June 16, 2021
Lawrence, US 91 F
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Linda Robinson wins Lawrence ATHENA Award; Chamber awards 2 posthumous Citizens of the Years

Linda Robinson was announced Tuesday as Lawrence’s 2020 ATHENA Award winner.

The Chamber, Lawrence, Kansas, also has named Reggie Robinson and Dale Willey both as posthumous winners of the Citizen of the Years award. 

The ATHENA Award is an international program that “celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them,” according to a news release from the Chamber. 

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Linda Robinson worked at the University of Kansas as director of admissions, and later she became the founding director of the Lawrence Business/Education Partnership Program, now known as LEAP, according to the release. She served eight years on the Lawrence Board of Education, and she has been actively involved in many community and civic organizations. 

“Throughout Linda’s extensive and impressive career in education, she has shown outstanding leadership, support, and inspiration to those in her profession,” Miles Schnaer, owner of Crown Automotive, which sponsors the award, said in the release. “She has made vital contributions to many of Lawrence’s non-profit organizations. She exemplifies the professional excellence, community service, and mentorship of other women that the ATHENA Award is meant to recognize.”

Reggie Robinson most recently had served as CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, according to the release. However, he was a longtime leader in KU’s administration. He was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to be facilitator for the Kansas Justice Reform Commission, and he served in other positions at the state level as well. 

Robinson volunteered for a number of Lawrence-area organizations and served on numerous boards of directors.

“Reggie served as a mentor to many and his leadership has truly influenced the University of Kansas, the Lawrence community and beyond,” Bonnie Lowe, president and CEO of The Chamber, said in the release. “He was so generous with his time. Reggie had an uncanny ability to listen, connect and guide others with warmth, kindness and intelligence.”

He died at age 63 on Sept. 19, 2020, according to his obituary.

Willey was a longtime auto dealer who was instrumental in the formation of the auto tech program at Peaslee Tech, according to the release. He was a longtime Chamber member, and he served in leadership positions in state and national auto dealer associations throughout his career.

Willey also supported a number of Lawrence organizations, and he was named the Lawrence noon Kiwanis Club’s citizen of the year in 2019. 

“Dale’s dedication to the Lawrence business community was just exceptional. He gave his time, talents and treasure to ensure our community and its citizens would prosper,” Lowe said in the release.

He died at age 79 on Aug. 14, 2020, according to his obituary

The awards will be presented at the Chamber’s annual meeting on Friday, April 23 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., in Lawrence. 

For more information, see the Chamber’s website.

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