Man and woman of the year

On New Year’s Day, former Amarillo College President Bud Joyner awoke to the Amarillo Globe-News announcing him as the 2012 Man of the Year. Meanwhile, Sharon Oeschger, a former AC regent and current chairwoman of the AC Foundation, had a friend hand-deliver the very first copy of the paper to her at midnight.

As the two community members received this distinguished honor, many residents reflected on the impact made by both Joyner and Oeschger on Amarillo. And the recipients not only are notable for their love and dedication to the community but for their strong ties to Amarillo College.

Bud Joyner
Bud Joyner

Joyner served as the AC president from 1992 to 1999, during which he represented the college in the community.

“I’ve always felt that the college needed to play a major part in the community,” Joyner said. “That led to my belief that as a representative of the college, I needed to be out in the community.”

The college provided not only several challenges but also some life-changing relationships for Joyner.

“My reason for existence at that college was the students,” he said. “The faculty and staff are like family and continue to be. The day-to-day is what made me who I am and what I treasure most about it.”

During his presidency, Joyner contributed to several major successes that helped build the college. He headed AC during the merger with Texas State Technical College, which now is the East Campus.

“That was a major effort by everybody at the college to merge those colleges into one,” he said.

He also was the driving force behind getting a bond issue passed that gave AC millions of dollars for renovations.

“That was a great election; the community supported us with a 70 percent approval,” he said. “The community gives back to the college.”

Joyner led other community colleges before his stay at AC. When asked to apply for the position of president, he declined at first but noted “it had a tug.”

After meeting with the AC regents and being chosen for as president, Joyner said, “It felt like home then, and it quickly was.”

His wife, Janice Joyner, recalled her husband’s contribution to AC, calling it the greatest place and the greatest school.

“When I went to events with Bud, I had a longing in my heart to work at AC,” she said.

After her husband retired, Janice Joyner took a job as an AC counselor, which she had been at community colleges before her marriage.

Sharon Oeschger
Sharon Oeschger

Sharon Oeschger’s sense of giving transcends a few hours of volunteer work. Three terms as an AC regent and a consistent scholarship fund to nursing students each year are only the beginning of her list of volunteering in the community. Oeschger has displayed her faith in students time and time again.

“Amarillo College and its values meant so much over many years,” she said.

Oescher cited one of her biggest accomplishments as a regent.

“I was a young board member, and part of the board’s job is to select a president,” she said. “That was our first order of business.

“My greatest accomplishment while on the board was bringing Bud and Janice to Amarillo. They are outstanding citizens, and they brought so much to us.”

Of all the titles Oeschger carries, one that she did not expect was Woman of the Year.

“I had never imagined that this would happen,” she said. “My mother was Woman of the Year in 1991, so I was thrilled. I try to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”

Oeschger and her late mother, Hazel Kelley Wilson, are the first mother and daughter to win the title.

“My mother had great campus ties and ties to Amarillo College,” Oeschger said.

She names the students at AC as one important gauge of the success of her involvement. “We are so blessed to have the students become productive members of our society,” she said. “Today I am so truly pleased that Dr. Matney is president. Everything has turned around 100 percent.”

Dr. Paul Matney praised Joyner’s and Oeschger’s roles at AC.

“Both of them have been so devoted,” he said. “Dr. Joyner is a strong leader. We needed leadership, and Dr. Joyner quickly established trust and respect. He helped to unify the college.”

Matney commended Oeschger for her giving spirit. “She is the most genuinely philanthropic person,” he said. “She sees need, and she steps forward to meet that need. She leads by example and serves by example.”

In addition to giving to the community, Matney specifically pointed out her generosity to AC.

“She has a great spot in her heart for Amarillo College and students,” he said. “She loves the college’s mission for helping.”

When Matney initially found out that Joyner and Oeschger had won their honors, he said he noticed the impact it had on the campus.

“When I found out, my heart swelled for Amarillo College,” he said. “That is a real endorsement; they love Amarillo College.”

About Meghan Riddlespurger - Ranger Reporter 9 Articles
Meghan is a mass communications/advertising/public relations major. She's a newbie to the journalism world and is a student reporter for The Ranger, but spent all four years in high school on the speech and debate team, and is a big fan of communication. She plans to finish her BA in mass communication at WT in spring 2015, and then will decide from there if she's ready for grad school or if she will pursue a career in advertising, PR, or another career in communication. She hopes to go where the job market will have more variety and adventure. She like cats, crocheting, arguing with people on Facebook for no legitimate reason, and writing for The Ranger. But mainly cats. Cats are definitely her favorite thing.

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