The Barton Community College Foundation presented the 2012 Distinguished Service Award posthumously to H. Lee Turner during Barton’s 42nd commencement May 10. Turner’s wife Betsy and daughter Stephanie accepted the award on his behalf.
The Distinguished Service Award was created in 1981 by the Barton Community College Foundation to recognize individuals who have shown genuine regard for, and have performed outstanding service to Barton Community College. The Barton Foundation Board of Directors selects the recipient from nominations received.
Prior to his passing in 2002, Turner built a strong reputation as one of the best trial lawyers in Kansas. He tried more than 1,700 cases and despite his growing practice, he always found time to promote integrity, ethics and fairness in the practice of law.
Lee’s passion for continuing education and his belief that ongoing training in technical instruction of a professional quality was necessary led to his generous donation to Barton Community College to establish the Lee Turner Lectureship Series.
The annual income from this endowment is used to provide one or more annual guest lecturers to instruct students in Barton’s law enforcement program and personnel in the city, county and state law enforcement agencies in Barton and adjoining counties. In addition, funds are used to offset the tuition and fees of each participant. The Lee Turner Lectureship Series was established in 1983 and since 1996, when official records were kept, the series has served 2,105 participants.
Barton’s Dean of Workforce Training Elaine Simmons has worked closely with the lectureship series since the 1980’s and said the contribution of this endowment by the Turner family is invaluable.
“Continuing education is vital in law enforcement because it is such a dynamic field that is always changing, and it’s imperative that professionals in that industry have access to the most current knowledge and training possible so they will know exactly what they need to do and how to get the job done in crucial moments,” she said. “It’s truly a golden opportunity for everyone involved, and it could not be possible without the generosity of the Turner family.”
Turner married Elizabeth “Betsy” Dillon in 1951 and they had six children and 12 grandchildren.
Foundation Director Darnell Holopirek said she was glad they could officially recognize Turner for all of his generosity and the positive impact he had on the college.
“The Foundation is grateful to Lee Turner for his vision, foresight, and desire to further the academic excellence of Barton Community College,” she said. “We are proud to honor Lee Turner with this prestigious award, and we continue to feel his loss and will always be honored to celebrate a life so well lived.”
In addition to the endowment, Turner was an art lover who constantly shared his art with the Shafer Gallery to allow the community to enjoy the different kinds of media he collected.