Longtime community supporters Ross and Marianna Beach are the recipients of the Bob Dole Humanitarian Award, given by Kansas University’s department of special education.
The award recognizes the couple’s contributions to benefit people with disabilities, said Chriss Walther-Thomas, professor and chairwoman of special education.
It is intended to recognize people with Kansas connections whose efforts have enhanced the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole received the first award last year.
Walther-Thomas said the award recognizes the couple’s efforts in funding the Beach Center on Disability at KU and an endowed chair there, as well as their generous efforts throughout the community.
“It has just been an extremely good partnership when it comes to their commitment to social causes,” Walther-Thomas said of the couple.
The Beach family has owned Douglas County Bank since 1964, and Ross Beach is board chairman emeritus at the bank. He also has served as an engineer and pilot, and is a U.S. Navy veteran. Marianna Beach has served as a director of the Midwest Arts Council and, with her husband, created the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University.