Some Enchanted Evening Marks 25 Years

The Johnson County Community College Foundation honors past recipients of the Johnson Countian of the Year.

Johnson County is a community rich with people willing to help others in all sorts of ways, a hand up when needed whether it’s housing, healthcare, food or education. So when Overland Park resident and former state senator Dick Bond approached the president of Johnson County Community College, Dr. Chuck Carlsen, back in the late 1980s with a concept to help recognize one of the area’s best-kept secrets in education, the idea was heartily embraced and expanded to support student scholarship.

“My original idea was to recognize this outstanding community college that the taxpayers of Johnson County support, to give it greater awareness,” says Bond, who was president of the JCCC Executive Committee and Board at the time.

Bond and Carlsen approached Johnson Countians Stan and Shirley Rose, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and founders of the Sun Publications, to co-chair the inaugural event. According to Bond, it was during that meeting that Shirley coined the name for the event.

“Some Enchanted Evening was born,” says Bond, now a consultant for Midwest Trust.

Twenty-five years and more than $5 million later, the Johnson County Community College Foundation celebrates Some Enchanted Evening in November, an annual fundraising gala that helps deserving JCCC students finance their education through scholarships. The black-tie event, held every year at the Overland Park Marriott, culminates with the presentation of the coveted Johnson Countian of the Year award—the Foundation’s highest recognition of achievement.

This year’s event is co-chaired by Dr. Terry and Marlene Calaway; Terry Calaway is JCCC’s president. And in a departure from tradition, instead of naming one new Johnson Countian of the Year, the JCCC Foundation is celebrating all past recipients, from 1987 through 2010.

“It seems appropriate that in our 25th anniversary year we re-recognize these 24 leaders who influenced the college and community,” says Calaway. “In so many ways they assured a strong future for Johnson County.”

Calaway says that because of the outstanding community response this year, Some Enchanted Evening on November 12 has sold out and has surpassed the $5 million mark in sponsorships. “This fundraising effort has positively impacted 5,000 students since 1987,” says Calaway.

Steve Wilkinson, JCCC Foundation president and president and chief executive officer of Menorah Medical Center, considers Some Enchanted Evening a premier event that honors community leaders.

“It’s particularly special that we honor these past Johnson Countians of the Year, people who have made indelible marks on Johnson County and contributed to our economic growth, cultural enhancement, educational excellence, recreational opportunities and the vibrancy of our community,” says Wilkinson.

Bond is proud that the monies raised over the past quarter century provide scholarships for traditional and non-traditional students and stipends to help students with exceptional needs, such as single parents and displaced workers, and talented students in all areas of study.

“It’s exciting for me to look back and kick the tires of this very successful vehicle that has truly made a difference in the lives of young people,” says Bond. “It’s been a way for the community to reach out.”

Kate Allen, executive director for Institutional Advancement at JCCC, says the scholarship support through Some Enchanted Evening has been a vital cornerstone of the JCCC Foundation’s mission.

“Thanks to the visionary leaders who created this event and the community support year after year, scholarship endowment funds have been created that will help local students for generations,” says Allen. “Providing access to higher education truly changes lives.”


Celebration of Leadership

The Johnson County Community College Foundation’s fundraising gala, Some Enchanted Evening, is regarded as an investment in the future leaders of the community—and as an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of men and women who have helped make Johnson County a desirable place to learn, live, raise a family, and work with the prestigious Johnson Countian of the Year award.

According to Mary Birch of Lathrop and Gage, the 2002 Johnson Countian of the Year, the passion that people in the community have for education is depicted by their willingness to support and help those who can’t afford an education to gain one.

“It truly is a statement that the people and businesses here step forward,” says Birch.

The past Johnson Countians of the Year who will be honored on Nov. 12 include:

David Wysong, 2010

Terry and Peggy Dunn, 2009

Fred Logan, 2008

Dick and Barbara Shull, 2007

Norman and Elaine Polsky, 2006

Ed Eilert, 2005

Robert D. Regnier, 2004

Walter Hiersteiner, 2003

Mary Birch, 2002

Drue Jennings, 2001

Betty Keim, 2000

Steve Rose, 1999

Charles J. Carlsen, 1998

George and Floriene Lieberman, 1997

Dick Bond, 1996

William Dunn, 1995

Adele Hall, 1994

SuEllen Fried, 1993

James P. Sunderland, 1992

Stan and Shirley Rose, 1991

John H. Robinson, 1990

Paul H. Henson, 1989

Ben Craig, 1988

Robert H. Meneilly, 1987