Pittsburg State University will honor three alumni with its Meritorious Achievement Awards during commencement activities at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 16. The PSU Alumni Association established the Meritorious Achievement Award in 1958. It is the highest award presented by the association. The Meritorious Achievement Award is based on career achievement. Candidates for the award must have demonstrated substantial professional growth and advancement over an extended period of time. The candidate’s activities, including participation and leadership in civic and professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels, is also considered by the awards committee in selecting the recipients.
The December recipients of the award are: Kenneth E. Bean, a retired researcher and engineer with Eagle Picher and Texas Instruments; Connie (Scavezze) Stilwell, who retired earlier this year after a 35-year career as an elementary school teacher in USD 512 in Shawnee Mission, Kan.; and Sandra K. Willsie, executive vice president of academic affairs, provost and dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB) in Kansas City, Mo.
Kenneth E. (Ken) Bean, BSED 1950, retired in 1989 after a long career as a researcher and engineer with Eagle Picher and Texas Instruments. Since retiring, he has continued as a consultant on semiconductor materials processing, defect analysis and troubleshooting. He has served for more than 30 years as a continuing education lecturer in Europe on physics, chemistry and crystallography of the semiconductor process and has served as a reviewer of articles in several professional journals.
The son of an Englevale, Kan., coal miner, Bean began his career in 1953 as a high school teacher and coach in Galena, Kan. He changed his career path, however, when he became a research engineer for Eagle Picher, working there from 1953 to 1962. At Eagle Picher, he developed the process for the first production of electronic grade silicon and he synthesized the first electronic grade elemental boron. He served as a member of the technical staff and a research engineer with Texas Instruments from 1962 until his retirement in 1989. He was promoted to a TI Fellow, Texas Instrument’s highest technical ranking, and earned many other honors during his career. He has had 38 articles published and has more than 40 U.S. patents and more than 100 international patents, some now archived in the Smithsonian Institute.
Bean attended college under the provisions of the GI Bill and graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1950 with a bachelor of science in education degree. He was married for 57 years to Helen Dawson Bean, now deceased, and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He lives on a farm near Celina, Texas.
Connie K. (Scavezze) Stilwell, BSED 1970, retired earlier this year after a 35-year career as an elementary school teacher in Unified School District 512 in Shawnee Mission, Kan. Since retiring, she and her husband, Richard, have developed a company called Bluestem Learning, LLC., which provides tutoring, staff development, instructional coaching and parent-school involvement programs. Twenty-two retired and active teachers are involved in Bluestem, working to assist students, teachers and school districts in meeting Kansas’ educational standards.
In addition to years in the elementary school classroom, Stilwell has taught both undergraduate and graduate level university classes. She has been extensively involved in curriculum development and staff development to implement new curriculum and teaching strategies.
Stilwell was named Shawnee Mission Teacher of the Year in 2001-2002. She was a semi-finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year in 2002-2003. She was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in 1990. She received the Kansas City Star and The Learning Exchange “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 1989.
A former member of the PSU College of Education Alumni Advisory Board, Stilwell has been active at the school district, state and national level in numerous professional organizations and conferences.
Stilwell graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1970 with a bachelor of science in education degree in 1970, with a major in elementary education. She earned a master of science degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kansas. Her husband, Richard, is a 1970 graduate of the PSU College of Business. Their son, John, is a manager at Marketsphere Consulting. Connie and Rick Stilwell live in Prairie Village, Kan.
Sandra K. Willsie, BSMT 1975, is executive vice president of academic affairs/provost and dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB) in Kansas City, Mo. As the chief academic officer, Dr. Willsie supervises budgetary, personnel, and mission/vision for all academic programs, including undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs.
Willsie, D.O., FACP, FCCP, received her medical degree in 1983 and served as an instructor of medicine at KCUMB while completing a rotating internship. She then completed an internal medicine residency and fellowship in pulmonary medicine/critical care medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Medicine. She was a member of UMKC’s faculty (1988-2000), and served as assistant dean (1994-2000) and interim chairperson for the Department of Medicine (1998-2000).
In 2000, Willsie was named KCUMB’s vice-dean of academic affairs, administration and medical affairs. She was promoted to vice president for academic affairs and dean at KCUMB in 2002. In 2004, she was promoted to university provost. She has served as a principal investigator or co-investigator on numerous grant-funded research projects. Willsie holds board certification with the American Board of Internal Medicine, in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases with special qualifications in critical care medicine. She also holds board certification with the American Board of Osteopathic Internists.
Willsie has published extensively and made many numerous national and international presentations. She graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1975 with a bachelor of science degree in medical technology (Magna Cum Laude) with a major in biology (medical technology). She has received numerous honors including being named Researcher of the Year in 2004 by the American College of Osteopathic Internists and was asked to serve on the faculty for Harvard University’s Macy Institute’s program for health science educators (2001-2006).
She and her husband, Thomas E. Syverson, live in Overland Park, Kan.
©2005 Pittsburg State University