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Archive for Friday, April 18, 2008

Baker University honors Partners-in-Progress

April 18, 2008

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Baker University is honoring four Lawrence residents for their business achievements and civic contributions.

Gary Sollars, Connie Sollars, Larry McElwain and Fred DeVictor will be recognized during the university's annual Partners-In-Progress breakfast, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at SpringHill Suites by Marriott in downtown Lawrence.

The annual awards program is designed to allow the private school in Baldwin City a chance to thank leaders who have helped benefit Lawrence and Douglas County.

The awards and winners:

¢ Business Persons of the Year: Gary Sollars and his wife, Connie.

Gary Sollars is vice president for Hilb Rogal & Hobbs, the country's eighth-largest insurance broker, and previously served as president and chief executive officer of Charlton Manley Inc. He is past president of Independent Insurance Agents of Kansas and past director for Kansas to the Independent Insurance Agents of America; among the honors he has received is the President's Award from Independent Insurance Agents of America.

Connie Sollars served as co-chair of a $3 million capital campaign for Plymouth Congregational Church, among other responsibilities, and is a member of the board of directors for the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association, including her service as president during an $8 million capital campaign.

Both are Baker graduates.

¢ Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Business Award: McElwain, co-owner of Warren-McElwain Mortuary and chairman of 21st Century Funeral Co. LC.

McElwain has been in business in Lawrence for more than 30 years, and served as chairman of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce in 2003-04. He has been a member of the Kansas Funeral Directors Association since 1973, and led the organization in 1986-87. He served in Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' Business Education Partnership program in 2004-07.

¢ Civic Service Award: DeVictor, former director of Lawrence Parks and Recreation.

DeVictor retired in March 2007 after 32 years leading the department, during which time the city's number of parks increased from 12 to 52, and now covers more than 3,500 acres. He was elected to the Kansas Park and Recreation Association's Hall of Fame this year, and last year received the Buford M. Watson Jr. Public Service Award from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

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