Alumni Fellows

2014 Alumni Fellows Luncheon
School of Nursing Fellow Carrie Saia

The Alumni Association honored the eight 2014 Fellows during a Nov. 14 luncheon.

Read the story
Washburn Alumni Association Membership
Membership button

Show your Ichabod Pride by joining the Washburn Alumni Association or renewing your membership. You'll receive numerous benefits as a member and be giving back to the University.

Join or renew now!
Past honorees

The Alumni Association has honored dozens of alumni in the Fellows program through the years.

View the list
2014 Program
2014 Fellows program

The Alumni Association has honored eight Fellows in 2014. Read about each in the luncheon program.

Read the program
2013 Alumni Fellows
2013 Fellow Sue Parks and family

The 2013 Alumni Fellows included Sue Parks from the School of Applied Studies. Parks received her degree through Washburn's distance learning program in the early 1990s and was making her first trip to Washburn. Read more about Parks and the other Alumni Fellows from 2013.

About the 2013 Fellows
Fellows Photos
John Haverty

Check out our Facebook page for photos from the 2013 Alumni Fellows luncheon.

View the photos
Fellows Vdeos

If you missed the luncheon, you can watch much of the event on our YouTube page.

View the videos
2012 Fellows
Eric Slusser and President Farley

The Alumni Association honored seven individuals at the 2012 Fellows luncheon.

Read about the event

Alumni Fellows

The Alumni Fellows program recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers. Fellows are invited to campus to interact with students and faculty in the classroom and other academic settings.

Each spring, faculty and staff submit nominations for fellows to their respective dean, who selects one for the college or school. A fellow is selected from the School of Applied Studies, School of Business, School of Law, School of Nursing and Washburn Institute of Technology. Because of its size, the College of Arts and Sciences selects up to three fellow.

View a playlist of speeches from our Alumni Fellows and director Susie Hoffmann on YouTube.

2014 Alumni Fellows


Grace Sawyer Jones, b ed ’60, retired president, Three Rivers Community College

Grace JonesGrace Sawyer Jones grew up in Topeka and enjoyed a long career in education, including as president of Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut, until she retired last summer.

She previously worked as vice president for multicultural affairs at the State University of New York, College of Oneonta, where she also worked as a professor.

Jones was the president of the College of Eastern Utah, a longtime educator and administrator at Berkshire Community College and as a physical education and science teacher in Chicago.

She was named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Washburn Alumni Association in 1996, among a number of awards and recognition for extensive community work.

About Washburn: “Washburn prepared me well for the work I do today. Nurturing faculty and staff maintained a strong hand at the back and a willing attitude that was the right stuff for my siblings and me. We were so fortunate to have the Washburn community family in our lives.”


Cally Krallman, bfa ’81, artist and proprietor of Prairie Sage Studio

Cally KrallmanA native of Goodland and a resident of Topeka, Cally Krallman is a renowned artist and the proprietor of Prairie Sage Studio. She also works as a freelance real estate photographer, as the co-manager of a family farm in western Kansas and is a song writer.

Krallman previously worked as a graphic designer and sales executive in the screen printing industry.

Her work has been displayed in exhibits across the globe, including Tblisi, Georgia at the international “Art in the Embassies” program.

Krallman is a member of the Oil Painters of America, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, Missouri Valley Impressionists Society and American Women Artists.

She has served on boards for the Topeka School Fund and Topeka Art Guild and donated fine art to dozens of organizations.

Krallman was the winner of the Kansas 150-Sesquicentennial Art Competition.

About Washburn: “Washburn was just the right size to suit my personal needs of a college. It allowed me to make lifelong friendships, and I got personal attention in my classes.”


Michael Kuckelman, bba ’86, jd ’90, partner, Kuckelman Torline Kirkland and Lewis

Michael KuckelmanA native of Atchison and a resident of Olathe, Michael Kuckelman is a partner at Kuckelman Torline Kirkland and Lewis specializing in commercial and personal injury litigation.

Kuckelman previously worked as an attorney at Blackwell Sanders and was a member of the plaintiffs’ executive committee appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to litigate the 9/11 World Trade Center litigation.

He is a member of the Kansas, Missouri, New York, U.S. Supreme Court and Supreme Court of England and Wales bars.

Kuckelman’s community service includes the Catholic Education Foundation Board, Maur Hill Mount Academy prep school board of trustees and the Kansas ethics and grievance committee for Johnson County.

About Washburn: “As an undergraduate, my best memory is my time in the Alpha Delta fraternity house. I made lifelong Washburn friends in the house and count several of them as close friends today. ... Washburn provided an environment that allowed me to explore and to consider my options, which ultimately led me to an incredibly satisfying career in litigation.”


Kenneth Lynn, ba ’78, CEO, University of Kansas Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation

Kenneth LynnKenneth Lynn is from Belleville and lives in Overland Park. He is the chief operating officer for the University of Kansas Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation and will teach a transaction law course at the University of Kansas School of Law next semester.

Lynn also owns Dark Holler Design Works, which specializes in production design, prototyping and small-scale production, and previously served as the executive vice president of business development for NewLink Genetics Corp., among several other positions in a career in the biopharmaceutical industry that spans 30 years.

He coached two University of Kansas law school teams in the 2014 transactional law meet and served on the school’s research board of trustees, among several other committees and boards.

About Washburn: “One memory in particular that comes to mind is the time I walked into Howard Faulkner’s Traditional English Grammar class a few minutes late and was greeted by spontaneously erupting boos and hisses, which struck me as a bit harsh. As it turns out, the reason was that I’d scored 104 percent on an exam and blew the curve.”


Fred PalenskeFred Palenske, bba ’82, mba ’88, senior vice president of provider and government affairs for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

A native and resident of Topeka, Fred Palenske is the senior vice president of provider and government affairs for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.

He joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1988 after four years at the Kansas Insurance Department. At BCBSKS, he has served as a contract specialist, manager of regulatory compliance, director of regulatory compliance and legislative affairs and vice president of provider relations and medical affairs.

Palenske is a member of the BCBSKS and American Red Cross disaster response team and on the board for the Ichabod Athletic Fund.

He participated in Leadership Topeka in 2002 and Leadership Kansas in 2006 and was an offensive captain on Washburn’s football team during his senior season.

About Washburn: “The education I received at Washburn prepared me well to succeed in the business world. The small class sizes and the fact that Washburn used full professors in their business school helped to ensure that I received  a high quality education. Washburn provided the perfect environment for me to develop a skill set that would serve me well in my career.”


Carrie SaiaCarrie Saia, bsn ’88, CEO, Holton Community Hospital

A native of Holton and a resident of Delia, Carrie Saia is the chief executive officer of the Holton Community Hospital. Before being promoted to her current position, she was the chief nursing officer at the hospital.

Saia also has worked as an administrative director of inpatient units, telemetry department director, critical care department director, emergency care director, charge nurse and flight nurse during her career.

She is a member of Holton Business Women, Holton Rotarian and the United Way board, as well as serving as president of the Kansas Organization of Nurse Leaders.

Saia received the inspiring administrator summit award from Custom Learning Systems, a leadership academy fellowship from Cohort II and a clinical excellence nurse leader award from St. Francis Health Center.

About Washburn: “Washburn University has been instrumental in providing me a solid foundation for my professional nursing career. I was surrounded by outstanding nursing clinical instructors and faculty who challenged me to be successful by engaging and pushing myself to make the most of each day or opportunity.”


Dale SchaferDale Schafer, aas ’05, instructor of machine tool technology at Washburn Institute of Technology

Dale Schafer is a native and resident of Topeka and an instructor of machine tool technology at Washburn Institute of Technology.

Before working at Washburn Tech, Schafer was the production manager and assistant plant manager at Wilch Manufacturing Inc. in Topeka.

Schafer has worked as a machining instructor for several area companies for nearly 30 years.

He served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and is a past president of the Sawdusters Woodworking Club. Schafer served on the advisory board at Washburn Tech and is a member of the board of trustees for the Lowman United Methodist Church.

About Washburn: “I was offered a job with Wilch Manufacturing before I completed classes at Kaw Area Vocational-Technical School. For more than 25 years, I worked as a machinist and supervisor at Wilch. When I accepted my current position at Washburn Tech, it brought me back full circle to the school where I received my initial training. My fondest memory is being a member of the last class to graduate from the brick, two-story 1800s school house at 620 SW Harrison St. in May 1968.”


Ronald SchweerRonald Schweer, bs ’80, chief U.S. probation officer, District of Kansas

A native of Paola and resident of Lawrence, Ronald Schweer is the chief U.S. probation officer of the District of Kansas for the U.S. Courts and U.S. Department of Justice.

He previously worked as the deputy chief U.S. probation officer in the Eastern District of Missouri and as a supervising U.S. probation officer for the District of Kansas.

Schweer is a member of the chiefs advisory group for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Community Corrections Collaborative Network, as well as several boards in his field.

He received the Walter Dunbar Award from the American Probation and Parole Association and the Outstanding Probation Executive Award from the National Association of Probation Executives.

About Washburn: “Washburn is the cornerstone of the foundation on which my career has been built. ... I was raised in a small town and Washburn provided a ‘like home’ environment for me. I also met my wife, Brenda, at Washburn, and we have been married 34 years. Our combined families have seven Washburn graduates, two attendees and one current student.”