Colby Community College announced that long-time college supporter Sue Draper will be awarded the honorary associate degree during commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at the Colby Community Building. College personnel nominate individuals for the honorary degree, which recognizes distinguished contributions to the community and Colby Community College. The event will be streamed live at

Sue grew up on a farm in Sheridan County and graduated from Hoxie High School. She moved to Thomas County in 1976 when she married Bill Draper. With Bill's sons Neal Draper and Nolan Draper, and Bill and Sue's daughters, Tanya (Chad) Douthit and Shanda (Caleb) Mattix, she enjoys nine grandchildren.

Those who have a history with the CCC equine program know "Mama Sue," or at least know her voice as an announcer at the equestrian shows.

"I have been a CCC supporter since our oldest attended in the mid-1980s," she said. I began announcing the IHSA shows for Dr. Gary and Sue Webb in the mid-90s. When Tanya participated on the equestrian team, we hosted the team at our home for an end-of-year cookout. When Shanda became a member of the team, we hosted cookouts again." 

Shanda returned to Colby as a faculty member and director of the horse production program and coach of the equestrian team. Over the years, Sue has spent countless hours assisting in multiple ways. She has provided gallons of concession stand sloppy joes for the equestrian team fundraisers at the college rodeo and the home equestrian shows. Other roles she has taken on include being a tailor, altering show clothes for team members each year, and a farm laborer over summer and winter breaks feeding horses at the college farm.  

Her driving skills have also been needed to shuttle team members in a second van to competitions and taking sophomore horse production students to the Denver stock show, often returning to Colby at 2 a.m.

The connection with the college goes even deeper. Sue has served as the Thomas County Farm Bureau Association liaison to CCC's collegiate chapter since 2005, attending monthly meetings and facilitating programming. For several years, her family cattle operation employed CCC ag students. Many international students have also enjoyed her home-cooked meals as she has helped them get involved with community events.

Her community involvement spans four decades. In the First Presbyterian Church of Colby, she has served as trustee, deacon, elder and Sunday school teacher and a co-host for the monthly Common Grounds student outreach in the Student Union. She was the treasurer of the Thomas County Salvation Army unit for more than 20 years as well as bell-ringer coordinator on many occasions. Her family has long been active in 4-H, resulting in her taking on various roles. Additionally, she was on the Thomas County Fair board for 12 years.

She continues to attend college events such as the Pickerill Lecture Series, music department performances, and athletic events.

"CCC has a strong history, now reaching into the third generation," she said. "Students leave CCC well-prepared for further education or employment. I am humbled to receive this recognition and pleased that I am able to offer support to CCC students."