Halls of Fame

The Southwestern College halls of fame were established in order to honor individuals who have contributed greatly to their field of study, community, or in other facets of life. The college is known for its students who excel during their academic years and now recognizes those who excel beyond the classroom and in their world without boundaries.

Bidding for BuildersOnline Auction to Support the Builder Fund

Lots of amazing packages donated by Builders and friends! The online auction is open until 8 p.m. CST on Wednesday, April 24.

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2024 Founders Weekend | April 18-20

View the 2024 Hall of Fame Photo Gallery

2024 Hall of Fame Ceremonies

2024 Inductee Bios

2024 Business Inductees

Richard BarnesRichard Barnes, former Professor of Economics and Marketing at Southwestern College, was a worldwide teacher of management training skills to young professionals, both at Southwestern and for major corporations during his career from 1963 to 2016. During these 53 years, he taught thousands of young men and women how to be more effective in serving customer needs. His effort in this regard will always be remembered as his greatest skill to others.

Barnes spent 40 years of his career with Southwestern College. He spent six years with IBM and Xerox, at which time he held the position of Senior Sales Representative in the Information Systems Group and was a member of the “President’s Club.” For another seven years, he provided management training around the world and throughout the United States for Dresser Industries and GTE. The experience he gained from these corporations and brought to Southwestern was invaluable for his students. It gave them real-world perspective on business and sales management. During his tenure at Southwestern College, among other titles, was the Director of the Management Science Division. In that capacity, he conducted sales and marketing training seminars which served sales representatives in the Wichita, Kansas area. 

Barnes was adored and admired by his students. He was the favorite of many.

Alex GottlobAlex Gottlob `09 is an energetic entrepreneur who enjoys many aspects of being a business owner/ operator. He owns and operates Gottlob Lawn and Landscape LLC and is also a partner in a local property investment company called Frontier Investment Group LLC.

During the summer after his 6th-grade year, he began mowing lawns with family-owned equipment. Fast forward to what will be 25 years this summer and now along with his wife, they work together to operate what is a complete lawn and landscape company that includes a full-service nursery and garden center.

In 2016, Gottlob, along with two friends, formed Frontier Investment Group LLC.  Since its formation, they have purchased several Winfield historic buildings. The group takes pride in its properties by investing in their upkeep, functionality, and historical significance. In addition to commercial properties, they also have a portfolio of residential single and multi-family properties.

A few of the awards he is most proud of include the 2006-2007 Student of the Year at Cowley College, the Cowley College Young Achiever Award in 2014, and the Outstanding Cowley College Tiger Alumni Award in 2018.  He enjoyed his time at Southwestern as a student and is extremely proud of all the positive yet challenging things happening at the college. 

2024 Business Builder Award

Timber Creek Floral LogoTimber Creek Floral - I grew up in Winfield, at 13 years old my Dad was transferred from the manager position at the Winfield JC Penney's to a store in southern California. Upon graduating from high school in Whittier, CA I enrolled at Southwestern College, following my older brother who was attending. I took a floral design class from Donna Demint and really loved it. I went back to California for Christmas break when my father was retiring from JC Penney's. He loved my passion for flowers. It was all I talked about, so he bought a flower shop and a year later he bought a second flower shop. Forty-plus years later my life in the floral industry was meant to be. I moved back to Kansas in 2009, and married my Junior High sweetheart, Jim Golightley. I am a proud mother to 2 daughters, 2 bonus kids and a BiBi to 7 grandkids. We purchased Donna's Designs on April 1st, 2015. We just celebrated 9 years at Timber Creek Floral.  I am very honored to receive the Business Builder Award for 2024. Thank you so much for supporting our small local business Timber Creek Floral. 

2024 Educators Inductees

Anita EwartAnita (Jantz) Ewart was born into a farm family in Cimarron. She graduated from Cimarron High School in 1970 and enrolled in Southwestern in the fall of that year.  She graduated from SC in 1974 with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and began a career that lasted for 33 years that morphed into various elementary grade levels and to eventually teaching ESL classes at Kansas Newman University. Stops along the way during her career included Ingalls, Smith Center, and Cimarron.  She added educational endorsements as a Reading Recovery Specialist from both Emporia State and Fort Hays State Universities and an ESL Endorsement from Fort Hays State.  In 1992, she expanded her career and earned a masters degree in Elementary Education from Fort Hays State University.  She was involved in several professional organizations such as Kansas Reading Association, International Reading Association, Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Golden Plains Reading Council in which she served as president from 2001 to 2005.  Ewart retired from education in 2008 and now resides in Lawrence.

Stephen PeeblesStephen Peebles graduated from Southwestern in 1988 with a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education, and recreation with an emphasis in math education. Peebles was inducted into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. After graduation, Peebles returned to his hometown of Bradenton, where he put his Southwestern College experiences to work. He was inducted into the Manatee High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.  He was honored to be nominated twice for the School District of Manatee County Teacher of the Year. For 36 years, he has taught Hospital Homebound students. This program allows students to continue their education while unable to attend school due to short-term illness or terminal cancer. As a teacher and coach, one of his most important goals was to hold his players to high academic standards. He worked diligently to connect his players and students with academic and athletic scholarships.

2024 Fine Arts Inductees

Robbie BanksRobbie (Gilger) Banks ‘72 graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education and certificates in voice and piano pedagogy. After teaching vocal/instrumental music K-12 in Dexter for four years, she became co-owner of Cunningham Music serving as clinician/ mentor to many fledgling teachers for twenty-five years.  An active church musician, she served on the board of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. She also was KASTA historian and hosted KSHSAA Large Group Festival for ten years. As director of Winfield’s orchestras, grades 5-12, enrollment increased from 140-250 and the Winfield High School orchestra was the first group invited to open a State Senate Session. After retirement, she conducted the Salina Junior Youth Symphony and maintains a large private studio in her home, and continues giving lessons to her students.

Roxy CallisonRoxy Ellen Clark Callison BA '69, MLA '91, came to Southwestern on a music scholarship in the fall of 1965. By the fall of 1966, she was not only a member of A Capella Choir, orchestra, band and a full member of Campus Players, but had eloped with Norman Callison, Southwestern's Instructor of Theatre as well. She has been formally and informally involved with the arts at SC and in the community (and beyond) through performance and teaching capacities ever since. Co-founder of Horsefeathers and Applesauce Summer Dinner Theatre, "she is a contagious personality, articulate and caring, who supports and encourages children to grow and be more, without diminishing their uniqueness or self-esteem", as is evident in her proudest accomplishment: daughters Amanda, Jessica and Aggie.

2024 Leaders in Service Inductees

Paul BeanPaul Bean ’85 graduated from Southwestern College with a bachelor’s degree in international business. He was a member of the centennial class and was a centennial scholar. After 10 years in banking, he spent the next 26 years doing development for Ottawa University and Southwestern College. Throughout his career, Bean has worked to support others. Bean has used his fundraising abilities to support churches, schools, youth programs, physically challenged adults, and the homeless. During COVID-19, he obtained over $130,000 in grants for small businesses that were facing hardship. He established the Franklin County E-Community which has provided over $500,000 in loans and grants to entrepreneurs. Bean has a deep appreciation for the importance that Southwestern College has played in his life. His parents met and graduated from Southwestern College. At Southwestern, it was emphasized by educators such as Larry Wilgers, Rick Johnson, and Alfredo Rodriguez to care for others and do what you can to support them.  As a Moundbuilder, Paul has tried to build his community wherever he lives.

Claudi GeerClaudia Geer earned her doctorate from the University of California, Davis in 1995.  From there, she was hired as an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern College. A firm believer in “hands-on” learning, Geer developed lab sessions for general, developmental, and research psychology. She expected students to work hard so they would be proud of their accomplishments, be better prepared for life after college, and be competitive in the worlds of graduate school and professional life. Geer also did everything she could to be available, advise students, and foster student success. Geer received three institutional awards during her tenure at Southwestern: the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher in Higher Education Award (2010), the Charles H. & Vera Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching (2011), and Faculty Member of the Year Award (2012). From 1995-2012 her professional service to Southwestern College included faculty secretary, faculty chair, psychology program director, and social science division chair.

Willie WilliamsWillie Williams `68 has a history of forging diverse collaborative relationships that foster respect and inclusion. While working for the city of Austin, Texas Public Health, he interfaced with planning partnerships, agencies, and governmental entities regarding issues related to mental health, intellectual developmental disabilities, substance use, and services for aging. As a clinician and administrator with Integral Care, the Local Mental Health, Intellectual & Developmental Disability, and Substance Use Authority. Williams was instrumental in redesigning the Community Aids Resource Education (CARE) Outreach program. He implemented a collaborative treatment approach with the faith-based community integrating non-traditional services and advocacy to the HIV/AIDS targeted population. 

2023 Natural Science Hall of Fame | November 11

Saturday, November 11
Deets Library

2023 Inductees

Stephanie KeslerStephanie Kesler ’80, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in biology and a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics. She also earned a master of science degree in science management from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1990. Her strong passion for community and justice was nurtured at Southwestern where she was involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including Campus Players and Tri-Beta. Kesler’s professional career as a telecommunications technologist and architect spanned the dawn and evolution of the internet era from 1991 to present day. Over the decades, she was a key member of the teams that built out Alaska’s modern telecommunications infrastructure and services. She also participated in several national standards setting initiatives. Community involvement at all levels is extremely important to Kesler. Her service runs the gamut from her neighborhood council to President of the Board of Providence Alaska Medical System Region. Above all, Southwestern holds a special place in her heart. Her Southwestern education and experience prepared her for a lifetime of learning, curiosity, and a commitment to community.

Dustin WilgersDustin Wilgers ’01, received his bachelor of science degree in biology with honors from Southwestern College. While at Southwestern, Wilgers participated in golf and was an athletic trainer for one year. He was active in Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society. He went on to earn a master of science degree from Kansas State University in 2005 and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. Wilgers has been a professor at McPherson College since 2011. He has taught a variety of courses in biology and environmental science and earned multiple teaching awards during that time. His passion centers on teaching students of all ages about science, and training the next generation of scientists. He has contributed to the field with his ecological research that focused on diversity found in the prairie and understanding the communication and behavioral systems of spiders. Wilgers has published 22 scientific papers and one book chapter. He co-authored many of his papers with undergraduate students. He has presented his research at numerous international, national, and regional scientific meetings; winning awards for his research at several of them. He served as President of the Kansas Academy of Science and the Kansas Entomological Society. Since being a faculty member, Wilgers has worked extensively with Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks through their Chickadee Checkoff program, doing both research on the state’s arachnids and educational outreach programs. His drive to educate society about nature has taken him all across the state and to many elementary schools. Recently, to extend his outreach, he has published multiple children’s books that aim to both entertain and educate younger children about science and his favorite animal group. Dustin is married to Autumn (Strauss), who he met at Southwestern College. They have two kids, Noah and Hannah. Much of their family time centers on spending time in nature or playing and watching sports.

2022 Inductee (Recognized in 2023)

Dr. Bryan DennettBryan Dennett ’92, is a Family Physician in Winfield. He received his undergraduate degree from Southwestern College and his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. After completing his family practice residency through Via Christi in Wichita, he started practicing medicine in Winfield. He has been in private practice since 2002. He is also board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Care and works as the medical director for a non-profit hospice. Dennett is passionate about primary care and focuses on preventative and quality measures. He serves on the Board of Elders at Trinity Lutheran Church and the Southwestern College Board of Trustees. When not working, he enjoys staying active, going to the lake, and spending time with his wife, Debbie, and four adult children.

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