Six alumni of Fort Hays State University will be honored with
awards from the FHSU Alumni Association at the Alumni Awards and Recognition Banquet Friday, Oct. 1, during Homecoming festivities.
Two alumni will receive Alumni Achievement Awards, the association's highest honor, for outstanding, unselfish contributions in service to community, state or nation, both as citizens in their chosen careers and through philanthropy.
Recipients are Jim Nokes, Kingwood, Texas, retired executive vice president of refining, marketing, supply and transportation for ConocoPhillips, Houston, and Dr. Larry Trussell, Louisville, Neb., retired dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Two alumni will receive the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes 10- to 15-year graduates for professional and educational achievement, community activities, honors and awards or other accomplishments. This year’s recipients are Michael Schwanke, Bel Aire, news anchor and investigative reporter for KWCH-TV, Wichita, and Dr. Stacey Smith, Hays, director of the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program and an assistant professor at FHSU.
Warren "Whitey" Alpers, Hutchinson, retired coach and teacher of health and physical education for Hutchinson USD 308, will receive the Nita M. Landrum Award for alumni or friends who have provided sustained volunteer service for the betterment of the Alumni Association or FHSU, especially in their home communities.
Dr. Robert Sandmeyer, Stillwater, Okla., dean emeritus of the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, will receive a Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals, alumni or not, known as a friend of the university who demonstrates a continuing concern for humanity on a universal, national, state or community level, who supports spiritual, cultural and educational objectives, and who endorses and exemplifies the highest standards of character and personal attributes.
Jim W. Nokes
Alumni Achievement Award
Jim Nokes, Kingwood, Texas, graduated from FHSU in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He later earned an M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas. He retired from ConocoPhillips, where he was executive vice president for refining, marketing, supply and transportation.
His 36-year career with ConocoPhillips began in 1970. He held various administrative, planning and operating management positions with Conoco Pipe Line, a subsidiary of what was then Conoco. In 1981, he became manager of the natural gas and gas processing department and, in 1987, returned to the transportation side of the business as general manager and president of Conoco Pipe Line. His next position was director and general manager of business development for Conoco’s exploration and production affiliate in London.
He returned to the United States in 1991 as vice president and general manager of product marketing, supply and transportation. In 1994, he became vice president of Conoco's North American refining and marketing operations and, in 1998, he was named president of that division.
In 2003, he was named U.S. Executive of the Year by Hart Publications' World Refining Magazine. Nokes delivered the keynote address, "Fuel for Thought: The Challenge of Meeting America’s Needs," at the 22nd annual International Operating Conference and Trade Show in Houston in 2002.
He and his wife, Glennis, raised three children, Rita, Coye and Adam.
Dr. Larry R. Trussell
Alumni Achievement Award
Dr. Larry Trussell, Louisville, Neb., earned two degrees from FHSU. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and accounting in 1965 and a Master of Science in economics and accounting in 1966. He later graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with a Ph.D.
After leaving FHSU, he was a part-time instructor in the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas until 1968, when he became an assistant professor of accounting and finance at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. In 1971, he became an assistant professor in and the chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance at Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. In 1974, he was named associate dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, a position he held until 1979, when he became dean of the college.
From 1992 until 1999 he was coordinator of international initiatives and, in 1999, began a phased retirement as a tenured professor. He retired in 2005.
His awards include an honorary doctorate from the Alexandru I. Cuza University in Iasi, Romania, and being coroneted as a 33rd-degree Scottish Rite Mason. His research has appeared in the Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal, Business and Society Review, AACSB Bulletin, Omaha Business Review, The National Public Accountant, FloridaCPA, The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, the Conference Board Record, and Business Ideas Digest. He has written more than $7 million in grants that have been funded to provide equipment and other support for his university and to conduct exchange and other programs with universities in Romania and Moldova.
Trussell and his wife, Sharon, raised two daughters, Christina and Michelle.
Michael D. Schwanke
Young Alumni Award
Michael Schwanke, Bel Aire, graduated from FHSU with a Bachelor of Arts in information networking and telecommunications, media studies, in 1999. He is a news anchor and investigative reporter for KWCH-TV, Wichita.
His career in television began in 2000 with KBSD-TV Eyewitness News in Dodge City, where he worked shooting video, anchoring and reporting over all of western Kansas for the local 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. At the end of that year, he moved to Wichita to become a crime reporter and general assignment reporter for KWCH-12 Eyewitness News. He was responsible for developing community relations and won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for crime coverage, working under deadline for three daily newscasts.
Beginning in 2009, he became Channel 12's managing editor, a position he took on in addition to an anchor and investigative reporter position he assumed in 2008. As managing editor, his duties include supervising crews and making daily editorial decisions for the No. 1-rated Wichita newscasts. He also trains new reporters, producers and photographers. The co-anchor and investigative reporter portion of his duties requires that he write, produce and co-anchor the 5 p.m. newscast and lead a three-person investigative team.
Schwanke also reports for KWCH’s radio partner, KFDI, and helped lead the way to Web reporting as well as broadcast news for KWCH. He was also one of the first KWCH reporters to hold online chats with viewers after key stories.
Schwanke and his wife, Tenille, have two daughters, Jorja and Jayda.
Dr. Stacey L. Smith
Young Alumni Award
Dr. Stacey Smith, Hays, graduated from FHSU in 2000 with two degrees, a Bachelor of Business Administration in management and a Bachelor of Science in information networking and telecommunications. She earned an M.S. in hotel, restaurant and travel administration in 2002 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In December 2008, she received a Ph.D. in hospitality and tourism management from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. She is director of the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program and an assistant professor at FHSU.
She was a graduate teaching assistant in the Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration Department at the University of Massachusetts from 2000 to 2002 and assistant front office manager of the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo., from 2002 to 2004. She was a graduate teaching assistant at Purdue from 2004 to 2008, during which time she also held several other positions, including Career Center assistant and assistant to the department head in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management as well as the meeting planner for the International Hospitality and Tourism Virtual Conference.
Her career at FHSU began in fall 2008 as an assistant professor and director of the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program in the Department of Management and Marketing in the College of Business and Leadership. Smith is a member of Phi Kappa Phi; the American Hotel and Lodging Association; the Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education; and three honor societies for human sciences, hospitality and tourism – Kappa Omicron Nu, Eta Sigma Delta and Gamma Sigma Delta. She also has wide-ranging credits in publications, presentations, panels and conferences.
Smith and her husband, Shane, a 2001 graduate of FHSU, are life members of the FHSU Alumni Association. They have a son, Jalen, and a daughter, Lauren.
Warren "Whitey" Alpers
Nita M. Landrum Award
Warren "Whitey" Alpers, Hutchinson, graduated from FHSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and industrial arts in 1957 and with a Master of Science in physical education and industrial arts in 1963. He is a retired teacher and coach for Hutchinson USD 308.
After graduating from FHSU in 1957, he taught industrial arts and coached at Republic Rural High School, Republic, until 1962, when he returned to FHSU to earn his master's degree. After receiving his master's, he went to Hutchinson in 1963, where he taught health, physical education and driver education and coached for 20 years, until retiring in 1995.
Alpers holds memberships in the National Education Association; the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education and Dance (which he served as president from 1993-94), and the National Association of Sports and Physical Education (which named him its Central District Teacher of the Year in 1985). He served on the FHSU Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1994 to 1998. He was instrumental in developing the FHSU Reno County Alumni Chapter and today serves as an active member of the FHSU Half Century Club Board of Directors.
Among his civic and professional awards, he was named Hutchinson Public School Teacher of the Year in 1985 and has a Phi Delta Kappa Certificate of Recognition. In 2003, the city of Hutchinson presented him with the Community Leadership Award for service and contributions to the people of Hutchinson.
Alpers and his wife, Shirley, a 1956 graduate of FHSU, have two sons, Mike and Todd.
Dr. Robert L. Sandmeyer
Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Robert Sandmeyer, Stillwater, Oklahoma, dean emeritus of the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, graduated from FHSU with a B.A. in economics in 1956. He earned an M.S. and a Ph.D., both in economics, from Oklahoma State University, in 1958 and 1962, respectively.
During his career, he has served as an instructor at FHSU in 1957 and 1958 and at Iowa State University from 1958 to 1959. He was an assistant professor at Arizona State University, Tempe, from 1961 to 1962. His career at Oklahoma State began in 1962 as a visiting assistant professor, progressing through the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor, a rank he attained in 1970. Sandmeyer was appointed dean of the College of Business Administration (now the Spears School of Business) in 1977 and served in that position until his retirement in 1994. In 2008, Sandmeyer was recognized as a Henry G. Bennett Fellow in the School of International Studies at Oklahoma State University.
From his retirement to the present, Sandmeyer has been actively involved in developing and administering education programs for the business professions in the Middle East. He served as advisor to the College of Business and Economics at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, was founding dean of the College of Business Sciences at Zayed University with campuses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, was an advisor for graduate and executive education programs at Zayed University, was a consultant on a USAID-funded project to establish a privately funded graduate business program in Amman, Jordan, and was a consultant to American University in Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.
In 1997 Sandmeyer was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Spears School of Business and in 2004 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. He is a past recipient of the FHSU Alumni Achievement Award.
Dr. Sandmeyer and his wife, Loretta, have four children, Karen, Bridgit, Barbara, a 1986 graduate of FHSU, and Robert C.