Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 11, 2016

Parsons alumni honored on wall

By NICOLE HESTER-WILLIAMS Ledger staff writer | Sep 30, 2016
Breen

Parsons College grads are gearing up for the eighth annual Parsons College Wall of Honor induction ceremony at 10 a.m. Oct. 8 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

Registration for the induction ceremony begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 8 at the convention center, and the Parsons College Foundation Board is inviting alumni and friends to the event, which is followed by a 12:30 p.m. luncheon at the Elks Lodge on the west side of the Fairfield Square.

Festivities will officially kick off during a reception at 3 p.m.  Oct. 7 at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club — pre-registration is recommended for both the reception and the luncheon at the Elks Lodge the next day.

For more information, contact Dave Neff, president of the Parsons College Foundation Fund at 919-4640.

Last month, Neff announced the names of those distinguished alumni who would be inducted into the Wall of Honor this year. The Ledger will publish the profile stories of two alumni each day through Thursday.

“Parsons College has produced many fine graduates,” Neff said. “It is a difficult decision each year to choose only 10 alumni to be represented in the Wall of Honor. This is the eighth year for this recognition. We are pleased to honor those who have given back so much to their home communities.”

New wall of honor inductees are: Dan Breen, William Burger, James Cornick, Robert “Bobby” Harrison, David Hubler, Lois Stuflick Johnson, William Larkin, Merlin “Merlie” Rostermundt, Jeffery Stanley and David A. Thompson.

Starting today and running through Thursday, The Ledger will profile two honorees in each edition.

 

Dan Breen, ’71

Breen is a 1971 Parsons College graduate. For more than three decades, Breen taught and coached in the Fairfield Community School District, and he had the distinction of being the first girls’ basketball coach once the sport was added in 1972. Breen was said to have put together one of the most amazing, dominant and successful basketball programs in the history of the state.

Breen’s career record was 334-60; his conference record was 97-3; his home court winning streak was 94, which was one of the highest in the nation; he had consecutive 20-win seasons; 13 regional finals 11 times; five consecutive state tournament final-four appearances — the only school in the 60-year history of class era to achieve that mark. His team went on to become state champions in 1983.

The recognition that followed Breen’s successes included the Kodak Iowa Coach of the Year award in 1983; The Iowa Girls Athletic Union Award in 1986 with the Golden Plaque of Distinction for Career Achievement, of which, Breen was the youngest coach ever to earn the award.  Breen was also inducted into the Iowa Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

Although successful in his profession, Breen’s achievements began long before he stepped out onto the court. As a Parsons College student, Breen maintained a 4.0 grade point average. He was named the recipient of the Parsons College President’s Plaque for Achievement, which was the college’s highest award.

Throughout his life, Breen has continued to reach his goals and contribute to his community. He founded the Fairfield Youth Basketball program, which has grown to more than 150 participants and 12 collective teams. One of his most notable and recent accomplishments, is his role as the founder and leader of the Fairfield Recreation Facilities Task Force that promoted, designed and helped raise $9.5 million to upgrade the city’s recreational facilities including an outdoor pool and upgrades to the gym, which is currently known as the Roosevelt Community Recreation Center.

Breen and his wife Tina reside in Fairfield. The couple have three children together, three from a previous marriage and six grandchildren. Ron Hunerdosse presented Breen to the Wall of Honor.

 

Robert “Bobby” Harrison, ’54

Harrison graduated from Parsons College in 1954. When one mention’s Harrison’s name in the state of Iowa, music, the Fairfield Dixieland Band, and his talent as a trumpet player might come to mind. Harrison’s contributions to Fairfield’s music scene were endless.

Harrison’s professional music career began while he was a member of the Iowa National Guard’s 34th Infantry Red Bull Band. The band was based in Fairfield. Bobby was a core and founding member of Dixieland Band, and in the early 1960s, the band was selected to participate in the “Sell, See Iowa Caravan,” which traveled the state to promote tourism. Over the years, the band performed its “freelance” tunes during numerous state events. During the final chapter of his music career, Harrison played his trumpet at graveside funerals for fallen veterans in Marion.

While a student at Parsons, Harrison showcased his stellar athletic abilities, as he was the first post WWII Parsons athlete awarded four-sports-letters in a single year; the number rose to a total of 12 during his college career.

After graduating, Harrison returned to Parsons in the mid-1960s to help establish Pershing College — a satellite school located in Beatrice, Nebraska. In 1972, he volunteered to coach the Wildcats final season of “club-level” football.

Harrison’s professional career started at First National Bank in Fairfield, ending decades later when he retired from the Louden Corporation in Fairfield. During his Louden days, he became the corporate sales manager, and he was involved with the drafting and designing of numerous projects.

A highlight in Harrison’s career came when he received the award for the “Highest Level of Marketing” from the Louden Division of American Chain & Cable.

Harrison and his wife Ruth have two daughters and three sons. Harrison’s son Doug presented him to the Wall of Honor.

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