which were then shared with the larger community,” wrote Dr. DeWayne Backhus in nominating the couple. Among the Miltons’ recent efforts is the Flint Hills Piano Project, repurposing brightly decorated pianos for access to the public on the sidewalks of storefronts along Emporia’s Commercial Street business district. “They bring a presence of the arts to the public, inspire spontaneous performances by individuals, and surely catch the attention of visitors,” wrote Backhus.
Osage City, Kan.
Her nominator calls Joan Lauber the heart and soul of Emporia State University’s alumni relations efforts during the 26 years she worked as administrative officer for the Alumni Association.
In her work, Joan took the time to get to know Emporia State’s alumni on a personal level and learn their histories. Her knowledge of family trees, professional careers and numerous other connections is legendary.
Under her leadership, numerous student assistants learned the intricacies of keeping alumni projects and priorities on track. Joan continues to show her Hornet pride in many ways, including volunteering at Emporia State’s booth at the Kansas State Fair each September.
A passion for Emporia State University and developing connections among its alumni fueled Roy Mann’s work with the Alumni Association for nearly 20 years. His work ethic and humor—along with an Elvis Presley impersonation or two along the way—made his workplace friendly and productive.
Roy oversaw the first campus telefund program and worked to build alumni programs throughout the state and nation. As an ESU Ambassadors advisor, he brought the program national recognition. He is also credited with strengthening Emporia State’s relationship with Martha Kruse Furbur, whose later donation was the largest single gift in the history of the institution.
As a mainstay of Emporia State’s South Central alumni chapter, Rod Turner does the heavy lifting for many of the chapter’s alumni connection events. His service extends beyond coordinating and unloading refreshments for guests, though, stretching to securing sponsors and teams for the chapter’s annual golf tournament, a scholarship fundraising event.
He visits with alumni, prospective students and their parents at Hornet Night activities, and encourages prospective students to consider Emporia State in their higher education plans.
A member of the Emporia State Alumni Association board of directors, Rod served a term as the organization’s president. He currently serves as president of the South Central Kansas alumni chapter.