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Press Release



May 11, 2005

College's senior citizens program presents awards to four more


Margaret Neal, coordinator of the Institute of Lifetime Learning, presents Conrad Jimison with a miniature tiger trophy for being named a recipient of the Mary Margaret Williams Award during the Institute's spring picnic. Jimison was one of four individuals who were given the award this spring.

Four people who have made lasting contributions to Cowley College’s Institute of Lifetime Learning were honored Tuesday during the program’s annual spring picnic.

Conrad Jimison, Bill and Tommye Stewart, and Ruth Bedell were presented with the Mary Margaret Williams Award, given to individuals for their outstanding service to the Institute, a program for men and women age 50 and over.

Six people were honored in December during the Institute’s Christmas luncheon. Myrtle Bly and Juanita and Dorothea Barkley, all of Arkansas City, were honored. Carriasco McGilbra, Chris Englis, and Darlene Brown were presented the award posthumously.

The award is named for Williams, the woman who started the program in 1974 at age 63. She retired in May 1997, just short of her 86th birthday, after 42 years of service to the college. Williams died Sept. 13, 2004, in Lawrence.

“I think this is a good way to remember Mary Margaret and the people who have given so much to the program,” said Margaret Neal, coordinator of the Institute. “The group wanted to do something in memory of Mary Margaret. We thought this was the best thing to do.”

In time, the award will be presented annually. A plaque with recipients’ names hangs in Neal’s office in Ireland Hall.

The Stewarts have been active in the Institute for many years. Bill has taught many computer classes, Write Your Life, genealogy, and bridge classes. He also served as chairman of the board for many years. Tommye always served as Bill’s assistant, and both have been very active in the Institute’s Readers’ Theatre program.

Jimison, Cowley’s vice president of administration who is retiring at the end of June after 37 years of service, also has been a long-time supporter of the program.

“This program has been the best in the state of its kind for a long time,” Jimison said.

Bedell, of Arkansas City, has participated in ILL classes and has served on the Board.

McGilbra spent 44 years in education, including 15 at Cowley, where he was a well-respected employee. He was responsible for the placement of audio-visual equipment in classrooms and ensuring that equipment was properly placed for state and national presentations. In his spare time, he loved photography. He retired June 29, 1995, but remained very active in the Institute. He died on June 25, 2002.

Englis was a 20-year member of the Institute’s Board and was active in the Readers’ Theatre group. She also wrote poetry.

Brown was a long-time Board member who also taught classes. Neal also said of Brown, “She helped me out a lot.”

Also awarded in December were Bly, who served on the Board and was active in programs for many years, and the Barkleys. They, too, served on the Board and taught classes. “They were very good workers,” Neal said. Bly and the Barkleys live in Arkansas City.