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Source: Brian Spooner, 785-532-6900,

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's College of Arts and Sciences is presenting its first alumni awards Thursday, Oct. 29.

Dean Brian Spooner will recognize Lanell Kemp-Finneran, '74 B.A., theater and psychology, and '77 M.S., special education, as the recipient of the Alumni Merit Award. The Young Alumni Award will go to Lisa Casey, '93 B.M., applied music '94 M.M., University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, and '00 D.M.A. University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sally Bailey, associate professor and director of K-State's drama therapy program and graduate studies in theater, nominated Kemp-Finneran, who is currently a registered drama therapist and teacher at the Bert Nash Mental Health Center in Lawrence.

"Lanell is fiercely dedicated to her students, spending her time, her money, and her energy making a crucial difference in these young people's lives," Bailey said.

Kemp-Finneran has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2001 Kansas Educator of the Year in Arts and Disabilities from the Accessible Arts and Kansas State Board of Education. The College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Merit Award is given to distinguished alumni of the college who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and received national or international recognition.

Casey, Springfield, Mo., is a professor of music at Missouri State University in Springfield. She was nominated by Gary Mortenson, head of K-State's department of music.

"As an undergraduate performance major in horn at K-State, no single student had more to do with the rise in quality of the brass ensemble at K-State than Lisa," Mortenson said. "In her dedication I saw the type of commitment that would eventually lead to her achieve the rank of full professor up to seven years earlier than expected."

Both awards are being presented at the college's inaugural Eisenhower Circle Celebration, a special event recognizing loyal alumni and friends who give $250 or more to the college annually. The Eisenhower Circle recognition society is named for Milton S. Eisenhower, the ninth president of K-State. Eisenhower Hall, where the dean's offices are located, also is named for Eisenhower.