Don Volker Leadership Award

The Don Volker Leadership Award was established by the 1983 Class of Leadership Lawrence to honor a Lawrence leader in memory of Don Volker.

Don Volker was the primary force in establishing the Leadership Lawrence program and served as its first chairman until his death in December 1982 during the program year of the first Leadership Lawrence class. The 1983 Class contributed funds to provide a permanent plaque to which the name of each year’s honoree can be added, plus an individual award for the first year’s recipient, Nelson Krueger. It was the expressed hope of the class that each future Leadership Lawrence Class would select a person to be honored with this award at the class graduation ceremony. The members of the initial class, who benefited from Don Volker’s participation in the early class sessions before his death, suggested the following criteria for the selection:  The person honored by the Don Volker Leadership Award need not be connected in any way with the Leadership Lawrence program. The man or woman should be a leader in Lawrence who demonstrates the enthusiasm that surrounded Don Volker for projects, people and Lawrence. The recipient should have the ability to instill in other people the belief in their own ability to succeed.

2017 DeBarre Johnson – DH Pace

2016 Elizabeth Keever – Just Food

2015 Linda Clay – Lawrence Public Library

2014 Amber Nickel – Pawsh Wash

2013 Sarajane Scott Koch – Scott Temperature Equipment Co.

2012 Sue Hack – Leadership Lawrence

2011 Brad Finkeldei – Stevens & Brand LLP

2010 David Ambler – University of Kansas, retired

2009 The late Lt. David K. Dillon – Douglas County Sheriff’s Department

2008 Shirley Martin-Smith – Adecco and Martin Personnel Services

2007 Janet Murphy – Boys & Girls Club

2006 Lynne Green – Van Go Mobile Arts

2005 Don Gardner – Community Volunteer

2004 Paula Phillips – Douglas County Emergency Preparedness

2003 Judy Wright – KU Endowment Association

2002 John Tacha – Bureau of Lectures & Concert Artists, Inc.

2001 Sandra Shaw – Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

2000 Jo Bryant – Director, United Way of Douglas County

1999 Steve Jansen – Director, Watkins Community Museum

1998 Barbara Ballard – Assistant Dean of Student Life, KU

1997 Jean Shepherd – Judge, Douglas County

1996 Bob Johnson, Sr. – Charlton-Manley, Inc.

1995 Dr. Emily Taylor – Former Dean of Women, KU

1994 Charley and Tensie Oldfather – Actor, former KU Professor of Law

1993 Alice Fowler – Lawrence Fire Department

1992 Deanell Tacha – Judge, US Court of Appeals

1991 Hank Booth – General Manager, Lawrence Broadcasters, Inc.

1990 Sandy Praeger – VP of Community Affairs Douglas County Bank

1989 Bob Billings – President, Alvamar, Inc.

1988 Bob Stephen – President, Stephens Real Estate

1987 Arden Booth – President, Lawrence Broadcasters, Inc.

1986 Nancy Hambleton – Community Volunteer

1985 Joel Jacobs – Resident Manager, FMC Corporation

1984 Earl VanMeter – Director, Douglas County Extension Service

1983 Nelson Krueger – Secretary’s Representative, United States Department of Labor


Distinguished Alumni Award

This community leadership award, to be presented annually by the Leadership Lawrence Advisory Board of Directors, recognizes an alumnus of the Leadership Lawrence program who exemplifies the spirit and goals of the program.  The recipient should demonstrate civic involvement and trusteeship through the investment of personal time and talent to strengthen the Lawrence/Douglas County area.

2016 – Diane Stoddard – City of Lawrence

2015 – Reggie Robinson – University of Kansas

2014 Evan Ice – Stevens & Brand, L.L.P.

2013 Matt Llewellyn – 23rd Street Brewery

2012 Jana Dawson – CornerBank

2011 Charles Branson – Douglas County District Attorney

2010 John Ross – Laser Logic

2009 Brad Finkeldei – Stevens & Brand, L.L.P.

2008 Al Hack – CEK Insurance

2007 Jo Bryant – United Way of Douglas County

2006 Pat Flavin – Lawrence Realty Associates

2005 Judy Wright – KU Chancellor’s Club

2004 Mark Buhler – Stephens Real Estate

2003 Julie Love – Intrust Bank

2002 Nancy Longhurst – Chamber of Commerce

2001 Susan Hadl – Lawrence Police Department

2000 Charlie Becker – Campbell Becker

1999 Larry McElwain – Warren McElwain Mortuary

1998 Sarah Jane Russell – GaDugi Center


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