Baker organizes the annual Partners-In-Progress awards breakfast to recognize and thank the business community for its hard work and dedication, said Baker President Daniel Lambert.
This year's honorees were Marilyn Dobski, Loris "Jr." Brubeck and Tensie Oldfather.
A teary-eyed Dobski, owner and operator of 13 McDonald's restaurants, accepted the Lawrence Business Person of the Year Award and thanked her family for being supportive.
She and her husband, Tom, opened their first McDonald's in 1981 in Leavenworth as a husband-and-wife team with her behind the counter and him in the kitchen. The couple now own and operate 13 McDonald's restaurants in six counties, including the five stores in Lawrence.
Dobski has served a variety of positions with the Ronald McDonald House Charities since 1987, as well as the Lawrence Arts Center for 10 years.
"The last nine years we've tried to do what makes good business sense," she said. "I tried to get involved in organizations I knew I could help with and make a difference."
Brubeck was the university's recipient of the Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Business Award.
He began working at Jim Clark Motors in 1956 as a cleanup person and has since worked his way up the organizational ladder to become general manager and president. In 1992, he and two associates purchased the dealership.
"No business can succeed without good people and hard work, and I really owe them my success," Brubeck said of the 56 employees, including his two daughters, who work for him.
The university also recognized Oldfather for her civic service with the Partners-In-Progress Civic Award. The honor has been awarded just three times since 1988.
Oldfather, who moved to Lawrence in 1950, has been active in The Villages, Lawrence Community Theater and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center board of directors. In July, with $5 million, she started the Douglas County Community Foundation. The foundation helps fund charitable programs for youths, education and health services.
-- Staff writer Joy Ludwig can be reached at 832-7144.