Virden’s named recipients of Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award
Cowley College graduates Glen and Lisa Virden have gone on to forge successful careers and have the College to thank for it. The couple were recently honored for their work by being named the recipients of Cowley College’s Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award.
Both Glen and Lisa were born and raised in Arkansas City. Glen worked at Total Pipeline Corporation out of high school and Lisa was a stay at home mother to the couples’ two children, Kody and Kyndol.
“With the money I was making at Total, the last thing I thought I needed was college,” Glen said. “But, Lisa had decided to go back to school at Cowley and I thought it couldn’t hurt anything to try. I went back to gain some knowledge.”
Glen was a member of the President’s Honor Roll and graduated from Cowley College’s Criminal Justice Program in 1996. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southwestern College in 2000 and has been employed with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation since 2001. He is currently a Special Agent in Charge. Lisa graduated from Cowley College in 2001, while the couple’s son, Kody and his wife, Lori (Legleiter), each graduated from Cowley.
Glen began his career in law enforcement in 1991 when he was hired part-time with the Ark City Police Department. He then took on the role of reserve deputy with the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office in 1995 and remained in that roll until 2001. During this time, he was also employed by the Arkansas City Fire Department.
In 2001 he began his time with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation as a special agent assigned to the special operations division. He was later promoted to special agent in charge and also serves as the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s high risk warrant team commander.
He has received numerous awards throughout his decorated career in law enforcement and considers his attendance at the 10-week, FBI National Academy in 2017 to be among his top accomplishments in the field.
“No doubt Cowley was a stepping stone,” Glen said. “Was it not for Cowley I would not be in this field of work. Elvin Hatfield and the Criminal Justice program launched me into the career I have now.”
Glen and Lisa, being non-traditional students, felt they got more out of the college experience than they would have if they started right out of high school.
“Because we were paying for it, it meant more to us,” Glen said. “I didn’t realize I would enjoy it as much as I did.”
Lisa echoed those sentiments.
“I wanted to go back to school to feel better about myself. I wanted to feel like I was doing something for me.”
When Lisa graduated from Cowley she was a buyer at Parman’s Furniture Store in Ark City.
“My business degree from Cowley fit in perfectly,” Lisa said. “I really enjoyed working in sales.”
Lisa went on to own her own business, Grapevine Interiors, and later worked at General Electric for Kelly Services.
Cowley College Foundation President Dr. Kori Gregg said the Outstanding Tiger Alumni award is the highest honor bestowed upon Cowley College alumni.
“This award recognizes alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements, and community service exemplify all that it means to be a Tiger,” Dr. Gregg said. “Glen and Lisa both attended Cowley College as non-traditional students, demonstrating their commitment to hard work, persistence and vision and proving that it is not when you start that matters, but where you end up. They continue to demonstrate how important it is to always pursue your goals and dreams, particularly for students who are balancing multiple responsibilities. I can’t think of a better example to set for our students here at the college.”
In their free time, the couple enjoy spending time with their six grandchildren.
“They are the light of our lives,” Lisa said.
Glen and Lisa are also very active in their church. They are thankful and give God the glory for everything they have and do.
“God is our rock, without him we are nothing,” Lisa said.
The couple created a $10,000 Endowed Scholarship at Cowley College to be awarded annually to a Criminal Justice major displaying a financial need.
Although the couple reside in Great Bend, KS, they still have fond memories of their time in Arkansas City.
“We continue to have strong ties to Ark City and consider it home,” Glen said. “Cowley College is an institution we are so proud of. We are both extremely humbled and honored just to be nominated. To be the recipients of the Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award is the pinnacle.”