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Class of ’66
Gary Daniels (MS) of Grove, Okla., has been awarded the 2010 Cardinal Citation Award by the Labette Community College Alumni Association and Labette Community College. This is the highest honor that is bestowed to an individual for lifetime achievement by LCC. Each year the association recognizes an individual for a lifetime of outstanding service to their community or college. Daniels has had teaching experience at several different universities including PSU, Ohio State University and Kansas State University.

Class of ’69
Carl Birney (BS) retired from a 17-year teaching career at Minneola (Kan.) High School this spring. After college he spent two years in the Navy as a mechanic, serving in Guam, before briefly teaching in the Oakley and Meade, Kan., school districts. Birney, who taught industrial arts, now plans to spend time working on his farm in Minneola.

Class of ’71
Brilla Highfill Scott (MS), of Lawrence, has been named the state executive director for the Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel (KARSP). She began her responsibilities on March 1. Scott, a former Lawrence junior high principal, retired in 2003 as the executive director and chief lobbyist for United School Administrators of Kansas.

Class of ’74
Dan Burke (BS) Counseling, retired in May after 35 years in teaching, 28 in the Delta County (Colo.) School District. In addition to his degree from PSU, Burke earned a master’s degree in education from Wichita State University and an educational endorsement from the University of Denver. Burke began his teaching career at the middle school level in Douglass, Kan., in 1975. In 1982, Burke began teaching in Hotchkiss, Colo. In 1985, he was named assistant principal and counselor at Hotchkiss High School. In ’83, he was named principal. Over the years, Burke served in a number of administrative roles for the district. His wife, Beverly, continues to teach in the district.

Dr. Jo Ann C. McDowell

Class of ’76
Dr. Jo Ann C. McDowell, president emeriti of Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Omaha, was honored on June 5th at the fifth annual Great Plains Theatre Conference (GPTC) on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of her Theatre Conference oversight and the fifth anniversary of the GPTC. That evening, the Jo Ann C. McDowell Great Plains Theatre Award for Outstanding Service to the Omaha Theatre Community was established. McDowell will present it each year at the conference.

Dr. McDowell semi-retired last year from MCC and plans to fully retire in December to her hometown of Cherryvale, Kan.

Prior to her tenure at Metropolitan Community College, McDowell served as president of Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, Alaska, from 1992 to 2005 and holds president emeriti titles from both PWSCC and MCC.

McDowell served her alma mater, Independence Community College, in several senior administrative positions from 1979-1992, including serving as president from 1988-1992. McDowell also held the position of executive assistant for education to the governor of Kansas. She served as a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, the governing body of the six state universities, from 1989-1992.

McDowell holds a Ph.D. from Kansas State University (KSU) and was named Alumni Fellow (Outstanding Alumna) from KSU’s College of Education in 1992. She holds an Ed.S., M.S. and B.S. from PSU where she was named Outstanding Alumna in 1984 and received PSU’s 2005 Meritorious Service Award. McDowell also holds an associate of arts degree from Independence Community College.

Larry Mitcham (MS) retired at the age of 47 after a successful career with a number of companies including Texas Instruments. He spent a number of years as a consultant with companies that included Sharp and Samsung before taking a position with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. Mitcham holds 14 U.S. patents and 3 overseas. After retiring, Mitcham earned a Ph.D. in theological studies in Hebrew and special Biblical studies. He has since written two books and has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Salado, Texas.

Class of ’85
Cheryl Horton (BBA), of Naperville, Ill., received the $2,500 Ruth C. Dissinger Memorial Award for Outstanding Administrative Support Staff from North Central College in Naperville. She has served there as an academic affairs secretary since 2006. She graduated from PSU with a degree in marketing. According to one proud nominator, Horton is “very much the ‘face’ of North Central College to prospective faculty.”

GORILLA GENERATIONS. We don’t know what the record is for PSU degrees in a single family, but the Otto family set the bar pretty high when they gathered to show their family and Gorilla pride. They are, left to right, back row: Brandon Clark (BS ’09 Physical Education), William Clyde “Bill” Otto (BS, MS, EdS), JoNita Hunt Otto (BS, MS), Amy Otto Mispagel (BS, MS); 6th row: Julie Otto Cain (BS Construction Engineering), JoVeia Clark (6 months), Casey Mispagel, 6th grade, Olathe, Kan.; 5th row: Captain Travis Cain, US Army, ROTC (BS), Carl A. Otto (BS ’50, MS ’57), Deloris Wilson, Tim Mispagel (MS); 4th row: Charlie Cain (7 months), Conner Mispagel (4 years); 3rd row: JoVoli Otto Clark (BS), Elizabeth “Lizzy” Otto, Soph at Allen County College,coming to PSU next year; 2nd row: Adriana Cain (3 years), Logan Mispagel (2 yrs); front row: Brody Clark (2.5 years).

NEWEST GORILLAS. Malissa L. (Hawn) Walden (’97) of Walden & Pfannenstiel, LLC in Lenexa is proud to announce the birth of her daughter, Lenora Christine. Lenora was born three weeks early on February 4th at 8: 52 a.m. She weighed 6.2 pounds and was 17 inches long. Malissa, her husband Don, big sister Opal Adelle, and Lenora are all at home doing well.

Class of ’87
Richard (Rick) Simoncic (BSEd), was one of five Kansas school administrators honored for excellence this year by the Kansas Association of School Administrators. Simoncic received the Superintendent of Promise Award. Simoncic, who received an MS from FHSU, is in his first year as the superintendent of the Barnes-Hanover-Linn school district. Previously, he served as a teacher and coach in Lamar, Mo., and then at Southeast High School. For the past 15 years, Simoncic has been with the Larned schools, where he taught math, coached the girls basketball team, served as athletic director, assistant principal and eventually principal. Simoncic and his wife, Jacquelyn (Bozone), BBA 1990, have four children

Class of ’90
Mark Knoles (BS), an 18-year member of the Winfield Police Department in Winfield, Kan., was promoted last spring from sergeant to lieutenant. A native of Independence, Kan., Knoles earned one of the highest scores of all promotion-eligible officers during an intensive testing process. Knoles attended Independence Community College before earning a degree in sociology from PSU. He and his wife, Michelle, have two children, Eric and Emma.

Class of ’91
Julia (Anliker) Pyle (BSN) has been named the chief nursing officer at Newman Regional Health Center in Emporia. After earning her BSN at PSU, Pyle went on to earn an MSN from the University of Missouri Kansas City. She worked 18 years in intensive care and cardiac nursing at St. Luke’s in Kansas City, Mo. She served as the chief nursing officer at Coffey County Hospital in Burlington from 2007 to 2009 before coming to Newman.

Class of ’99
Kim (Emerson) Vogel (BS) Recreation, has been named director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Pittsburg. Vogel has served as recreation supervisor for the city for the past 10 years and as such has been instrumental in the expansion and development of much of the department’s current programming.

Class of ’00
Lisa Walser (BS) of Miami, Okla., is the new community relations coordinator at the Independence (Kan.) Living Center. For the past eight years she worked in Texas as a corporate trainer and as the Director of the Training and Auditing departments, contracting hospitals in 14 states.