News & Events




Press Release



August 9, 2012

Cowley employees honored during In-Service


awardOn the day the faculty returned to Cowley College’s main campus in Arkansas City, the school took time to recognize the stellar work done by its employees during the All Employee Meeting held Thursday in the Earle N. Wright Community Room.

Recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty, Natural Science Department instructor Melinda Neal was named the recipient of the college’s Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence. Thanks to the generous support of CornerBank, Neal will receive $2,000 a year for each of the next two years. A total of $500 will be used for professional development, while the other $1,500 is a cash stipend.

CornerBank president/CEO Bruce Schwyhart and Joyce McArtor, Community Bank President for CornerBank in Arkansas City, were on hand to present Neal with the award.

Neal, who has been employed at Cowley since 2001 and teaches Principles of Biology and General Chemistry, was surprised to hear her name called as the recipient of the Endowed Chair.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Neal said. “I look up to the predecessors of this award, they are all top notch instructors.”

Neal previously received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2008 and was the recipient of the March, 2008 Horizon Award Faculty Advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region. She also received the March, 2009 Paragon Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region, and was the recipient of the March, 2008 and 2010 Honorable Mention Paragon Advisor  Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region.

While serving as the PTK co-advisor, the club has received numerous awards and achieved Five Star status several times.

Admissions director Lory West then announced Bryan McChesney, coordinator/ITV Technology Specialist, as the recipient of the Grassroots Recruitment Award. The award was presented to McChesney in honor of his dedication to the recruitment of outstanding students.

McChesney received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2001 and is a member of the Temporal Mechanics Union percussion ensemble.

It was then time to award the Ben LeClair Staff Excellence Award, which is presented in honor of Benny Joe “Ben” LeClair, long time employee of Cowley College, who died February 7, 2011. He was a highly respected, long-time employee of Cowley College.

LeClair was a valuable staff member who was dedicated to the continual pursuit of excellence by embracing the four Core Values of Cowley College: People, Accountability, Integrity and Leadership.  He performed his daily duties with integrity and a smile and lead by example.  

This year’s recipient of the award was director of purchasing Larry Swaim, who has been employed at the college in a variety of roles for the past 28 years.

Like LeClair, Swaim shuns the spotlight and takes great pride in his work. His effectiveness as director of purchasing has saved the college several million dollars.

The final recognition went to Jody Arnett, administrative assistant to the executive vice president of business services, for her leadership and charity fundraising. Arnett served as the team captain for the Cowley College Relay For Life team and the corporate sponsor Chair. Her work with the event helped Cowley College’s Relay for Life team be recognized as the top fundraising group at the event held in June.