Skip to content
Toggle Left Side Navigation

ESU Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Recent Graduates Honored During Homecoming

October 15, 2019

Five Distinguished Alumni and three Outstanding Recent Graduates will be honored at Emporia State during the Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 18, which kicks off the 2019 Homecoming weekend. 

The five members of the 2019 Emporia State University Distinguished Alumni are an impressive class that Hornet Nation is proud to call its own.

  • Dr. DeWayne Backhus (BS 1966-Mathematics) of Emporia, Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor and long-time director of the Peterson Planetarium;
  • Mrs. Phyllis A. (Larsen) Ericson (BA 1972-Chemistry & Biology; MS 1977-Analytical Chemistry; BS 1979-Medical Technology) of Lincoln, Nebraska, retired CEO of the Nebraska Community Blood Bank;
  • Retired Brig. Gen. Christie L. Nixon (BS 1982-Recreation) of Minneapolis, Minnesota, former Commanding General of the Military Intelligence Readiness Command;
  • Mr. Mark Scoles (BSB 1977-Accounting) of Naperville, Illinois, retired partner-in-charge of accounting principles at the international accounting firm of Grant Thornton LLP; and
  • Mr. Robbie Young (BFA 1985-Theatre) of New York City, New York, stage manager and executive assistant at Spencer Stuart.

Alumni Relations Director Jose Feliciano described some of the criteria the selection committee had considered in choosing five alumni for recognition for extraordinary contributions in their fields.  

“Are they those trailblazers? Are they the ones that are the beacons out there who give Emporia State University a great name?” Feliciano said. “It’s those people who have taken the skills they learned at the university to really truly make a difference, whether it’s nationwide or locally.”

All five will be honored during the Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 18, a highlight of the annual Homecoming festivities. Joining in the honors are the three Outstanding Recent Graduates representing their ESU school or college no more than 10 years past graduation. They are:

  • Cassondra Boston Richards (BSB 2009-Accounting, MBA 2011-Accounting) of Addison, Texas, senior assurance manager at PricewaterhouseCooper auditing, assurance, tax, and consulting firm;
  • Kelsey A. Ryan (BS 2011-Political Science) of Kansas City, Missouri, outreach manager for the National Freedom of Information Coalition; and
  • Joshua Stock (BS 2008-English, Creative Writing, MS 2011-Instructional Design and Technology) of Olathe, language arts teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School in Olathe.

Biographies for the Distinguished Alumni are online at https://www.emporia.edu/alumni/awards/distinguished-alumni.html. Outstanding Recent Graduates may be found at https://www.emporia.edu/alumni/awards/outstanding-recent-graduates.html

 

About the Awards

The Distinguished Alumniaward is the highest honor that can be granted to an alumnus or alumna of Emporia State University by the ESU Alumni Association. Awarded each fall during Homecoming, it recognizes the outstanding professional accomplishments of ESU's finest graduates. Since the inception of the award program in 1960, more than 200 alumni have received the award. 

The Outstanding Recent Graduate award recognizes an outstanding recent graduate from each of the undergraduate colleges and schools at Emporia State University. Selection for this award is based on criteria determined by each school/college and the stipulation that the recipient be no more than 10 years past graduation at Emporia State University. 

Homecoming Festivities Unite ESU Alumni, Emporia Community

October 10, 2019

While ESU alumni return to the Hornets’ Nest for Homecoming, the campus welcomes the Emporia community to enjoy the special events. Homecoming 2019 begins Wednesday, Oct. 16, with the first event organized by students and concludes with a matinee of the musical on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Emporia State Receives More Than $2 Million In Grants for Rehabilitation Counseling

October 9, 2019

Two grants totaling more than $2 million received by Emporia State University look to help professionals whose goals are to increase the employment opportunities for people with deaf and hard of hearing issues, and autism spectrum disorders. Emporia State has one of just three programs in the United States that offers a concentration in working with deaf and hard of hearing people.

ESU Presented Top Award for Education Leadership

October 2, 2019

The Teachers College at Emporia State University received national recognition Sept. 26 from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation for surpassing the standards in becoming re-accredited during their most recent accreditation cycle.

Emporia State Posts Enrollment Growth, Retention Record

October 2, 2019

Emporia State University posted another year of enrollment growth thanks to another record retention rate and an increase in first-time freshman undergraduate and graduate students compared to fall 2018.

Campus Buzz From President Allison D. Garrett

September 26, 2019

Broadband Discussion Emporia State was honored to be the site of a visit byFCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who convened a broadband roundtable on Sept. 19 in the School of Business. The event was coordinated ...

Planks Honored as Hornet Heritage Family

September 17, 2019

Diplomas and certifications from Emporia State University fill the foliage on Gene and Betty Plank’s family tree.

Partnership with HOHM Brings Two Nap Pods to campus

September 13, 2019

Emporia State University is bringing napping to new places with the help of HOHM. ESU is only the second university in the United States to implement these unique sleep pods, which unlike other pods, are more like a small bedroom than an actual pod. Following the ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, ESU students and faculty will be able to reserve their spot to take a nap in the comfort of HOHM.

The Campus Buzz From President Allison D. Garrett

September 11, 2019

Graduate Work Congratulations to 2019 graduate Sarah Spoon (BA Modern Language

The Campus Buzz From President Allison Garrett

August 29, 2019

Emporia Movie Premiere Prof. Kevin Rabas, chair of English, Modern Languages and Journalism, co-directed a short documentary,

Opportunities for Educators This Fall

August 29, 2019

Educators are being offered opportunities to increase their skill and knowledge through workshops and conferences provided this spring through The Teachers College at Emporia State University. Some ...

Agencies Looking for Art Therapists Can Receive Assistance

August 27, 2019

Medical settings Arts in Medicine, a partnership ...

Kansans Can Win Books in Photo Contest

August 22, 2019

Kansans taking pictures of themselves can take part in a photo contest during Kansas Literacy Week, September 1-7.

Emporia State Foundation Sets a New Record in Philanthropic Support

August 19, 2019

Emporia State University Foundation raised more than $16 million in private gifts and pledges during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. The university nearly doubled its fundraising from the prior year, an increase of over $7 million, making fiscal year 2019 the best year in its history.

Colorado Educator Named ESU's New Senior Diversity Officer

August 1, 2019

Emporia State

Campus Buzz from President Allison D. Garrett

July 24, 2019

Taking Command ESU alum Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Harmon will take responsibility as the command senior enlisted advisor for the Kansas Army National Guard in a Change of Responsibility ceremony Sunday....

Saturday: Tour New Residence Hall, Attend Final Summer Theatre Play

July 23, 2019

Emporia State University is opening its doors Saturday afternoon with two great events for Emporia and the surrounding community. Schallenkamp Hall, the newest residence hall on campus, can be toured from 1 to 3 p.m. At 2 p.m., the curtain rises on the final production of ESU Summer Theatre’s 65th season — “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs” — in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall.

Search

Archives

Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's meritpages.com site