Nancy Hambleton has spent the majority of her life serving others and following intellectual pursuits.
Today, she is being honored by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce for her longtime commitment to Lawrence.
Cathy Lewis, director of programs for the chamber, said, "She's had a significant impact on the community. Her service for the community has gone on for many, many years, and she continued to be involved."
Originally from Lancaster, Pa., Hambleton has called Lawrence home since 1947. Her husband, William, is director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey and professor emeritus of geology at Kansas University.
Nancy Hambleton shares her husband's love for learning, having graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Once in Lawrence, she audited courses at KU in art, art history, music history, architecture, economics and accounting.
Her career began in the late 1940s as a clerk in the veteran's billing office at Northwestern University.
From 1947 to 1950, she worked as a chemist with the Kansas Geological Survey.
She also raised two children Ann Louise Hambleton and Jeffrey Craig Hambleton. She went to work in the early 1970s on a special project for Arthur Katz, then dean of KU's school of social welfare.
From 1971 to 1975, Hambleton had the distinction of serving as Lawrence's first female city commissioner, and the city's mayor from April 1973 to April 1974. Her political career also included stints on the board of directors of the League of Kansas Municipalities, as chair of the Kansas Housing Forum and as a member of Kansas Gov. Robert Bennett's Housing Task Force.
During her tenure on the city commission, Hambleton and other commissioners undertook several large projects.
The commission helped spearhead the renovation of Massachusetts Street; convert Carnegie Library into what is now the Lawrence Arts Center; add sidewalks to residential areas; pass an Equal Opportunity Ordinance; promote neighborhood organizations; work with the county to promote new bridges over the Kansas River; and complete land acquisition for Mud Creek flood control in North Lawrence.
Her distinguished career has also included work as the director of business development for Design Build Architects, now called Gould Evans Goodman Associates.
Her involvement with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce began in the late 1970s, when she served on the board of directors. She later was a member of the chamber's government affairs committee and senior council and served as a government affairs consultant.
Her list of civic and volunteer activities is a long one. She has served on the board of directors for Cottonwood Inc., both as a treasurer and president. She was also chair of the Plan Development Committee for the county health planning board.
Since the 1950s she has been active in the League of Women Voters, where she served in various positions and on a number of committees.
Since the mid-1960s, she has also been an active member of Plymouth Congregational Church, having served on its board of trustees in 1965-1968 and most recently on its stewardship board and plant sale committee.
She has also served on the boards of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment, the Lawrence Community Theatre, the KU Museum of Anthropology Museum Friends and KU Retirees Club.
Hambleton has been an active member of the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, Prairie Acres Garden Club, GQ Chapter of P.E.O. Sisterhood and the University Women's Club.
She was named Jaycee Jaynes "Woman of the Year" in 1974. In 1986, Leadership Lawrence recognized her work with the Don Volker Leadership Award, and in 1989 she received the Kiwanis Substantial Citizen Award.
In her leisure time, Hambleton enjoys gardening, sewing, canoeing, playing bridge, reading, swimming, painting and, of course, grandparenting.