James Wesley Presented William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award
Mound Valley, Kansas nativeand Traditional Country music performer and James Wesley, was recognized by Labette Community College, in Parsons, KS, during the 22nd Annual Donor Appreciation Luncheon on Friday, November 1st and presented the William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by President Mark Watkins. The award recognized his achievements, service and many contributions to the music industry. The award is named in memory of the Van Meters for their generous estate gift that funded renovationof Thiebaud Theatre at LCC.
"It was an honor and a privilege to be presented the William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by President Dr. Mark Watkins and the Board of Directors of the Labette Community College Foundation and Alumi Association," shared James Wesley. "It was great to come back home and accept this award with my friends, high school principal Mr. Ken Swender and my FFA teacher Mr. Dan Peterson and his lovely wife Kathy. I also want to thank all the Donors who make it possible for students to be able to receive grant money to attend college at LCC. Thank you all again for this amazing award. God Bless.""It is an honor that I have been given the opportunity to recognize a deserving LCC alumnus for this prestigious award. LCC alumni success stories are as diverse as our students themselves," stated President Mark Watkins Van Meter. "In the past we've honored doctors, lawyers, business executives and educators. It was our pleasure to recognize, James Wesley, a successful alumnus who has made his mark in the country music industry." Wesley, a Mound Valley native attended Labette County High School before moving on to Labette Community College. He first discovered country music through his grandmother's record collection, which included plenty of classics like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. In 2011 his hometown, Mound Valley, declared May 29th as James Wesley Day and presented him with a key to the City. He is the first person to ever receive a key from the city of Mound Valley. James still continues touring and playing corporate events across the country. One of the highlights of his career was being asked to be a part of the Merle Haggard tribute album titled "Working Man's Poet." The two Haggard songs he got to perform were "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and "The Fightin' Side of me." Founded in 1923, Labette Community College has evolved from a city college primarily serving those students who wished to transfer to a four-year institution to a comprehensive community college offering transfer degrees, professional/technical degrees and certificates, continuing education, customized training for business and industry, lifelong learning opportunities, and a variety of programs and services for Southeast Kansas and the four-state region.
Country singer/songwriter James Wesley was born and raised in Mound Valley, Kansas. James was signed to Warner Bros. in 1999 as James Prosser, he released one album Life Goes On before adopting the Wesley moniker. After relocating to Nashville, Wesley hooked up with songwriter Rodney Clawson and producer Dan Frizzell, inked a deal with Broken Bow Records, and released the single "Jackson Hole." The song debuted at #41 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and was followed in 2010 by a second single, "Real" that topped the charts at #22, followed by "Didn't I" at #24 In 2011. James found a new level of exposure when he was the opening act for two weeks of superstar Taylor Swift's Speak Now tour. He continued touring and more singles followed in anticipation for Wesley's debut album, Real, including "Walking Contradiction," "Thank A Farmer" and "Hooked Up" which appeared in 2012, 2013 and 2015. James continues touring and playing corporate events across the country. One of the highlights of James Career, was being asked to be a part of the Merle Haggard tribute album titled "Working Man's Poet", (Released in April of 2014). The two "Hag" songs performed by James, were "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and "The Fightin' Side of me".