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Olivet College to present distinguished awards at Homecoming Oct. 8
Oct 03, 2005

OLIVET, Mich. Olivet College will recognize four individuals during its 2005 Homecoming Brunch, Saturday, Oct. 8. 1844 Awards will be presented to Richard and Bette Fleming and Karla Kunkle, while Ivan Sheets will be honored posthumously with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The 1844 award is named for the year of the colleges founding and given to those who demonstrate commitment and dedication to the advancement of the college. The Distinguished Alumni Award is given for outstanding societal contributions in an alumnis career.

For more than three decades, Richard Fleming taught and supported thousands of Olivet students who were pursuing careers in the field of science. From 1961 to 1993, he moved up the ranks from assistant professor of biology to Natural and Physical Science Department chair. Fleming continues to serve as a professor emeritus of biology. He earned a bachelors degree from Kalamazoo College, masters degree from the University of Kansas and doctorate from Michigan State University. Bette Fleming taught at Fern Persons Elementary School in Olivet for 21 years, retiring in 1985. She has been a member of the Olivet College Womens Board for 20 years, serving as its treasurer since 1995. She earned a bachelors degree from Western Michigan University. The Flemings reside in Olivet and five children and 15 grandchildren.

Kunkle began her career on the campus of Olivet College in 1983, serving as food service director for Marriott Management Services. She joined the colleges advancement staff to serve as alumni relations and annual fund director from 1998 to 2002, and as director of annual giving and donor relations until June 2005. Kunkle is a resident of Marshall and works as the food service supervisor at Olivet Community Schools. She is a member of the Olivet College Womens Board, Olivet Lions Club, Olivet Rotary Club and Marshall Area Garden Club. Kunkle earned a bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1977.

Sheets was a 1969 Olivet College graduate and a resident of Olivet. He taught math and computer at Olivet High School for 33 years before retiring in June 2003. He coached boys basketball at Olivet from 1977-88 and was the girls coach from 1976-2004. Sheets won his 500th game in 1999. In 2002, he led the girls basketball team to the state finals and was named Coach of the Year. He coordinated youth basketball camps in Olivet for 30 years. Sheets was a member of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, and a founding member of the Olivet Sports Boosters. He co-founded the Eagle Country Stables in Olivet and was a member of the Harness Horseman Association, United States Trotting Association, Michigan Standardbred Breeders Association and the Michigan Pony Club. Sheets died May 26, 2004.


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