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By Ernie W. Webb III | firstname.lastname@example.org
Forty years. That amount of time was a common theme April 27 during the Alumni Awards banquet at Washburn’s Memorial Union.
Three of the four Awards recipients have had ties to the university spanning several decades, including Carol (Lyon) Vogel and Cynthia (Schmidt) Heath. Both women began attending Washburn in the 1960s and continue to serve the university to this day.
Vogel, who received the Distinguished Service Award, is retiring this year after 44 years as an instructor of German and director of equal opportunity.
The Topeka native grew up across the street from Washburn, was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta as a student and began working at Washburn in 1969.
“I think it is safe to say that Washburn IS my career and inseparable from my life,” said Vogel, ba ’67, Topeka.
Heath, a national champion gymnast at Washburn, has carved a path in multiple fields, first as a social sciences teacher and currently as vice president of executive compensation for Emerson Electric in St. Louis. She has also worked as an attorney.
The Lilla Day Monroe Award recipient has made a significant impact at Washburn as a Foundation trustee and longtime donor.
Heath was one of two honorees who had a surprise guest when friend Carol Rogers attended the event.
“Washburn provided the opportunity to participate in many activities and reinforced my competitive drive, especially through gymnastics,” said Heath, ba ’71, Chesterfield, Mo. “Both the academic and athletic experiences have served me well over the years.”
The other Award recipient with a surprise guest was longtime professor of finance Gary Baker, whose twin brother Barry made the trip to Topeka for the event.
Gary Baker has been a professor at Washburn for 38 years and impacted thousands of students in the School of Business.
“The students have been inspirational,” said Baker, Topeka. “Over the years, I taught at the graduate and undergraduate level and have come to realize I most enjoy teaching the introductory level finance class, where you see the finance light go on and may hear, ‘Oh, I get it.’”
Baker, whose company included about 20 family members, has served Washburn as a pilot in the Angel Flight program had as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts.
While the other honoree hasn’t clocked 40 years of service to Washburn, she has made a significant impact in a short period of time.
Ingrid Bego, who received the Graduate of the Last Decade Award, is an assistant professor of political science at Hastings College in Hastings, Neb.
“For me personally, Washburn is the cornerstone of who I am today professionally, but also in my personal life,” said Bego, ba ’03.
The native of Berat, Albania, received three degrees at Washburn, earning a bachelor of arts in German, Spanish and political science.
In addition to teaching at Hastings College, she serves on multiple boards and is involved in several volunteer endeavors.
In November, a nominating committee selected by the Washburn Alumni Association board of directors selects candidates for four Alumni Awards: Distinguished Service Award, Monroe Award, Ritchie Award and GOLD Award.
After approval by the board, the award recipients are honored at a banquet during alumni weekend.
The board welcomes your suggestions for award winners. Please submit names via email by Oct. 31.