When the 2013 Johnson Countian of the Year award is handed out at the 27th annual “Some Enchanted Evening” gala Nov. 9, a familiar face in local fund-raising will take to the stage at the Overland Park Marriott.
By SARA BEANE
Special to The Star
Lynn Mitchelson of Mission Woods has been selected by the Johnson County Community College Foundation as this year’s recipient of the prestigious award.
“When it comes to his service to the college he is at the top of the list,” Johnson County Community College President Joe Sopcich said. “He has always been one to give of himself and to serve the college and community at large. We are thrilled to have him recognized in this way.”
Mitchelson, who is 72, began his long relationship with Johnson County Community College in 1980 when he became president of Corporate Woods State Bank, later becoming Bank of America. Since then, he has spent decades raising money for the Johnson County Community College Foundation, which serves as the fund-raising arm for the college. He also served on JCCC’s board of trustees from 1996 to 2011. During that time, he served as treasurer, vice chair and chair.
For Mitchelson, who spent his 50-year career as a banking executive before retiring in 1999, raising money to help others always seemed to go hand-in-hand with his job.
“Fund-raising comes easy for people who work in the banking industry because you know who has the money and who can potentially contribute,” Mitchelson said. “Everyone wants to feel like they have made some sort of contribution while they are here and fund-raising was a natural fit.”
Mitchelson’s contributions to Johnson County and the Kansas City metro area are almost too lengthy to list. Most notably, he has served as a board member for the Johnson County Research Triangle; director and chairman of the Learning Exchange; director, vice president and president of the K-10 Association (K-10 Smart Corridor); director and chairman of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce; president of the Overland Park Rotary Foundation; director of the Kansas City Chapter of the Red Cross; director of the Kansas City Philharmonic, and director of KCPT.
Mitchelson has lived in Johnson County since the mid 1960s. He considers it a special community and one that offers ample opportunities to get involved and make a difference. He’s thankful that his career led him to call the area home.
“I am a really lucky person that the timing worked out that I got my dream job at Corporate Woods and that it led to my association with Johnson County Community College,” Mitchelson said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
Proceeds from the Some Enchanted Evening gala go toward student scholarships at JCCC. The event has raised more than $5.4 million dollars for the college’s scholarship program over the past 27 years.
Mitchelson is humbled to follow such a rich legacy of fund-raising and an impressive list of past award recipients.
“I feel overwhelmed,” Mitchelson said. “I was there in the beginning when we chose the first honorees and I never thought something like that would happen to me. It is a phenomenal honor.”
Never one to shy away from helping those who need it, Mitchelson has now turned his attention to his hometown of Baxter Springs in southeast Kansas. He is currently working as chairman and CEO of American Bank as he works to restore the bank to a healthy status. The bank is particularly special to Mitchelson. It’s the same bank where his father once worked as a banker.