If you have been to a HAPS conference, you have seen him. You have probably had a lovely chat with him without necessarily knowing who he is. He's always pleasant, low key, and unassuming. Kevin has often been heard declaring, "I learn SO much at these meetings." and then jotting down a note on one of his endless series of note cards. This most usually occurs after someone has just done or said something absolutely outrageous, but worthy of commemoration. Don't ask me how I know this, because I will only lie.
Most people these days know of Kevin through his work as the first Director of the HAPS Institute (HAPS-I). Through sheer determination and hard work, Kevin, together with President Emeritus Joe Griswold and President Emerita Sandy Lewis, negotiated an agreement with University of Washington (Seattle) and propelled the interesting idea of offering graduate biology credits to HAPS members into operational reality. The most amazing aspect of this is that they, along with Jennifer Lundmark and Ellen Arnestad, formed an organizing committee and created HAPS-I from the ground up all in the space of one short year. Truly an example of what can be done by the concentrated effort of a few dedicated people who believe in and are committed to a project.
But HAPS-I is just the deliciously rich butter cream frosting on the multiple layers of Kevin's ongoing service to HAPS. While Kevin is justifiably proud of all his accomplishments, he is not the kind of person to bring them up in normal conversation, not without a couple of drinks first, anyway. It is, therefore, quite possible that newer members of the organization might not be aware of all he has done for HAPS -- even before HAPS-I was a hint of an inkling. Kevin was one of the first class of HAPS members in 1988. Kevin hosted the first St. Louis HAPS annual conference in 1995. He was elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer in 1995-96, back when we had no management firm, and no credit card capability. All of the memberships, numbering about 1100 at that time, had to be processed in hard copy by one person on a volunteer basis. The next year Kevin ran for and was elected President; he handed over a much improved set of membership files to the next and last Secretary-Treasurer. Thus, Kevin went through the HAPS President cycle (President-Elect, President, Past-President) in 1996-1999. He was president the year we welcomed Tonya Ferguson and Organizational Services Group as our first professional business office. At the suggestion of Steve Trautwein, then President-Elect, he established the office of President Emeritus as a service position for the society. Kevin himself became a President Emeritus in 1999 and has continued to provide his insight and experience as resources for the organization.
In all that he has done and continues to do for HAPS, Kevin has outwardly calm and stylish demeanor that is unmistakable and the envy of those of us who cannot help but show our inner turmoil and frustration on our surfaces. As stated in our Polices and Procedures Manual, "The President's medal is an award that recognizes a HAPS member who has provided exemplary service to HAPS." President Emeritus Kevin Patton is and continues to be the embodiment of that exemplary service. Congratulations, Kevin!