Each year Labette Community College and your LCC Alumni Association recognize an individual for outstanding service to the community and the college. Unlike the Cardinal Citation that recognizes recipients for a lifetime of service and achievement, the Van Meter award is presented on the basis of a singular achievement or excellence in the recipient's line of work. This award is reserved for graduates of LCC who are 50 years of age or younger at the time the award is presented. Nominations are accepted throughout the year, however to be considered for the current year's award the nomination must be received by August 1st of that year.
2022 Van Meter Award Recipient
Parsons, KS – The Labette Community College (LCC) Alumni Association is proud to announce Neil Springer as the recipient of the 22nd Annual William & Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. This prestigious award is presented by the Foundation and Alumni Association to a graduate 50 years of age or younger who has made significant professional and community service achievements.
As an alum of LCC, Springer is recognized for the outstanding safety, service, and protection he has given to the community and college over the years. He is an inspiration to the youth in our community by achieving his goals he set at a youthful age of serving in the military and working in law enforcement. He has coached youth sports -football, basketball, baseball, and softball since 2003. He also organized the Shaun Hill Youth Football Camp for many years. His involvement with the youth has helped teach that police officers are there to help when ever needed.
(Full Press Release)
2021 Van Meter Award Recipient
Parsons, KS- The Labette Community College Alumni Association announces the 21st Annual William & Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. The 2021 recipient of this prestigious award is Ben McKenzie.
McKenzie is a 1999 graduate of Labette Community College. Ben attend LCC after graduating from Parsons High School in 1996. After attending Independence Community College for one semester on a football scholarship, Ben returned home to Labette Community College to join the wrestling team. He was an active member on the wrestling team, competing for two and one-half seasons. Ben was also a student athletic trainer at LCC and graduated with an Associate of Science in Athletic Training.
(Full Press Release)
2019 Van Meter Award Recipient
Parsons, KS- The Labette Community College Alumni Association announces the 20th Annual William & Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. The 2019 recipient of this prestigious award is James Wesley. Wesley grew up in Mound Valley Kansas and attended Labette County High School before moving on to Labette Community College.
James first discovered country music via his grandmother’s record collection, which included plenty of classic crooners like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. His first move into the music industry was to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he performed in a nightly music and variety show.(Full Press Release)
2018 Van Meter Award Recipient
The 2018 recipient of this prestigious award is Josh Whetzel of Rochester, NY. Whetzel graduated from Parsons High School in 1990 before receiving his Associates Degree from Labette Community College in 1992. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1994.
This year marked Whetzel’s 16th season as the radio/TV “Voice of the Rochester Red Wings”, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and his 24th broadcasting professional baseball. The website BallparkDigest.com named him the 2015 Minor League Broadcaster of the Year. Prior to coming to Rochester, Whetzel spent three years as the play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets’ Double-A affiliate, the Binghamton Mets, from 2000-2002. He was also the primary radio broadcaster for the Carolina League’s Kinston (NC) Indians from 1996-1999 after beginning his professional career in the South Atlantic League in 1995 with the Albany (GA) Polecats.(Full Press Release)
2017 Van Meter Award Recipient
The 2017 recipient of this prestigious award is John Kelley of Parsons, KS. Kelley graduated from Parsons High School in 1982 and then attended Labette Community College while working at Adventure Line Manufacturing (now Ducommun). In 1988, he graduated from Labette Community College with an associate’s degree in manufacturing management.
During Kelley’s tenure in the manufacturing industry, he has held numerous roles in production and management at Parsons Precision Products, what is now Ducommun. He served as quality manager, manufacturing manager, director of manufacturing and now is the Vice President and General Manager of Ducommun. Currently, Ducommun consists of facilities in Parsons, Kansas and Coxsackie, New York as well as operations in Guaymas, Mexico. The combined revenue of these companies has grown from $82 million to $120 million from 2010 through 2016.(Full Press Release)
2016 Van Meter Award Recipient
The 2016 recipient of this prestigious award is Bonnie Houk of Girard, KS. Houk graduated from St. Paul High School in 1986. She earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Secretary as well as an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Legal Secretary at Labette Community College in 1988. She received a Paralegal Certificate in 1988 from Pittsburg State University. Then, she went on to earn both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1989 and a Master of Arts Degree in History in 1995, both from Pittsburg State University.(Full Press Release)
2015 Van Meter Award Recipient
The 2015 recipient of this prestigious award is Melissa M. Morris of Parsons, KS. Morris was born and raised in Parsons, Kansas and graduated from Parsons High School in 1995. She earned her Associate’s in Science in Business Administration with honors at Labette Community College in 1997. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance and Management with Magna Cum Laude distinction from Emporia State
University in 1999. For the past 16 years, Morris has built her career with Bank of Parsons, a local hometown bank owned by the Virgil and Mary Alice Lair family in southeast Kansas. She currently serves as the Chief Lending Officer, Compliance Officer, Audit Team member, and daily operations manager. She is a Vice President and a Board of Director.(Full Press Release)
2014 Van Meter Award Recipient
Kevin A. Moore
The 2014 recipient of this prestigious award is Kevin A. Moore, of Parsons, KS. After graduating from Parsons High School he attended the University of Kansas. While working full time, he attended Labette community College graduating with an Associate's Degree in Business and Industrial Supervision. He went on to study at Pittsburg State University receiving a Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree in Management in 2006. Earning these degrees as a non-traditional student, working full time and raising a family, gave him a real world perspective to his studies which he credits for a deeper understanding of the courses he completed.(Full Press Release)
2013 Van Meter Award Recipient
Dr. Douglas Gardenhire
1993 Graduate of LCC
The 2013 recipient of this prestigious award is Dr. Douglas S. Gardenhire, of Marietta, GA. Gardenhire is a graduate of Labette Community College and is currently entering his thirteenth year on faculty at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, GA. For the past decade he has served as Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Therapy Program. Prior to joining GSU, Dr. Gardenhire served as Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Care Program at Labette Community College. Clinically he has practiced respiratory therapy as an international/domestic flight therapist at the University of Alabama Hospitals in Birmingham, AL, as a critical care respiratory therapist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Wichita and as a staff respiratory therapist at Labette County Medical Center.(Full Press Release)
2012 Van Meter Award Recipient
1975 Graduate of LCC
The 2012 recipient of this prestigious award is Chief Meteorologist Gary Bandy, of Joplin, MO. Bandy is a graduate of Labette Community College and is currently the Chief Meteorologist at KSNF-TV. Bandy began his broadcasting career in 1973 at KLKC radio while still in high school in Parsons, KS. He relocated to Joplin in 1981 working in radio. In 1988 moved to television. He has been KSN's Chief Meteorologist in 2003. He has been married since 1986 to his wife, Doris. He has one son, Coleman, who is in his Junior year in the Honor's Journalism program at the University of Missouri.(Full Press Release)
2011 Van Meter Award Recipient
Dr. CJ Huff
1993 Graduate of LCC
The 2011 recipient of this prestigious award is Dr. C.J. Huff, of Joplin, MO. Huff is a graduate of Labette Community College and is currently in his fourth year as the Superintendent of Joplin public schools. Dr. Huff was born and raised in Southeast Kansas near the town of McCune. Prior to becoming an educator he was a farmer for eight years and attributes much of the success he has achieved to a strong work ethic and values instilled in him by his family. He has been married fourteen years to his wife, Jennifer. Together they have three children, of whom he is very proud, Savannah, age 11, Keaton, age 9, and Julianne, age 2.(Full Press Release)
2010 Van Meter Award Recipient
Dr. Jerry C. Bouman
1977 Graduate of LCC
Jerry C. Bouman was born in Chanute, Kansas, and grew up in Fredonia, Kansas. After graduating from Fredonia Senior High school he attended Labette Community College and wrestled for legendary coach Jody Thompson. He graduated with honors in 1977. He then went on to Pittsburg State University and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1979. He continued with graduate work and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education the following year. During his time in Pittsburg he served as a counselor at the Children’s Court Center, counseling troubled youth. After graduation he became the biology and physiology instructor, and wrestling coach at Chanute Senior High School. During his coaching career at Chanute he coached three individual state wrestling champions, two runners up, and two third place finishers. His team placed as high as fifth on the state level.(Full Press Release)
2009 Van Meter Award Recipient
Dr. Sandra Willsie
1973 Graduate of LCC
Sandra K. Willsie was born in Parsons, Kansas and graduated with honors from Labette Community College and Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg Kansas. She received a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, with distinction, from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and subsequently completed postgraduate training, inclusive of a rotating internship, Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Critical Care Medicine.(Full Press Release)
2008 Van Meter Award Recipient
William "Pat" Haley
1975 Graduate of LCC
William “Pat” Haley, of Topeka, KS, has been named to receive the 2008 William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the board of directors of the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Association. Haley graduated from Labette Community College in 1975 with an Associate of Arts degree. While he attended LCC, he was President of the Student Senate and Vice-President of the Kansas Association of Community Colleges Student Section.
2007 Van Meter Award Recipient
Jeffrey J. Quirin
1992 Graduate of LCC
Jeffrey J. Quirin, Parsons, KS has been named the 2007 William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the board of directors of the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Association. Quirin graduated from Labette Community College in 1992 with an associate's degree in accounting.
2006 Van Meter Award Recipient
LTC Roch Switlik
1981 Graduate of LCC
Roch Switlik, Doylestown, PA has been named to receive the 2006 William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the board of directors of the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Association. Switlik was born in Parsons to John and Marie Switlik and was the tenth child out of eleven. He graduated from Parsons High School and was a member of St. Patrick’s parish. After graduating from high school, Switlik attended Labette Community College. He was a Student Senator from 1979-1980 and student Senate President from 1980-1981. He graduated from Labette Community College in 1981 with an Associate of Arts degree.(Full Press Release)
2005 Van Meter Award Recipient
Michael W. Carter
1991 Graduate of LCC
Michael W. Carter, PA-C., St. Paul, has been named to receive the 2005 William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the board of directors of the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Association. The award will be presented November 4 at the eighth annual Donor Appreciation Luncheon at the Carnegie Arts Center in Parsons. The luncheon will not only honor Carter, but will also give thanks to all persons who donated to the LCC Foundation in the past year. Music will be provided by the LCC Music Department and scholarship recipients will speak to the audience.
2004 Van Meter Award Recipient
Robin C. Jones Rogers
1979 Graduate of LCC
Robin C. Jones Rogers, MSN, ANP, BC, CS came to Parsons, Kansas in August of 1970. She was a broken and somewhat lost young woman who was accepted into the heart and home of William G., Sr. and E. Ruth Ligon Scott. She was one ofl the many foster children that "Mommie and Poppa Scott" opened their home to throughout the years. There she found safety and built her confidence and vision for her future. She graduated from Labette County High School in 1974 and Labette Community Junior College in 1979 with an Associate degree in Nursing.(Full Press Release)
2003 Van Meter Award Recipient
James Ray Jacquinot
1980 Graduate of LCC
Ray Jacquinot has been active in youth programs in Parsons for more than 25 years, including 15 years as a coach of Babe Ruth baseball. He has also coached Kiwanis soccer, Little League basketball, and basketball at St. Patrick's school. He was among the originators of the children's Halloween parade in downtown Parsons and was in charge of the parade for many years. He and his wife Becky would dress in Halloween costumes and walk in the parade with their sons, Christopher and Matthew.(Full Press Release)
2002 Van Meter Award Recipient
William R. Brady
1975 Graduate of LCC
William R. Brady retired from the Kansas Legislature in 1996 after serving ten years in the House of Representatives and six years in the Senate. While serving in the Senate he had the distinction of having the only district that contained three Community Colleges. His position on the Ways and Means Committee enabled him to shepherd through numerous increases in the base aid that the colleges received from the state. After leaving the Senate he became a business administrator at Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. He has been executive director of the Minnesota Library Association and since 1999 has been a contract lobbyist for Kansas Governmental Consulting, Topeka. He and his wife Nancy have two children, Kevin and Maureen.(Full Press Release)
2001 Van Meter Award Recipient
Mark L. Johnson, Ed.D
1981 Graduate of LCC
Associate Professor in Technical Education at Pittsburg State University. He was named Outstanding Career and Technical Educator of 2000 by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Vocational Educator of 1998 by the Kansas Vocational Association. In 1998 he also received the National Honorary Lifetime Membership Award and the National Alumni Career Achievement Award from the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA). He received his Bachelor's, Master's, and Education Specialist's Degrees from PSU and his Doctorate from the University of Arkansas. He served on the boards of several National Technical Education Associations and was Vice President of the Trade and Industrial Division of ACTE.(Full Press Release)
2000 Van Meter Award Recipient
Marcia "Trinnie" Turner
1983 Graduate of LCC
Owner and President of Turner Communications, Inc., with radio and television interests in several states. When she owned KWCV-TV in Wichita, she was the first black woman to be sole owner of a U.S. television station. In high school, Marcia was able to skip her junior year and graduate at the age of 16. At LCC she was regularly on the Dean's list and the President's list. She was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Phi Beta Lambda business society. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University and a gifted endorsement from Emporia State University, and then taught gifted students in the Wichita public school system for eight years before getting into the broadcasting business.(Full Press Release)