Mike Riney serves as a prime example of putting a two-year college education in your hometown to the best possible use to benefit the most possible people. After a semester at a state university, Mike recalls that he “quickly realized that wasn’t the best way to go.” He came home to Liberal and became a member of the first class to enroll at what was then known as “Seward County Community Junior College.”
Mike leveraged the advantage of a smaller, local learning environment. He met his wife, Lynne, who is also a graduate of the first cohort of Saints, earning a degree in 1971. Mike joined his father’s insurance agency in 1972 and embarked on a career that has impacted hundreds and thousands of clients at times when they need help the most. Along the way, he served his fellow community members:
— On the SCCC Board of Trustees, and as Foundation Development Director.
— As a Lion’s Club member and president, and received the “Melvin Jones Fellow” award which is the highest available to any Lions Club member. He also received a distinguished service award from the Jaycees Club.
— As United Way Drive Chairman
— Lifetime member of the First United Methodist Church, where he sings in the choir — Many local awards from the Southwest Daily Times, High Plains Daily Leader, Liberal Chamber of Commerce
— And a member of the Liberal Fire Department for 10 years.
If you talk to Mike, he’ll tell you that Liberal is a great place to live and raise a family because like most things in life, it’s what you make it. He’s proud to tell you that both his daughters, Jennifer and Brooke, attended SCCC. These days, Mike is enjoying watching his grandchildren grow up — and in one case so far, follow the family tradition of becoming a Saint. His grandson is currently enrolled in the HVAC program.