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Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Graduates Honored at Homecoming Gala

October 24, 2017

Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Graduates Honored at Homecoming Gala


Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Athletics. Nationally known accounting expert. Activist for Americans with Disabilities Act. Kansas Superintendent of the Year. Founder of the Travel Channel.  

The five members of the 2017 Emporia State University Distinguished Alumni is an impressive class that Hornet Nation is proud to call our own. 

  • Ross Bjork (BS 1995—Recreation) of Oxford, Mississippi, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Mississippi/Ole Miss;
  • Dan Deines (MS 1974—Business Administration) of Manhattan, Kansas, professor in the Department of Accounting and head of Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project at Kansas State University;
  • Duane French (BS 1979—Rehabilitation Counseling) of Olympia, Washington, director of Disability Determination Services, a division of the Washington Department of Social & Health Services;
  • Sue Givens (BSE 1977—Elementary Education) of El Dorado, superintendent of El Dorado Public Schools; and
  • Jim Trecek (BSE 1967 – English) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, partner in Kansas City-based GreenG LLC.

“ESU is committed to excellence, and after graduation, our alumni exemplify excellence in their many fields of endeavor,” said Tyler Curtis, assistant vice president for university advancement and Foundation assistant vice president for outreach and engagement. “Our Distinguished Alumni represent the best of the best among our 60,000-plus alumni of Hornet Nation.” 

All five will be honored during the Black & Gold Gala on Nov. 3, a highlight of the annual Homecoming festivities. Joining in the honors are the three Outstanding Recent Graduates representing their ESU school or college. They are:

  • Andrew Heinicke (MS and Ed.S. 2008 — School Psychology, The Teachers College) of Olathe, coordinator/school psychology, Olathe Public Schools;
  • Ashley M. Long (MS 2010 — Environmental Biology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences) of College Station, Texas, research scientist, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources; and
  • John Moyer (BSB 2008 — Computer Information Systems, School of Business) of Shawnee, global technical project manager, Cerner Corp.

Biographies for the Distinguished Alumni are online at Outstanding Recent Graduates may be found at

The Black & Gold Gala begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. with cocktails in the Memorial Union Webb Lounge. Dinner and awards begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $40 single or $75 for a couple. Reservations are required by Friday, Oct. 27. Register online at or by calling 620-341-6469. 

For other Homecoming events, go to


About the Awards

The Distinguished Alumni award is the highest honor that can be granted to an alumnus or alumna of Emporia State University by the ESU Alumni Association. Awarded each fall during Homecoming, it recognizes the outstanding professional accomplishments of ESU's finest graduates. Since the inception of the award program in 1960, more than 200 alumni have received the award. 

The Outstanding Recent Graduate award recognizes an outstanding recent graduate from each of the undergraduate colleges and schools at Emporia State University. Selection for this award is based on criteria determined by each school/college and the stipulation that the recipient be no more than 10 years past graduation at Emporia State University. 



Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's site