School of Engineering will honor two alumni with distinguished service award

Posted on Apr 26, 2019 in Alumni News and News

LEEP Engineering | Marv Nuss and Dave Ross receive engineering service award

A man who pioneered aircraft industry awareness for the importance of structural maintenance and fatigue and safety risk assessment, and another who has guided one of the most prominent and successful construction firms in the Kansas City area are the winners of the 2019 Distinguished Engineering Service Award.

Marv Nuss and Dave Ross will be honored for outstanding contributions to engineering and their dedication to the profession at a ceremony set for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Burge Union.

“Marv and Dave have each demonstrated a remarkable dedication to the engineering profession. Both are also steadfast supporters of KU and the School of Engineering. It’s an honor to recognize their contributions to their respective fields,” said Arvin Agah, dean of engineering.

The School of Engineering Advisory Board has given the Distinguished Engineering Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the school, annually since 1980. The award honors KU engineering alumni or engineers who have maintained a close association with the university and for outstanding contributions to the profession of engineering and society.

The award is made on the basis of an individual’s contribution to the public good, governmental service or the educational system, or contributions to the theories and practices of engineering, research and development in new fields of engineering or direction of an organization that has made exceptional contributions in design, production and development.

About the honorees:

Marv Nuss

Marv NussThe U.S. boasts the safest airspace in the world, and Marv Nuss has played no small role in this accomplishment. His extensive background in solving age-related airworthiness problems enabled him to be one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s leaders in practical application of safety risk assessment and risk management to continued airworthiness. He championed structural fatigue and damage tolerance, creating policy, guidance and industry awareness for the importance of structural maintenance and sustainability.

Beyond his contributions to aircraft safety, his decades-long stalwart support of the KU School of Engineering and the aerospace engineering department have benefited past, present and future students, faculty and the broader KU Engineering community.

Nuss earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from KU in 1973. After graduation, Nuss worked four years at Bell Helicopter as a fatigue evaluation engineer. He then spent 14 years at McDonnell Aircraft on fighter aircraft projects, including more than a year in Madrid, Spain. His career progressed to a fracture and fatigue unit chief. In 1991, he moved to the FAA in Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked in the Small Airplane Certification Directorate. He rose to assistant directorate manager, then was the directorate’s Continued Operational Safety Program manager. After his retirement from the FAA in 2011, Nuss founded NuSS Sustainment Solutions. His consulting and training focus on aircraft structures’ airworthiness, sustainment and aircraft certification.

Nuss has served on the KU Engineering advisory board since 2011 and became board chair in 2014. He has been on the aerospace engineering department advisory board since 1993, including 20 years as chair. He is known as “Mr. KU Aero,” in part for the breadth and the sustained duration of his commitment. He frequently provides insight to students by delivering colloquia, volunteering in the senior interview process and through mentoring. He is well-respected among students and is viewed as an approachable, caring and dedicated alumnus with a passion for cultivating success in the next generation of KU Engineering graduates.

Beyond committing his time to help students and professionals, Nuss and his wife, Hazel, have also provided generous financial support over the years, including the Jet Engineering Simulation Laboratory and the Howard Smith freezer for composite material storage. They have also supported student project experiences and faculty development.

Nuss is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and he is a private pilot. He was recognized with the FAA Central Region award for Technical Achievement in 2010, was named FAA Small Airplane Directorate Employee of the Year in 2004 and won NASA’s “Turning Goals into Reality” team award in 1999.

Nuss and his wife, a KU alumna, married in 1972. They’ve enjoyed travel in the U.S. and abroad as well as cheering for Jayhawk sports. Their son, Patrick, is a KU Engineering graduate and lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter.

Dave Ross

Dave RossKnown as calm, thoughtful and meticulous with a unique ability to excel in a variety of complex and highly technical projects, Dave Ross has been the driving force behind a top Kansas City construction firm for more than 40 years. As president and owner of David E. Ross Construction, Ross has built a reputation as a trusted adviser with an unwavering moral compass — while maintaining an enduring passion for the University of Kansas and the KU School of Engineering.

Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from KU in 1973 and a Masters of Business Administration from the KU School of Business in 1975. In 1978, after three years at C.F. Braun and Company, he moved back to Kansas City to work with his father at the construction company he founded in 1949 — David E. Ross Construction.

The company has a diverse and complex construction portfolio full of technically challenging projects. Ross is known for utilizing extensive engineering knowledge, precise execution, acute attention to detail and an innovative approach to ensure his teams complete projects on time and within budget. Through Ross’ leadership and principles, his company has earned a reputation as being concerned about long-term costs, quality and sustainability.

In his time at Ross Construction, the company has grown in volume and number of associates, with more than 60 employees today. Under his leadership, teams have stayed in front of potential problems by thoroughly analyzing plans to ensure that what looks good on paper is feasible in the real world — in terms of practicality and the bottom line. Ross emphasizes client satisfaction and teaches his employees to build as if they own a particular project by putting themselves in each client’s shoes.

Ross has also served KU and the Jayhawk Engineering community. He has a distinguished record of financial support to the university and the School of Engineering, including major gifts to the Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering (CEAE) for renovation of the geotechnical laboratory and other equipment purchases. He has served on the CEAE department advisory board since 2012 and is a founding member of the CEAE Chair’s Council, which was established in 2018 to raise funds to retain outstanding faculty.

Ross is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Tau Beta Pi Honor Society and the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society.

His wife, Patty, has worked alongside Ross for over 30 years at David E. Ross Construction as treasurer and secretary. His daughter Allison McClain joined the family business 11 years ago and serves as vice president. Dave and Patty Ross have four daughters and 10 grandchildren. They split their vacation time between Southern California and Table Rock Lake, surrounded by their kids and grandkids.

Tags: , ,

Vicki Schmidt earns KU School of Pharmacy’s top honor

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Alumni News and News

The University of Kansas School of Pharmacy will present its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt on Friday, April 26, at the School of Pharmacy building in Lawrence.

Vicki SchmidtSchmidt, a 1978 graduate of KU’s pharmacy school, was a member of the Kansas Senate (District 20) from 2005-2019 and served as assistant majority leader from 2009 to 2012. Vicki was as the state’s insurance commissioner in 2018, making her the only pharmacist in the U.S. to currently hold a statewide elected office.

The University of Kansas School of Pharmacy Distinguished Service Award honors individuals who have demonstrated selfless and sustained service and leadership in advancement of the profession, their communities and the KU pharmacy school.

Schmidt was instrumental in helping the school gain funding to move into a new building in 2010 and expand the Pharm.D. program to Wichita in 2011. As a working pharmacist and a state legislator, she offered unique insight into the crisis the state of Kansas was facing at the time with an inadequate number of pharmacists in rural parts of the state. School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus said committee members made an excellent choice when they selected Schmidt to receive the school’s highest honor.

“Vicki Schmidt has been a tireless supporter of education and the pharmacy profession throughout her career,” Audus said. “The advocacy she has provided for the school, the university and education in general will improve the lives of Kansans for generations to come.”

Tags: , ,

Jayhawk Impact Awards recognize three student leaders

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 in Alumni News and News

The Jayhawk Impact Awards recognize students who have made an impact on the University of Kansas campus throughout the school year. The recipients will be recognized at the Jayhawk Impact Awards ceremony April 23. The event is hosted by KU’s Student Involvement & Leadership Center.

Caitlyn Howard

As president of the Unity Hip Hop dance crew, Caitlyn creates community among fellow students with a shared passion of hip hop culture. Caitlyn has continued Unity’s strong tradition, founded in 1995, and has led them into new opportunities like training sessions with visiting artist Amirah Sackett.

Humberto Gomez Salinas

Humberto’s extensive work within the international student community at KU helps shape the experience of more than 2,000 Jayhawks who come to Lawrence from all over the world. He serves as an International Undergraduate Student Senator and a resident assistant in Downs Hall. Both roles allow Humberto to create space for students to feel welcome and engaged with the campus community.

Jordan Young

When Jordan arrived at KU, he wanted to create a space for students that he couldn’t find. With assistance from faculty, Jordan created The Connect, a space for students to come together, eat and hang out. Student organizations come to The Connect to offer their services, academic resources are also available at the event. Jordan’s creation continues to grow and welcome more Jayhawks each month, just as Jordan set out to do.

Jayhawk Impact Awards logo

The Jayhawk Impact Awards program is sponsored by Hy-Vee of Lawrence.

Tags: , ,

KU School of Business names 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Posted on Apr 17, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Capitol Federal Hall | photograph by Steve Puppe | 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award
The University of Kansas School of Business will honor Tom Bené and Frank Friedman with its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Bené and Friedman will receive the award for their dedication to business excellence, community service and commitment to KU on Thursday, April 18, during a private reception at The Jayhawk Club.

Tom Bené

Tom Bené | KU School of BusinessTom Bené holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from KU. He is the chairman, president and CEO of Sysco Corp. and a member of its board of directors. Bené has held a variety of executive leadership roles at Sysco, overseeing all of the corporation’s business operations, commercial functions and supply chain organization, as well as at PepsiCo Inc., where he spent 23 years.

Bené is a member of the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and involved in a variety of industry, community and philanthropic organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the United Way of Greater Houston.

Frank Friedman

Frank Friedman | KU School of BusinessFrank Friedman graduated from the School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration before joining Deloitte’s Kansas City office in 1979. Now Deloitte’s chief operating officer, Friedman leads the $43.2 billion network operations needed to drive Deloitte Global’s strategy.

Outside of Deloitte, Friedman is a trustee of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and has served on the board of many philanthropic Kansas City organizations, including the REACH Foundation, Starlight Theatre, HCA Midwest Health, and Menorah and Overland Park medical centers.

The School of Business established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998 to honor outstanding graduates and supporters. To date, 61 alumni have been recognized with the award. Past recipients include investor David Booth, entrepreneur Tim Barton, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president and CEO Robert Kaplan, Cerner Corp. co-founder Cliff Illig and Emprise Financial Corp. president Mike Michaelis.

Award recipients are chosen from the nominations of other alumni and the Dean’s Advisory Board. Candidates are selected on the basis of their business success and service to their communities and to KU.

Tags: ,

Chris Longino named Wintermote recipient

Posted on Apr 15, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Chris Longino

In thanks for his time and service to the University and his Jayhawk network, the KU Alumni Association is proud to present Chris Longino the Dick Wintermote Volunteer of the Year award. The award will be presented to Longino, b’06, at an alumni event in Tampa Apr. 18.

After a childhood on the move as a military kid, Longino attended Free State High School in Lawrence and later received his bachelor’s degree from the KU School of Business. His career took him to Chicago before a move to Tampa in 2010.

Longino has lead the Tampa-St. Petersburg network since 2016 and has helped organize activities such as a holiday toy drive, a food drive after Hurricane Irma and fundraising efforts for a local elementary school after a fire.

Longino currently serves as a senior field information analyst at the National Insurance Crime Bureau, where he has worked since 2007. He and his wife, Kelley, are expecting their first child.

About the Award

This annual award recognizes network volunteers who demonstrate extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). An internal staff committee within the KU Alumni Association consisting of those who work closest with volunteers meets each year to decide on award winners.

Tags: , , ,

Film & Media Studies professor takes Oscar for co-writing ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Posted on Feb 25, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Kevin Willmott (image courtesy of KU)

After months of Oscar buzz, Kevin Willmott’s work on “BlacKkKlansman” was lauded with an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay Feb. 24.

Willmott, a University of Kansas film & media studies professor, co-wrote the screenplay for the 2018 film about Ron Stallworth, the first black police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Stallworth wrote a 2014 memoir about how he infiltrated a cell of the virulently white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

Willmott collaborated on the screenplay with Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz. The film has been gathering accolades, from the Grand Prix prize at the Cannes Film Festival to a BAFTA award for best adapted screenplay.

Read more on Kevin Willmott’s accomplishment at

Tags: , , , ,

Millie recipients honored for longtime contributions to KU

Posted on Feb 4, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Vaun and Sydnie Kampschroeder

For their unwavering commitment to the University, Vaun and Sydnie Bowling Kampschroeder are recipients of the 2018 Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award.

Vaun, c’63, g’65, and Sydnie Bowling Kampschroeder, c’65, are retired and split their time between Lawrence and Chicago. They have served as board members for the Chicago Jayhawk Network and have organized several network events for local Jayhawks. They are members of Jayhawks for Higher Education and have helped recruit numerous students to KU. The Kampschroeders are Life members and Presidents Club donors and support Kansas Athletics through the Williams Education Fund. They have attended KU Mini College for the past five years and are members of KU Endowment’s Chancellors Club, the Dole Institute, the Spencer Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum and the Lied Center.

Sydnie also served on the Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors from 2000 to ’05, as well as advisory boards for the School of Business, the KU Memorial Union Corporation and the Chancellors Club. She’s currently involved with Women Philanthropists for KU.

The Kampschroeders received the award at a Presidents Club event in Lawrence on Feb. 2.

About the award

The Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award was created in 1987 to thank alumni and friends for sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level. The award honors Mildred Clodfelter, b’41, who worked for the University for 47 years, including 42 at the Alumni Association.

Tags: , , ,

St. Louis Jayhawk recognized with Wintermote Award

Posted on Jan 25, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Paul Brickler Wintermote Award

In appreciation of his time and dedication to the University of Kansas, the KU Alumni Association is proud to present Paul Brickler with a Dick Wintermote Volunteer of the Year Award.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Brickler graduated in spring 2002 from the School of Architecture & Urban Design. After moving back to his hometown, Brickler has worked as an architectural designer & graphic artist since 2005.

Regularly involved with the KU Alumni St. Louis Network since 2006, Brickler joined the network leadership group in 2012 and has served as network leader since 2014.

Brickler currently works at Kuhlmann Design Group in St. Louis as a designer, 3D rendering specialist & BIM expert for their Architecture & Interior Design department.

About the Award

This annual award recognizes network volunteers who demonstrate extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). An internal staff committee within the KU Alumni Association consisting of those who work closest with volunteers meets each year to decide on award winners.

Tags: , , ,

Association programs, design and communications win regional honors

Posted on Jan 9, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Adams Alumni Center | CASE honors 2018
The Association and several other KU entities won regional honors in the annual competition of Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VI, which includes eight states.

The Association’s honors include:

Month of Service returns

For the second consecutive year, alumni donated their time and treasure for the Alumni Association’s KU Cares Month of Service campaign, which encourages Jayhawks nationwide to give back to their communities during the month of November. Nearly 350 volunteers—more than double last year’s participation—from 24 alumni networks generously gave more than 100 hours of service to:

  • Organize blood drives
  • Collect food, clothing and personal hygiene supplies
  • Prepare and serve meals for families in need
  • Restore and enhance neighborhood parks
  • Make sleeping bags for homeless individuals
  • Clean beaches in seaside communities
  • Gather pet supplies for local animal shelters
  • Raise money for national and local nonprofit organizations

Overall, the University community received 30 awards for programs, events and communications from the Office of Marketing Communications, KU Endowment, the KU Cancer Center, The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the William Allen White School of Journalism. The awards will be presented Jan. 15 at the annual CASE District VI conference in Denver.

Tags: , ,

Jay Craig honored with Millie Award

Posted on Dec 10, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Jay Craig | Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award

In recognition of his time and talents given to the University, the KU Alumni Association is proud to honor Jay Craig with the the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award. The award will be presented to Craig, b’85, g’87, at an alumni event in Milwaukee Dec. 13.

After stops in Dallas, San Francisco, and San Diego, Craig’s career in real estate led him to the Milwaukee area. After a couple long nights driving to and from KU alumni watch parties in Chicago, Craig set out to launch a network in his new home.

What began as an attempt to get alumni together to cheer on the Jayhawks has turned into one of the most active KU networks. Milwaukee Jayhawks have enjoyed cruises on the Milwaukee River, brewery tours and charity golf events. They’ve also attended away games together and participated in the KU Cares Month of Service.

Jay completed a bachelor of science degree at the KU School of Business in 1985 while working at the Adams Alumni Center as a bartender. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from the business school in 1987.

In addition to continued participation in the Milwaukee Jayhawk network, Jay currently serves as Vice President – Senior Project Executive at MSI General in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

A life member, Jay resides in Fox Point, Wisconsin, with his wife, Jenny, and their children, Garrett and Halle.

About the award

The Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award was created in 1987 to thank alumni and friends for sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level. The award honors Mildred Clodfelter, b’41, who worked for the University for 47 years, including 42 at the Alumni Association.

—Ryan Camenzind

Tags: , , ,