Natural Science

Science Hall of Fame


Natural Science HOF DisplayNatural Science Hall of Fame

The Southwestern College Natural Science Hall of Fame was established in order to honor alumni who have performed significant achievements in the sciences, technical industries, and medicine. The college is known for having a quality science department and for producing outstanding graduates. It is the intent of the college to honor graduates who excel in scientifically-related careers.

For more information on the natural sciences at Southwestern College, please refer to the appropriate webpage: biologymarine biology or chemistry.

View the Online Science Hall of Fame

(Opens in a new window.)


Candidates for induction into the Southwestern College Natural Science Hall of Fame will be considered for induction based on their achievements, professionalism, and character. A significant achievement is one in which the exceptional skills and abilities of the candidate are exemplified. All candidates must be graduates of Southwestern College.


Nominations will be received from alumni and friends of the college. In order for a nomination to be formally accepted, a completed nomination form must be submitted to the nominations committee. Nominations will be sought via college publications and communications. Once an individual is formally nominated, that name will remain eligible for selection for induction for 5 years. After that time has passed, the individual must be formally nominated again to be considered for selection. The nomination pool will be managed and maintained by the alumni department. Click here to submit a nomination online.

Natural Science Hall of Fame Nomination Form

Number of Inductees

The number of inductees per year will be three, one of which may be posthumously inducted.

Natural Science Hall of Fame Members

Southwestern College alumni who have made significant achievements in the sciences are recognized annually in the Natural Science Hall of Fame.  Since the inaugural year of 2001, many notable Moundbuilders have been honored by having their names placed in this Hall of Fame.  The actual display is located at the north end of Beech Science Center on the Southwestern College main campus.

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.

2022 Inductees

Lisa BraunLisa (Ashenfelter) Braun ’98, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education, and recreation. During her time at Southwestern, she played volleyball and basketball.  Braun became an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team from 1998-2000. In 2001 Braun was hired as the first female athletic trainer at Southwestern and provided coverage for all the teams while starting an accredited athletic training program so Southwestern could begin to offer a major in athletic training. She has been a board-certified athletic trainer since 2000. In 2002 she earned a Master of Education degree in exercise science from Wichita State University. During this time, she completed an internship with the WNBA’s Portland Fire. In 2003 Braun was named director of the athletic training program and was promoted to assistant professor.  Southwestern successfully gained accreditation in 2004 and maintained the accredited program until it phased out after the graduating class of 2021 due to changes in the profession moving to a masters-level degree. Over those years, she was promoted to associate professor and awarded tenure. Braun is now in charge of the physical performance and sports studies major (PPSS) and advises students majoring in PPSS as well as those students who hope to become athletic trainers. Lisa and her husband, Jason, live north of Cambridge and have two sons, James and Logan.

Michael CargillMichael Cargill ’77, left Kansas following graduation and traveled to Illinois and became the Site Superintendent at Fulton County Camping and Recreation, a large camping and fishing area. Cargill and his crew modernized the camping area by adding electrical hookups, restroom and shower facilities, and improved fishing with the application of fishery management techniques. There is where he perfected his fishery management skills. Ten years later Cargill transitioned from Site Superintendent to Zookeeper at Glen Oak Zoo in Peoria, Ill. There he was promoted to Curator of Education and later to the Curator of Operations. Cargill developed an educational program “Eli the elephant” which was nominated in 1987 as the outstanding educational program by the American Zoological Association. Ten years later he moved back to Kansas as the Director of Public Lands and Director of Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend. As Director of Public Lands, Cargill was identified as “One of the Most 10 Influential Individuals” by the “Great Bend Tribune.” Later the zoo received a million-dollar grant and raised additional monies to construct “Central Kansas Raptor Rehabilitation Center.” After 19 years at the zoo, Cargill decided to dedicate the remaining time left in his career to teaching science and returned to school where he received a teaching license. Today, Cargill teaches in Stafford, where he has enjoyed teaching science for the past 12 years. While developing a professional resume he also developed Project Save, an organization dedicated to environmental education, using free-flighted birds and various reptiles. Project Save has traveled across the county, encouraging young people to protect the environment, stay in school, and excel in math and science. 

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.

2021 Inductees

Dr. David BrooksDr. David Brooks '60 is board-certified in family practice and osteopathic manipulative medicine. He graduated from Southwestern College in 1960 with a bachelors of science in chemistry and mathematics. After a semester at the University of Kansas doing graduate studies, David was accepted into A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in Kirkville, Mo., where he completed medical school—ranking 15 out of 110 students. After completing his medical internship in 1966, Dr. Brooks entered into private practice with Dr. Charles Lyon in Ypsilanti, Mich., where they remained in partnership for 55 years. He was also on faculty at Michigan State University and on staff at Beyer Hospital in Ypsilanti for many years. Dr. Brooks and his wife, Peggy, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan where they are enjoying their retirement. They have four children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

Scott CarterScott Carter '80 is the Chief Life Sciences Officer for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). He is the executive leader of the mission of the DZS, including animal care, health, welfare, and conservation as well as education programs serving students of all ages in Southeast Michigan and beyond. In addition to the bachelor’s degree in biology he earned at Southwestern College, he holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Wichita State University. He began his career as a zookeeper at the Sedgwick County Zoo and was formerly the mammal curator and director of conservation and animal welfare for the Detroit Zoo. He helped found the DZS’s Center for Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare and Ethics and helps to lead the programs of science, advocacy and training that it encompasses. A career working with and for animals has many highlights, including forming relationships with amazing animals, working in the field conducting primate surveys in the Amazon, immersion and learning in wild places all over the world, being part of what became a landmark decision to no longer house elephants for ethical reasons, and advocacy for animals and wildlife at local, state, and federal levels. He is a Professional Fellow, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and a Fellow of the Noyce Leadership Institute.

Dr. Steven ShortDr. Steven Short '78 who graduated cum laude with majors in both biology and chemistry while also earning a minor in sociology. He also remained busy as a student participating in several extracurricular activities. After graduating, he attend A. T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo. He spent his internship in Flint, Mich., and completed his residency in 1987 in Wichita at the KU Medical Center. He then completed mission work in Bolivia. He served the Indian Health Services in Tahlequah, Okla., until 1991. He also served a pulmonary research fellowship with the Center for Disease Control from 1991 to 1995. Since then, he has served as board-certified pulmonologist with expertise in critical care and internal medicine. Dr. Short continues his private practice in Manhattan as a pulmonologist with a special emphasis in critical care and sleep medicine. Additionally, his office serves multiple other clinics in North Central and Western Kansas. He has also served a confirmation teacher his church for the last 20 years.

The 2021 Natural Science Hall of Fame will be Saturday, November 13 in the Harold and Mary Ellen Deets Library. The meal begins at 5:00 pm with the induction ceremony to follow immediately after. Meals are $25 per person. To RSVP,  email or call 620.229.6155.

2019 Inductees

Dr. Michael BrooksDr. Michael Brooks ’62, is director of psychiatric services at Brighton Hospital, in Brighton, Michigan, which offers a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient addiction services including treatment of the chemically dependent population with co-morbid psychiatric disorders. After graduating from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1966 and then completing a yearlong internship, Brooks served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, first as a battalion surgeon and then as a general medical officer. After more than two decades working in family medicine, Brooks completed his psychiatric training at Sinai Hospital in Detroit and is board certified in psychiatry by the American Osteopathic College of Neurologist and Psychiatrist (ACN). In addition, Brooks is certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), is an active member of Michigan Society of Addiction Medicine while serving as a consultant to the Michigan Healthcare Professionals Recovery Corporation (MHPRC) as well as on the Physician Well-Being Committee for St Joseph Mercy Health Systems in Southeastern Michigan. Because of his knowledge on addiction and dual diagnosis, in addition to his other speaking engagements, Senators Carl Levin and Oran Hatch invited Brooks to speak at a senate news conference in Washington D.C. on The Use of Suboxone in the Treatment of Substance Abuse. Brooks is also actively involved in the education of medical students and other health professionals through the University of Michigan Medical School, the University of Detroit Mercy College of Health Professions and Wayne State University. Brooks is board certified by the American College of Osteopathic Family Practitioners with a CAQ in addiction medicine, he is a Fellow in the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and serves on their board of trustees and is president of this organization, is a member of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists, and the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Angela TranDr. Angela Tran ’00 is double board-certified in internal medicine and obesity medicine. Tran graduated from Southwestern College with a bachelor of science degree in biology, and went on to medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri in 2004.  She then completed her residency in internal medicine at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital in Denver in 2007. She and her husband, and four-year-old daughter, Haley, now reside in Denver, where she opened her medical practice, Med-Fit Medical Weight Loss. She has practiced in primary care since 2007, and recognized that obesity was often the root cause of many chronic medical conditions that she saw in her office including diabetes and high blood pressure. With her internal medicine background she understands the medical complexities that often serve as barriers to weight loss. After seeing the many struggles her patients had with their weight, she dedicated her practice solely on weight management. At Med-Fit Medical Weight Loss, the primary focus is to teach patients and their families about healthy living through a variety of medically supervised diet and fitness programs. She and her staff of 10 are focused on helping patients improve their physical health and quality of life.

2018 Inductees
C. Clifford Conaway ’60
Angela Mayorga May ’97
Kenneth J. Renner, ’76

2017 Inductees
James A. Anderson ’62
Ernest W. Reid 1916
Brad Weigle ’72

2016 Inductees
Arthur E. Hertzler, class of 1896
K. Charles "Charlie" Hunter '67
Gerald "Eddie" Weigle '93

2015 Inductees
Nathan L. Eckert '01
Harold E. "Gene" Miller '62
Esther Winkelman Overstreet '28

2014 Inductees
Harold C. Tretbar '52
Mark W. Turrentine '79
Belinda A. Vail '76

2013 Inductees
Ann Allegre '72
W. Brian Howard '82
Ronald K. Lohrding '63

2012 Inductees
Gordon H. Scott '22
Gregory K. Unruh '77
Servant Leader Award
Robert "Doc" Wimmer 

2011 Inductees
Jeffrey L. Boone '73
Darrel English '59
Jesse Gulick '44
Kenneth Laws '72

2010 Inductees
Douglas J. Fort '86
Harold L. Taylor '42
Servant Leader Award
Charles Maddin

2009 Inductees
John L. Antal '58
William A. "Bill" Glass '53
Lyle R. Kallenbach '61

2008 Inductees 
Robert G. "Bob" Hamilton '80
Roger M. Rowell '61
William G. "Bill" Stanley '48

2007 Inductees
William M. "Bill" Cloud '47
L. Erlis Cranston '31
David E. Smith '73

2006 Inductees
James L. "Jim" Fishback '77
Fay P. Greene '38
Margaret Phillips-Randolph '30

2005 Inductees
E. Keith Hege '56
Verlin L. Hoberecht '51 
Ray A. Waller '59

2004 Inductees
Melvin Cheatham '55
Franklin Newman '53
Max Thompson '57

2003 Inductees
Michael F. Allen '74
Allan Lundeen '54
Karen L. (Ramsdale) Nonhof '75

2002 Inductees
Harlan E. Lenander '39
LeRoy A. Spitze '39
Dee F. Taylor '40

2001 Inductees
Lloyd M. Bertholf '21
Etcyl H. Blair '47
Hobart Paul Boles '39
Sven Ebbesson '57
Neil L. Frank '53
Asher D. Kantz '43
Lewis G. Longsworth '25
John Lawrence Oncley '29
R. Stephen White '42
Wayne E. White '27

Build a life

Build a life

Students are what make Student Life happen!

From carnivals to concerts, from Sutton Center to Campus Life, the Office of Student Affairs is available for you, the student.

learn more about student life