Skip to the content

Kansas State University

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. K-State Home >
  2. News Services >
  3. September news releases
Print This Article  

Sources: Briana Nelson Goff, 785-532-1490,;
and Virginia Moxley, 785-532-5500,
Note to editors: A media availability will follow the Oct. 2 lecture and panel discussion, and will include Lt. Gen. Robert E. and Diana Durbin, and Maj. Gen. Vincent and Carol Brooks, and other panelists. Media interested in attending should contact news services at 785-532-6415 or
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Former Fort Riley Commander Lt. Gen. Robert E. Durbin and his wife, Diana, will address the importance of military families in a lecture marking the official opening of Kansas State University's new Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families.

The lecture, "Army Family Strong: Lightening Their Load," will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall. The lecture is one of several events that are part of the College of Human Ecology's Celebration of Excellence.

"K-State's Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families will advance research, teaching and outreach focused on the well-being of military families," said Virginia Moxley, dean of the College of Human Ecology.

The institute's inaugural lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on the challenges military families face, moderated by Briana Nelson Goff, director of the new institute and associate dean of the College of Human Ecology. Panelists include Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, current commander of Fort Riley and the First Infantry Division, and his wife, Carol; Carl and Mary Ice, K-State alums who will provide the civilian employer's perspective; and Col. George Dilly, chief dietician for the U.S. Army and a college alum who will talk about troop and family nutrition. Most of the panelists also will be receiving awards from the College of Human Ecology as part of the Celebration of Excellence.

The Celebration of Excellence, Oct. 1-2, is an annual event that recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions by alumni and friends of the college.

In addition to delivering the institute's inaugural lecture, the Durbins, now at Fort Meyer, Va., will receive the college's 2009 Public Advocacy Award.

Durbin served as commander of Fort Riley and the First Infantry Division from July 2007-July 2008, before being promoted to his current position as special assistant to the U.S. Army chief of staff for enterprise management. Diana Durbin has been a mentor and leader as an Army spouse for more than 34 years and also has served in several positions in public school systems throughout the United States, Germany and Korea.

"The experienced perspectives of the Durbins, coupled with their firsthand knowledge of what combat-tested military families need, are empowering our work here at K-State," said Art DeGroat, K-State's director of military affairs. "Events like this enable us to harness this synergy to discover new methodologies that will help military families to develop the resiliency needed to make difficult life adjustments as a function of the war experience."

The College of Human Ecology also will honor several K-State alumni for their professional and philanthropic contributions. The awards will be given at a recognition and award ceremony Oct. 2.

Honors to be awarded at the ceremony include:

* The First Infantry Division and Fort Riley will receive the 2009 Human Ecology Partner Award. The deputy commanding general of the First Infantry Division will accept the award. The award recognizes the First Infantry Division, or Big Red One, for contributions to economic, health, social and community efforts in Kansas and the central Flint Hills region. Fort Riley is being recognized for demonstrating a willingness to create partnerships with communities and institutions such as K-State to explore and address the needs of military families. These partnerships include the new K-State Cooperative Extension Program at Fort Riley and collaborations with major research and education initiatives in support of military service members and their families.

* Greg B. Miller, Venice, Fla., will receive the 2009 Entrepreneurial Award. Miller, who earned a bachelor's in health education from K-State in 1976, is the proprietor of Florida West Coast Physical Therapy, which has multiple clinics along Florida's Gulf Coast. He is a lifetime member of the K-State Alumni Association and is a longtime supporter of the Kansas State University Foundation.

* Sharon Y. Nickols, Athens, Ga., will receive the 2009 Distinguished Research Award. Nickols' career encompasses more than 30 years in teaching, research and administration at land-grant universities. Nickols, who received a bachelor's in home economics from K-State in 1965, also was a Fulbright Scholar and has consulted and led study-abroad programs in several countries. Nickols was dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia for 15 years.

* The Ices, Colleyville, Texas, will receive the 2009 Friend of the College Award. Mary Ice, who has worked as a substitute teacher and community volunteer, graduated from K-State in 1980 with a bachelor's in home economics education and completed her master's in adult and occupational education in 1988. Carl Ice, executive vice president and chief of operations for BNSF Railway, earned his bachelor's in industrial engineering from K-State in 1979. The Ices are members of the Kansas State University Foundation's board of trustees and the Wildcat Victory Campaign.

* Dilly, San Antonio, Texas, will receive the 2009 Distinguished Service Award. Dilly, who earned a doctorate from K-State in 1998, is the 21st Army chief dietitian and U.S. Army medical command nutrition program manager. During his military career, which spans nearly three decades, he has published extensively and earned a number of high-level awards.

* Tatyana El-Kour, Amman, Jordan, will receive the 2009 Young Professional Award. El-Kour is a program officer for health promotion and disease prevention at the World Health Organization office in Jordan, as well as a regional nutrition surveillance expert. El-Kour is a 2003 bachelor's graduate in dietetics and is the first nonmedical professional to hold such a position with the World Health Organization.

A full schedule of Celebration of Excellence events and activities is available at