Tabor College photo by Vance Frick
Sylvia Bribiesca Penner, an attorney in Wichita, receives the Alumni Medallion Award from Tabor College President Jules Glanzer during homecoming.
Sylvia Bribiesca Penner, an attorney with the law firm of Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch in Wichita, received the Alumni Medallion Award from Tabor College during Home?coming festivities this past weekend.
The Alumni Medallion Award is given each year to a recent Tabor College graduate who has quickly distinguished himself or herself in his or her chosen vocation.
In presenting the award to Penner, Tabor President Jules Glanzer said, ?Many have told me of Sylvia?s commitment to excellence, her compassionate heart and the way she brings together fairness, accountability and compassion to her work.?
Penner graduated in 1999 from Tabor College with a bachelor?s degree in biology. She went on to receive her juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas in 2004.
In addition to her law practice, in which she specializes in civil litigation and workers compensation, Penner also serves as an adjunct professor at the Wichita-based Tabor College School of Adult and Graduate Studies? master of business administration program.
?To say this award means a lot to me doesn?t even come close to communicating how I feel,? Penner said. ?During my years at Tabor, I grew to respect and admire numerous members of the faculty and staff. To know that some of those same individuals now recognize something in me that makes them believe that I am deserving of this award is pretty overwhelming.
?So much of what I have accomplished since graduation has been inspired and influenced by members of the TC community, and is really of a reflection of the work and energy that they put into me,? she added.
Although small in stature, Penner was an outstanding soccer and basketball player for Tabor and epitomized the ideal Christian student athlete.
In her acceptance speech, Penner said demanding coaches and rigorous professors at Tabor had helped prepare her for a successful legal career.
?There are numerous people who played a role in shaping the person I am today,? Penner said.
She focused on Allen Hiebert, emeritus professor of chemistry, who was her adviser while she was a chemistry major.
?Dr. Hiebert was the hardest professor I have ever had at any stage of my formal education,? she said. ?He set high standards and had high expectations for all of his students. He never let up on any of us until we had risen to whatever level was necessary to meet his expectations.
?Through that experience, I developed my analytical skills, a framework for problem-solving, a passion for learning and the importance of thinking outside the box, all of which have proven beneficial to me in my career.
She also mentioned Don Brubacher, who was her basketball and soccer coach.
?Anyone who played for Brubacher knows that he set very high goals for his team, but that he also worked tirelessly to place his athletes in the best possible position to be successful,? she said.
?From my experience as a TC student athlete, I developed a strong work ethic, discipline and a philosophy that you never give up?again, all things that have propelled me forward in my life and career.?
Penner is involved in various community service projects and charity work through the Kansas and Wichita Bar Associa?tions.
She was an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and serves as a mentor in the Grow Your Own Lawyer program.
Some of her recent accomplishments include running in the Chicago marathon, being a keynote speaker at the Women?s Equality Day Dinner, being a member of the Wesley E. Brown Inn of Court and arguing before the Kansas Court of Appeals.
She is married to Craig Penner, a 2004 Tabor graduate. They live in Wichita.