2010 Outstanding Recent Graduates


Aaron BauckAaron Bauck

Birmingham, Ala.

BSB 2001, MBA 2002

Aaron Bauck is director of acquisition due diligence for Surgical Care Affiliates, the nation’s largest independent surgical company. The firm operates more than 130 ambulatory surgery centers across the United States with more than 2,000 physician partners. A certified public accountant licensed to practice in Alabama and Kansas, Bauck previously worked for Grant Thornton LLP in its Charlotte, N.C. and Wichita offices, and was a staff accountant for BKD LLP in Wichita. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and CPA associations in Kansas and North Carolina, as well as the Institute of Management Accountants. Bauck is active in Junior Achievement, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and United Way.


Royce KittsRoyce Kitts

Tonganoxie, Kan.

BIS 2006, MLS 2008

The director of Tonganoxie’s Public Library since 2008, Royce Kitts currently serves as second vice president and president-elect of the Kansas Library Association. Prior to taking the position in Tonganoxie, Kitts was rotating book van coordinator, interlibrary loan librarian and reference librarian for the Manhattan Public Library. In addition to his KLA membership, Kitts is also a member of the American Library Association, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries and Mountain Plains Library Association. He attended the MLPA Leadership Institute in 2010 and received the association’s Board Members Choice Award in 2009.


Ben PilatBen Pilat

New York, N.Y.

BFA 2005

Theatrical lighting design is Ben Pilat’s specialty, a craft he has practiced since arriving at Emporia State University in 2002. Every theatrical production in the succeeding three years received Pilat’s touch, whether as a lighting designer, shop worker or performer. The United States Institute of Theatre Technology recognized Pilat’s excellence and artistic achievement with its 2010 Rising Star Award. Pilat currently serves as lighting designer for the Los Angeles Ballet. Other recent lighting credits include productions at The Juilliard School, The Kennedy Center, the New York Theatre Workshop, and The Muny in St. Louis.


Derrick RichlingDerrick Richling

Newton, Kan.

BSE 2004, MS 2006

Derrick Richling teaches fourth grade at the Walton 21st Century Rural Life Center for Newton’s USD 373. Instrumental in developing Walton School as an agricultural technology charter school, Richling is a school leader in technology integration and project-based learning. His class designed, built and decorated butterfly houses to raise money for classroom supplies. Richling won a 2008 Kansas Horizon Award presented by the Kansas State Department of Education to outstanding first-year teachers. An Eagle Scout, Richling is also a reserve police officer for the City of Newton and a member of the Harvey County Parks and Recreation Board.