HomeCommunityAllen, Nichols tabbed for GCHS Hall of Fame

Allen, Nichols tabbed for GCHS Hall of Fame

City Manager Matt Allen and Major Jordan Nichols have been selected for induction into the Garden City High School Hall of Fame at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the GCHS Commons Area, 2720 Buffalo Way Blvd.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

Tours of the high school will be offered at 5:30 p.m. on May 12, and a buffet dinner will be served promptly at 6:30 p.m. in the high school Commons Area, prior to the induction ceremony. 

Reservations for dinner are required. Each dinner is $12.00, payable in advance. For dinner reservations or more information, call Roy Cessna, Garden City Public Schools, at 620-805-7014.

Each year two distinguished graduates of Garden City High School are added to the Hall of Fame, and to date 74 people have been inducted.

This year, the Garden City High School Hall of Fame Committee named Allen the in-town inductee, and Nichols the out-of-county inductee.

About Matt Allen

Matt Allen is a 1991 graduate of Garden City High School.  He holds a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Bethany College in Political Science.  He received a master’s degree with honors in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. 

Allen has been the City Manager for the City of Garden City since June 1, 2008. Prior to that, Matt served Garden City for six years as the Assistant City Manager.

He leads a municipal government team that has received state and national attention for innovation in the areas of public participation and transparency, transportation, public recreation, economic development, public power, water quality and quantity management, embracing diversity, and healthy community design for rural communities.

He has given back to the community through his leadership.  Matt supplements his full-time local government work with the occasional consulting job with local governments and non-profits.  He served for nine years on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Health Foundation, the state’s largest health philanthropy. The last two years of his term, Matt served as the Board Chair. He is currently Co-Chair of Economic Lifelines, a statewide transportation advocacy group.

In 2017, Allen was named Alumnus of the Year by Leadership Kansas and was profiled in Ingram Magazine’s 50 Kansans You Should Know. In 2018 he was awarded the Kansas Association of City/County Management’s highest honor, the Buford M. Watson Award for Excellence in Public Management and in 2019 the Kansas Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration named him the Kansas Public Servant of the Year. In April 2021, the American Society of Public Administration presented Matt the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Exemplary Practice Award for his contributions towards fostering an atmosphere of inclusion within the municipal organization he manages and the community he serves.

About Major Jordan Nichols

Major Jordan Nichols is a 1999 graduate of Garden City High School.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Hays State University, an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force to be a Survival Instructor, and a master’s degree from Liberty University. 

Major Nichols currently commands one of the most challenging special operations courses in the Department of Defense.  As the Combat Dive Course Commander, he leads the Air Force’s only school that trains and equips over 260 Special Warfare candidates to conduct covert maritime insertion techniques and underwater recovery methods.  His students will go on to conduct real world missions with the Navy Seals and Army Special Forces units.

Major Nichols has led elite Special Operation Pararescue men across the globe in support of Personnel Recovery objectives.  Major Nichols has deployed to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, and in undisclosed locations in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Oaken Steel, New Normal, Freedom Sentinel, Inherent Resolve, and Resolute Support.  Additionally, Major Nichols was a prior enlisted Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Specialist (SERE).  As a SERE Specialist, he deployed to Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras to support drug interdiction missions.

Major Nichols has attained several personal and professional accomplishments.  He was the first Combat Rescue Officer to graduate from the Joint Terminal Attack Controller Qualification course and become a Rescue Mission Commander. 

Prior to his military career, Major Nichols was the Pararescue Team Flight Commander, Department of Exercises and Plans Flight Commander, and Combat Mission Support Flight Commander at Aviano Air Base, Italy where his squadron was on constant alert providing rescue coverage for the European and African Commands.

He has received numerous awards and decorations including: Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with Combat, Air Force Commendation Medal with Combat and five oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Air Force Combat Action Medal. His other achievements include: 2008 Basic Training Distinguished Graduate, 2011 John Levitow Airman Leadership School Award, 2013 Officer Training School Honor Graduate and Distinguished Graduate Award, 2017 United States Air Forces in Europe Combat Rescue Officer of the Year, 2017 United States Air Force Combat Rescue Officer of the Year, 2018 United States Air Forces in Europe Combat Rescue Officer of the Year, 2020 United States Air Forces in Europe Combat Rescue Officer of the Year, 2021 Air Force Special Warfare Wing Company Grade Officer of the Year, and 2021 Air Education Training Command Combat Rescue Officer of the Year.

GCHS Hall of Fame Background

In 1984, an idea was conceived among administrators and Board of Education members of the school district, to recognize past graduates of GCHS who had gone on to distinguish themselves through outstanding accomplishments.  This idea was brought into action the following spring, when the first members of the Garden City High School Hall of Fame were inducted. 

The purpose for the formation of this select group is twofold:  It is to honor past graduates of the school for their accomplishments in their chosen professions. It is also to present positive role models to the current graduating seniors as well as to the rest of the student body.

The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to communicate to Garden City residents and the rest of the world that Garden City High School produces graduates who are second to none.