Seven alumni and friends of Fort Hays State University will be honored at the Alumni Awards and Recognition Celebration on Oct. 1 during the week of Homecoming 2020. For details on how you can celebrate these award winners during FHSU Homecoming@Home week, visit www.goforthaysstate.com/homecoming2020.
The Alumni Achievement Award, the association's highest honor, was established in 1959 to recognize graduates who have made outstanding contributions in service to their community, state, or nation as public citizens, professionals, or through philanthropic work.
This year's five Alumni Achievement Award recipients are Lynda "Lyn" (Beck) Fenwick '66, Macksville; Dr. R Douglas Hurt '69, '71, West Lafayette, Ind.; Charlie Riedel '83, Overland Park; Marla (Schmidt) Staab '73, Hays; and Dan Weller ’93, Lenexa.
The Young Alumni Award is presented to graduates in 10- to 15-year reunion classes. The award recognizes alumni, early in their careers after college, who have made an impact in their professions and in their communities through outstanding professional and educational achievements, community service, and by earning significant honors and awards. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from FHSU and be under age 40 as of Jan. 1 of the year the awards are presented.
The Young Alumni Award recipient for 2020 is Aaron Bernasconi ‘10, Washington, D.C.
The Nita M. Landrum Award recognizes a graduate or friend of the university who has demonstrated a continuing commitment to advancing humanity on a universal, national, state, or community level. Honorees also support spiritual, cultural, and educational initiatives and exemplify the highest standards of character and personal excellence. This award is reserved for alumni or friends of the university.
This year's Nita M. Landrum Award goes to Ashley Adorante '01, Overland Park.
You can join a question-and-answer session for each award winner by registering on the Homecoming@Home link listed above. Registration deadline is listed below each recipient’s profile. Or, to view the session without registration, visit the FHSU Alumni Association Facebook page for a live broadcast of the session at https://www.facebook.com/FHSUAlumni. The online celebration for the recipients is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 1 on the FHSU Alumni Association Facebook page.
Profiles of the 2020 Honorees:
Alumni Achievement Awards
Lynda "Lyn" (Beck) Fenwick
Since graduating in 1966 with her B.S. in education, Lyn Fenwick’s career has been diverse. She first taught sixth-grade, and while her husband served as an Air Force officer, she taught high school English in New York and Massachusetts. They regard their opportunities to live and travel throughout America, meeting people from across our nation, as a continuation of their FHSU educations. When they moved to Texas, Lyn received her law degree from Baylor University. She was a partner in law firms in Waco and Dallas, an adjunct professor at Baylor, and she appeared before the United States Supreme Court. Like many professional couples, they adapted their careers for one another. When Larry’s career took them to Georgia and North Carolina, Lyn was licensed but chose to begin writing and pursuing her art, starting with art classes at FHSU.
Baylor University Press published "Should the Children Pray?" for which she was selected as Georgia Nonfiction Author of the Year, and Dutton published "Private Choices, Public Consequences." In Atlanta, she served on the boards of the Pastel Society and the Portrait Society. Wherever they have lived, Lyn has served her community by volunteering in various ways.
She and her husband, Larry, have chosen to retire in Kansas, living in her fourth-generation family home. Her most recent book, published by the University Press of Kansas, is "Prairie Bachelor," about a Kansas homesteader and the Populist Movement. Returning to Kansas has given them the opportunity to reconnect with FHSU.
Larry and Lyn believe in the importance of giving back to their community. Because of Lyn’s love of books, they contributed to the planned renovation of Forsyth Library, gifted their Oz Collection to FHSU, and supported the biennial College of Education’s Fall Young Readers’ Conference by sponsoring a respected children’s book illustrator.
They also established the community supported Lori Lamb Legacy Grant scholarship program at Macksville High School. When Lyn was asked to deliver the graduation address there, she began by reminding students to thank those who help them throughout their lives. You can read her blog sharing that graduation address at https://lynfenwick.blogspot.com/2014/05/school-community-then-now.html.
Register for Zoom call by Wednesday, Sept. 30. Lyn’s session is scheduled for noon Thursday, Oct. 1.
Dr. R. Douglas Hurt
The author of 22 books and 21 book chapters, three digital publications, and more than 100 articles related to U.S. History, American Agriculture, Rural, West, Midwest, and South, Dr. R. Douglas Hart drew on his B.A. and M.A. in history from Fort Hays State and his Ph.D. in American history at Kansas State University to record a lifetime of achievements.
Dr. Hurt began his career as a Post-doctoral Fellow in the History of Science and Technology at the National Museum of Science and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution, now known as the Museum of American History. His career then took him to several destinations including Texas Tech University, the Ohio Historical Society, the State Historical Society of Missouri, Iowa State University, and currently the Department of History at Purdue University.
Dr. Hurt served as the head of the Department of History at Purdue University for 15 years. During that time, he worked to increase the department from 27 to 37 faculty. Proudly, he has increased the number of women faculty to more than 50 percent and increased the number of minority faculty in the department.
Besides his career as a professor and writer, Dr. Hurt has served in several other roles, including member of several advisory boards, consultant and advisor, and as the United Way campaign chair in 2005, 2006, and 2012.
In 1979, Dr. Hurt received the Young Alumni Award from Fort Hays State University and has continued to show his support to the University by presenting lectures to the agricultural history class taught by Professor Brittany Howell and public presentations sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Department of History.
Register for Zoom call by Tuesday, Sept. 29. Dr. Hurt’s session is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Charlie Riedel celebrates his 20th anniversary as a staff photographer for The Associated Press in Kansas City this October. While in this position, he has covered primarily news and sporting events in Kansas and Missouri, but he has also been involved in numerous national stories including Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, the 2004 Presidential election, wildfires in the western United States, and post 9/11 activities at the World Trade Center in New York. In addition to notable news events, Riedel has also frequently covered major sporting events including: The Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, golf tournaments, MLB playoffs, World Series and six Olympics.
Prior to his current career, Riedel used his B.S. in Communications (journalism) as a photo editor for The Hays Daily News, where he documented life in small-town Kansas for 17 years. While at the Hays Daily, he was named the National Press Photographers Association Region 7 Photographer of the year three times and won numerous state and regional photojournalism awards.
Riedel’s photos have appeared in prominent news media across the nation, including Time Magazine for his photo coverage of the Deepwater Horizon spill. His photos have also appeared in multiple "Top Photos of the Year" compilations.
He gives back to the community through speaking engagements on several university campuses and high schools and by serving as a judge at the Five State Photo Competition, numerous regional photo competitions, and a national Photo of the Year Competition. Riedel also donated his collection of the Fort Hays State University photographs to the university archive.
Register for Zoom call by Sunday, Sept. 27. Charlie’s session is scheduled for noon Monday, Sept. 28.
Marla (Schmidt) Staab
A lifelong faculty member and friend of FHSU, Marla Staab earned her B.A. in 1973 and her M.S. in 1974 in speech-language pathology. She began her professional career in 1977 as a part-time clinical instructor in the FHSU Speech-Language Pathology program. Staab’s goal as an instructor was to help students develop their clinical skills as they worked with children with speech and other language difficulties. This led her to spend hours in Forsyth Library using the research tools available at the time to study a wide variety of syndromes and developmental disorders.
In 1994, Staab was chosen as the first full-time clinical coordinator for the Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic on campus. She was responsible for administration, clinical teaching, and supporting the clinical instructors in developing supervisory skills. Along with these duties, and in conjunction with other clinical instructors, she designed and compiled supervisor and student clinic handbooks that included resources for clinic instructions, expectations/guidelines for students, as well as performance standards and competencies for both instructors and students. The resources she created are still used today in an online format.
Staab and her peers developed a plan to increase public awareness of communication disorders as well as the services provided at the Herndon Clinic through brochures, presentations to medical communities, and contributions to building a website. In addition, she worked closely with a colleague to complete a literature review and design the Clinical Competency Rating Scale (CCRS), which was presented as a poster session at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) National Conference in 2006. This presentation helped bring attention to the need for stating student learning outcomes for both academic and clinical skills to a national audience and are now part of the national accreditation standards.
Her professional and personal contributions did not stop at the university level. Staab collaborated with various agencies to support and improve services available to children and families in Ellis and Rush Counties. A few of her community contributions include service as a charter member of the Hays Area Interagency Coordinating Council representing the Herndon Clinic, the State of Kansas Early Intervention Task Force on Newborn Hearing Screening, and the Kansas Early Head Start Outcomes Committee. Staab has earned many achievements throughout her years of service to Fort Hays State and the community, but the highlight of her career came in 2006 when she was designated as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which is one of the highest honors the Association bestows.
Register for Zoom call by Sunday, Sept. 27. Marla’s session is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28.