Posted on Oct 27, 2015 in News
The University of Kansas Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee have named Joe and Susan Morris of Leawood as the winners of this year’s Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award. The annual award recognizes special contributions to Homecoming and other KU traditions.
The Morrises are scheduled to receive their award during the Homecoming reception at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. The reception also honors the 10 finalists for the Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards. Two Ex.C.E.L. winners will be named at halftime of the KU vs. Oklahoma football game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
Joe Morris graduated from the KU School of Business in 1961 and for decades has assisted KU as a volunteer. He served on the business school’s Board of Advisors and on the national Board of Directors for the Alumni Association from 2002 to 2009, leading the organization as chair from 2007 to 2008. He is a longtime member of Jayhawks for Higher Education. He and Susan are life members of the Alumni Association and contributors to its Presidents Club. He also volunteered for the KU Medical Center as a member of the Heart Advisory Board. The Morrises have participated in numerous KU events nationwide, and they co-chaired the 2010 Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City. Joe received the Alumni Association’s Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 2006 for his extraordinary volunteer service to KU. In 2009, the School of Business honored him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The Spirit of 1912 Award commemorates the first year of KU’s Homecoming and honors Rich and Judy Billings of Lakewood, Colo., who in 2011 created an endowment to fund future editions of Homecoming. The Billings, both 1957 KU graduates, will attend their 56th KU Homecoming celebration this year.
The theme for KU’s 103rd Homecoming is “Ghosts of Jayhawks Past.” The Homecoming parade begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, rain or shine, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. This year’s grand marshal is Catherine Carmichael, the reigning Miss Kansas World and a 2014 University of Kansas graduate. A pep rally featuring KU football coach David Beaty on Eighth Street follows the parade.