The Young Professionals of Cowley County recognizes outstanding young professionals with the Rising Star Award. The YP Board considers nominations for this award each quarter. Nominees should be highly active in the community, committed to making a difference, involved in YP Cowley, and 21-40 years of age.
Ben Schears is the recipient of the March 2013 Rising Star Award. Although not raised in Cowley County, Ben has roots to the area that extend back to his adolescent years when he was a camper Camp Quaker Haven and where ultimately he worked for 6 summers during his teenage years as camp staff. His love of the area brought him back after graduating from Olpe High School, and he returned to Ark City as a freshman at Cowley College. It was at Cowley that Ben met Rachel Morrison, then his math tutor, but who would eventually become his bride. After an active college career at Cowley, during which he was heavily involved in campus activities and served as a student ambassador, he transferred up to Emporia State University where he graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in history. It was during his last semester at ESU that Ben was offered an admissions representative position back at Cowley College, which he enthusiastically accepted. After returning to Cowley, this time as an employee, Ben finished his master’s degree through Emporia State in history, and began getting heavily involved in professional associations and campus committees. One such organization, the Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrar’s and Admissions Officers (KACRAO), provided several leadership opportunities which ultimately led to a role as one of the youngest state presidents in the organization’s history. In 2005, KACRAO honored Ben with the Beth Tedrow Outstanding Young Professional Award. In the ensuing years, he moved to the national scene where he served 3 years as the Evaluations Chair for the American Association of Collegiate Registrar’s and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).
During his 10 years at Cowley College, he has served on numerous committees, and has held 8 positions ranging from admissions representative and adjunct history instructor, to Director of Admissions and Executive Director of Enrollment & Outreach Services. A little over 2 years ago, at the age of 29, he accepted a position as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement where he has had the opportunity to work with alumni, donors, and friends of the college to advance the college foundation. In October of 2012, he was asked to move back into the Student Affairs realm to work on new enrollment and retention initiatives.
Locally, he has been involved for the past 4 years with Leadership Cowley County, having served as the Board Chairman in 2011/2012. He has served on the PrairieFest committee, CornerBank Community Advisory Board, and now serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board and Business and Industry Committees.
Together he and wife Rachel own and operate Jordan Rentals LLC, a small rental property business that invests and renovates repossessed and/or blighted Ark City properties. Although the work is difficult, they have enjoyed taking less than desirable properties and turning them into quality properties.
His real joy in life however resides with his beautiful wife Rachel and their five kids, Natalie, Noah, Nate, Sydney and Audrey. He enjoys trail running, spending time outdoors, hunting, and writing. In their spare time, he and Rachel and the kids are making a little farm southeast of Ark City their new home.