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K-State Today

April 30, 2015



K-State professor receives award of distinction from interfraternity conference

By Ryan Haxton

John Carlin, professor in the Staley School of Leadership Studies, was honored recently with the Alumni Award of Distinction at the North-American Interfraternity Conference. The conference is the trade association representing 74 international and national men's fraternities and advocates on behalf of member groups through its relationship with interfraternity councils, including 5,500 chapters located on more than 800 campuses in the United States and Canada.

The Alumni Award of Distinction recognizes the fraternity alumni member who has given specifically of his time, talents, and service to the betterment of his community and fraternity — at the local, regional and national level.

As a member of FarmHouse fraternity, Carlin received his degree in dairy husbandry from Kansas State University in 1962 and returned home to Smolan, where he helped grow his family's dairy operation to one of the highest producing herds in the state. He answered the call to public service in 1968 when he ran for the Kansas House of Representatives and was elected in 1970. After serving four terms, including one as speaker of the house, he was elected governor of Kansas in 1978. At the age of 38, Carlin was the state's youngest governor of the 20th century and the first Kansas governor to serve two consecutive four-year terms.

After spending time in the private sector, Carlin was appointed archivist of the United States by President Bill Clinton in 1995. In his 10 years leading the National Archives and Records Administration, he oversaw a number of initiatives, including a major renovation to the Rotunda, which houses the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the establishment of new rules and guidelines for the preservation and publication of digital records, the advancement of technology to improve access to historical information, and the release of documents, previously off-limits to the public for decades, including the assassination of President Kennedy and Watergate.

Carlin is currently a visiting professor/executive-in-residence at Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University, where he teaches a course on civic leadership. Since 2012, through his service as faculty advisor for the K-State chapter of FarmHouse, Carlin has mentored undergraduate members and had a significant impact on the chapter’s continued development.

In his spare time, Carlin operates a website to explore ideas, stimulate creative thinking, and advance civic engagement. Along with an active social media presence, the site shares his experience and perspective through a blog on current issues, compelling photo and biographical content, and a series of short video clips that can be used as a resource in classrooms, organizations, and for personal learning on the topic of leadership.

Carlin is the first member of FarmHouse Fraternity International and just the second K-State graduate, following Gen. Richard Myers, to receive the North-American Interfraternity Award of Distinction.