The Barton Community College Foundation presented the 2011 Distinguished Service Award to Dr. William "Bill" and Mary King during Barton’s 41st commencement on Thursday. Although unable to attend in person, the Kings were recognized for years of involvement with the college.
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 recipients from nominations received.
The Kings have been long-time, loyal supporters of Barton Community College. They consistently have donated to all campaigns and initiatives and they recently named the Bill and Mary King Science and Technology Resources Alcove in Barton’s Learning Resource Center, said Darnell Holopirek, Barton’s executive director of Institutional Advancement.
"The Foundation is grateful to Bill and Mary for their vision, foresight and desire to further the academic excellence of Barton Community College," she said. "We feel they are most deserving recipients of the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award."
Bill grew up in Washington, Kan., and Mary was raised in a farming community north of Lawrence. Both attended the University of Kansas. Bill graduated in 1957 and Mary in 1959. In the spring of 1957 they started dating and in 1959 they were married in Lawrence. Bill attended the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City graduating with his Doctor of Medicine degree in June 1961. He completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at KU Medical Center. Mary taught home economics and mathematics at Argentine High School in the Kansas City school system.
When Bill completed his residency in the summer of 1965, they moved to Great Bend where he practiced his specialty for 30 years, retiring in 1995. All four of their children attended public schools in Great Bend and three are graduates of the University of Kansas. The Kings are members of First Presbyterian Church in Great Bend and have served as both elders and deacons. In 1996, Bill and Mary spent 10 weeks in Pakistan, working at Memorial Christian Hospital.
Bill has been active in community organizations. He has held offices in his professional organizations including president of the Medical Staff at Central Kansas Medical Center and secretary of the Kansas Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In 2006-2007, he served as governor of Rotary District 5670.
Mary has been active in school-related activities. She worked to implement a stoplight at Broadway and McKinley so the students at Eisenhower Elementary School could safely cross Broadway and she worked to get the school lunch program started in Great Bend schools. Later, she served 14 years on the USD 428 Board of Education. She is a longtime member of League of Women Voters, PEO and Pilot Club and has served in various offices in those organizations.