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Mid-America Education Hall of Fame Adds Four Inductees

Alan Hoskins
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Four new inductees have been added to the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Four new inductees have been added to the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Inducted at the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame and Sponsorship event were longtime Kansas City educators J.D. Rios, Barry White and the late JoAnne Meditz as well as space pioneer Edward Dwight Jr. There are now 133 members of the Hall of Fame initiated since 1996. The purpose of the hall of fame is to recognize people and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to education. The event was April 15 at the Dr. Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, five other award winners were recognized.

Clyde Townsend and the late Mary Ann Flunder, both long-time members of the KCKCC Board of Trustees, were presented Distinguished Service Awards; a President’s Circle Award was made posthumously to Marjorie McMorris; Ottawa University received the Outstanding Partnership Award; and KCKCC President Dr. Doris Givens presented a special award to Bob Layton, the retiring interim Risk Manager for KCKCC, for his contributions in a variety of capacities at the College.

Will Shields, former Kansas City Chiefs lineman now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a 2001 inductee into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame, was the Honorary Chair for the event while anchor/reporter Kevin Holmes of KSHB-TV served as Master of Ceremonies. Welcoming remarks were made by Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland, KCKCC Foundation President Robert Davis and Dr. Givens. A fund-raiser for the KCKCC Foundation, Executive Director Tami Bartunek said more than $100,000 was raised during this year’s event.

The 2017 Mid American Education Hall of Fame inductees are:

·         Jo Anne Meditz – A member of the USD 500 School Board, Meditz dedicated her life to the Wyandotte County community. A public nurse for more than 20 years, she was the catalyst in establishing a Mustang Corral Clinic in the Argentine area. Her award was accepted by her husband, Joe Meditz, a longtime instructor at KCKCC.

·         J.D. Rios – A member of both the USD 500 and KCKCC governing boards, Rios also served on the Head Start Board of Directors during a lengthy tenure as a teacher and administrator in the USD 500 School District. Most recently, Rios has been appointed Trustee for the University Foundation at Emporia State University.

·         Barry White – White has been a teacher, coach and mentor for more than 50 years, 47 of which was spent at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City. Not only a principal but a friend and father figure, he mentored many struggling students to where they could feel value and accepted. He currently continues to substitute teach and enriches his curriculum with stories of sea turtles.

·         Edward Dwight Jr. - An enlistee in the U.S. Air Force in 1953, Dwight earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Arizona State and in 1961, the Kennedy Administration selected him to be the first African American astronaut trainee. Today, he’s an outstanding sculptor in Denver, Colo., where he owns and operates Ed Dwight Studios.

While Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Flunder and Townsend for their many years of service as members of the KCKCC Board of Trustees, their contributions extended far beyond their service to the college. An advocate for younger people of color earning a degree in higher education, Flunder was the founding director of the Office of Minority Affairs at the University of Kansas. A former Wyandotte County Commissioner, Townsend also worked with the Board of Utilities and KCK Street Department.

The late Marjorie McMorris was presented the President’s Circle Award in recognition of her generous estate gift to the KCKCC Foundation in honor of her brother, Ralph McMorris, an alum of the KCKCC Technical Education program. A graduate of Washington High School and the Providence Hospital School of Nursing, she passed away July 21, 2016.

More than 100 students have benefited from transfer agreements, scholarships and discounted partner tuition rate through KCKCC’s Partnership program with Ottawa University, which led to the institution being recognized with the Outstanding Partnership Award.

The Mid-America Education Hall of Fame started in 1996 as a way to recognize individuals, organizations and corporate supporters in the community who have made notable contributions to education. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on a demonstrated commitment to education, their effort to improve the quality of life in the community through a commitment to education, increasing educational opportunities for others and supporting significant changes that have improved the quality of education.

Sponsors for the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame and Sponsorship Event include Control Service Company; UPS; Thatcher Funeral Home; McAnany, VanCleave & Phillips; AT&T; Black History Committee; BPU; C&C Group; Design Mechanical Inc.; Field Turf; JE Dunn; Pay-Less; Pete Franklin’s; Providence Medical Center; Randy Curnow; Security Bank of Kansas City; Sumner One; Coca Cola; Security Bank; Mechanical Sales Midwest and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For more information on the Mid-   America Education Hall of Fame and Sponsorship Event, contact Bartunek at 913-288-7166 or by email at

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