Eugene and Kathy RobertFormer Colby Community College employees Eugene and Kathy Robert will be awarded the honorary associate degree during the college's commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 13, at the Colby Event Center. College personnel nominate individuals for the honorary degree, recognizing distinguished contributions to the community and Colby Community College.

The couple moved to Colby in August of 1976 so Eugene could attend Colby Community College. The Vietnam War veteran started classes and took a part-time custodial position at the college in the fall semester. Later, a full-time position opened up, and he accepted.

Eugene continued to work in the college maintenance department, moved up to the assistant supervisor of building and grounds, and eventually was promoted to the director of building and grounds before retiring in 2008.

Kathy completed the CCC physical therapist assistant program. She worked at Citizens Medical Center before teaching in the college PTA program for 22 years until retiring in 2016. She also did work for an on-call pool of physical therapists in northwest Kansas.

Married in 1971, Eugene and Kathy have two sons and a daughter who attended CCC before embarking on careers and further education. Everett lives in Hays, Eli resides in Des Moines, Iowa, and Kalea is in Overland Park.

Eugene and Kathy did foster care for 15 years.

"Some of them claimed us and have had children of their own that call us Grandpa and Grandma, which is really fun," said Kathy.

The Roberts are active members of the Colby Wesleyan Church and have been involved in various aspects of the church over the years, mostly involving the children, youth, and mission programs.

"Even though we did not grow up here, we consider Colby our home and feel very blessed to be a part of this community and area," Eugene said. "The people of Colby and Colby Community College have been so good to us, and hopefully, we've been able to give a little back."

"We like to live by this motto," Kathy added. "Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. Live out your faith every time and treat others as you like to be treated. Laugh often, especially at yourself."