Awards Recipients 2010

FHSU Alumni Association Awards

Year of the Tiger 2010

Each year, the FHSU Alumni Association presents accomplished alumni and friends with awards in honor of their achievements and service.  At Homecoming, four categories of awards are given:

  • Alumni Achievement
  • Young Alumni
  • Distinguished Service
  • Nita M. Landrum

The Alumni Association considers the awards program one of its finest endeavors.  We congratulate the 2010 award recipients for their accomplishments in life and careers.

Alumni Achievement Award

The Alumni Achievement Award honors graduates who have made outstanding contributions in service to their community, state or nation as citizens, in chosen fields, educational areas, and through philanthropic activities and community betterment.

Jim W. Nokes '68Jim W. Nokes

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 was a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the American Petroleum Institute Board of Directors, the Yellowstone Park Foundation Board and the Advisory Board of Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas Inc. He is actively involved in the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, which distributes more than $65 million to the needy in the Houston area. He is a fan and supporter of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and was instrumental in developing the Conoco Rodeo Run, which raised more than $1 million for the Rodeo Educational Fund. Nokes is also a long-time volunteer with ConocoPhillips’ community revitalization project in the historic Fifth Ward of Houston neighborhood. Jim is currently a Board Member of Tesoro Corporation, Albemarle Corporation, and Post Oak Bank.

Nokes is a member of the United Methodist Church, Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society, and is a life member of the FHSU Alumni Association.

“Jim Nokes has been a valuable asset to ConocoPhillips for nearly four decades,” said Jim Mulva, chair and CEO of Conoco Phillips. “His vision, drive and leadership have transformed the company’s downstream operations into a world-scale business with industry-leading returns.”

He has maintained a healthy perspective of his career successes and remains a modest person involved in company, community and philanthropic efforts to provide opportunities for education and improvement in quality of life.

He and his wife, Glennis (Huffman) Nokes, raised three children, Rita, Coye and Adam.

Dr. Larry R. Trussell ’65, ’66Dr. Larry R. Trussell

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, Omaha Business Review, AACSB Bulletin, The National Public Accountant, Florida CPA, 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 is past president of the Board of Directors of the Millard Education Foundation, past district governor for Rotary International and has served on the International Trade Committee for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. He also served as vice chair of the Cass County Economic Development Corporation, is a past wise master of the Scottish Rite Chapter of Rose Croix, and is the past Chairman of the Board for the Omaha - Council Bluffs Metropolitan YMCA. In January 2010, Trussell completed a term as chair of the Board of Directors of the Omaha Home for Boys and continues today as a board member. He is a member of the Mizpah Masonic Lodge.

“Larry has a long and distinguished career as an educator, scholar, administrator, and as a civic leader,” said Dr. B.J. Reed ’71, ’72, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNO. “Since Dr. Trussell’s retirement, he has continued to be engaged in the community, specifically as a board member and president of the Board of Directors of the Omaha Home for Boys, which serves youth who come from troubled backgrounds throughout Omaha and the Midwest. I have worked directly with Larry for a number of years with the Home for Boys, and it is truly an exceptional contribution.”

Trussell and his wife, Sharon, raised two daughters, Christina and Michelle.

Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award recognizes those early in their careers who have had outstanding achievements and recent accomplishments.  It is based upon professional and educational achievement, community activities, honors and awards received, and other items of merit since graduation. 

Michael D. Schwanke '99Michael D. Schwanke

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.

His national Edward R. Murrow Award came in 2003 for his coverage of Jonathan and Reginald Carr, two brothers sentenced to death for a killing spree in Wichita. This year, he won a regional Murrow Award for investigative reporting on Small Smiles, a dental office performing unnecessary, detrimental work on children.

The Small Smiles investigation began with a request from a Wichita family who believed their daughter had received unnecessary and abusive dental work at the clinic. Schwanke’s investigation uncovered hundreds of children who endured unnecessary and expensive treatments. A year after the first report, federal authorities reached a $25 million settlement for Medicaid fraud. The agreement also required the clinic owners to pay the children affected.

“Michael has said that FHSU was ahead of its time in the 1990s – preparing students for the Web and new media before most of us grasped its significance. This foundation prepared him well in our organization,” said Joan M. Barrett, president and general manager of Sunflower Broadcasting Inc. “He has been one of our leaders with new technology, always looking for a new way to reach out to our viewers and gather news. He utilizes his laptop for field editing and reporting. When we recently purchased iPhones for our reporters, Michael led the way with stories, pictures and tweets.”

Schwanke and his wife, Tenille, have two daughters, Jorja and Jayda.

Dr. Stacey L. Smith ’00Dr. Stacey L. Smith

Dr. Stacey Smith, Hays, graduated from FHSU in 2000 with two degrees, a Bachelor of Business Administration in management and a B.S. 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. She was 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.

As a doctoral student at Purdue, she was named her department’s Outstanding Doctoral Student in 2008. That same year, her dissertation was nominated for the university-wide Purdue Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. In 2006, she was one of only four, out of 2,000 graduate instructors, to win the Purdue Graduate School Excellence in University-wide Teaching Award. That same year she was named the winner of the Outstanding Hospitality and Tourism Management Department Graduate Student Teaching Award.

During her time with the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, she was an Award of Excellence winner and a nominee for Hyatt’s Manager of the Quarter Award.

“Dr. Smith is an outstanding faculty member in the field of hospitality and tourism management,” said Dr. Sheryl Kline, now associate dean of the College of Hospitality Retail and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina, who was Smith’s supervisor at Purdue.

“In a very short time, she has established a national reputation as an expert in the field of crisis management in the meeting planning industry,” said Kline. “As a young faculty member, she has quickly established herself as a recognized expert in this area of research.”

Her career at FHSU began in Fall 2008, when she became an assistant professor and director of the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program within 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 ’01, are life members of the FHSU Alumni Association. They have a son, Jalen, and a daughter, Lauren.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals who have demonstrated a continuing concern for humanity at a universal, national, state or community level; who support spiritual, cultural, and educational objectives; who endorse and exemplify the highest standards of character and personal attributes; and the continuing concern for improving the quality of life.

Dr. Robert L. Sandmeyer '56Dr. Robert L. Sandmeyer

Dr. Robert Sandmeyer, Stillwater, Okla., 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, in 1958 and 1962, respectively.

During his career, he was an instructor at FHSU in 1957 and 1958 and at Iowa State University, Ames, from 1958-59. 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 assistant professor, associate professor and professor, a rank he attained in 1970. He has enjoyed emeritus status since 1994. During his time at Oklahoma State, he also filled several other positions. He was director of the Manpower Research and Training Center from 1966 to 1967; director of business and economic research from 1975 to 1978; dean of the College of Business Administration from 1977 to 1994; dean emeritus of the Spears School of Business from 1994 to the present; interim vice president of University Relations and Public Affairs for several months in 1989; and interim director of University Extension from 1989 to 1990.

Since 2008, he has been the Henry G. Bennett Fellow in the School of International Studies. He also was an advisor to the College of Business Sciences at United Arab Emirates University from 1994 to 2006 and was founding dean of the College of Business Sciences at Zayed University, United Arab Emirates, from 1999 to 2000. He was also an advisor for graduate and executive education programs at Zayed from 2000 to 2006.

Sandmeyer has served on two corporate boards, the Reading and Bates Corp. and R&B Falcon Corp., and on numerous academic and public service boards, including the Association to Advance Schools of Business International; the Southern Economic Association Executive Committee; the Mid-Continent Research and Development Council; the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education; the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce; and the Stillwater United Way. He has had numerous consulting appointments, including the NASA-funded Technology Use Studies Center, the Kerr Foundation Inc., Fidelity Bank N.A., and the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Sandmeyer has numerous publications, presentations, grants, and contracts to his credit.

He is a life member of the FHSU Alumni Association and is a past winner of an FHSU Alumni Achievement Award. In October 2004, Sandmeyer was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. He is also in the Hall of Fame of the College of Business Administration at Oklahoma State.

“Dr. Sandmeyer has rendered distinguished service at the local, state, national and international levels,” said Dr. Richard Poole, vice president emeritus and Regents Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Oklahoma State. “His career includes work and public service in education, business, government, the military and the nonprofit sector.”

Sandmeyer and his wife, Loretta, raised four children, Karen, Bridgit, Barbara ’86 , and Robert.

Nita M. Landrum Award

The Nita M. Landrum Award recognizes alumni or friends who have provided sustained volunteer service for the betterment of the Alumni Association.

Warren “Whitey” Alpers ’57, ’63Warren “Whitey” Alpers

Warren “Whitey” Alpers, Hutchinson, graduated from FHSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and industrial arts in 1957 and with a Masters 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 the next 22 years, until retiring in 1995.

Alpers holds membership in the National Education Association; the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education and Dance (in 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 is a lifetime member of the FHSU Alumni Association and served on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1998. He was instrumental in the development of the FHSU Reno County Alumni Chapter and, today, serves as an active member of the FHSU Half Century Club Board of Directors.

His volunteer efforts are far reaching. He chaired a Hutchinson Public School Bond Election; worked as a Boy Scout leader; served on the board of the American Heart Association; has been a board member of the Salvation Army and served on its fundraising committee for a new building; served on the board of Hospice of Reno County; served on the Pastor-Parish Committee of Trinity United Methodist Church, and was a trustee of the church.

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. From the Reno County Food Bank, he has a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Accomplishments as that organization’s president. In 2003, the city of Hutchinson presented him with the Community Leadership Award for service and contributions to the people of Hutchinson.

In addition to coaching and teaching, Alpers has been instrumental in organizing Kansas State High School 3A basketball tournament each year and assisting with the state football championships. He has been a part of the National Junior College Basketball Tournament by lining up all the practice facilities for the 16 teams who qualify for the tournament each year. He was also active in Special Olympics.

“In Hutchinson, he is known as Mr. Fort Hays State," said Roger Franke, Hutchinson. “He has been the main contact person whenever any alumni meetings, presidential media days, fair booths or other sojourns have taken place here in Hutchinson.”

Alpers and his wife, Shirley ’56 are life members of the FHSU Alumni Association. They have two sons, Mike ’82 and Todd.

View Past Alumni Awards Winners