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)
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.
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.
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.
Jay and Sharon Bezdek earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting from ESU in 1969, and have distinguished themselves as volunteers for Alumni Association activities in south-central Kansas. Jay, a retired financial consultant, has served on the ESU Alumni Association board of directors and was active in Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. Sharon, a retired real estate agent, is past president of the South Central Alumni chapter planning committee and a member of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. The Bezdeks moved to Wichita from Dodge City in 2003.
“Sharon and Jay are a vital part of the energy of the South Central alumni chapter,” said Mim Hiesterman, South Central alumni coordinator. Both help plan the chapter’s golf tournaments, assist with luncheons for area schoolteachers, and encourage prospective students to attend ESU.
Ken Hush is a Business graduate who recently completed a term as president of the ESU Foundation board of trustees. He is president of Koch Carbon, LLC, a global bulk commodities marketing and logistics network. A 1995 inductee in ESU’s Athletics Hall of Honor as a tennis player, Hush was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and Blue Key.
“Ken is a tireless supporter of everything ESU,” said Charles “Skip” Evans of Emporia in nominating Hush. “He’s always looking for ways to give back to the university that has impacted his life.”
Hiesterman has held leadership positions on ESU Foundation committees and has been a member of the School of Business Council of Advisors. Active in the ESU Alumni Association’s South Central chapter and Sigma Phi Epsilon alumni group, Hiesterman continues to volunteer for activities sponsored by those organizations
Shanelec is a retired high school teacher and football coach who continues to make Emporia State University known to students in the Ellsworth area. A member of the ESU Foundation Board of Trustees, Shanelec continues to support student recruitment efforts.
Summervill has continued his passion for students, their education and success during his years as a teacher, coach and athletic director. He coordinates Fan Fair, the annual ESU Alumni gathering on the opening night of the Kansas State Fair, and serves as a member of the ESU Foundation Board of Trustees.