A Marion County family joined with extended family members this weekend to celebrate their ties with Kansas State University.
Quentin and Shari Morford of rural Hillsboro, plus their children, Lindsey, Katie and Matthew—all K-State graduates—were feted Saturday in Manhattan as part of the university’s 2012 Family of Year.
Family matriarch and Shari’s mother, Iolene Morrison Hildebrand of Stafford, was given a plague recognizing the contributions of family members over the years. Nineteen members of the Hildebrand clan were on hand for the day.
The family’s application was chosen from among 26 that were submitted.
The annual recognition is sponsored by the Chimes Junior Honorary Society. Activities included a brunch organized by Chimes and attended by several university dignitaries, plus tickets to the evening football game between the Wildcats and North Texas State.
The family was recognized on the playing field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium during a second-half timeout.
The Hildebrand family represents three generations of K-State supporters beginning with Iolene in 1947, followed by her four children and two of their spouses—Shari graduated in 1977 and Quentin in 1979—and six of her 16 grandchildren, with more to come.
One family member served as Willie the Wildcat from 1982-84, and was the first Willie to be televised in his debut on ESPN at the Independence Bowl.
Shari was one of the first K-State Student Ambassadors in 1977. Through the years, family members have participated a wide range of student organizations and causes.
Missing from the group of strong K-State supporters was Iolene’s late husband, Robert Hildebrand, who died when their children were between the ages of 9 through 16.
“My mom did a lot as a widow to get her four kids through life,” Shari said. “It wasn’t an easy thing, so it was great to be able to honor her that way. She was really tickled by it, too.”