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Washburn Alumni Association to honor five

Four alumni and a longtime professor and administrator will be honored at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 26 during the Washburn University Alumni Awards Banquet at the Memorial Union. A cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at 7 p.m.

Awards and honorees are:

Distinguished Service Award: Elsie (Medlin) Lesser, ba ’65, Topeka. Lesser is a former director of student affairs and executive director of the Washburn Alumni Association. She is a member of the Washburn University Foundation board of trustees and a former recipient of the Ruth Garvey Fink Award. Lesser’s community service includes the Junior League of Topeka and several boards.

Distinguished Service Award: Mark Nordstrom, bba ’72, b ed ’75, Topeka. Nordstrom is the co-founder and president of Monarch Management Corporation. He is a member of the board of trustees for the Washburn University Foundation and the Washburn Athletics Hall of Fame. Nordstrom received a national silver medallion award for outstanding and extraordinary service from the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Lilla Day Monroe Award: Nancy Tate, associate vice president, academic affairs, Topeka. Tate has held many titles since joining Washburn’s faculty as an assistant professor in the mathematics and computer information sciences department in 1985. She is a former associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was acting dean of the School of Applied Studies.

Col. John Ritchie Award: Darrell Parnell, bs ’56, Topeka. Parnell was a professor of astronomy and physics for 43 years at Washburn, including more than 20 years as chairman of the department. The Topeka native received the Excellence in Teaching Award at Washburn, and his extensive work in the community includes serving as a ruling elder for the Topeka Reformed Presbyterian Church for nearly 50 years.

Graduate of the Last Decade Award: Laura Burton, ba ’05, Topeka. Burton is a community liaison at Midland Care Connection and worked as a public education coordinator for the Topeka YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment from 2005 to 2014. Her community service includes working as a graphic artist for The Craftivists art collective. The Jayhawk Area Council named Burton to its Greater Topeka 20 Under 40 list in 2013.

The cost of the event is $17 for members of the Alumni Association and $20 for non-members. To purchase tickets or for more information about the event, call 785-670-1641. You also can register online at RSVP by April 12.

Contact: Ernie Webb III, media specialist, Washburn Alumni Association, 785.670.2303