Posted on May 16, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports
Competing with Commencement
The walk down the Hill is a cherished tradition for most KU graduates. However, some student-athletes have never known the thrill of walking down the Hill due to competition conflicts. KU baseball players, for instance, are often battling in-state rival K-State as graduates gather on Mount Oread.
Meantime, track and field Jayhawks are typically engaged in the conference championship while classmates are popping champagne in Lawrence. Fortunately, one Jayhawk track family made up for lost time and made the most of their KU Commencement experience.
Crossing the finish line
Greg Dalzell, b’86, followed in his father’s footsteps by running for the KU track team. His father, Art Dalzell, d’55, g’64, helped KU win numerous conference championships and a cross country national title (’53) in addition to earning his two KU degrees. Greg followed suit, contributing to a Big 8 conference indoor title (’83) while pursuing his business degree at KU. Unfortunately, the mid-May timing of the 1986 conference outdoor championship meet cost him his opportunity to participate in KU’s time-honored Commencement tradition of walking down the Hill.
Fast forward to 2018, when Greg’s daughter Dorie–a third-generation Jayhawk track team member–was ready to walk, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it a family affair. While many of her Jayhawk teammates were still competing in the Big 12 outdoor track & field championships in Waco, Dorie was able to cross a more meaningful finish line with her father by her side.
“Dorie’s time in Lawrence has been a great experience for both of us, and I cannot believe how fast it went,” Greg shared. “Commencement was so much fun. I can’t imagine I would have had a better time 32 years ago.”
A family affair
The Dalzells share a rare distinction of having three generations of KU track & field captains in the family. When Dorie was awarded the honor for the 2017 season, joining her father and grandfather in holding the title of KU track captain, it was one of the highlights of her KU career.
“It was really overwhelming,” she admitted in an interview for KU Athletics’ Rock Chalk Weekly. “I knew my grandpa and dad had both been captains, so I always kind of wanted to be one, but I didn’t want to express it outwardly. To be a captain, and know that I had kept that going in our family, it felt amazing.”
Dorie had planned to be competing with her teammates in Waco on Sunday during Commencement. However, fate intervened, and a graduation celebration that was thought to be put off for a later date suddenly became possible.
“After Dorie’s track career ended prematurely, the Commencement walk was a great way for the two of us to cap off our shared KU experience,” Greg reflected after a memorable weekend. “Neither of us will ever forget walking through the Campanile together.”