Two alumni whose service to the university spans decades were honored with the Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Awards in March. Harlan Hess (BS ’63, MS ’68) and Rob Kobel (BST ’80) received the award at the annual Apple Day convocation.
A retired school teacher and administrator, Harlan Hess has remained involved with PSU since graduation. He served on the Alumni Association Board and has been a volunteer for the Kansas City Phonathon. Hess, who was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990, is a charter member, past president and present member of the KC Gorilla Club. He and his wife, Carol, are members of the Excellence in Athletics endowment fund and he has helped run the Gorilla Open Golf tournament for the past 28 years.
From the time Rob Kobel graduated and joined the Service Center management team at Ford, he has given back to his alma mater. During his years with Ford, Kobel supervised and mentored more than 100 PSU graduates. He served on the Automotive Technology Advisory Board and was instrumental in securing in-kind gifts from Ford Motor Co., that included software, automotive components and even vehicles. Kobel and his family have established the Kobel Family Endowed Scholarship, which helps out-of-state students meet expenses after choosing to study Automotive Technology at PSU.