Interstate rivalry set aside to honor devoted KU alumnus

Posted on Oct 19, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Sebrina Barrett presents a resolution to alumnus Reuben Shelton.Few Jayhawks would appreciate being surrounded by a pack of tigers at a sports event, let alone on a daily basis at work. Reuben Shelton, a St. Louis attorney and immediate past-president of the Missouri Bar, is used to it. Not only does he accept his fate, he happily makes the most of it.

“Everywhere I go, I tell people I’m a Jayhawk,” says Shelton, j’78, who frequently speaks to large audiences of Mizzou-loving attorneys. “All over the state—from Cape Girardeau to Brookfield. Everywhere.”

Given Shelton’s diehard dedication to his alma mater—a particularly brave undertaking in Tiger territory—it was only fitting that the bar would find a special way to honor its outgoing president at its recent annual meeting in St. Louis. The organization enlisted the KU Alumni Association to write a humorous, Jayhawk-themed resolution for Shelton, one that would applaud his crimson-and-blue commitment in the rival school’s domain.

Sebrina Barrett, executive director of the Missouri Bar, reads a resolution for Reuben Shelton.

Sebrina Barrett, executive director of the bar, presented the resolution. A Mizzou graduate, she worked closely with Shelton during his tenure as president and knew she had to do it right. “I just thought, ‘I can’t do this unless I truly get into it and put on a Kansas T-shirt,’” she recalls. “I wasn’t even sure whether I could find one in Columbia where I live, but I did.”

When the time came, Barrett put on the KU T-shirt and began reading the resolution, much to the surprise and delight of the nearly 40 Missouri fans in the room.

“Everybody in the room was just dying,” says Shelton. “It was so funny because Sebrina is a dyed-in-the-wool tiger.”

Although it may have pained her to wear KU colors that day, Barrett was happy to honor the man who’s done so much for the bar during his presidency. “Reuben leaves behind a tremendous legacy of inclusion,” she says. “He believes everybody should have a seat at the table. This was a lighthearted way for me to show a willingness to do that, and to embrace Reuben’s culture and personality.”

—Heather Biele

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