KU track legend honored with ‘Billy Mills Middle School’

Posted on Nov 6, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Billy Mills

Kansas track legend Billy Mills received a weekend full of honors in Lawrence, culminating in South Middle School’s re-dedication as Billy Mills Middle School.

The South Dakota native’s KU story began at Haskell, and later the University of Kansas, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American. Mills’ running career reached its zenith at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where his winning time in the 10,000 meter run set a world record and won America’s first gold medal in the event.

After a unanimous vote by the Lawrence School Board in February, South Middle School was approved for a name change to honor Mills and the Native American history of the Lawrence area. Mills spoke at the dedication ceremony on his hopes for the school:

Mills also shared photos from a tour of the school:

The city of Lawrence and the University of Kansas joined in the celebration as well, with Mayor Stuart Boley proclaiming Saturday, Nov. 3, Billy Mills Day and the University announcing that Mills will receive an honorary degree at 2019 commencement.

Mills’ legacy continues to grow, thanks to Running Strong for American Indian Youth, a nonprofit he co-founded to support Native American communities.

For more on Mills’ incredible story, read Kansas Alumni’s 2014 feature on the KU alumnus.

—Ryan Camenzind

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