New Dining Facility
Some people can keep a secret at Cowley. No more than 20 people had known for months the man whose name would be placed on the new dining facility at the college. An emotional Dr. Pat McAtee sat in disbelief as Board of Trustee Chair Lee Gregg Jr. read a list of McAtee's accomplishments during his 14-year tenure at Cowley.
Once McAtee composed himself enough to say a few words, he was obviously overcome with surprise. "This is a tremendous honor for me," McAtee said before an Endowment Association Banquet audience of more than 200 people on Oct. 16. "This is especially rewarding to me because, as many of you know, my mom and dad were in the restaurant business for many years. To have this facility named after me is very special." And with that, the Patrick J. McAtee Dining Center officially was dedicated.
Highlights from McAtee's career at Cowley:
* The college has grown from a full-time equivalent enrollment of 800 to more than 2,500 today.
* Off-campus sites in the college's northern service area, including Wichita and Mulvane, have been established under his leadership.
* On the main campus, facilities he has seen become reality include the Brown Center for Arts, Sciences and Technology; the Shipping and Receiving building; two residence halls; and the dining center.
* He has been the driving force behind the college's increase in business and industry training hours from 6,500 a year when he arrived, to more than 200,000.
*During his tenure, the college has received several awards for excellence, including Quantum Leap Toward Excellence awards in 1992 and 1994 from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas; the Outstanding Business & Industry Partnership Award from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce in 1993; the Kansas Award for Excellence Level II in 1997 and 1998, and KAE's highest award, Level III, in 1999.
* He has placed the college in unique partnerships with business and industry, including the formation of a model air-frame and powerplant technology program for General Electric, and a manufacturing technology program for Boeing.
"We think we have been able to keep this dedication a secret, until now," Gregg said. McAtee then said a few words. Besides his wife Sandy, Danny, one of McAtee's two sons, also was in attendance, as was one brother, Lew and wife Cindy.