Quakenbush named new head of historical society
By RACHAEL GRAY
For more than two decades, Steve Quakenbush has documented and recorded events and successes for Garden City Community College and been a spokesman for the college.
In February, Quakenbush will be leaving GCCC to take on a similar role of documenting and recording the lives of the people of Finney County.
Quakenbush, the executive director of public relations at GCCC, has been named the new executive director for the Finney County Historical Society. He begins his new job at the Finney County Historical Museum, 403 S. Fourth St., on Feb. 1.
He replaces Mary Regan, who has held the job for 25 years.
Quakenbush said if there's another dream job in Finney County besides being involved with the college, it's working with the historical society.
"The college is a place that changes people's lives. It's been an honor to be a part of an institution that changes people's lives. At the same time, it's exciting to be involved in an organization that literally preserves our heritage in southwest Kansas," he said.
Quakenbush said he has big shoes to fill.
"For me, it's a fork in the road. And I'm really excited to take that road and follow in the foosteps of Mary Regan. I don't think Mary Regan is a person who can be replaced, but I'm honored to be the one to carry on her legacy," he said.
As director, Quakenbush plans to listen to community members about their interests and the direction they would like to see the historical society take.
"There are three things I want to do. First, I want to learn everything I can from Mary, then learn everything I can from the historical society board and staff. And then I want to listen to the community," he said.
Regan said Quakenbush is a good fit for the job.
"I think he's an excellent choice. I think the historical society will really benefit from his direction," she said.
Quakenbush¬ is a Garden City native and third generation Finney County resident. He has worked at GCCC since 1988. In addition to marketing, public relations, new media relations and advertising, he has been responsible for broadcast programs, publication management and other additional responsibilities during his years at GCCC. Quakenbush has served in several capacities for the Finney County United Way campaign, the Tumbleweed Festival, Finney County Convention and Tourism, Finney County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event.
Quakenbush worked as news editor of the Southwest Daily Times in Liberal from 1980 to 1988, after having worked six months there as a reporter. He was editor of the Haskell County Monitor-Chief, Sublette, from 1979 to 1980.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications in 1979 at Fort Hays State University, after graduating from GCCC in 1976 with an associate in arts degree and serving as editor of the student newspaper and as a student government officer. At FHSU, he was elected vice president of the Society for Collegiate Journalists, earned a series of awards in Associated Collegiate Press competition, and served as a campus photographer. He also worked on the staff of the University Leader as reporter, feature editor and managing editor.
Quakenbush and his wife, Neva, a Deerfield native who works part-time at GCCC, were married in 1979. They devote extensive time to upkeep and improvements at their home, a 1929-era Craftsman house in an older Garden City neighborhood.