Posted on Jul 12, 2018 in Alumni News and News
The University family lost an extraordinary Jayhawk and truly dedicated leader early this morning, when Chancellor Emeritus Del Shankel died in Lawrence. Shankel twice led KU through pivotal transitions as interim chancellor, from 1980 to ’81 and 1994 to ’95. The Kansas Board of Regents officially designated him KU’s 15th chancellor in 1995.
Del began his KU teaching career in 1959 in the department of microbiology. He rose quickly to professor and earned numerous teaching awards, while also serving in interim roles as dean, athletics director, vice chancellor for academic affairs, executive vice chancellor, and, for six months in 2004, interim president of the Alumni Association. With his trademark wisdom, humor and compassion, Del guided the Association through a critical transition. I met him when I worked as a student employee of the Association, and through the years he has graciously offered his trusted counsel and encouragement to me and to many members of our staff. All of KU’s recent chancellors have relied on Del as a special adviser and confidante whose dedication and knowledge of KU are unsurpassed. In 2010, KU dedicated the Delbert M. Shankel Structural Biology Center on West Campus.
The Alumni Association’s staff, national Board of Directors and loyal alumni everywhere remain forever grateful to Del, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Carol, daughters Kelley and Jill, and his entire family. There is no better Jayhawk than Del.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09
Chancellors Archie Dykes, Del Shankel, Bernadette Gray-Little, Gene Budig, Robert E. Hemenway at the Oread Hotel for the Hilltop Honors reception in 2010.