The 2011 Ambassador Award, the Young Alumni Award, and the Alumni Recognition Award will be presented Friday, Oct. 7, at the Southwestern College Homecoming dinner in Stewart Field House. The honorees are Kent and Sharon Olmstead, Jeff Lowe, and Steve and Pam Thomas.
The SC Ambassador Award will be presented to Kent and Sharon Olmstead. This award is given to a person or persons who are not alumni of the college, but yet are involved and supportive of the mission and role Southwestern strives to fulfill.
Kent and Sharon Olmstead have been active members of the Winfield community for several decades, and valued friends of Southwestern College since Kent became an active volunteer and member of the Southwestern College Natural Science Advisory Council. Sharon is a strong advocate for youth, having been deeply involved in children’s foster care for many years; she and Kent had 26 children in the home over the course of eight years. Sharon also is board chair of the Safe Homes, Inc. Kent was a computer programmer/analyst for Control Data Corp. in Minnesota in the 1960s and 1970s, and an engineer at Boeing in Wichita from 1980 until his retirement in 2006.
His time these days is spent working around the ranch. Kent’s has special interest in the college’s Dutch Creek field station, where he is a volunteer on a regular basis. His engineering background and ranch experience have proven to be an invaluable resource for the science faculty, and he has mentored many students. The Olmsteads’ son, Justin, is a member of the SC class of 2001.
Jeff Lowe, a 2001 SC graduate, will receive the Young Alumni Award. This honor is presented to a recent graduate who has made an outstanding commitment to the college.
Having grown up in a family of Moundbuilder parents, grandmother, uncle, several cousins, and the younger brother of a Moundbuilder, Lowe’s road to Southwestern was one that had been embraced by his relatives. During his college years, Lowe participated in many different activities and sports, developing friendships with fellow Builders, and enjoying the one-on-one connections with his professors.
After Southwestern, Lowe attended law school at Washburn University and in 2005 he became an attorney (later a member) of Stinson, Lasswell & Wilson. He continues to support the college and is an active volunteer both in a legal capacity, and in filling the role of class host for his 10-year reunion at Homecoming.
Steve Thomas, a 1987 graduate, and Pam (Ferguson) Thomas, a 1986 graduate, will receive the Alumni Recognition Award in honor of their significant contributions to the college and community.
Pam is an optometrist at the Keller Eye Care Center in Keller, Texas, and Steve is the co-owner/manager and business side of the family optometry business. In addition to being financial supporters of the college, for nearly a decade Pam has been a class host volunteer for Southwestern College, and next year Steve will also be filling this role for his class.
“Part of the great success of any small private college, is the strength and energy of outstanding people involved with it,” says Susan Lowe, director of alumni programs at Southwestern College. “At Homecoming this year, we have the pleasure of recognizing some of these people with the 2011 Homecoming Awards.”
For more information about the Homecoming dinner, contact Susan Lowe at (620) 229-6334.