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September 30, 2011

Schears recognized for outstanding leadership in community service


awardServing as the Board Chair for Leadership Cowley County, Ben Schears hopes to make individuals in the county aware of the opportunities to become more involved in civic life. Due to his active community involvement, Schears was the recent recipient of the Kansas Community Leadership Initiative Leader-Full Community Award presented by the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development with Kansas State University and the Kansas Health Foundation at a recent Kansas Leadership Forum gathering held at the Barns at Timber Creek.

The award recognizes outstanding leadership in community service. As the recipient of the award, Schears will be given $1,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.

Janet Siebert, CEO/President of the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce, nominated Schears for the award.

“We see a lot of potential in Ben’s leadership,” Siebert said. “We had an opportunity to nominate someone in our community and Ben met all of the requirements.”

Schears, who was raised in Olpe, KS, is the vice president for institutional advancement at Cowley College. He came to Arkansas City in 1999, after working for six summers at Camp Quaker Haven, to attend Cowley College and excelled at the school. He was named the October Student of the Month during the 2000-2001 academic year and was a member of Concert Choir, IMPACT, Act One, Campus Christian Fellowship, and served as a Student Ambassador. He also tutored computer students for the IMPACT program, was a member of Volunteers Learning Through Service, and was on the Debate/Forensics team, while also serving as a work-study student for the Computer Graphic Arts program.

He went on to graduate Cum Laude from Emporia State University in 2003 and received his Master’s Degree from the school in 2006.

Schears returned to Cowley College in 2003 to work in the admissions department and served as the school’s admissions director prior to his current role as vice president of institutional advancement.
His love for Cowley College and the Arkansas City community is what drew him back.

“Even though I was not raised here, the college played a huge role in my personal development and Ark City has become my families home,” Schears said. “I love being here and enjoy being able to help around the community wherever I can.”

 Schears and his wife, Rachel, have five children, Natalie 7, Noah 6, Nate 6, Sydney 5, and Audrey 4. Along with serving as Board Chair for Leadership Cowley County, Schears has spent four years working with the organization. He was also recently selected to serve as the president for the Adams Elementary Site Council.

“It is important to me that my children grow up in a community that is prospering and I feel that is the case here in Ark City,” Schears said. “I believe if we are all on the same page, amazing things can happen all across Cowley County.”

Schears’ work with Leadership Cowley County has opened his eyes to some wonderful treasures around the county.

“Being involved with the program has been a blessing and I’ve met many wonderful people from around the county,” Schears said.

Schears was the recipient of the 2009 Young Achiever Award by the Cowley County Endowment Association, and was presented the 2005 Beth Tedrow Outstanding New Professional Award by the Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

He plans to use the $1,000 award to set up a fund at Cowley College that will engage college students and young adults to get involved with civic organizations.

“Nationwide civic organizations are struggling to attract young men and women into their groups,” Schears said. “I hope this will be a way to assist them in making this connection right here in Cowley County.”

Pictured: Ben Schears, left, receives the Kansas Community Leadership Initiative Leader-Full Community Award from Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development.