After retiring from Congress in 2015, McKeon established the McKeon Leadership Forum, a speaker series that promotes civic engagement through personal involvement, at COC. Thought leaders from politics, government, and military engage community members and inspire them to become involved in current issues. McKeon also donated an array of personal items and official documents from his service in Congress to the college in an effort to help inspire the next generation of civic leaders. The McKeon Collection, archived in the college’s library, includes official documents, as well as numerous awards, plaques, and photographs acquired over McKeon’s political career. Last year, McKeon donated $10,000 to seed the McKeon Scholars scholarship fund through the College of the Canyons Foundation. The annual $500 award is given to students majoring in political science and/or pursuing careers involving public service and civic engagement. “Buck is most deserving of the Silver Spur award, our highest accolade we can bestow upon an individual who has contributed to the betterment of life in the Santa Clarita Valley and whose actions reflect a distinction and interest in the college,” said Van Hook. “College of the Canyons owes a great deal to his tireless behind-the-scenes efforts in Washington and we are truly honored to count Chairman McKeon among the college’s most passionate supporters.” In 2000, McKeon was granted an honorary associate of arts degree from COC for his commitment to education. A Los Angeles native, McKeon attended Brigham Young University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business, which proved useful when he went into business with his four brothers. The family-operated company, Howard and Phil’s Western Wear, went on to become the largest western wear retailer in the nation. Before serving as Mayor of the City of Santa Clarita, McKeon had already proven his passion for civic engagement. He was elected to the William S. Hart Union High School District and was Chairman of the Board of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Always a strong supporter of local businesses, McKeon helped create Valencia National Bank, which gave local businesses access to small business loans, resulting in more jobs within the community. He also served on the Santa Clarita Valley Small Business Development Center Business Survival Committee in 1992. Since retiring from Congress, McKeon has continued to advocate for a variety of education issues with his team at the McKeon Group, which is a consulting firm that provides advocacy, public relations, strategic analysis, and government relations for clients. He and his wife of 55 years, Patricia Kunz, have six children, 31 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Tom Dierckman, a member of the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors, and past recipient of the Silver Spur award, praised McKeon’s consistent focus on meeting the needs of Santa Clarita. “At our college, in our community, or at the national level, Buck has always distinguished himself as a hands-on leader willing to do whatever was required to make things better, to achieve the greater good,” Dierckman said. “As one of Santa Clarita’s ‘founding fathers,’ Chairman McKeon has dedicated his life to the growth and development of this community,” said Brian Koegle, who is co-chairing the event with his wife Lindsay. “His support of College of the Canyons, and Chancellor Van Hook’s vision for a true ‘community’ college, has been indispensable. We are absolutely thrilled to honor his career achievements and community contributions with the 2018 Silver Spur Award.” Also co-chairing the event are Foundation Board members Nick and Elise Lentini. “As co-chairs with Brian and Lindsay Koegle, Elise and I could not be more excited and honored to be involved with the 2018 Silver Spur event Honoring Buck McKeon,” said Lentini. “Buck has done so much not only for College of the Canyons but our community as well. We look forward to an enjoyable evening celebrating Buck’s accomplishments and community service.” The 2018 Silver Spur Celebration will take place Saturday, March 24, 2018, at The Ronald Reagan Library, Air Force One Pavilion located at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with guests able to enjoy music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres under Ronald Reagan’s retired Air Force One, tail number 27000. The evening will also include dinner and a live auction featuring a selection of unique items. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The evening will also include a video tribute to McKeon and a live auction. Previous Silver Spur recipients include: Jack and Doreen Shine; Jill Mellady; Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation; Remo and Ami Belli, Barry and Pati Gump, Richard and Marian Sandnes, Diana Cusumano, Myrna and Gary Condie, Harold and Jacquie Petersen, Wayne Crawford, Rita Garasi, Tom Veloz, Charlotte and Frank Kleeman, Gary Cusumano, Jay and Joyce Rodgers, Tom Lee, Lou Garasi, Michael Berger, Roberta Veloz, Dick Luechtefeld, Robert Ormsby, LaVerne Harris, John Hoskinson, Scott and Ruth Newhall, Elisha “Aggie” Agajanian, Cliffie Stone, and Tom Dierckman.