Jenni Carlson returned to her alma mater for J-School Generations, an annual reunion during Homecoming weekend. The event invites alumni back to the William Allen White School of Journalism to reconnect with students and faculty. Carlson, j’97, was a speaker for J-Talk, a TED-style lecture event where she and other alumni shared their stories.
Carlson has served as sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, but she might be most well-known for a column that led Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy to one of the most famous rants in sports history. Carlson shared her story of that experience, the aftermath, and how it shaped the rest of her career. Watch her J-Talk or read the transcript below.
Ten years ago last month, Mike Gundy, the football coach at Oklahoma State, turned a post-game press conference on its head.
Even though his team had just won a big game, he was angry. So angry that he raised his voice. And pointed. And ranted. He was fuming about a column that ran that morning in a local newspaper. He said it was false. He said it was garbage.
His rant became one of the most memorable tirades in sports history. You can Google it right now and find it. Well, maybe not right now. Maybe wait until Kameron gets up here for his J-Talk!
But you’ve no doubt heard the most memorable line of the rant — “I’m a man, I’m 40.”
The rant was long. The rant was personal.
And the rant was directed at me.
Now, there are a lot of things that I could tell you about that day. Truth be told, a lot has been written and said about The Rant here recently because this is the 10th anniversary of it. Also, Mike celebrated his 50th birthday here recently, so while he may very well be a man, he certainly isn’t 40 anymore.
At my newspaper, The Oklahoman – which was my employer when The Rant happened, and yes, by the way, it is STILL my employer! – we did some things on Mike Gundy’s birthday and on the anniversary of The Rant. But really, it’s been interesting for me to watch what OTHERS have done. Their storylines. Their takes. Their analysis.
And one of the things that I’ve noticed is this – I am not central to the story.
Sometimes, my name isn’t even used. Many stories refer to a reporter or maybe even a columnist. But even if my name is used, there’s not a ton written or said about me.
And that is magnificent.
It warms my heart.
Now, don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying that because I want to distance myself from what I wrote. The column that sparked The Rant was about a change that Oklahoma State made at quarterback. That position is a pretty big deal in football, and it was made even bigger at OSU by the fact that the Cowboys had decided to bench a guy who had been – and still is – one of the most high-profile recruits in program history.
But when OSU’s coaches were asked publicly about why the change was being made from one starter to another, their explanations weren’t jiving with what our reporters knew to be true. They said the original starter was hurt, but there was more to it than they were saying.
I believe with every fiber in my being that what I wrote was not only accurate but also necessary for our coverage. OSU’s fans wanted to know why their team was going from a ballyhooed quarterback to a guy who had largely been under the radar, and with the help of our beat writers, that column provided some answers.
The original starter just wasn’t the leader that the coaches wanted. The new guy was, and in retrospect, the change was a great move. The new guy became one of the most successful quarterbacks and most beloved players of all time at OSU.
But no one knew how things would go at the time. Instead, our readers were trying to figure out why the change had been made. My column helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.
So, again, the reason that I’m happy about my name and my role in The Rant fading is not because I want to disassociate myself from what I wrote. Rather, I’m happy about that because I believe it’s a reflection of how I handled the whole situation.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that handling the fallout was easy.
It was very, very difficult.
In the days that followed, all sorts of local and national media wanted to talk to me. When The Rant happened, YouTube was only a couple years old. I’m gonna guess that The Rant might’ve been one of the first videos to truly go viral on YouTube. It was everywhere, and weirdly for me, so was I. SportsCenter. Good Morning America. USA Today. On and on.
I only did a couple interviews because after a few days, my editors decided that we weren’t going to discuss The Rant anymore. Again, it wasn’t because we didn’t stand behind what had been written; I actually asked Mike, Coach Gundy, at his weekly press conference a few days after The Rant to outline any factual errors in the column. He’d said that the column was false, and we have a policy of correcting errors that appear in our newspaper, I gave him the chance to provide me a list of errors so that I might correct them.
He offered none.
So, after writing about that, I didn’t write another word about The Rant until last month. TEN YEARS. I can’t say I didn’t casually throw in a catchphrase from The Rant from time to time – “That ain’t true!” is a favorite that appeared in a few of my columns – but I stayed true to the decision that my editors made.
What we did – and I say we because I felt very much part of a team, very much supported by the newsroom in the days after The Rant – we did because we had work to do. We had some really good teams and really big things going on in our sports world that fall. We had to get on about the business of covering the teams, the sports, the games. We had to write stories and columns. We had to do videos and blogs. We had to edit and design.
And that’s what we did.
But even though we stopped talking and writing about The Rant, that doesn’t mean everyone else did. For weeks, maybe even longer, I received emails about the whole thing. I have to admit that while I believe reader feedback is an extremely important part of what I do, I didn’t read all those emails. To this day, I haven’t read all those emails.
There were times when they were hitting my inbox so fast that it was like a Tweetdeck newsfeed during the Super Bowl. One right after the other.
And even though I didn’t read every word of every email, I know that many of them were critical. Some were angry. Some were furious. Some were vile.
There were funny ones. Or at least I thought they were funny! People told me that I needed to go back into the kitchen and bake some cookies. (Joke’s on them – because in our house, it’s my husband who does the cooking. Or at least the cooking that’s edible!) But there were also emails that degraded me, threatened me.
Things I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Those sorts of things are, unfortunately, something that I have to deal with from time to time. Even though this is 2017 – or maybe it’s BECAUSE this is 2017 and the media is under attack these days from the highest elected positions to the lowest common denominators – the media has become a big target.
Big picture – I believe it’s because, right now, people in our country are fearful. Mad. Scared. And lots of times, they take that out on reporters.
Then in my situation, you add in the fact that I’m a woman telling people how they should feel about sports? It only adds to some people’s fears. I truly believe that a lot of the vitriol leveled at women in sports media comes from men who are scared. Scared that one more of “their areas” is being taken away from them. Scared that women writing and talking and pontificating about sports is a sign that “their control” is slipping away.
Listen, I’m all for people disagreeing with me. If they have a different opinion than I do, great. If they see something another way than I do, OK. Let’s talk about it. But when people see a difference of opinion as an opportunity to attack me personally, that isn’t OK.
But here’s the thing – I get to choose how those things affect me.
(The “mute” button on Twitter is a wonderful, beautiful function, by the way!)
There was a time when ugly comments and hurtful emails did affect me. They made me wonder, “Am I any good at my job? Am I qualified?” Or worse, “Am I in this position just because I’m a woman?”
But then I realized that I have a lot of co-workers who like what I do. Same for a good number of respected folks in sports media. They like my writing. They like my ideas. So, why would I allow the words of a reader to carry more weight than their words? Why would the criticism carry more weight than the praise?
It’s human nature, I suppose. How many times have we heard athletes and coaches say they remember the losses way more than the wins? I suppose it’s the same with criticism and praise.
Which brings us back to The Rant.
That criticism was tough. The criticism in the moment. The criticism that followed. But I got to decide how it was going to affect me and how I was going to react.
I didn’t lambast Gundy. I didn’t crucify OSU. I didn’t take a flamethrower to everyone and everything who came after me.
That approach isn’t the way most people want to do business these days. Most people want to fight fire with fire. And hey, I believe that there are times to do that – to fight. You can Google my name and Baylor, and since news of their sexual assault cover-up broke, you’ll see that I’m not opposed to fighting for what I think is right.
But in the aftermath of The Rant, I thought that the right thing to do was to get on about the business of doing my job. I had games to cover. I had columns to write.
Wallowing in what had happened wasn’t going to do anyone any good. Not our readers. Not our newspaper. And certainly not me.
One of my good friends who just happens to be one of my editors tells me regularly that I have the thickest skin of anyone he’s ever known. I don’t know about thick skin, but here’s what I do know – my job comes with pressure and stress, but there’s the pressure and stress that I have and then there’s real, hard-core pressure and stress. Try being a Kansas farmer in the 1980s when prices were taking a nose dive and family farms were drying up. That’s what I saw my parents go through.
I know what pressure and stress really is.
I’m just a sports columnist.
Perspective is crucial.
I always remember that there are way bigger issues in the world than the ones I’m facing. Finding ways to continually get that perspective is vital to me. Tutoring at an inner-city school. Driving a van for an after-school program. Teaching a kids’ Sunday school class.
I can’t tell you how to handle tough situations that come your way, but I can tell you that if you’re in the media business very long, tough situations will come your way. I know it’s difficult right now for a lot of you who are in college to think about anything other than your career. You want to get started. You want to sell out to the job.
I was you once upon a time.
But I have found that being able to handle those critical emails, those mean tweets and yes, even the occasional post-game rant that goes viral, knowing who you are and what matters to you is crucial.
It’s not about thick skin – it’s about being comfortable in the skin you have.
—Transcript of Jenni Carlson’s remarks at J-School Generations. The University of Kansas football team takes on Oklahoma State, coached by Mike Gundy, at Memorial Stadium this weekend in its final football game of the season.
A group of Flying Jayhawks embarked on the Baltic & Scandinavian Treasures cruise August 22 to September 2, 2017. The 10-day adventure across Eastern Europe included time in eight countries for the 24 Flying Jayhawks on the trip. Nick Kallail, assistant vice president of alumni and network programs, hosted the trip and provided us with his account of the journey.
Many from our travel group met each other at Chicago O’Hare before the long flight to Copenhagen: The crimson and blue gear helped our travelers pick each other out! Our time in Copenhagen was limited to a short bus ride to the ship for embarkment, but we got a glimpse of the city and enjoyed a nice Jayhawk welcome reception at the Horizons Lounge.
The Flying Jayhawks departed early from our port in Warnemünde for tours in Berlin and the historic city of Rostock. Highlights in Rostock included the Rostock Astronomical Clock located at St. Mary’s Church and a river cruise back to the ship.
Guests were greeted to Lithuania with a traditional folk-style band right on the port. The excursion included a stop at the Palanga Amber Museum, where our host shared that the mansion where the museum is housed once belonged to her ancestor – the Countess. A brewery stop provided the opportunity to sample Lithuanian beer and snacks (pig ears, anyone?), while shopping at a nearby market closed our stay.
The stop in Latvia’s capital city of Riga was brief on a quiet Sunday morning, but those on the “Charming Riga” excursion toured some of the nearby sights, including St. Peter’s church. A flute player in the town square cleverly serenaded the many cruise tour groups with a rendition of the Titanic theme song, “My Heart Will Go On.” An evening happy hour provided the Flying Jayhawks an opportunity to relax and meet our fellow travelers.
Monday morning in Helsinki started with a stop at Senate Square and the striking Helsinki Cathedral. After viewing the Sibelius Monument and the Temppeliaukio Church, many travelers took the opportunity to enjoy some free time. They checked out Market Square and watched various street musicians perform.
St. Petersburg, Russia
We spent Tuesday through Thursday in the cultural capital of Russia. The Yusupov Palace and Canal Cruise took several Flying Jayhawks to the site of Rasputin’s assassination. This was followed by a boat ride through some of St. Petersburg’s many canals to the Neva River. Viewing sites included Peter and Paul Fortress, Saint Isaac’s Square, and the Church of the Savior on Blood. Wednesday included the evening opportunity to visit either the ballet or an evening of Russian song and dance. Thursday included a visit to the Hermitage Museum, capped with a Flying Jayhawk family photo and dinner in the main dining room.
Our stop in Tallinn happened to fall on the first day of school, so local schoolchildren in their traditional first day dress colliding with camera-wielding tourists made for some funny encounters. The tour around Old Town included learning quite a bit about the history of this historically well-defended city, incredible panoramic views, and visits to local shopping and restaurants.
Our Baltic voyage concluded on Saturday morning in Stockholm where we said goodbye to the Oceania Marina. Those who stayed in Stockholm before flying home saw the Stockholm Palace and found Swedish Meatballs in Gamla Stan.
Watch the slideshow below to see more pictures from the trip, or view the photos on Flickr. You can download photos for personal use. For more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, visit our website.
Randy Masten, assistant director of KU’s Office of Graduate Military Programs and retired Lieutenant Colonel, was honored for his service at a Sporting KC match on October 15. Masten’s career includes 22 years with the US Army, after which he returned to KU. He works with the Department of Defense to develop academic programs for military service members.
After arranging recognitions for nearly all military and veteran honorees at Sporting KC matches throughout the season, including KU alumnus Warren Corman, it was only appropriate for Colonel Masten, g’03, himself to be honored at the last game.
“The recognition itself was humbling and somewhat surreal to see my family on the big screens at SKC,” said Masten. “It was great to have my wife, Kathi, recognized as well for her service to our country as a military spouse. When I deployed, she took care of our home and the families of my soldiers. It is a very important and demanding volunteer job that often goes over looked. The recognition also gave us an opportunity to discuss our lives in the Army with our son, Kanak. I only served for three years after he joined our family, so he has limited memories of my military service.”
Watch the video that Sporting KC showed at the game below:
The first KU Cares Month of Service initiative will take place throughout the month of November. A portion of all KU Alumni Association dues will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative! Jayhawks everywhere can also organize service projects and recruit volunteers to serve meals, help with yard work, build homes and more to help improve their communities.
Andrew, b’14, and Erin Forbes, j’14, were married in Kansas City on June 3, 2017. The couple sent us some pictures of their wedding, which included a very recognizable special guest. We had to follow up to hear more of the story. Nothing brings people together like the University of Kansas (and Baby Jay)!
How did you two meet?
Our sorority and fraternity (Tri Delta and Delta Chi) were partnered for Homecoming in 2011, our sophomore year at KU. It all started somewhere between a few Jayhawk Jingle practices and pomping our float for the parade!
What was your engagement story?
We’ve since moved to San Francisco after graduating from KU and Andrew proposed near Sutro Baths. It was a very foggy day and he took me to a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. As we wrapped up the meal the clouds began to clear up and we walked down to the water where he proposed.
Who came up with the idea to take a photo with all of the KU grads?
Erin did! We had seen photos from other weddings with the alumni holding a statue of their mascot, we figured we could do one better and just invite Baby Jay to the reception. And I’m glad we did, it was great to capture so many Jayhawk grads of all ages in one place: from the 1960’s to 2016! Everyone loved taking photos with Baby Jay, whether they went to KU or not.
Keon Stowers, c’15, assists with student programs for the KU Alumni Association, including advising the Student Alumni Leadership Board. Previously, he represented the KU Office of Admissions helping to recruit first generation and underrepresented students to campus. Keon served as a two-time team captain for KU Football and was featured on Big 12’s Champions for Life series. When Keon isn’t spending time with his beautiful family, he can be found manning the BBQ pit.
I became a Jayhawk because…
When I first got a call from KU I actually had to look on the United States map to find where Kansas was. But after visiting KU for my official recruitment visit, I fell in love with the people. Most importantly, I fell in love with this school and everything the Jayhawk stands for. Now I get the honor of raising two little Jayhawks!
How has KU propelled you into your current career?
After graduating and moving home for a year I returned to KU seeking job opportunities, and that’s where I found an opportunity to work in our Office of Admissions as a recruiter. During my time there I learned so much more about the university and what we have to offer here. I truly believe that my past experience working in the office of admissions has given me great insight on my new role here as Assistant Director of Student Programs.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Having lunch at the Market in the Union. It gives the perfect view of Memorial Stadium on a beautiful Lawrence day!
My favorite KU memory is…
Snapping the horrible Big 12 losing streak against WVU and celebrating with the student section as they rushed the field. It was only our second win that season but it was our Super Bowl and I’ll never forget that game and the euphoric feeling of celebrating with my peers.
My best advice for college students is…
Get involved on campus early. KU has more than 600 student clubs and organizations, pick one and join. That way, you have an immediate cohort of friends to lean on when college gets tough. Also, it gives you a chance to build relationships and build your network for professional opportunities after you walk the hill.
Check out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labette County District Judge Jeffry L. Jack has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court’s Tuesday docket. Jack was appointed a Labette County district judge in 2005. He graduated from the KU School of Law in 1987. Read full article.
Gregory Benefiel was confirmed as the next McPherson County Attorney Thursday evening. Benefiel, l’06, is currently an assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas in the criminal litigation division. Read full article.
Mahesh Daas, dean of the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design (Arc/D), and the school’s Dean’s Advisory Board have announced the names of Arc/D’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards. They are furniture designer Wendell Castle, designer and community planner Silvia Vargas, and architect Jim Walters. The Young Architect-Designer Award recipients are architects Justin Cratty and Kenneth Simmons. Read full article.
Visual artist Nick Strange’s life revolves around his art. Strange, a University graduate who majored in visual art with an emphasis on printmaking, recently returned to his alma mater to design the solar eclipse promotional posters seen around campus. Read full article.
Andy Hyland didn’t win when he appeared on “Jeopardy!” and in a way, maybe that’s a good thing. Hyland, who is an assistant director of strategic communications at the University of Kansas, was a contestant on the game show episode that aired Monday, Sept. 18. Read full article.
A new restaurant opened on Mass Street in downtown Lawrence recently. Stonewall Restaurant and Pizzeria features a unique combination of authentic New York-style pizza and home-cooked classics like fried chicken options. Joe Kieltyka, a University alumnus from New York City who opened and operated the original Stonewall Pizza in Lenexa in the late ’70s, co-owns and operates the restaurant. Read full article.
Bill James, baseball historian and analytics pioneer, and his daughter and researcher Rachel McCarthy James, chronicled a 15-year killing spree in small-town America that they believe was committed by one serial killer who hopped on and off trains. Read full article.
Stephen McAllister, a distinguished professor at the University’s law school, was nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas by President Donald Trump on Sept. 8. McAllister earned his bachelor’s from the University in 1985, and went on to graduate from the University’s law school in 1988. Read full article.
The University of Kansas has changed significantly over the past 20 years. Alumni, including Alumni Association staff member Jennifer Sanner, reflect on the changes in this feature from the Kansan, part of a larger special feature about the decade. Read full article.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has named R.J. Melman as the new president of Chicago’s largest restaurant group. His father, Rich Melman, founded the company 46 years ago. The younger Melman earned a degree in political science from KU in 2001. Read full article.
Allen County, Kansas, has been named as a 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize winner. Dave Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County and a graduate of the university, shares more about what the prize means. Read full article.
Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at email@example.com, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine.
Ally Stanton, j’10, g’12, directs student programs for the KU Alumni Association, including advising the Student Alumni Leadership Board. Previously, she represented the KU Office of Admissions helping to recruit future Jayhawks to campus. The former KU softball student-athlete also spent time as a graduate assistant for the KU Leads program within KU Athletics where she helped advise the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and facilitated leadership programming and retreats. Ally can still be found on the ball diamond, playing slow pitch for the 2016 Lawrence Parks and Rec Co-Ed Lower League Champions, the Squids in Space.
I became a Jayhawk because…
I visited campus for a KU softball camp and the feeling I had on campus was magnetic. When I returned home to St. Louis it felt like Jayhawks were coming out of the woodwork to tell me and my family all the great things about KU. It became a no-brainer to become a Jayhawk after that.
How has KU propelled you into your current career?
When I returned to KU in a career capacity, all the people who were there for me as a student immediately became helpful colleagues and friends. Jayhawks want to help other Jayhawks regardless if they are students, graduates, faculty or staff.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Allen Fieldhouse on a non-gameday afternoon. We occasionally had plyometric workouts in the Fieldhouse as a team, because there are lots of stairs to run up and down in that place. The lights were always off, so our only light leaked in from the windows at the top of the building, making super-dramatic shadows inside. It all felt very special and secret, and you’d forgot how much your body was just dying from the workout.
My favorite KU memory is…
Coming back to work here after spending some time away working at another institution. That first week back in Lawrence was wonderful. That feeling of ‘coming home’ was exciting and reaffirming.
Rob Riggle, the actor, comedian, Fox NFL Sunday contributor, and Dos Equis “Most Interesting Fan” spokesperson, is a Kansas Jayhawks football fan. He’s an alum of the school and passionate to the point that when he hosted the ESPYs a couple of years ago, he had the house band play the fight song and was flanked by KU cheerleaders for his entrance. Read full article.
Those are the words of Sarah Frazier, CBS Radio Houston market manager, who has her team working frantically to keep the community informed during Hurricane Harvey. Frazier, j’94, told Radio Ink that Monday morning it was clear there was a need to offer local residents a constant stream of evacuation and shelter information. Read full article.
Former Kansas guard Michael Lee resigned his post as Portland (Ore.) Roosevelt High basketball coach in order to work on lifelong buddy/former KU guard Aaron Miles’ Santa Cruz Warriors NBA G-League staff. He and former KU point guard Miles are grads of Portland’s Jefferson High. They actually attended middle school, high school and college together — true definition of best friends. Read full article.
When you think biology degree, you may picture someone sitting in a lab or collecting specimens outside. For Stephanie Downes, a biology degree led to a different path, where skills in analyzing and experimenting help her engage audiences with digital media. Read full article.
Prosecuting Attorney Debra Mclaughlin was named as the judge for the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court in the Eastern Panhandle. McLaughlin, l’93, came to West Virginia in the late 1990s, and since 2002, has been a Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney. Read full article.
The 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America® has honored two Jayhawk attorneys from Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered. Sal Intagliata was honored for his work in the sectors of general practice and white collar criminal defense, and Trevor Riddle was honored in the criminal defense general practice sector. Both earned juris doctor degrees from the KU School of Law. Read full article.
Former Kansas Lt. Gov. Tom Docking died Thursday night at age 63. Docking served with Democratic Gov. John Carlin from 1983 to 1987. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1986 but lost to Republican Mike Hayden. Read full article.
A University of Kansas graduate who has served as ambassador to South Africa and CEO of National Public Radio has been selected as the 2017 honoree of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Delano Lewis has led a career that is both diverse and notable. After graduating from KU in 1960 with majors in political science and history and a law degree soon after, he embarked on a career including roles with the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda, as U.S. ambassador to South Africa, CEO of NPR and more than 20 years in telecommunications with C & P Telco in Washington, D.C., culminating as president of Bell Atlantic/DC, which is now Verizon.
Alongside his professional career, Lewis has made contributions as a public servant and philanthropist in the Washington, D.C., community and on a federal level. Recently, he’s focused his energy on sharing his experiences with others, compiling his life lessons in his memoir, “It All Begins with Self: How to Discover Your Passion, Connect with People, and Succeed in Life.”
“Ambassador Lewis is an incredible example of the varied and rewarding career that can start with a liberal arts and sciences degree. It is an honor to recognize such an accomplished and engaged graduate with this award,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College.
Lewis will be recognized with the College’s highest alumni honor during a reception Oct. 20 at the Adams Alumni Center. He will share some of his lessons on leadership during a short Q&A session with Lejuez. The public is invited to attend. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event starts at 7 p.m. RSVPs are requested and can be made online.
The KU Alumni Association has announced the recipients of this year’s Fred Ellsworth Medallion: John Dicus and John Mize.
Fred Ellsworth, c’22, led the Association staff as executive secretary from 1924 to 1963. Since 1975 the Fred Ellsworth Medallion has honored individuals “who have provided unique and significant service to the University.”
Fred Ellsworth Medallion recipients are honored by the Association at a special dinner in conjunction with the fall Board of Directors meeting and introduced during the home football game that weekend.
Past winners of the medallion have been honored for their leadership in Kansas higher education, as chairs and members of University boards and committees, as consultants for special KU projects, and as donors to the University.
John Dicus, b’83, g’85, Topeka, is chairman and CEO of Capitol Federal Savings. He comes from strong Jayhawk lineage—his parents and grandparents attended KU. His father, Jack, b’55, received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1990, and his grandfather, Henry Bubb, ’28, received the honor in 1977.
Dicus served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 1996 to 2001. He and his wife, Brenda Roskens Dicus, b’83, are longtime Life Members and Presidents Club donors, and they regularly participate in local alumni events and fundraisers, including the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City.
Dicus helps guide the School of Business as a member of its Board of Advisors, and in 2014 he was honored as a Distinguished Business Alumnus. As a trustee of the Capitol Federal Foundation, the bank’s charitable arm, Dicus was instrumental in facilitating the foundation’s $20 million contribution in 2012 toward the school’s new building. He also has contributed to the Kansas Honors Program.
For KU Endowment, he is a trustee and Chancellors Club Member, and he serves on the executive and investment commit- tees. He has helped lead the University’s fundraising e orts as a member of the Far Above campaign organizing committee. He also serves on the Greater University Fund advisory board.
“From his KU fraternity to the business school to KU Endowment to educational institutions across Kansas, John has been a ready and willing participant,” says Neeli Bendapudi, PhD’95, the University’s provost and executive vice chancellor. “What sets his engagement apart is the humble, unassuming manner in which he makes his contributions, whether it be time, talent, treasure–or frequently and just as likely—all of the above.”
Dicus served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee to Athletics from 1990 to ’94, and he contributed to the KU First campaign as a member of its athletics committee. The Dicuses are Williams Education Fund members.
Mize, c’72, Salina, is an attorney at Clark, Mize & Linville and general counsel for the Salina Regional Health Center. His dedication to KU and the Alumni Association spans decades and dates back to 1975, when he first volunteered for the Kansas Honors Program. He served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 1999 to 2004, and in 2005 he received the Mildred Clodfelter Award for his volunteer service in Salina.
Mize and his wife, Karen Shumacher Mize, g’85, are Life Members and Jayhawk Society members and have participated in several KU activities in their local community, including Senior Sendoff and KU Days. They also have attended several Rock Chalk Balls.
As a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education, Mize advocates for the University and promotes the advancement of higher education in Kansas. He also serves on the Hall Center Advisory Board and has contributed to the Kansas Honors Program.
For KU Endowment, Mize is a 20-year trustee and an audit committee member. He is a Chancellors Club Life Member and Watkins Society member, and he served on the Campaign Kansas fundraising committee from 1988 to 1992. He also is a member of the Greater University Fund advisory board.
“His deep knowledge of local politics, community culture and the regional health system provided invaluable advice to KU administrators and KU Endowment fundraising staff in building a critical level of community support for not only the initial founding of the School of Medicine in Salina, but for the future expansion and growth of the permanent facilities for KU’s presence in Salina,” says Dale Seuferling, j’77, president of KU Endowment.
For Kansas Athletics, he served on the 2001 search committee for a KU football coach. The Mizes also are longtime members of the Williams Education Fund.