Former Carroll County Times Photographer Ken Koons receives Phi Beta Kappa Lifelong Learner Award

May 07, 2019

Ken Koons, former Carroll County Times photographer, received the 2019 Delta of Maryland Lifelong Learner Award from the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society at McDaniel College during the chapter’s "Celebration of the Liberal Arts."

The May 5 event also included presentations of six capstone projects by Phi Beta Kappa students, including Art major Jonathan Nepini of California, Md., Accounting Economics, Business Administration and German triple major Daniel Smith of Lancaster, Pa., Mathematics major Elias Jaffe of Silver Spring, Md., Psychology and Spanish double major Sylvan Greyson of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Chemistry and Physics double major Shannon Bernier of Ijamsville, Md., and Biology major Robin Minch of Parkville, Md.

The Delta of Maryland Lifelong Learner Award is given to an individual or group from the greater Westminster, Md., community who has pursued intellectual inquiry beyond their professional field or fields, thus demonstrating the liberal arts value of lifelong learning.

Longtime staff photographer at the Carroll County Times, Koons started at the newspaper in 1981 and retired in December 2018. He is the recipient of several Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and Associated Press awards. 

In addition to his photography work, he is a self-taught musician, playing guitar with his wife, Stephanie, son, Ryan, and son-in-law, Niccolo Seligmann, in their Celtic/Nordic band, “Wherligig.” As a luthier, he builds acoustic instruments, from the Scandinavian nyckelharpa and Nordic langspil to copies of medieval instruments. He also produces documentary videos on historic blacksmith techniques.

Additionally, as a blacksmith, woodworker and musician, he has guided classes at Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel, including building dugout canoes for several years and building a timber frame building using only hand tools. 

Koons resides in Westminster, Md., in the home he and his wife built themselves. He graduated from Westminster High School. 

The Delta of Maryland Lifelong Learner Award was established by the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society at McDaniel College to celebrate the liberal arts. Nominations come from chapter members, as well as members of the McDaniel community.

Pam Zappardino, as a representative of McDaniel’s Delta of Maryland chapter of Phi Beta Kappa national honor society, with 2019 Lifelong Learner Award winner Ken Koons (Photo credit: Ryan A. Koons)