Garden City Community College Board of Trustee Dr. Merilyn Douglass received the National Rural Community College Alliance Trustee of the Year award Sept. 28 at the Rural Community College Alliance annual meeting in Oklahoma City.

According to Dr. Randy Smith, President of RCCA, the award is presented to a trustee who has served their college and community with excellence.  

“Dr. Douglass is an extremely deserving recipient as she is a longtime member of the GCCC board who understands the importance of rural higher education and the challenges that rural colleges face,” Smith said. “Dr. Douglass has provided leadership and support to the college as it expands and grows to serve the needs of students and the community over the years.”

GCCC President Herbert J. Swender said Douglass is a deserving recipient.   

“She provides a motivating force to educate and continue with the Carver Model of Policy Governance. She makes a positive difference for GCCC.,” Swender said.

The Carver Model of Policy Governance was adopted by the GCCC Board of Trustees in 1995 and is now recognized by many governing boards across the nation.

Douglass is a Family Nurse Practitioner, receiving her doctorate in nursing from the University of Kansas School of Nursing. She works at the Grow Well Clinic in Garden City, where services are contracted to employers to care for their employees and families.

She is president of the Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses Association, holding that position since 2014. She is married to Steve Douglass, of D.V. Douglass Roofing in Garden City, and they have five children and 11 grandchildren.

The RCCA is the nation’s largest organization of rural colleges.  

“It is not always easy being a rural trustee, however, it is extremely important that trustees are active in the community, understand the challenges rural institutions face and that they are able to invest the time and energy in to the position while staying up on the modern trends in higher education,” Smith said. “Dr. Douglass has certainly done all of these things as a trustee at GCCC. She is extremely deserving of this award, and we are thrilled to honor her service on the GCCC Board of Trustees.”