Tim and Leslie Bebee receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degrees from Wayne State College


Tim and Leslie Bebee receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degrees from Wayne State College (W/pic)


Tim and Leslie Bebee of Wakefield joined exclusive Wayne State College company when they received Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees during the college’s baccalaureate graduation ceremony May 4. 

The Bebee family has been a powerful transformative force for the Wayne State College campus during the past four decades.

Tim and Leslie were married in 1979 and shortly began their lifelong involvement with Wayne State College, following in the footsteps of Leslie’s parents, Dan and Jeanne Gardner.

They have been WSC Heritage Society Members since 1993 and were inducted into the WSC Wildcat Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 as contributors. Both personal funds and Gardner Foundation donations to the WSC campus totaling $11.5 million have redefined the campus. These funds have supported athletic and academic scholarships, the Greatest Needs fund, and capital projects. Currently, they serve the Wayne State College Foundation as trustees.

They have been heavily involved in the Wayne and Wakefield communities, both financially and in service as volunteers. The Little Red Hen Theater, Wakefield Public Schools, Wakefield Daycare Center, Wakefield Senior Center, Wakefield Gardner Public Library, Wakefield Balloon Days, the Wayne County Fair, and local car shows have benefited from the Bebees’ generosity.

They owned and operated a Wakefield restaurant as well as the Wakefield Golf Course. They were named the Outstanding Wakefield Community Supporters in 2010. As members of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tim and Leslie have held leadership roles (Tim serving on the Church Council) along with being Sunday School teachers. The Bebees have three children and eight grandchildren.

Tim began his adult employment career with Gibson’s Inc., working in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, and Colorado and becoming the youngest manager in the company. He then began to work with M.G. Waldbaum and Michael Foods, a career that lasted 35 years, retiring as the vice president of live production. He served on the Governors Advisory Board of Agriculture, was the president of the Nebraska Egg Council, and served on various committees of the United Egg Producers. He was the 1999 Poultry Person of the Year and was later inducted into the Nebraska Poultry Hall of Fame. He is the current owner of Wayne Motors and Winning Finish.

Tim served 16 years on the Wakefield School Board (six years as president), Wakefield Public School Football Stadium Construction Project Committee, Gardner Foundation vice president, Wayne State College Athletic Advisory Committee, Sons of the American Legion, Wakefield Community Foundation, Teammate mentor, and president of the Lake Association.

Leslie was also employed at M.G. Waldbaum. Over the years, she has owned and operated several businesses in the state including a Columbus radio station, an Omaha women’s clothing boutique and an Omaha tortilla-making factory. She has ownership in Pioneer Bank (Minnesota) and serves on its board along with serving as president of the Gardner Foundation.

She is a member of the Wayne State Foundation Executive Committee and Wayne State Foundation Nominating Committee. She served as Honorary Chair of the Wayne State Foundation Invest-Empower-Transform Scholarship Committee (2019-2023) and the Wayne State Foundation Centennial Campaign Co-Chair (2005-2010). She served as a committee member on the Nebraska State College System Strategic Planning Committee (2019) and the Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award Review Committee (2014-2018).

She was honored as a Distinguished Association Member of the Sioux City Art Center (2006-2007). She currently serves as vice president of the Wakefield Community Foundation and has continued involvement with Wakefield Community Club, Lions Club, Teammates, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Sioux City Art Center, American Legion Auxiliary, Wakefield Family Housing, American Red Cross, Wakefield Athletic Boosters, Wakefield Community Center Steering Committee, Citizens Advisory Board, and the Wakefield Humpty Dumpty Daycare Center.