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Hall of Fame

William Penn University appreciates the dedication and service of our many alumni and community supporters. It is representative of the values we aim to instill in all of our students. Each year at Homecoming, individuals or groups of people are selected to be recipients of the awards listed below. They are honored at the Recognition Banquet with the awards and inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Career Award

The Distinguished Career Award is given to an individual based on esteemed and meritorious achievement in career and life. Candidates for this award are alumni of William Penn University or Nebraska Central College.

Douglas W. McDonald–2023 Distinguished Career Award Recipient

The Distinguished Career Award is awarded to an individual based on achievement in career and life. Candidates for this award are alumni of William Penn University or Nebraska Central College.

This year’s Distinguished Career Award recipient is Douglass W. McDonald. McDonald founded NGOgro, LLC, museum and non-profit consulting organization, in 2015 after a successful 33-year museum career. McDonald’s Museum career began in 1980 as a volunteer member of an advisory board for a museum, joining the museum field as the CFO of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in 1983. As a Noblesville, Indiana city councilman for 16 years, he was a founding member of the Hamilton County Alliance, a private not-for-profit economic development organization. McDonald also served as a founding member of the Board of Governors of The Legacy Fund, a community foundation. As President & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, McDonald led the 17th most highly attended museum in the nation. CMC received the 2009 National Medal for community service from the Institute for Museum & Library Services, and in 2012 became accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Cincinnati Museum Center became the owner of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) in 2012 as part of a high-profile merger. McDonald became CEO of NURFC as well as CMC and led NURFC through accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in 2013. While serving as CEO in Cincinnati, McDonald raised over $500 million including a successful campaign for a county sales tax which raised over $250 million towards the $228 million Union Terminal restoration. Since forming NGOgro, LLC in 2015 McDonald has consulted with private individuals, nonprofits, and museums. From 2016 to 2020 NGOgro provided services to the Alamo in San Antonio, TX to implement a $420 million plan with McDonald serving as the organization’s CEO for over three years. McDonald has served on the International Council of Museums Finance and Resources Committee, the board and executive committee of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the AAM Ethics Committee on Cultural Property, the U.S. Committee of the International Council of Museums, and the Association for Midwest Museums. He has also been engaged in the community serving on the board and executive committee of Wilmington College (Ohio), Visit San Antonio and the San Antonio Area Tourism Council, as Vice Chair of the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, chaired the Ohio U.S. Capital Statuary Hall Commission, and on the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission. He currently serves on the board of HealthSource Ohio. McDonald has been awarded: the Distinguished Career Award from the Association of Midwest Museums (2015); Distinguished Service Award from Association of Midwest Museums (1995); 2014 Friend of Education Award by the Southwest Region of the Ohio School Board Association, Queen City Advocate Award; the 2010 NAACP Community Outreach/Partnership Award, an Honorary Daughter of the Republic of Texas, 2020, and the Ohio History Leadership Award, 2023.

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Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon an individual whose life of service has been exemplary. This honor extends beyond the circle of Penn alumni to those who embody the William Penn commitment to community and humanitarian service.

Marsha (Kinseth) Riordan–2023 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon an individual whose life of service has been exemplary. This honor extends beyond the circle of Penn alumni to those who embody the William Penn commitment to community and humanitarian service.

For her service to community and the university, William Penn is honored to bestow the 2023 Distinguished Service Award to recipient, Marsha Riordan. Marsha grew up in northern Iowa in Humboldt County, graduating from Twin Rivers High School. Upon high school graduation, Riordan enlisted in the U.S. Army. Her time in service included training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. What a learning experience to be assigned to the medical intensive care unit at Brooke Army Medical Center. Her last two years of service were at Coffey Barracks in Ludwigsburg, Germany in a field hospital unit, ready to be called into action if the need arose. Following her military service and utilizing the GI Bill, she graduated from William Penn in 1980 with a double major in Biology and Physical Education. Because they both attended WP at the same time, she had the opportunity to watch her youngest brother, Richard participate as a Statesmen athlete. Marsha accepted a position as an Admissions Counselor, which began her lifetime career at William Penn. As an active member of the Oskaloosa Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Riordan served on both the local and state boards. Serving as the state Educational Foundation Board member, she was responsible for the selection process for the ‘Woman Educator of the Year’ and presenting the award at the state annual meeting. She warmly shares about the numerous hours spent sorting books for the annual AAUW Book Sale, held by the local Oskaloosa branch for over 50 years and the friendships formed. Riordan was a member of Oskaloosa Kiwanis Club for over 20 years before the club dissolved in 2021. During her membership she served as president, vice-president, along with both program and publicity chairs. She is willing to step into action serving in the community as a way of life. Her volunteerism includes serving as Publicity Chair on RAGBRAI Steering Committee, instructor for the Jr Achievement program, chair and board member of Mahaska Future View, chair and board member for Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group, leadership team/presenter for McLDT (Mahaska County Leadership and Development Training), and served on ISU Extension Board for Mahaska County and was recognized in 2015 as Citizen of the Year. Moving into the development office in 1986, Riordan became a member of National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE, now known as the Association of Fund Raising Professionals). Within two years, she became treasurer and served on the board for the Des Moines Area NSFRE group. Later becoming a member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council, also out of Des Moines. She currently serves Mahaska Health Partnership as a board member, Vice President, Executive Committee member and chairs the Facilities Committee. Reviewing credentials and MHP scholarship applications are added in for good measure. She is a newly recognized member of the Golden Goose Club. She also serves on numerous campus committees and is an advisor for three campus organizations: Pi Gamma Xi Sorority, Greek Life Council and newly organized, Student Veteran’s Club. Riordan is deeply grateful for the opportunities offered her at William Penn. Most appreciative of having met her husband, Mike, here. She enjoys all the wonderful alumni and friends she has met over the years and holds those relationships dear to her heart.

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Torch Award

The Torch Award was initiated during the 1972 Parents’ Weekend as a way of acknowledging and honoring alumni and non-alumni parents who have shown exceptional commitment to William Penn University. Each year the Torch Award is given to an alumni family of at least two generations; or to non-alumni parents, all of whose children have attended William Penn University. Consideration is also given to the interest and loyalty shown by the recipient family in the programs and ideals of the University.

Jerry and Sharon McCrea Family –2023 Torch Award Recipient

The Torch award was established to acknowledge and honor alumni and non-alumni parents. The Torch award is given to an alumni family of at least two generations; or to non-alumni parents, all of whose children have attended William Penn University.

Jerry McCrea attended William Penn College and earned his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1961. While attending college, he played baseball for the William Penn Rangers. Jerry was a man of many talents. He carried the titles of Teacher, Counselor, Pilot, Farmer, Coach, Official, Fisherman, Handyman, and avid Sports Fan. He taught science at Melcher-Dallas High School and Oskaloosa Junior High School and later became a guidance counselor at Oskaloosa Junior High. He spent many years coaching and officiating baseball, softball, football, basketball, and track. He earned his pilot’s license and enjoyed flying his family to local fly-ins, short getaways, and to watch William Penn Football play in and win the Boot Hill Bowl in 1972. He began farming in the early eighties, growing corn and soybeans and raising farrow-to-finish hogs. After retirement, Jerry and his wife Sharon spent many years supporting William Penn athletics including several trips to Point Lookout and Kansas City to watch the men’s basketball team play in the NAIA National Tournament. After Jerry’s passing in 2021 the family has continued his legacy of commitment to William Penn University. Jerry’s aunt, Mary (Lokers) Edwards graduated from William Penn College in the 1930’s and Jerry’s granddaughters Amanda (McCrea) Foster and Debbie (McCrea) Cronin graduated from William Penn University in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

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Emerging Young Leader Award

This award was designed to recognize established and future leaders among recent William Penn University alumni. Standards for recognition include one or more of the following: demonstrated leadership capability, substantial indication of a commitment to the service of others, demonstration of potential for leadership/distinction in the long term, and a substantial commitment to William Penn University and its mission. The award is open to all alumni who are within their first 10 years of graduating from William Penn University.

Janet (Kuskie) Hermsen – 2023 Emerging Leader Award Recipient

The Emerging Young Leader award was designed to recognize established and future young leaders among recent William Penn University alumni within their first 10 years of graduating.

A member of the class of 2016, Janet Kuskie Hermsen’s impressive list of accomplishments and accolades includes highlights such as the 2022 Downtown Difference Maker award, 2022 Individual Governor’s Volunteer Service Award, 2019 Oskaloosa Main Street Volunteer of the Year Award and many more. Janet currently serves as a member of the Golden Goose Club in Oskaloosa and the 1st Ward City Council representative, elected November 2021. From May 2018-July 2022, Janet was the Oskaloosa Main Street President. Before that, she served as president of the Mahaska Young Professionals in 2018 and 2019. For the Mahaska Chamber and Development Group, Janet acted as a Main Street Representative from 2018-2022 and treasurer in 2021, 2022 and 2023. In college, she was a varsity letter winner in cross country in 2013, as well as in track and field in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Her involvement didn’t stop at athletics. Janet was also involved in several honor societites: Sigma Beta Delta (president, 2015-2016), Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Lambda Delta (secretary, 2013-2014). She served as the Student Government Association secretary from 2013-2014 and president from 2014-2015. This fall, Janet will begin her PMBA Masters at Iowa State University, specializing in Supply Chain. She currently workes as the Sr. Financial Analyst – Supply Chain Management at Pella Corp.

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Ed Thomas Award

Those that are successful in coaching young students in the world of athletics have a special gift of shaping and changing the lives of those they come in contact with. The late and great Ed Thomas, whom this award was named after, had a great impact on his athletes. He passionately believed that his job as a coach was not to prepare kids to be college athletes, but to make their involvement in football or other sports a learning experience.

Faith, family, and excellence is what Thomas believed in and those core values are also present in the recipients of the Ed Thomas Award.

Kenneth Spielbauer – 2023 Ed Thomas Award Recipient

Faith, family, and excellence are the core values present in the recipients of the Ed Thomas Award. The Ed Thomas Award is presented in memory of Coach Ed Thomas (’72) who inspired and motivated athletes based on those principles.

This year’s award recipient is Kenneth Spielbauer, 1984. Spielbauer’s commitment to coaching and motivating young athletes is almost unparalleled. Ken spent four years in the basketball program as a Statesmen, two of those being a team captain. (1982-1984) He was named MVP in 1984 and inducted into William Penn University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shortly after graduation, Kenneth went on to teach and coach boys basketball at Wapello High School from 1984-2021. During that time, he had 418 wins 4 conference titles, 3 district titles, and reached 2 state tournaments. Spielbauer also coached volleyball at Wapello from 1993-2018. He was head coach for 2 district titles, 1 regional title and 1 conference title. In 2019, Kenneth moved on to head girls volleyball at Louisa-Muscatine High School. In 2022, he began as girls basketball coach and director at L-M High School. Some other genuinely notable achievements include: being named conference coach of the year 7 times, All-Hawkeyeland Coach of the Year 3 times, IBCA District Coach of the Year twice and IBCA All-Star Coach 3 times.

Under his direction, Spielbauer’s teams have won over 950 games at the varsity level. He has coached a multitude of players that have succeeded and graduated at every collegiate level. Kenneth Spielbauer is now retired and married with two sons and a daughter who have all graduated from WPU.

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Athletic Hall of Fame Recipients: 2023

Nadine Armbruster, Coach & Chair of Health & Life Sciences (1965-2002)

Brandon Beasley (’13) , Basketball

Ashley Brant (’07), Softball

Khyia Lewis (’12), Softball

Robin Madole (’82), Golf

Ed Simms (’09), Track and Field

Keith Steffeck (’13), Basketball

Lifetime Statesman Award

This first-time and perhaps one-time award is given to recognize support and service to William Penn University that is transformational in nature and at the same time foundational to Penn’s historical mission.

2016 Recipients–Joe Crookham and Jeanie Bieri