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Four named 2013 Distinguished Alumni

September 30, 2013

Notable careers in special education, physical education, communication and the law will be highlighted when Emporia State University recognizes four of its graduates with 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The 2013 Emporia State Distinguished Alumni are:

  • Linda F. Bluth (MS 1966), Ellicott City, Md.
  • Anita G. Evans (BSE 1980), Mayetta, Kan.
  • John David Schramm II (BFA 1985), San Francisco, Calif.
  • Paul Thomas (Tom) Thornbrugh (BA 1968), Tulsa, Ok.

“The Alumni Association of Emporia State University is very proud of the 2013 class of Distinguished Alumni,” said Tyler Curtis, ESU alumni relations executive director. “These individuals demonstrate the amazing level of talent found among our over 60,000 living alumni.”

The honorees will be recognized during Emporia State’s homecoming celebration Oct. 11–12. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 620-341-5440, email or go online to


About the Distinguished Alumni

Linda F. Bluth, Ed.D., has 47 years of experience as a special educator, including 32 years in special needs transportation. Retiring in 2009 as director of the Office of Quality Assurance and Monitoring at the Maryland State Department of Education, she currently works part-time for that same agency as a quality assurance monitoring specialist in special education and early intervention services.

Bluth earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 1966, a year after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Emporia.

An expert in the field of special needs transportation policies, she joined the School Bus Safety company as a consultant and product trainer in 2011. Bluth is past president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), and received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000.


Anita G. Evans is a physical education teacher and Title VII Indian education director at Royal Valley USD 337, Mayetta. She develops and implements programs emphasizing Native American culture, language, art and academic assistance for students in the district, along with coaching the high school’s softball and volleyball teams.

A physical education major at Emporia State, Evans earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1980.

Evans was named 1997 Kansas Native American Educator of the Year, and earned National Indian Teacher of the Year honors in 2002 from the National Indian Education Association. She is also a 2010 Port Jervis (N.Y.) High School Hall of Fame inductee. In 1998, she implemented a summer youth work program for Prairie Band Potawatomie Nation and served as its director until 2005. She also sponsors the Royal Valley Native American Singers and Dancers, the only school-sponsored Native American dance group in Kansas.


John David (J.D.) Schramm II serves on the faculty of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he teaches effective communication skills to students in Stanford’s Master of Business Administration program.

A sought out speaker, educator and trainer, Schramm uses his expertise in communication to help individuals and organizations become more effective. He speaks regularly on topics of suicide prevention in higher education, inclusiveness in school and church communities, and mentoring young people.

Schramm earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emporia State in 1985. An original member of the ESU Ambassador organization, he took that model to his high school alma mater, Thomas More Prep-Marian, Hays, Kan., when he served there as director of admissions.


Paul Thomas (Tom) Thornbrugh is presiding judge for Oklahoma’s 14th Judicial District.

Thornbrugh earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech from Emporia State in 1968.

In a distinguished career in both private practice and on the bench, Thornbrugh has been committed to ensuring citizens receive fair treatment under the law. Before his district court appointment, Thornbrugh spent more than 20 years in private law practice in Tulsa, also serving as a legislative advisor for U.S. Senator Dewey Bartlett (R-OK).

During his career with the U.S. Army, Thornbrugh was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Award, and Vietnamese Signal Corp Citation. He serves as adjunct professor at St. Gregory’s University and University of Tulsa.


About the Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor that can be granted to an Emporia State University graduate. The ESU Alumni Association awards the recognition each fall during Homecoming, recognizing the outstanding professional accomplishments of Emporia State’s finest graduates. Since the inception of the award program in 1960, approximately 220 alumni have received the award.



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