Conrow family selected as Kansas State University's Family of the Year

K-State Communications and Marketing
The Conrow family received the 2014 Kansas State University Family of the Year honor at Family Day on Sept. 27. (Photo courtesy: K-State Communications and Marketing)

Four generations of the Conrow family have been steadfast Kansas State University fans since 1913 and now their legacy has been formally recognized.

The Conrow family received the 2014 Kansas State University Family of the Year honor at Family Day on Sept. 27. They were honored at the football game against University of Texas, El Paso. William Augustus and Lena May Conrow moved to Manhattan in 1913 so their nine children — Aubrey, Lena, Grace, Sarah, John, Ida, William, Frank and Ned — could continue their education at Kansas State Agricultural College. Four generations later, decedents carry on as current Kansas State University students, alumni and supporters.

Chimes, the junior honorary, selects the university's Family of the Year based on three criteria: how the family is affiliated with the university; the way they show their loyalty and pride in Kansas State University; and what role family plays in their lives.

"Chimes Junior Honorary chose this family because of their extreme dedication to K-State," said Ciara Chambers, junior in political science, Spanish and international studies, Derby, and Chimes co-chair of events. "We loved that in their application they stressed how their family lived out every part of the alma mater in their everyday life."

Hannah Sharp, junior in finance, Derby, and Chimes co-chair of events, said, "Chimes had many outstanding applications and it was difficult to choose just one family to honor. However, this family stood out to us because Kansas State has been a part of every family event and they have been dedicated members of the K-State family for so long."

The Conrows gather in Manhattan, Kansas, every year for Thanksgiving, which often ends with a family football game at Memorial Stadium. Supporters of university athletics, the family has had season football tickets since 1940. In 2001, the university honored Ida Conrow McGehee, one of the family's first nine children to attend Kansas State University and a former rowing athlete, by naming one of the rowing team's boats after her.

Although athletics are a large part of the family's extracurricular activities, they are passionate about their education.

"William and Lena Conrow had the foresight to realize the importance of higher education back in the early 1900s," said Debbie Lair, a third-generation Wildcat who nominated her family for the award. "We know we have good educations because of them and the traditions they instilled in their children."

Lair and her husband, Jeff, along with other family members, were presented with a plaque at the football game. Members of the Conrow family who were present at the ceremony include:

Leanna and Luke Chaffee, Auburn, fourth-generation Wildcats; Sam McGehee, third-generation Wildcat, and Sammy McGehee, fourth-generation Wildcat, both from Goddard, Kansas.

From Hesston, Kansas: John McGehee, second-generation Wildcat; Greg and Mary McGehee, both third-generation Wildcats; and Scott McGhee, fourth-generation Wildcat who is a freshman in personal financial planning.

Debbie and Jeff Lair, third-generation Wildcats, and Sara Lair, fourth-generation Wildcat and a junior in elementary education, all from Leawood, Kanas; Rita and John Cassida, third-generation Wildcats, and Calvin and Katherine Cassida, fourth-generation Wildcats, all from Louisburg, Kansas; Janet Conrow, second-generation Wildcat, Manhattan, Kansas; Arch and Chili McGehee, second-generation Wildcats, Ottawa, Kansas; Jenn Marasco, fourth-generation Wildcat, and Titus Marasco, fifth-generation Wildcat, both from Overland Park, Kansas.

From Wichita, Kansas: Richard McGehee, second-generation Wildcat; Dwight and Fern McGehee, third-generation Wildcats; Blair McGehee, fourth-generation Wildcat and a freshman in agribusiness; and Rachelle McGehee, fourth-generation Wildcat and a senior in secondary education-mathematics.

From out of state: Steve McGehee, third-generation Wildcat, Yukon, Oklahoma.

"This honor is a true celebration of our roots; our grandparents and parents who loved Kansas State University and blessed us all with a commitment to higher education and most importantly to remember to get together often," Lair said. "We grow our children to love the purple and the white because K-State is family to us."

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