Mike Varney has been named Eastern Wyoming College’s Albert C. Conger Distinguished Service Award winner for 2022.
Varney started at EWC in 1968, the same year the school moved from the old vacated grade school building in downtown Torrington into a new building at its current location on West C Street. He was instrumental during that period of growth in facilities and programs.
As an instructor he started the geography program, taught world history, American history, and political science.
Varney was one of former EWC Trustee Angie Chavez’s “all-time favorite instructors,” she said.
During his time at EWC, Varney served as athletic director, student activities director, financial aid officer, as well as director of housing and food services. He saw the start of men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field, golf, and rodeo programs at EWC. He also helped start the first student senate and the livestock judging team.
He also was involved in the approval for the construction of the first student dormitory on the EWC Torrington campus.
Varney was also charged with the development of a mascot and new colors for EWC during his tenure. With the help of colleagues and the student senate, they settled on black and gold and EWC became known as the Lancers.
Varney served on the EWC Board of Trustees for 13 years retiring in March 2022. He also represented EWC on the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees.
In 2020 Varney was honored with the Trustee Leadership-of-the-Year award for the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees. He bested nominees from each of the Wyoming community colleges.
He played an important role in the construction of a multi-million-dollar classroom facility at EWC’s Torrington campus and the opening of a branch campus in Douglas, Wyoming. Varney was also involved in numerous decisions regarding the planning, funding, design, and construction of the Career and Technical Education Center and the planning for the Agricultural Technology Education Center on the Torrington campus.
Besides being a strong advocate for the college Varney served the city of Torrington as a council representative and mayor for more than 40 years. As mayor, and as a councilman, Varney was known as an effective leader with a strong vision and purpose. He was credited with solving many difficult economic issues for the city over his years in office.
“When you meet Mike and take a few minutes to get to know him, you will walk away a friend,” Torrington CPA Marilyn Fisher said. “He is a dedicated and tireless public servant . . . Above all, he is a one of a kind, genuine good guy.”
Varney was honored with the EWC Albert C. Conger Distinguished Service Award at the 2022 EWC graduation ceremony held May 14, in Torrington, Wyoming.
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