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McKenney and Gourley named LCC’s Outstanding Alumni

 New-LCC-LOGO(Lamar, Colorado; May 8, 2017) Lamar Community College named two former students as its outstanding alumni for 2017 during the college’s Antelope Night celebration on Friday evening: Ruth McKenney of Lamar and Bob Gourley of Two Buttes.

Dr. Linda Lujan, LCC President, introduced the two awardees during the celebration, highlighting the reasons for their nomination and selection.

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Chris Wilkinson and Ruth McKenney

Ruth McKenney, LCC’s outstanding alumna of the year, was raised on a farm outside of Pritchett, Colorado, during the most severe drought in the history of our nation, the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.

Even though she moved from the farm in 1938 to attend to college at the Junior College of Southeastern Colorado, the name under which LCC was founded, she has always maintained a strong connection to the agricultural community.  She graduated from the college in 1940 as a member of the second-ever LCC graduating class.  She has lived in Lamar since.

Ruth and her husband Leroy spent most of their lifetimes directly involved with the sheep and cattle industries and were members of horse racing associations for over fifty years, both as owners and trainers.

As her nomination so eloquently stated, “Ruth McKenney, after over seventy-five years, still provides an example of what it means to be a student of Lamar Community College. She can be found several days a week, at 5:30 in the morning, doing her exercise routine at LCC’s Fitness Center” with a smile on her face.

bob-and-lila-gourley

Bob and Lila Gourley

LCC’s second outstanding alum is Robert (Bob) Gourley.  Raised on a farm outside of Two Buttes, Colorado, Bob has spent all of his life in agriculture operations.  He graduated from Springfield High School and attended Lamar Community College in 1968 to take animal science classes.

Bob has owned and operated Gourley Simmental Cattle since 1978 and hauls cattle for area producers. He has been a mentor and friend to numerous young farmers growing their own operations in Baca County as he has made agriculture his life’s work.

With a quiet strength and a quick smile, Bob is a highly respected resident of Baca County and Southeastern Colorado.  He is very active in his community and has served on the Baca County Fair Board for over 25 years, with the last 14 years as the president.  He has also represented county farmers and ranchers by serving on the Farm Service Agency County Committee for numerous years.

Bob is the heart and soul of the Baca County Fair, working tirelessly each summer to make the Baca County Fair the best it can be.  It would be difficult to estimate the hours he has devoted to the fair, and, over the years, the improvements Bob has made are remarkable.  He gives so much of himself, because he is invested in Baca County and its youth. He and his wife, Lila, are lifelong supporters of Baca County school activities.  Their caring for and commitment to youth are most respected.

Living in the very small community of Two Buttes, he has been the driving force for the local fire department, which he has been a member of since the early 70’s.  He currently serves as treasurer and secretary.  He is also a leader and supporter of the Two Buttes Methodist Church, where he has served numerous leadership roles.

His father, James Gourley, was a member of the college’s first class in 1937.  He completed his degree in 1940 and was the LCC Outstanding Alumnus in 2008.  James and his wife Mary May still reside in Two Buttes.

Gourley also received an honorary Associate of Science in Agriculture Business degree the LCC Commencement ceremony held on Saturday.

Early each year, Lamar Community College solicits nominations from community members, LCC faculty and staff, and alumni for Outstanding Alumni candidates, with selections made in mid-March.  To nominate an alum for his or her achievements and contributions to their world, find the nomination form at www.lamarcc.edu/alumni.  The page also keeps a listing of all former students selected as outstanding alums since the honor’s inception.

For additional information, contact Anne-Marie Crampton, LCC Director of Institutional Advancement, at 336.1520 or alumni@lamarcc.edu.

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