2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: Gracemary Melvin

In recognition of her years of dedicated service and contributions to the success of Colby Community College, Gracemary Melvin has been selected as the 2011 Honorary Associate Degree recipient.

2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: Gracemary Melvin

2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: Gracemary Melvin

Wed Aug 7, 2013

In recognition of her years of dedicated service and contributions to the success of Colby Community College, Gracemary Melvin has been selected as the 2011 Honorary Associate Degree recipient.

Melvin served as an instructor and Dean of Instruction at Colby Community College for 35 years. She began her career in 1970 teaching in the business department. In addition to teaching on campus, she traveled to several outreach locations to teach business courses. She was selected as Dean of Instruction in 1991, a position she held until her retirement in June 2005.

“I love Colby Community College and Colby,” said Melvin. “It was a wonderful place to raise my family, make lifelong friends and work. I had terrific students while teaching and cooperative faculty while I was the academic dean.”

During Melvin’s tenure the college added several programs of study, completed large building projects and improved the technology available in the classroom and on campus.

“As an instructor, keeping up with technology changes from the 1970s to the 1990s was a big challenge,” explained Melvin. “As an academic dean, making sure all facets of the job were addressed adequately; and beginning new programs such as dental hygiene and expanded health care offerings was very demanding. In addition, the college joined with five other western Kansas community colleges to form the EduKan consortium offering undergraduate courses online. It was a busy but very rewarding challenge for everyone involved.”

Melvin lives in Hays with her brother Lawrence Valchine. She and her youngest son Len work together selling real estate.

“We call ourselves, ‘The Melvin Team,’” said Melvin. “It has been a wonderful experience and I get to work with my son!”

In addition to working in real estate, she is very involved in church and other civic activities.

“I belong to the Religious Education Commission, the Ladies Guild, am an Eucharistic Minister and Sacristan and a study group leader at my church,” said Melvin. “I belong to the National Association of Realtors, the Kansas Association of Realtors, our Hays Board of Realtors and the Hays Multiple Listing Service. In my spare time I finished my basement and still do all my own mowing, etc., of almost an acre of grass, flowers and trees.”

Melvin has three grown children and 11 grandchildren. Her oldest son Lonnie and his wife Shelly have three children, ages 17 months to 12. They live in Casa Grande, Ariz. Middle son Lucas and his wife Angela live in Norton and are parents to five children. The youngest is 3 years old and the eldest is 16. Len and his wife Summer have three children, ages 4 months to 6 years of age.

Lonnie graduated from Colby Community College. Lucas and Len both took over 20 hours at CCC.

“CCC is the western Kansas landmark for education and we have sent many great students on to several fortunate universities across the state and the country,” said Melvin. “I brag about the college to anyone who asks or wants to know.”

During her years at CCC, Melvin worked for three presidents including Dr. Richard Mosier from 1970-72, Dr. James Tangeman from 1972-1988 and for Dr. Mikel Ary from 1988 to her retirement in 2005.

A public reception to honor Gracemary Melvin will be held on Monday, May 2, beginning at 3 p.m. in the Robert Burnett Memorial Student Union, room 108.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred during Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14, at 2 p.m. in the Colby Community Building.