2013 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
Mr. Ken Colley, ’69
Ken Colley has led by example, giving back to the community and organizations to make a difference in the lives of others. A native of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Colley came to OMA for high school in 1966, graduated the following year and attended junior college at OMA, graduating in 1969.
He served as class president and vice-president of his OMA junior college class and was an officer in the Saber Society. He was the 1968 recipient of the U.S. Meyers Award for the “cadet with high morals and leadership.”
From his first moments at OMA, he showed determination and excellence, as seen by his early recognition as a Rabbit in 1966 with Golf Company and in his service as a member of the best drill squad and best drill platoon, both in 1966.
Active on campus, Colley earned an athletic ribbon in baseball, an academic achievement wreath and was a member of the Guidon staff, drill team and rifle team. He earned the rank of cadet lieutenant colonel and served as a battalion executive officer at OMA. He also attended Fort Benning Summer camp in 1967 and the Fort Sill summer camp in 1968.
A second-generation military man, Colley followed the path of his father Ralph, who retired as a major from the U.S. Army in 1964 after a 24-year military career serving in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His older brother Chad also had a military career and was a commissioned first lieutenant serving in Vietnam.
After graduating from OMA, he earned a business degree from John Brown University. Colley continued serving his country as a member of the 188th Air National Guard in Fort Smith from 1971 through 1976. Colley counts among his fondest OMA memories presenting Bob Hope with a saber during an appearance in Tulsa. When the comedian saw Colley and Cadet Col. Brack Jackson approaching with the sword, he joked, “I’ve been drafted,” much to the crowd’s amusement.
Colley owns and operates a successful real estate appraisal company in Fort Smith. He also is an active volunteer with the Rotary Club, where in 2013 he will begin serving a one-year term as the district governor for parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Colley has been actively involved with the Rotary’s youth exchange program, hosting young people from Germany, Brazil, Columbia, Hungary, Taiwan and South Africa. He also led a group study exchange team for a one-month event in Brazil in 2008.
Colley has been married to his wife, Lynn, for 41 years and they have two children, KC Colley and Courtney Fulton, and one grandchild, Archer Colley. Colley also has been selected as the adjutant for the 2013 OMA Alumni Association reunion.