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May 31, 2013
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Fran-Jabara-award-winnersforwebBaker graduates honored with Fran Jabara Leadership Awards

Baldwin City, Kan. — Two recent Baker University graduates were recognized as 2013 Fran Jabara Leadership Award recipients during spring commencement ceremonies on May 19 at the Collins Center.

Josh Rydberg, Olathe, Kan., and Rachel Strecker, Ellinwood, Kan., received the honors, which were presented by Gary Irick, assistant professor and chair of the business and economics department at Baker.

The Fran Jabara Leadership Award Endowment recognizes the leadership potential of outstanding young men and women as they graduate. Rydberg received a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in economics, business and mathematics. Strecker received a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in business.

The award is named for renowned Wichita educator and entrepreneur F. D. (Fran) Jabara, a lifelong proponent of recognizing and promoting excellence in leadership. The awards program began in 2002 for students graduating from four-year private colleges in Kansas.

In 1949, Jabara joined the faculty at Wichita State, where he served for 40 years until he resigned in 1989. During his tenure he was appointed Distinguished Professor in 1971 and served as Dean of the College of Business Administration for seven years. Compelled by his advocacy of the American free enterprise system, Jabara founded in 1977 one of the nation's first Centers for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State. The program became recognized as one of the best in the nation. He also co-founded the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE), the largest national organization for collegiate students interested in entrepreneurship, with members in all 50 states and 20 countries.

Previous Jabara Leadership Award winners from Baker are Alex Bulk and Lee Ann Michel (2012); Andrew Dale and Kendra Stephens (2011); Stephanie Brockmann and Jeff Skillman (2010); Chelsey Forge and Peter J. Matulka (2009); Matthew Mills and Aphton Riley (2008); Matt Bretz and Jennifer McKean Wenger (2007); Jason Swarts and Emilee Merry Kuhn (2006); and Jason Webb and Christy Renyer (2005).

Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.