Ernest L. Swenson
Swede Swenson attended Concordia (Kansas) High School, where he lettered in football, playing offensive and defensive lineman. He played his first two years under Karl Spear, Baker alumnus and future coach and athletic director.
Following high school he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1945-1946 in the Aleutian Islands. Upon returning from the service he enrolled at the former El Dorado Junior College (now Butler County Community College) and played one year for Baker alumnus and athletic great Coach Joe Wallace, ’38.
In the fall of 1947 he enrolled at Baker and was reunited with football coach Karl Spear and lettered all three years playing offensive and defensive lineman for the Wildcats. He started and received honorable mention for the all-conference team after the conference championship season of 1949. That team had a record of 7-2. On campus he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and as a letterman he was elected and served as the president of the “B” Club.
Following graduation he entered the field of high school teaching and coaching. From 1950 to 1953 he taught and coached basketball at Miami (Kansas) High School. From 1953 to 1965 he taught and assisted with coaching football, basketball and track at Osawatomie (Kansas) High School. Six of those years were served as head football coach.
Having earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Kansas in Education Administration in 1963 he soon began a second career in high school administration that lasted from 1965 to 1988. The last 20 years of his active career were served as the superintendent of schools for the Osawatomie School District.
Through his career he earned numerous honors and awards and served in appointed and elected positions of high responsibility within his career field and his community including among others: Rotary Club, the Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce, the Miami County Cancer Society, Miami County Hospital Board, the State Council of Superintendents, as a Bank Director of First Option Bank, as a member of the Baker University Alumni Board and as a life member of the National Education Association and its Kansas affiliate.
He was selected in 2000 to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame in Dodge City, Kansas, and the Board of Education of USD 367 has named a building in his honor, “The Swenson Early Childhood Education Center”.
His first wife, Nina Ming, was a Baker graduate of 1953 and passed away at an early age.
He remarried in 1979 to Lurene Paddock. His children include Sandra Fryer, Greg Swenson, Vickie Autry, Lisa Loewen, and Doug and Paul Swenson.