Stewart named Distinguished Citizen< More Stories
The lifelong Vermilion resident was clearly touched to receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business degree from Lakeland and be recognized as a Distinguished Citizen.
John’s son Doug Stewart addressed the crowd and thanked the college for recognizing his dad. “It means so much to him and to all of our family. Dad always viewed the college … as one of the cornerstones of this community and region,” says Doug.
Craig’s of Vermilion, the retail business which has been in their family since 1905, has supported the college’s awards program since 1927. The business, which John joined in 1959 a few years after earning a business degree at the University of Montana, has also contributed to numerous other Lakeland initiatives and student groups throughout the years. John and his late wife Sally funded an on-campus gallery to showcase the work of interior design technology students.
Many local organizations have benefited from John’s involvement including Vermilion Agricultural Society, Kinsmen Club of Vermilion, and Vermilion and District Chamber of Commerce. He helped with numerous major projects such as hosting professional rodeos and building a grandstand on the Vermilion Agricultural Society fairgrounds. John and Craig’s have also been strong supporters of many youth teams and organizations, including 4-H.
“Dad has always been a strong believer in contributing to and supporting the community,” says Doug, reminding the graduates that many of the facilities and activities they enjoy today are the result of the volunteer work done by previous generations. “Dad would (say) that contributing to your community in whatever form you choose offers many personal rewards: it builds character, integrity, pride, and friendship.”
Doug encouraged the graduates to continue the service legacy of previous generations by getting involved with a service group, coaching a sports team or helping out with special events. “I know the community and your life – like Dad’s – will be richer in so many ways.”
Photo: Top – Holding his Lakeland College credential, John Stewart is pictured with his children Cam, Lori, Greg, Susan and Doug following his induction as a Distinguished Citizen during Lakeland College's Vermilion campus convocation on Friday, June 2. Bottom – John, Lakeland VP Academic Mike Crowe, Lakeland President Alice Wainwright-Stewart, and Lakeland Board of Governors Chair Darrel Howell laugh at a story John’s son Doug Stewart shared during John’s induction.