A fundraising buffalo
The Foundation’s Big Benefit Auction had a Western theme in 1981, when the Claflin Fire Department donated a buffalo head to add bit of humor to the event.
"Old Bill" was sold to the highest bidder, and brought in $700 the first year.
The work of taxidermy was then donated back to the college and it was displayed at Camp Aldrich. It was auctioned the same way every year for the next two decades, raising more than $42,000 for academic scholarships and program enhancements.
In 2002, Old Bill was transitioned to an honorarium. Instead of bids, auction attendees make pledges toward the Foundation’s cause in the name of longtime supporters of the college. So far, honorees have been:
2002 – Past BCC President Jimmie Downing
2003 – Jim and Jo Heaton
2004 – Dale and Donna Oliver
2005 – Don and Phyllis Whelan
2006 – George and Frances Tragellas
2007 – Keith and Marian Mull
2008 – Dan and Nancy Peschka
2009 – Al Yost
2010 – M.E. Marmie
2011 – Roger and Mary Lou Murphy
Old Bill is still around, residing in the upper level of the BCC Student Union.
Having a stuffed buffalo head auctioned off in their name might not seem like much of an honor to outsiders, but Roger and Mary Lou Murphy know the Old Bill Honorarium is just that. The Murphys couldn’t be more proud to be associated with the quirky fundraising item at the Barton Community College Foundation’s 33rd Annual Big Benefit Auction.
The auction, set for Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Highland Hotel and Convention Center, is the Foundation’s main fundraiser for academic scholarships and program enhancements. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Foundation office, (620) 786-1136, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Thursday is the last day tickets will be sold, and tickets will not be sold at the door.
Roger and Mary Lou Murphy are lifelong residents of Great Bend and have always been active in community initiatives. Most recently, Barton benefited from their commitment and generosity by their donation to the Learning Resource Center. Barton’s reference and circulation desk in the library bears the name "Murphy’s Landing."
"It’s quite an honor, considering the people who have been named in the past," Roger said of Old Bill, adding the auction will be quite the treat. "It’ll just be fun and it’s nice to be thought of. The auction is a very meaningful deal for the college and is one of the successful events."
The event will be even more meaningful to the Murphys because they will be celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary on the same evening.
Roger and Mary Lou agreed they are proud to support the BCC Foundation and its fundraising efforts.
All money donated for the Roger and Mary Lou Murphy Honorarium will be used for scholarships in the 2012-13 academic year.
"The college is one of the things that helps Great Bend, Barton County and Central Kansas," Roger said. "I’m sure the scholarships are useful and well-warranted."
One new feature at this year’s auction is a streamlined check-out process, which allows bidders to record payment information at the beginning of the evening to prevent lines at the event’s conclusion.