Chamber names Citizen of the Years, ATHENA Award recipients

by | Jan 15, 2020 | Doing It Local, Events, Government

Lawrence, Kan. – The Chamber is pleased to announce the recipients of two prestigious awards recognizing outstanding commitment to the Lawrence community and its citizens. Craig Weinaug is the recipient of the Citizen of the Years award, while The Honorable Jean Shepherd will receive the ATHENA Award, presented by Crown Toyota Volkswagen. Both awards will be presented to the winners at The Chamber’s Annual Meeting on January 31 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., Lawrence, Kan.

2020 Citizen of the Years

Craig Weinaug served as the Douglas County Administrator for more than 26 years before his retirement in December 2018. During his time with Douglas County, Weinaug provided leadership and work on many notable achievements, including the creation and continued support of Peaslee Tech and the Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority, the development of the Lawrence Community Shelter, the creation of a county sustainability fund, and the merger and consolidation of the Lawrence Fire Department and Douglas County Ambulance Service, along with the merger of emergency dispatch services with the City of Lawrence. Weinaug left his post with one last achievement, the passage of a quarter-cent sales tax to support a behavioral health campus and fund enhanced treatment for mental health and substance abuse. Weinaug continues to serve on multiple boards.

“Craig has provided leadership on some of the most important decisions affecting Lawrence and Douglas County over the past 26 years,” said Bonnie Lowe, President and CEO of The Chamber. “He is the definition of a servant leader and his achievements will continue to impact our community for many years. He worked for Douglas County and its residents with dedication, integrity, and a willingness to listen and compromise.”

2019 Crown Toyota Volkswagen ATHENA Award

When the Honorable Jean Shepherd was appointed in 1984, she became the first female judge in the history of Douglas County. Judge Shepherd presided over the county’s family court starting in 1994, when it was established. She founded the Citizen Review Board of Douglas County and helped start the Douglas County CASA program, and the organization has since named an award after her. She also helped start a local football program for seventh graders, coached by Lawrence police officers. Judge Shepherd is a member of the KU Women’s Hall of Fame, an honoree of the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equality, and a recipient of Leadership Lawrence’s Don Volker award. She was the first female president of the Kansas District Judges Association. Throughout her career, Judge Shepherd mentored foster children and mothers, students in high school and law school, newly appointed judges, and professional women who volunteered for CASA.

“Jean Shepherd is a pioneer in both the legal profession and in community service,” said Miles Schnaer, President of Crown Toyota Volkswagen. “She has had direct and meaningful impact on so many lives, both in and out of the courtroom. She exemplifies the professional excellence, community service, and mentorship of other women that the ATHENA Award is meant to recognize.”


About the Awards

The Citizen of the Years award honors an individual whose commitment to and impact upon the Lawrence community spans a lifetime.

The international ATHENA Award program celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them. The Lawrence ATHENA Award is sponsored by Crown Toyota Volkswagen.

About The Chamber, Lawrence, Kansas

The Chamber of Lawrence, Kansas is a membership organization focused on growth, leadership, and advocacy for the community. The mission of The Chamber is to promote growth and economic prosperity by serving as the leading business advocate, cultivating leadership & facilitating connectivity. Its current strategic plan priorities include strategic economic development, effective advocacy, business engagement, and visionary leadership. Learn more at


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