2010 Distinguished Alumni Press Release

Contact Bethany Kendrick, Director Public Relations
Labette Community College | (620) 820-1212

LCC Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Announced

The Distinguished Alumni Award was developed by the Foundation and Alumni Board of Labette Community College to honor alumni of LCC that have proved to be successful individuals within their communities, careers, and families. The recipients for 2010 will be honored at a luncheon on commencement day, May 21st , in the Parsons Municipal Auditorium basement. Patricia Woodrum, of Tulsa, Ok, Charles “Chuck” Puckett, of Tustin, CA, and Joe Smith, of Erie, KS are the three persons receiving the 2nd annual Distinguished Alumni Award.

These three individuals are all graduates of LCC and have accomplished many great things in the years following their time at the college. The following biographies give insight to how they have made an impact on whom and whatever they are involved in and why they are deserving of this award.

Pat Woodrum, of Tulsa, Ok, graduated from Labette County High School in Altamont, KS. She then went on to earn an Associate’s Degree from Parsons Junior College in 1960, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature from Pittsburg State Teachers College in 1963, and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1966.

After graduating from OU, Woodrum began working at the Tulsa City-County Library System. She retired after 32 years. She spent the last 20 of those as the Executive Director. As Executive Director, she managed a 14 million dollar annual operating budget, developed a 7 million dollar endowment, supervised 280 employees and 750 volunteers, worked with architects and contractors in designing and construction of 17 library facilities, as well as numerous renovations, maintained 23 building, grounds, and a fleet of vehicles, and provided public library service to the half million people residing in Tulsa County. When she retired, the Tulsa Library was recognized as one of the outstanding public libraries of its size in the county. She was president of the national Public Library Association, the Oklahoma Library Association and involved in many other library organizations. Just recently, the editor of Library Journal named her among the best librarians in U.S. history.

Eleven years ago, Woodrum, along with three other community leaders, founded the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden/Research and Education Center which is being developed on 160 acres and someday will be a world class botanical garden. Today, the Garden has assets of $7.3 million and a membership of 700. When fully developed, the $40 million Garden will have 15 major theme gardens, 60 specialty gardens, an interfaith chapel, an education building, a visitor center, a conservatory, and a 3,000 seat amphitheater. It will employ 300, have 250 volunteers, attract 300, 000 visitors a year, and bring $10 million annually to the Tulsa area. Currently, it has a temporary visitor center, 7 acre lake with an island that will house an oriental garden, two hiking trails, and 300 new trees. The Garden has 5 education partners: OU, OSU, TU, Tulsa Community College, and Tulsa Technology Center. Woodrum is a member of the board and has served as the Executive Director for 6 years.

Woodrum has always been actively involved as a volunteer in her community. She has served and continues to serve on numerous committees and boards of professional, business, education, cultural, health, and social service organizations. Some included: Chamber of Commerce Board, Local America Bank Board, University of Tulsa Foundation, regent of Rogers University, one of the founders of the Day Center for the Homeless, Arts and Community Council, Master Gardeners, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Girls Scouts, Leadership Tulsa, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

She is the author of many articles and the editor of a book on management.

Awards include: Oklahoma Library Association Distinguished Service Award, Leadership Tulsa Paragon Award, University of Oklahoma School of Library Science Outstanding Alumni Award, Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, Tulsa Press Club Headliner Award, Women in Communications Newsmaker Award, University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, Oklahoma Library Association Library Legend, and the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women Pinnacle Award.

She has been married to Clayton Woodrum (also from Parsons) for 48 years. They have one son and two grandsons.

Chuck Puckett, of Tustin, CA, moved to Parsons at the age of 5 in 1948. Puckett graduated from Parsons High School in 1961. He then went on to graduate from Parsons Junior College with an Associate in Art Degree in 1963 and then a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University in 1965. Puckett married Donna Henry, also of Parsons, in August 1965.

Puckett spent three years with the John Deere Company in their Management Training Program from 1965 to 1968. He left Deere and went to work with Hunt-Wesson Foods Foodservice Division in 1968 and retired in 2000 after spending 32 years with the company. During those years, he served as District Manager for the Denver District from 1972-1975 and District Manager of the Los Angeles District from 1975-1992. He received numerous “District Manager of the Year” awards while in that position. He then transferred to the National Accounts Department where he solicited business from and then maintained several multi-million dollar restaurant chains. Puckett retired as Director of National Accounts on November 1, 2000. He was honored with the “Meritorious Achievement Award” from the Foodservice division in 1998 and also recognized with the “Meritorious Achievement Award” from the Alumni Association of Pittsburg State University the same year for outstanding career achievement and community service.

Since moving to Tustin, CA in 1975, he served on thirty civic and community boards. Some include: President of Peppertree Homeowners Association (1978); Tustin Planning Commission (1982-1988) with one year as Chairman; Tustin City Council (1990-1994) with one year as Mayor; Orange County Sanitations District Board (1990-1994) with one year as Chairman on District #1, one year as Chairman of the Fiscal Policy Committee, and one year as Joint Vice-Chairman of the District Board; Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks Commission with one year as Vice-Chairman; Founding member of the Tustin Community Foundation (1994) serving as President of TCF (1997-1999) and currently serving as President-elect; Honored as Tustin Area “Man of the Year” (1986) for exceptional community service and served on the Tustin Boy’s and Girl’s Club Board for several years and President of the Board (1986). 

He is currently a member and serving on the board of Creekside Christian Fellowship in Irvine, CA , serving on the Board of Trustees for Hope International University in Fullerton, CA, on the Tustin Planning Commission, on the Executive Board for Tustin Area “Man and Woman of the Year”, and on the California Baptist University advisory board.

Puckett has two children and four grandchildren.

Joe Smith, of Erie, KS, graduated from St. Paul High School in 1969. He then went on to receive his Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Labette Community College in 1971. While attending LCC, Smith was on the basketball team from 1969-71 and on the baseball team in’71. He was also a Cardinal King candidate his freshman year. After LCC, Smith went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University in 1973. Smith also attended the Colorado School of Banking at the University of Colorado from 1974-1976 and the School of Agriculture at Kansas State University in 1975.

Smith began his career at the Stark State Bank in Stark, KS as an Agriculture Representative working in all areas of the operation. He received experience in lending, including consumer, commercial, and agricultural loans. He was elected Executive Vice President and a Director in 1980.

In 1982, Smith accepted the responsibility of representing the holding company in management of the bank at Chetopa which included attending loan meetings, farm and commercial credit appraisals, and working with problem loans. He was also active in the day to day operations of the bank during management change.

In 1984, Smith assumed management of the First State Bank of Thayer. During his time there he was responsible for the reorganization of the bank’s assets. This required extensive credit analyzing, appraisals, and many customer meetings regarding deposits and loans.

Also in 1984, the purchase of the First National Bank of Neodesha was finalized. He became President with immediate responsibilities of correcting weakness in loan management and operations. This bank was a new and different experience as it involved many industrial customers.

Currently, Smith is managing the Farmers National Bank of Kansas in Walnut, KS with branches in St. Paul and Hepler. He believes all of his experience and training at various levels of banking is the most important element of his success.

Smith has been involved in a farming partnerships dealing mainly with livestock for the past 40 years. He has also worked with real estate sales for approximately 30 years as a salesman and broker, now owning his own agency, Joe Smith Realty. Smith also maintains insurance licenses for property and casualty, health and life.

In the past, Smith has been active in and help memberships to organizations such as: Neosho County 4-H Council, Neodesha Industrial Commission, Neodesha Foundation, Parsons Babe Ruth Association, Thayer Booster Club, Wichita Catholic Diocesan Rural Crisis Council, and the St. Francis Parish Council. Smith is a member of the St. Francis Catholic Church, a member of the Kansas State Banking Board, the Walnut Ruritan National Club, and the Grant Community Club in Stark. He is also active in sponsoring and coaching youth programs.

Smith has three sons and one daughter.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award or this year’s recipients, please contact, Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of Alumni and Foundation at LCC, at (620) 820-1212 or by e-mail at lindif@labette.edu.

Nominate Someone

To nominate someone please send a letter and brief biography to:

Labette Community College Alumni Association
200 South 14th Street
Parsons, KS 67357

Or use the:
Online Nomination Form

If you have questions, please e-mail Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of the Alumni Association, or call (620) 421-6700, ext. 1212.