Great Bend High School has announced its 2011 inductees to the GBHS Hall of Fame. Recognized will be two individuals, one who has touched the lives of students and one who has served presidents.
Honored will be former longtime GBHS Principal Don Halbower, and 1960 GBHS grad and attorney for the California Supreme Court Dan McGovern.
The Hall of Fame ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24. The luncheon will be held at the Highland Hotel and Convention Center at 11:45 a.m. and the induction ceremony will take place at approximately 7:10 p.m., between the girls’ and boys’ basketball games in the GBHS gym. A reception will follow the games in the Jack Kilby Commons and the public is invited.
Ticket sales will be announced at a later date. The cost will be $15.
This marks the fourth year for the HOF. Past inductees include globe-trotting JanSport founder Skip Yowell and microchip inventor Jack Kilby.
After the nominations come in, a committee made up of administrators, teachers, School Board representatives and local residents make the final determination. Nominees must be students, teachers or community members who have made a significant contribution to community or country.
A display case in the GBHS commons contains plaques and memorabilia paying tribute to all the recipients.
Below are the biographies of the inductees submitted by those who nominated them.
Don Halbower was born and raised in Anthony, KS. He graduated from Anthony High School in 1951 and attended Southwestern College in Winfield as a music major. After deciding that music was not the field he wanted for his future, he enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps so that he could return to college on the G.I. Bill. This was during the Korean Conflict.
Halbower served one hitch in the Marines in the Second Air Wing as a flying radar operator in a night fighter jet squadron. He loved the Marine Corps and strongly considered making it a career. However, coming from a close family of five children, he felt he wanted to settle down and start his own family. He was convinced that the uncertainly of military life would not be a good setting in which to raise a family.
After leaving the Corps, Halbower enrolled in Emporia State University (then known as Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia) as a science major. During the enrollment process, he noticed a beautiful student, who was working in the Registration Office. Her name was Patricia Kramm. Several weeks later, their first date was arranged through sorority and fraternity friends, and by Christmas, they were engaged to be married.
To supplement the funds that he received from the G.I. Bill, he took a part-time job with a truck terminal, hauling freight and furniture. Pat continued her work in the registration office, while carrying a full class load as a foreign language major. They were married in June of 1955 and now have three grown children, David, Leslie and Eric. They also have nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
The two graduated from KSTC and Halbower was hired as a physics and chemistry teacher in Junction City. He was also under contract as an assistant football coach and head tennis coach.
During the next two summers, Halbower was awarded a National Science Foundation grant and continued working toward a Masters Degree in School Administration, which he received in 1959. Since that time, he has compiled many hours of advanced graduate work from Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Pittsburgh State and Kansas University.
He was superintendent of schools in White City for three years and for two years in Stafford. After serving as a superintendent for five years, he realized that he missed being in closer daily contact with students. So, when the opportunity came to become principal of Great Bend Senior High, he accepted the position in 1964. GBHS was in a growth phase at that time and, during the 1964-65 school year, 55,000 square feet of additional building space was constructed. More teachers were added to the staff and more courses were added to the curriculum. The following year, with help from a school district in Wayland, Mass., GBHS became the first school in Kansas to utilize computerized scheduling. This enabled students to take more elective courses with fewer conflicts.
During his 28 years as principal, Halbower was actively involved with many school-related organizations. He was president of the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals and president of Emporia State University Alumni Association. He represented Kansas on the National Association of Secondary School Principals – Larger High Schools Committee for three years. He was elected to serve on the Kansas State High School Activities Board of Directors for two terms. He served on the Kansas Board of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges for five years. He was appointed to Kansas United School Administrators’ Professional Ethics Committee and their Professional Standards Committee. He was appointed to Representative Jerry Moran’s Military Academy Selection Committee for two years.
In the community, he has been or is active in the American Red Cross, Bend and Barton County Planning and Zoning Board, American Legion, Great Bend Noon Lions Club, Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps, . Barton County Emergency Preparedness Committee, Jack Kilby Memorial Committee and Meals on Wheels.
Dan McGovern is being honored for his service in an extraordinary variety of high level positions in the administrations of President Reagan and the first President Bush, as well as the California state government.
McGovern graduated from GBHS in 1960. In 1964, he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fort Hays State University, which awarded him an Alumni Achievement Award in 1987. He pursued graduate study in philosophy at the University of California at Los Angeles, and received a law degree from UCLA in 1970. “Just for fun,” while practicing law full time, McGovern received a second bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of San Francisco. He also pursued graduate study in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Upon graduation from law school, McGovern joined the California Attorney General’s Office in Los Angeles. In his two years in the Attorney General’s criminal division, McGovern appeared before every level of the state and federal courts in California. As a result of his distinguished appearances before the California Supreme Court, McGovern was invited to become a research attorney on the court’s staff, where he served from 1973 to 1981.
In 1981, McGovern joined the Reagan administration and became the second-ranking attorney on the State Department’s staff of 90 lawyers. The legal offices he supervised included European Affairs, United Nations Affairs, Law Enforcement and Intelligence, and Anti-Terrorism. In four years at the State Department, McGovern headed U.S. delegations for bilateral treaty negotiations with 13 countries, and testified as an administration witness before Congress a dozen times. He also defended the United States at the International Court of Justice (The World Court) in The Hague, Netherlands.
In President Reagan’s second term, McGovern became the general counsel, the top lawyer, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency with 12,000 employees. With his staff of 55 lawyers, McGovern was responsible for interpreting the laws and regulations governing the nation’s ocean resources, including commercial fisheries, endangered species, and deep seabed mining.
During the administration of the first President Bush, McGovern was the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the western United States. As regional administrator of EPA, McGovern supervised 900 scientists, engineers, and other environmental professionals.
At the end of the Bush administration, McGovern took some time off to write a book. The Campo Indian Landfill War: The Fight for Gold in California’s Garbage was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1995. It was praised by Interior Secretaries and EPA administrators who served five U.S. Presidents, and was named one of the year’s outstanding scholarly books.
In 1997, after a period of private practice in San Francisco, McGovern returned to government. He was appointed the general counsel of the California Department of Transportation, an agency with 19,000 employees and a budget of $6.5 billion. His staff of 125 lawyers was responsible for a wide variety of legal work, including torts, real property, contracts, and transportation law. McGovern’s signal achievement at CalTrans was convincing the California Supreme Court to reverse a $360 million judgment against the agency. In 1999, McGovern returned to the staff of the California Supreme Court, where he continues to work.
McGovern has been married for 46 years to his college sweetheart, Carolyn (Gilmore) McGovern, a native of Hays. Carolyn recently retired from a position supervising a group of editors and graphic designers for the California Administrative Office of the Courts. Their daughter, Katie McGovern-Pizzi, a graduate of New York University Law School, provides free legal services to poor people in Portland, Maine. Katie and her husband Rich are the parents of a toddler, Reilly Alice.