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News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,


MANHATTAN -- A devoted alumni couple is set to receive Kansas State University's highest honor.

Warren and Mary Lynn Staley, Minneapolis, Minn., will receive K-State's Medal of Excellence at the Graduate School's commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, May 15, in Bramlage Coliseum.

"Over the years, the Staleys have been dedicated supporters of so many academic programs at K-State," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "Their leadership and devotion to the university is second to none and will benefit K-State students for generations to come. They both are dedicated to academic excellence for K-State."

Warren Staley earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from K-State in 1965. He was president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Interfraternity Council and was active in Blue Key, the senior honor society. Staley went on to receive a master's degree in business administration from Cornell University. He joined Cargill in 1969. Serving in various positions over the years, Staley was elected president and chief operating officer of Cargill in 1998. A year later he was named chairman and chief executive officer, retiring from those posts in 2007.

Mary Lynn Staley earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from K-State, also in 1965. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority; Chimes, the junior honorary; and was involved in K-State student government. She has long been active in philanthropic causes, holding leadership positions with the Greater Twin Cities United Way and on the board of governors of Eleven Who Care. She also has taken part in Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy Carter Work Projects in South Africa and Mexico.

The Staleys have contributed to numerous K-State scholarships, excellence funds and university projects. In 2007 they made the lead gift to establish a Center for Leadership Studies at K-State. Their gift was matched by Cargill to establish the Cargill Center for Ethical Leadership.

While on campus, Warren Staley also will deliver the commencement address for the College of Engineering. He is a member of the college's hall of fame.