The grass is getting greener, the weather is warming up, and students across Northwest Kansas are in the final weeks of classes. For the graduating Mavericks of Northwest Kansas Technical College, this means commencement ceremonies are on the horizon. With nearly 150 students in the Class of 2017 who have met certificate and degree requirements, it is sure to be a rewarding day for students and faculty alike.

Commencement exercises are scheduled for Friday, May 12th at 1:30pm in the Max Jones Fieldhouse in Goodland, Kansas. Students representing all 16 of the technical programs will be participating in the ceremony. In addition to the standard ceremony, the college will name the Student of the Year as well as the Employee of the Year.

In an effort to pay tribute to the memory of two Northwest Tech students whose lives were tragically lost during the school year, the college will be awarding honorary degrees to the families of Laramie Farris and Alie Henn.

A new addition to this year’s ceremony is the creation of the Outstanding Maverick Alumnus award, which will be given to a Northwest Tech graduate who has gone out into their career field and is doing exceptional work. In addition to being honored for their work in the field, recipients will have the opportunity to provide the commencement address the graduating class. This was part of an initiative college administrators created to honor outstanding alumni and encourage graduates to make an impact when they head out into industry.

This year’s recipient will be Kevin Johnson, Senior Administrative Team Leader at Citizens Medical Center and graduate of the Northwest Tech Respiratory Therapy program. Johnson was born and raised in Julesburg, Colorado. After high school, he attended Colorado State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He worked for a stretch as a newspaper reporter before meeting his wife Jenny, a Registered Nurse from Goodland, at which point he deciding to pursue a career in the medical field as a Respiratory Therapist.

Johnson graduated from Northwest Kansas Technical College in 2011 with an Associates of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy and went on to work at Citizens Medical Center in Colby as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. In 2014, Kevin was promoted to Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Citizens Medical Center.

About a year later, he was promoted to Ancillary Services Administrator and Safety Officer, his current position at Citizens Medical Center, as the Senior Leadership Team Administrator for Laboratory, Medical Imaging, Physical Therapy, Specialty Outreach Clinic, Cardiopulmonary, Durable Medical Equipment, Environmental Services, Plant Operations and Safety. He is also the Administrator of Citizens University, a community service excellence program at Citizens Medical Center.

When Kevin isn’t busy working, he is the father of 3 beautiful children. During his free time, he enjoys reading, golfing and cheering on his beloved CSU Rams.

Attendees for the commencement exercises are encouraged to arrive early to secure seats as attendance is generally high. A reception with refreshments will take place in the Max Jones Fieldhouse following the ceremony.