Arts and Sciences' alumni awardees include poet laureate, Broadway performer, international development specialist
Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017
MANHATTAN — This year's outstanding alumni for the Kansas State University College of Arts and Sciences include Kevin Rabas, poet laureate of Kansas; Dave Roth, a Broadway percussionist; and Summer Lewis, co-founder of the international development firm True Roots.
The three awardees will receive recognition from the college at the eighth annual Eisenhower Circle Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 19.
"We are overjoyed to have such prominent and successful people representing our college," said Amit Chakrabarti, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "These alumni are having a huge impact at regional, national and international levels, and we are proud to celebrate their tremendous achievements."
The Eisenhower Circle Celebration, established in 2010, is a special event hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences to recognize outstanding alumni, student scholarship winners and donors. Each year one of the college's scholarship recipients is invited to speak at the celebration. This year's speaker is Victor Valdez-Herrera, a junior in economics from Dodge City.
Rabas and Roth will be receiving Alumni Merit Awards, which recognize alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: distinguished service, discovery, public engagement, arts and humanities, or entrepreneurship.
Rabas, Emporia, who received a Master of Arts in English from Kansas State University in 1998, was named the poet laureate of Kansas in April and is chair of Emporia State University's English, modern languages and journalism department. He has written nine books, including "Lisa's Flying Electric Piano," a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. Rabas' plays have been produced across Kansas and in North Carolina and San Diego. His most recent poetry collection, "Songs for My Father: Poems & Stories," was published by Meadowlark in 2016.
Roth received a Bachelor of Music in applied music from Kansas State University in 1989. He is a freelance percussionist in New York City and has been performing and teaching for 25 years. He has appeared in more than 200 cities worldwide, including the North American and Asian tour of "West Side Story," the national tour of "Mamma Mia!" and the national tour and European tour of "Smokey Joe's Cafe." Roth is active in the Broadway musical theater scene and is currently performing in the revival of "Cats!"
Lewis graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, sociology and women's studies. She will receive the college's Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have excelled in their professions and provided service, especially humanitarian services, to their communities in the early part of their career. Lewis is an international development consultant and educator with more than 15 years' experience in the coffee value chain, fair trade, gender equity, and peace and conflict resolution. As the co-founder of True Roots, a consulting firm specializing in social responsibility initiatives in the global south, Lewis provides the tools and guidance for donors and nonprofit organizations to carry out community development projects. She also teaches online courses for Kansas State University's gender, women, and sexuality studies department. Formerly of Manhattan, she currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.