Seven alumni of Fort Hays State University will be honored at the Alumni Awards and Recognition Banquet Friday, Oct. 5, during Homecoming celebrations. Six will receive Alumni Association awards, and one will receive the Presidential Award.
Three will receive the Alumni Achievement Award, the association’s highest honor, established in 1959 to recognize graduates who have made outstanding and unselfish contributions in service to their community, state or nation as citizens, in chosen career fields or through philanthropic work.
This year’s recipients are Dr. Marcia (Swenson) Bannister, Hays; L. Kent Needham, Tonganoxie; and Dr. John Dorsch, Derby.
One alumnus, Dr. Eric Heinze, Norman, Okla., will receive the Young Alumni Award, which is granted to graduates of 10- through 15-year reunion classes to recognize those early in their career for significant business or professional accomplishments or for service to the university and the Alumni Association.
Harry Watts, Manhattan, will receive the Alumni Association’s Nita M. Landrum Award, which recognizes alumni or friends who have provided sustained volunteer service for the betterment of the Alumni Association or FHSU, especially in their home communities or at any local level.
Nancy Costigan Talbott, Hays, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated 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.
One alumnus, Dr. Eric Arubayi ’76, ’78, Warri, Nigeria, will receive FHSU’s Presidential Award, the university’s most distinguished recognition, given by the Office of the President to recognize substantial contributions to the university through professional and personal achievements.
Dr. Marcia Bannister
Dr. Marcia (Swenson) Bannister graduated from FHSU with a B.S. in elementary education in 1961 and an M.S. in 1962 in speech therapy. Her professional career began in 1959 teaching third grade. From 1963 to 1968, she provided speech therapy services for one of the state's first rural cooperatives. She earned a doctorate in speech pathology from the University of Kansas in 1973, having joined the FHSU faculty in 1969. She retired in 2004 as chair of and professor in the Department of Communication Disorders.
Her leadership in cooperation with departmental colleagues brought accreditation to the speech-language program, enhancing quality and growth. At the time of her retirement, colleagues created the Marcia Bannister Fund for Excellence in recognition of her dedication to the department and her leadership.
During her career, Bannister received many awards and honors. In 1971, she was named one of the Outstanding Women of America. Over her teaching career she received multiple nominations for the FHSU Pilot Award and was honored as a "Top Prof" by Mortar Board. In 2002, she received the Presidential Service Award from Phi Kappa Phi, an honorary for academic excellence in all disciplines. Bannister was recognized by the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 1987 for exemplary service as president and, in 1993, received its honors for ongoing dedicated service and leadership. In 2002, she was in the first cadre earning national recognition as a fluency disorders specialist.
She has been a tireless worker in maintaining loyalty of speech-language pathology alumni through FHSU continuing education programs, newsletters and FHSU Foundation Tiger Call telethons. She has served on numerous governance councils and committees charged with vision as the university moved toward the 21st century. She served a two-year term on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Easter Seal Foundation and a 10-year term on the board of Youthville, Kansas’ largest child service agency.
She is a member of the President's Club Round Table for FHSU and a Platinum member on FHSU's Wall of Fame. She holds life membership in the FHSU Alumni Association and is also a Sustaining Member of the Altar Foundation at First United Methodist Church of Hays.
L. Kent Needham
L. Kent Needham graduated from FHSU with a B.S. in business administration in 1975 and from Wichita State University in 1976 with an M.B.A. In 1984, Needham graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado, Boulder, and is currently chairman, president and CEO of First Security Bank, Overbrook.
From 1977 to 1980, he was an assistant vice president of Western National Bank, Amarillo, Texas, and helped take a troubled and unprofitable institution to profitability. Needham served as executive vice president and director of Farmers Bank and Trust, Great Bend, from 1980 until 1992. During the tumultuous financial times of the '80s, the bank grew from $18 million in assets to $116 million. From 1993 to 2007, he was president, CEO and director of First State Bank and Trust in Tonganoxie. Through strategic purchases, de novo branching and the assistance of a quality senior management team, a $50 million bank with two locations grew into a $325 million institution with eight locations. Needham and his wife, Terry, purchased First Security Bank in 2007, which has grown from $22.8 million to $54 million in assets.
Needham, a member of the FHSU Foundation Board of Trustees, 2009-2013, serves on its Executive Council and Finance Committee. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Manhattan Christian College and serves on its executive committee.
Throughout his career, Needham has been very active in serving his industry as chair of the Kansas Bankers Association, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado and as a member of the Administrative Committee of the America’s Community Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association in Washington, D.C. He has also worked with the Financial Services Volunteer Corporation in New York, traveling to Russia to share his knowledge of strategic planning with Russian bankers in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Needham has served in several capacities within the Masonic fraternity, including Grand Master of Masons in Kansas, Kansas Masonic Foundation Board of Trustees and Kansas Masonic Home Board of Directors.
He actively serves the communities where he has lived through local churches and activities such as scouting, economic development, legislative affairs, the Chamber of Commerce, foundations, civic groups, school districts and leadership initiatives.
Dr. John Dorsch
Dr. John Dorsch graduated from FHSU in 1976 with a B.S. in general science. He won the Torch Award for outstanding graduating senior in 1976 and, in 1986, received a Young Alumni Award from the Alumni Association. He is an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita. He earned his M.D. at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, in 1979 and served his residency in family medicine at Wesley Medical Center, Wichita.
He was in private practice in Hays from 1982 to 1988, when he joined the faculty of the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program, Wichita. In 1996, he became the director of pre-doctoral education in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the KU School of Medicine in Wichita. From 1997 to 1998, he was again on the faculty of the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program before taking his current position.
He oversees the fourth-year medical student family medicine rural rotations, subinternships and electives. He also teaches third-year medical students during the family medicine and ambulatory medicine/geriatrics clerkships and resident physicians in the family medicine residency program at Wesley Medical Center and at Salina's Smoky Hill.
Dorsch was inducted into the KU School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society in 2007. He received the Victor North Award for Outstanding Teaching in Family Medicine three times at St. Joseph/Via Christi and an Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award from the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. He is the only faculty member in Kansas who has won teaching awards at two separate residency programs, having also twice won the Family Medicine Teacher of the Year Award at the Wesley Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program.
He is also very active in his community through such endeavors as scouting, serving as chair of the South Winds District of the Boy Scouts of America and as chair for fundraising for the Wheatland District of the BSA. He has also been a scoutmaster and den leader. In 2010, he was inducted into the BSA's 100th Anniversary National Hall of Leadership.
Dr. Eric A. Heinze
Dr. Eric A. Heinze, the Young Alumni Award winner, graduated from FHSU with a B.A. in political science in 1999. At Fort Hays State, he was a member of the honor societies of Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha. He earned a master’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech in 2001 and a Ph.D. in political science in 2005 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he specialized in international relations and international human rights. He also studied international human rights and humanitarian law at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Heinze is currently an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma with a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and the Department of International and Area Studies. He serves as director of graduate studies for the College of International Studies and is also an instructor for the OU College of Continuing Education, for whom he teaches at various U.S. military installations in the United States and Europe.
He is the author of the book "Waging Humanitarian War: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Humanitarian Intervention," co-editor of "Ethics, Authority, and War: Non-State Actors and the Just War Tradition," and editor of "Justice, Sustainability, and Security: Global Ethics for the 21st Century." He is currently writing a book on the ethics and politics of global violence.
He has published more than 25 scholarly articles and book chapters in such journals as the Review of International Studies, Political Science Quarterly, the International Journal of Human Rights and the Journal of Military Ethics.
In 2007, he was a member of the delegation of young American scholars to the Republic of China. In 2009, he was a Foundation for the Defense of Democracies faculty fellow based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and in 2011, he received OU's Gary B. Cohen Distinguished Faculty Award.
He is a member of the International Studies Association, the American Political Science Association and the American Society of International Law. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Nations Association, Greater Oklahoma City Chapter.
Harry A. Watts
Harry A. Watts graduated from FHSU in 1976 with a B.S. in biology. He is the director of governmental relations for Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan. Before joining Kansas Farm Bureau, Watts served the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce as vice president for economic development. Prior to joining the chamber, he accumulated more than two decades of hands-on leadership and experience in the public policy arena, having led a number of external affairs functions with the former Southwestern Bell Telephone Company/SBC Corporation.
He received a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Grant during his FHSU studies. He has been a lifelong supporter of the university, providing extensive service through his volunteer work to the FHSU Alumni Association and the Foundation. For this work and for many other charitable and civic works, he is being honored with the Nita M. Landrum award.
Watts was a member of the FHSU Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1988-1992, including serving as president from 1990-1991. He is a life member of the FHSU Alumni Association and was instrumental in growing the membership base and laying the groundwork for the new alumni/endowment center building during his presidency.
He has hosted numerous Tiger pre-game receptions and gatherings, both in and outside of Kansas, generating Tiger excitement for all in attendance. He hosted a Tiger golf tournament, advocated for FHSU in the legislative support network, and participated in and raised sponsorship funding for the FHSU Student Recognition Program.
He was an instrumental presenter at the Alumni Leadership Conference held on campus in 1991. Watts was an active member of the Foundation's Executive Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2011, serving three full terms. He served on the Foundation Executive Committee from 2008 to 2011 and as chair of the Development Committee from 2009 to 2011.
Nancy Costigan Talbott
Distinguished Service Award winner Nancy Costigan Talbott graduated from FHSU with a B.S. in elementary education in 1963 and an M.S. in communication in 1991. She is a retired teacher. Her service to humanity includes service on the Hays Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors and the board of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science. She has served children through her teaching and has made the case for math and science at local, state, regional and national conferences, speaking at professional gatherings, facilitating workshops and as an in-service developer.
She presented "Physics is Fun" to civic groups and to Boy Scouts, conducted science workshops at area schools and emceed the Governor's Scholar Award Program. She established the Jim Costigan FHSU Memorial Scholarship and has been a member of the FHSU Alumni Association Board of Directors for three years. She was a member of the Red Cross Board of Directors for five years and is a six-year member of the Screening Committee for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
She was the Kansas Teacher of the Year in 1994, a Milken National Educator in 1993, a recipient of the Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching from U.S. Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum in 1993, a Christa McAuliffe Fellow from 1990 to 1991 and an Eisenhower Grant winner in 1991, 1992 and 1996.
She currently serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Chaumont Homeowners Association. For 12 years, she has been an active member of Chapter IH of P.E.O. and is a 16-year member of the Smoky Hill Ladies Golf Association.
She has been a national representative for and a member of local and state chapters of the National Education Association and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the collegiate honor society dedicated to the recognition and promotion of academic excellence in all disciplines.
For Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, she is a 20-year Eucharistic minister and an 18-year Adoration Chapel volunteer and has served two terms on the Bishop’s Advisory Council. She has also served as president of the Board of Directors for the Parish Council.
Dr. Eric Arubayi
Presidential Award winner Dr. Eric Arubayi graduated from FHSU with an M.S. in education administration in 1976 and an education specialist degree in education administration-superintendent in 1978. His bachelor’s degree, a B.S. in biology, was earned in 1974 at New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas. His doctorate from Kansas State University, Manhattan, was in 1979.
He is president and a professor of education administration and planning at Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. The university has 35,000 students, 94 academic departments, 800 professors and 3,000 support staff. He began his career at Delta State in 1992 as a professor and dean of education faculty. He became deputy vice-chancellor in 1993 and was appointed director of external degree programs in 1996.
He has also taught as a secondary school teacher for Urhobo College, Warri, Nigeria; for Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; and for the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Arubayi has written one book, "Toward Efficiency in School Administration," co-written three others and wrote chapters for eight others. He has also published in national and international journals and has written 19 technical reports. His resume includes 20 appointments by the national and state governments and 22 national and international consultancies for entities such as the World Bank, UNESCO, Shell Petroleum and the International Development and Green Resources Institute as well as for state and national bodies in Nigeria.
He has served as an external examiner for a dozen universities and colleges and as an editor-in-chief or consulting editor for 16 academic and scholarly journals. His awards and commendations include a Merit Award from the Delta state government for fighting examination malpractice in Nigeria and a commendation from the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria for his work supervising Ph.D. and master’s degree candidates.
His community work includes his church council and membership in the Uvwie Club and Uvwie Improvement Development Union. Uvwie is a local government area, one of the Urhobo tribal kingdoms of southern Nigeria. Arubayi has a Merit Award from the Uvwie Development Union.
The FHSU Alumni Association, established in 1916, is dedicated to identifying and serving the needs of 52,000 graduates living throughout the United States and 73 foreign countries. For more information, visit www.goforthaysstate.com, email email@example.com or call 785-628-4430 or toll free, 888-351-3591.