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Five named Distinguished Alumni

February 13, 2015

Five outstanding graduates of Emporia State University have been named recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is coordinated by the ESU Alumni Assoiciation and is the highest honor granted by the university.

The recipients are being announced during this week’s annual Founders’ Day festivities. The awards will be presented at the Black and Gold Extravaganza on Oct. 23 during Homecoming activities.

The 2015 Distinguished Alumni are:

  • Retired U.S. Army Col. Guy C. Beougher of McLean, Virginia, executive director of operations for the Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Army;
  • Richard “Dick” Hawk of Leawood, chairman and chief executive officer of Hawk Management & Financial Services and owner of Gaslight Grill, both in Leawood;
  • Dr. Ilene K. Kleinsorge of Corvallis, Oregon, executive dean, Division of Business and Engineering, dean of College of Business, Oregon State University;
  • John D. McPherson Jr. of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, retired president and chief operating officer of Florida East Coast Railway; and
  • Lana Scrimsher Oleen of Manhattan, Kansas, owner of Lana Oleen Consulting LLC.

Candidates for the award may be nominated by alumni and current or retired Emporia State faculty and staff. Information about each candidate is gathered and evaluated by a committee representing alumni, faculty and staff. The number of awards given annually is limited to five.

“I’m always amazed by the level of talent and success that exists among the Hornet Nation,” said Tyler Curtis, executive director for Alumni Relations. “We’re certainly proud of these five Hornet alums, and we look forward to celebrating their achievements during Homecoming this fall.” 

Retired U.S. Army Col. Guy C. Beougher, who received his bachelor of science in business administration degree from Emporia State in 1980, now is a senior leader in the Defense Logistics Agency and involved in the fight against Ebola in Africa.

Among his graduate degrees and certifications are a master of science in material acquisition management from Florida Institute of Technology and a master of science in national resource strategy from National Defense University; he is a doctoral candidate in public policy and administration, transactional cost economic theory, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University.

His awards include a Superior Civilian Service Medal, a Civilian Global War on Terrorism, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Kosovo NATO Medal and overseas ribbons.

Beougher, who holds top security clearance, has devoted his 34-year-career to service to his country, through military and federal civilian work in leadership roles. His expertise in logistic operations, resource management and related areas has resulted stewardship roles overseeing major portions of defense budgets, including Logistic Operations in Iraq with an annual budget of more than $100 billion.

Beougher served 15 years overseas in leadership and logistic positions, including tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Germany, Korea and Canada. His career has ranged from leading a platoon of 65 truck drivers to achieving full colonel and Senior Executive Service Tier II and commanding a logistic staff responsible for supporting more than 448,000 soldiers and 13,000 civilians.

Throughout his career, Beougher has felt a strong connection to and appreciation for his alma mater. That became especially evident in a thank-you message he sent after receiving an ESU Pride Package when he was stationed in Iraq in 2007.

“You made my day in a place where a fond memory is needed,” Beougher wrote. “Emporia State University's values, culture and investment in our nation’s future is well worth defending.

"You should know that at least one ESU flag is on a wall in a palace in Baghdad. Thanks again. GO HORNETS!"

Beougher and his wife, Linda L. Collier Beougher, a 1982 Emporia State graduate, are parents of two daughters, Mary and Sarah Beougher.

Richard C. 'Dick' Hawk has succeeded in diverse careers — banking, financial management and upscale restaurant ownership.

Hawk said he came to Emporia to attend Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University, because of a $100 scholarship, “which was a great deal of money at the time.” He earned two degrees here, a bachelor of science in business administration in 1956, and a master of science in business administration the following year. During his time here, Hawk was editor of The Bulletin newspaper and president of the student council. He also served as director of field services at the university.

Later, he served as assistant dean in the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Education and became the first director of the Minnesota State Higher Education Board. He received an honorary doctorate degree from LLD University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn. The Richard C. Hawk Sports Center was named in his honor at Alliant International University in San Diego.

He is involved with the Center for Advancement and Preservation of American Music and started the Higher Education Loan Programs in Kansas, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. He acquired university campuses in San Diego, Mexico City, London and Nairobi, and was majority stockholder and chairman of Dean Financial Services, which founded Princeton Bank in St. Paul, Minn., and also owned seven other banks in that state.

He now is chairman and chief executive officer of Hawk Management and Financial Services in Leawood and owner of the well-known Gaslight Grill, also in Leawood. Additionally, he is a principal in several other businesses, including Hawk Productions and HRS Education Services.

Hawk built the Country Club Hotel and Spa at Lake Ozark and hosts “Dick Hawk's Gaslight Jaz Show” on KXTR, 1660 AM Radio. Ingram's Magazine in Kansas City named Hawk as one of its “Top 50 Kansans You Should Know” in January 2013.

“My entrepreneurial drive is to create things,” Ingram's quoted him as saying.

He maintains ties with ESU through a lifetime membership on the Foundation Board and the Now & Forever National Campaign Committee.

His late wife, Sylvia J. Renner Hawk, graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in 1959 with a degree in elementary education. The couple has three children, Chad R., Amy J., and Katira Hawk.

Dr. Ilene K. Kleinsorge credits Emporia State University for helping her along the journey from single parent and college student working four part-time jobs to executive dean of the Division of Business and engineering and dean of the College of Business at Oregon State University.

“First and foremost, the learning I got from ESU was that I could do anything I wanted to do,” said Kleinsorge, noting that her ESU experience taught her the value of collaboration.  “I’ve been able to compose my life as I go by finding connections that others may not see and making things happen that are greater than first imagined.”

She graduated with honors from Emporia State with a bachelor of science degree in 1981 and received her doctorate from the University of Kansas in 1988. She became a faculty member in the OSU College of Business in 1987.

She became chair of the accounting, finance and information management department in 1995, and remained in that position through 2002, with teaching and research focused on cost and managerial accounting systems, with emphasis on multinational companies and health care.

She was appointed as the Dean and Sara-Hart Kimball Chair of the College of Business at Oregon State University on March 1, 2003.

Kleinsorge says the lessons she learned about cooperation and flexibility are the same ones she relies on today as dean of the College of Business which educates nearly 5,800 students including 3,900 business majors and pre-majors, more than 800 design majors and nearly 850 business and entrepreneurship minors.

She serves as a technical adviser for the Governor’s Oregon Innovation Council; is the treasurer for Benton Hospice Board of Directors; and she is a member of the Advantage Accelerator Advisory Board; the University Budget Committee; and the Campus Planning Committee. She is also the university representative for the local Economic Vitality Partnership in Corvallis.

She has served as past chair of the Western Association of Collegiate Schools of Business; as a member of the Executive Commercialization Advisory Council; and has been active in community service including being on the Corvallis Chamber board of directors; co-chaired a capital campaign for an advocacy center for the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence; and held various positions on the Majestic Theatre board.   

John D. McPherson Jr. built a career primarily running railroads since he graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He later received a master of science degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He served in various capacities for the former Santa Fe Railroad for 25 years and was chief operating officer for the Florida East Coast Railway LLC from 1999 to 2007. He also was vice president of Florida East Coast Industries Inc., and also served as its vice president of rail operations beginning in 1999, according to McPherson's executive profile in Bloomberg Business Week.

McPherson also was president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Central from 1998 to 1999 and as its senior vice president of operations from 1993 to 1998. He served as chairman of the Las Vegas Railway Express in 2013 and 2014, after becoming its director in 2012. He has been a director of CSX Corporation since July 2008, Bloomberg reported. He served as a director of TTX Company from 1997 to 2007.   

He has participated in the Business Alliance in the School of Business, and established the McPherson Family Scholars at Emporia State in 2009. This non-endowed fund is to provide scholarships for students who are Kansas residents with a minimum grade-point average of 2.75, regardless of major.

McPherson, who now is retired, serves on the board of directors of CSX, Inc., and Las Vegas Railway Express.

He and his wife, Ann Rimmer McPherson, are parents of two children, John D. “Trey” McPherson III, who graduated from Emporia State in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, and Melissa McPherson.

Lana Scrimsher Oleen has spent her career focused on education and citizen service. The former Kansas Senate Majority Leader graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in 1972 with a bachelor of science in education degree in English and in 1977 with a master of science degree in curriculum and instruction. She taught school from 1972 to 1986.

Oleen has devoted her time and talents generously to Emporia State both as a student and alumnus. She was the 2012 spring commencement speaker. She has served as chairman and member of the Foundation Board, as a member of the alumni board, the Now & Forever National Campaign Committee, Hornets for Higher Education, as a Kansas State Fair volunteer and as part of the Teacher Appreciation Program. As a student, Oleen served on Associated Student Government and The Bulletin.

She represented the 22nd District in the Kansas Senate from 1989 to 2005, becoming majority leader in 2003, and was a board member of the Policy Consensus Initiative, the Governor's Military Council and was chair of the Education Task Force/Superintendent Coalition.

She also served as chair of the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations, the Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee and Federal and State Committee, in addition to other Senate assignments. Oleen was active with the National Conference of State Legislatures and was involved as a leader or member of several national and state legislative councils. She remains involved with the organizations as a consultant.

As Kansas Midwestern Higher Education Compact Commissioner, Oleen was the lead author on a paper selected by Lumina Foundation for Education for inclusion in Course Corrections.

She also served on the Flint Hills Job Corps Advisory Committee and was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee and served from 1991 to 1994.

Oleen received the Emporia State University Service Citation Award in 2006 and the William Black Endowed Chair, and was Kansas Master Teacher in 1985 and Citizen of the Year in Manhattan, Kansas, in 2005.

She now owns and operates Lana Oleen Consulting LLC in Manhattan.

Oleen's husband, Kent E. Oleen, graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in 1972 with a master of science degree in business administration. They are parents of two children, Brooke-Alise Tieperman and Ben R. Oleen.

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