Twelve K-State alumni selected as 2016 Alumni Fellows 

K-State Alumni Communications

The 2016 Alumni Fellows will be on campus April 6-8. (Graphic: K-State Alumni Communications)

Twelve accomplished Kansas State University alumni have been selected as the 2016 Alumni Fellows and will address students and faculty in classes and receptions April 6-8 during the 2016 Alumni Fellows week.

Alumni Fellows return to discuss current business and industry trends and to meet with students and faculty. The program is sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, the Office of the President and the Deans Council.

“The Fellows were chosen based on their high levels of professional accomplishment and distinguished service in their respective careers,” said Andrea Bryant Gladin ’02, K-State Alumni Association director of alumni programs and organizer of the Alumni Fellows program.

The 2016 Alumni Fellows are:

• Dave Rock ’80, ’03, manager, channel development, U.S. and Canada, John Deere, Olathe, Kansas, for the College of Agriculture. Rock’s more than 36-year career at Deere has progressed through product support, sales, marketing, business planning and dealer development with increasing responsibility. 

 Larry W. King ’71, principal, IA Interior Architects, Denver, Colorado, for the College of Architecture, Planning and Design. King has over 40 years of experience in architecture, strategic design, planning and corporate general management. He founded the Chicago and other offices while he was managing principal of the New York, Chicago and Denver offices.

 R. Dennis Cook ’69, ’70, professor and director, School of Statistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the College of Arts and Sciences. Perhaps best known for “Cook’s Distance,” a now ubiquitous statistical method, he has written over 225 research articles, two textbooks and two research monographs.

 Susan E. Williams ’79, MD, associate staff physician, department of endocrinology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a nationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of metabolic-related complications and is one of four experts in metabolic bone disease practicing in the Cleveland Clinic Endocrine Calcium Clinic.

• Dennis Leatherby ’82, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, for the College of Business Administration. Leatherby has more than 30 years of experience in finance, and his responsibilities include all aspects of finance and accounting while working closely with the Executive Leadership team to drive performance, strategy and long-term shareholder value.

• Brooks Barta ’93, ’97, math instructor and head football coach, USD 336 – Holton High School, Holton, Kansas, for the College of Education. Barta has been at Holton High School for 20 years, where he teaches college algebra, calculus and weight training. He also serves as head football coach, with a record of 202-36, and his football teams have played in seven state championships and won three.

• Randall R. Coonrod ’74, president, Coonrod & Associates Construction Co. Inc., Wichita, Kansas, for the College of Engineering. Coonrod and his team have earned a reputation of being one of the premier builders in the Midwest operating with a high degree of honesty and integrity.

• Joel DiGirolamo ’06, director of coaching science, International Coach Federation, Lexington, Kentucky, for K-State Global Campus. He has more than 30 years of staff and management experience in Fortune 500 companies and is the author of two books, Leading Team Alpha and Yoga in No Time at All.

• Steve Goll ’88, director of research and development, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, for the Graduate School. He leads a team of scientists that help drive business growth through the development of new products, increased productivity, quality improvements and brand maintenance.

• Jo Kimbell ’73,
aircraft interior design, senior specialist, Textron Aviation, Wichita, Kansas, for the College of Human Ecology. Hallmarks of her career are the interior design of every new Beechcraft model since 1981, multiple special and anniversary edition aircraft, and pushing boundaries in client service resulting in the creation of the first Aircraft Design Centers on site at both the National Business Aircraft Association and the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibit.

• Kathryn Fraser ’09, operations research analyst, Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C., for the College of Technology and Aviation. She is responsible for safety and accident analysis and developing this analysis into tangible solutions to improve safety for both commercial and general aviation.

• Bob Smith ’68, ’70, ’76, DVM, feedlot veterinarian, Veterinary Research and Consulting Services LLC, Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the College of Veterinary Medicine. His responsibilities include training of animal caregivers, designing disease prevention programs, pharmaceutical management, diagnostic and health monitoring programs, and overseeing quality assurance and animal well-being.

For more information about the Alumni Fellows program, and to read individual bios for all the 2016 Fellows, visit

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