Alumni Association modifies 46-year tradition of honoring outstanding Kansas high school seniors

Posted on Aug 10, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Kansas Honor Scholars
 
This week, Association President Heath Peterson shared plans to modernize the Kansas Honors Program (KHP) in a letter to longtime alumni volunteers. Since 1971, the KHP has recognized 135,000 Kansas Honor Scholars from all Kansas counties.

In February, the KU Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors convened a task force to conduct a comprehensive review of the program in the context of two important trends: attendance at the 36 annual KHP events has declined among students and families, and significant funding cuts to higher education have made it more difficult for the University of Kansas and the Alumni Association to fund the program.

In a survey of former Kansas Honor Scholars, volunteers and school administrators, the task force found that the dictionary award traditionally given to all Kansas Honor Scholars had become less meaningful to students in the digital era and that investing in scholarships would be more valuable.

Peterson said the new KHP format, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, will provide flexibility for scholars, their families and local high schools while reducing program expenses.

“Most important,” he noted, “the cost savings will enable the Association and the University to create more scholarship opportunities for Kansas Honor Scholars.”

The Association plans to continue working with high schools to designate top students as Kansas Honor Scholars, providing recognition certificates to all schools, where administrators can determine the best ways to recognize their scholars. In addition, the Association and the University will host revamped Kansas Honor Scholar Ceremonies throughout the state.

Peterson explained that the Association will consolidate the 36 KHP events, many of which were costly dinners, into 12 regional receptions, which begin in Lawrence in conjunction with Crimson & Blue Day–a new visit day–at KU on October 13. Scholars and their families can choose to attend the free events that are most convenient in terms of date and location.

The Kansas Honors Program is believed to be the first program of its kind in the country. No other university or alumni association in the state honors the state’s top scholars in this way.

“With your help,” Peterson concluded in his letter to alumni, “we can continue the proud tradition of honoring outstanding young Kansans and encouraging them to continue their education—ideally at the University of Kansas.”

Read the full letter here.

Learn more about Kansas Honor Scholar Ceremonies here.

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Dallas Jayhawk named Wintermote Award Recipient

Posted on Jul 21, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Kate Feller McSwain, b'12, 2017 recipient of the Dick Wintermote Award
Kate Feller McSwain faced a big challenge taking over as network leader for one of the largest University of Kansas alumni groups. Her hard work bringing Dallas Jayhawks together will be honored with the Dick Wintermote Network Volunteer of the Year Award, to be presented at a wine-tasting event July 26. The annual award recognizes volunteers who provided extraordinary leadership to their network.

McSwain, b’12, a fourth-generation Jayhawk, has four years experience volunteering with the Alumni Association, including serving as network leader for the past year. Fellow Dallas Network volunteer John Jacobs praised her leadership, saying she “consistently looks to empower members to lead their projects but is willing to help out herself where and when she can.”

McSwain’s work in establishing more frequent network gatherings year-round, such as the Jayhawks & Java breakfast, has impressed Nick Kallail, assistant vice president of alumni & career programs.

“The Dallas Jayhawks Network has led the way on providing compelling and diverse events that connect Jayhawks from all walks of life,” Kallail says. “Kate has been a huge part of our network growth in Dallas and was able to amplify programming even more in her first year as Network Leader. We are fortunate to have many great Jayhawk volunteers across the nation, but Kate is truly a star of stars.”

McSwain works at Match Group, a Dallas-based company that owns several online dating websites and apps including Match.com, OkCupid, and Tinder.

The award is named for Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. His legacy represents the importance of building a strong volunteer network, the need for a dues-paying membership program and establishing the KU Alumni Association as one of the premier associations of graduates in the country.

—Ryan Camenzind

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Jayhawks in the News | April 21

Posted on Apr 21, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Sarah Smarsh: Reporting on Rural America and Class | Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy

Sarah Smarsh, 2003 J-School graduate and a reporter on socioeconomic class, politics, and policy for The New Yorker, The Guardian, Harper’s online, and other publications, discussed media coverage of class in the United States in this Harvard University Shorenstein Center program.
Read full article.
 

Inductees announced for KU Women’s Hall of Fame | University of Kansas

Since 1970, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has honored a select group of women to be inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include Sarah Deer, Terry Hoyt Evans, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Saralyn Reece Hardy, Colleen McCain Nelson and Jan Bowen Sheldon.
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Overland Park-based company to add 100 jobs in downtown Lawrence | LJWorld.com

Inside Ventures, based in Overland Park, will expand to the former Riverfront Mall building in Lawrence and add 100 jobs. Trevor Nohe, b’07, is president of the company.
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Alumna, MacArthur ‘genius’ to join KU faculty | University of Kansas

Starting in fall 2017, Sarah Deer will join the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a professor. Deer earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and philosophy from KU in 1995 and a juris doctor from the KU School of Law in 1999.
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Songwriter, Lawrence native Lisa Donnelly dies at 37 | LJWorld.com

Lisa Donnelly, a Lawrence native and singer-songwriter, died Friday, April 7, in San Francisco. She earned degrees in psychology and theatre in 2002 from KU and was featured in issue no. 5, 2009, of Kansas Alumni magazine.
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Startup scores with mobile app that helps coaches connect with players digitally | Kansas City Star

In 2014, Austin Barone launched Just Play Sports Solutions while he was still a student at the University of Kansas School of Business studying finance and accounting. The idea for a new company came to Barone, b’16, while he was a kicker for the Kansas Jayhawks football team.
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Dentons wins litigation partner in Frankfurt | Dentons.com

Global law firm Dentons has strengthened its Litigation and Dispute Resolution and Arbitration practices with the recruitment of Heiko Heppner, l’08, who will join as a partner in Frankfurt. He joins Dentons from Clifford Chance.
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Former Uber exec and KU grad Brian McClendon joins university as research professor | LJWorld.com

Brian McClendon, who recently left his post as a vice president at Uber, has joined the University of Kansas as a research professor in electrical engineering and computer science. McClendon, e’86, is a former vice president at Google and co-founded Google Earth.
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School of Business names 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients | KU School of Business

The University of Kansas School of Business will honor Gary Padgett and Mike Thompson with its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.Padgett and Thompson received the award for their dedication to business excellence, community service and commitment to KU on Thursday, April 20, during a private reception at the Kansas Union.
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Whirlwinds of crystals called gravel devils spotted in Andes Mountains | Science News

Towering, crystal-filled twisters periodically swirl in a valley nestled between two volcanoes in the Andes Mountains, newly reported observations show. Geologist Kathleen Benison, PhD’98, of West Virginia University in Morgantown spotted the whirlwinds during an expedition in 2007 to an otherworldly region of northern Chile.
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Law school communications director named Employee of the Month | KU School of Law

Mindie Paget, c’98, g’01, and Joanne Eden, c’96, have been named Employees of the Month by the University of Kansas. Paget is the director of communications and marketing for the KU School of Law. Eden, c’96, is a grant officer with the Office of Research.
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Attorney Cody Wamsley joins the Chicago office of McDonald Hopkins | Yahoo! Finance

Cody Wamsley has joined McDonald Hopkins LLC, a business advisory and advocacy law firm, as an associate in the firm’s national Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Wamsley holds an LL.M. in intellectual property law from The George Washington University Law School, a J.D. from University of Kansas School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Kansas.
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NIC CEO Honored as a Top Doer, Dreamer & Driver of Digital Government | Business Wire

Harry Herington, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of NIC Inc., was honored by Government Technology magazine as one of its “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2017. Mr. Herington, l’93, is the only individual honoree recognized this year from the private sector.
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KU alum and social media producer of CBS’s ‘The Talk’ impresses celebrities with incredible mustache, social media savvy | University Daily Kansan

Jordy Altman, a social media producer for CBS’s “The Talk” and 2008 University graduate, has worked for the multi-time Emmy nominated show since September 2016. Altman, c’06, coined the hashtag #EverybodyTalks to get followers involved online.
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Boise’s Sen. Burgoyne among a dozen vying for Court of Appeals slot | Idaho Statesman

Boise State Sen. Grant Burgoyne is one of 12 candidates seeking to fill a coming vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, Idaho’s second highest court. Burgoyne, 62, has a 26-year litigation practice and now concentrates on alternative dispute resolution and mediation. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho and the University of Kansas School of Law and has lived in Idaho since 1975.
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New Feature: Friday Five | Medium.com

Justin Bauman, a 2004 and 2006 graduate of the Sport Management program, answered five questions for department chair Jordan Bass. Justin currently serves as the Director of Operations for the the Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team and head coach Danny Manning.
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Kurt Russell, Mr. Nobody in ‘The Fate Of The Furious,’ Wears USA-Based Niall Watch In Movie | Forbes.com

Golden Globe nominated actor Kurt Russell, AKA Mr. Nobody, dons a Niall GMT “Noir” watch in the eighth sequel in the Fast and Furious series. Niall was founded five years ago in Kansas City, Missouri, by Michael Wilson, a graduate of the KU School of Business.
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County manager named 2017 Outstanding Public Administrator | Johnson County Government

Hannes Zacharias, county manager of Johnson County, has been named the 2017 Outstanding Public Administrator by the Kansas chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. He is a native of Dodge City, Kansas.
Read full article.

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Alumni Profile: Ryan Colaianni

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Ryan Colaianni, j’07, c’07, is vice president of Edelman in Washington, D.C. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, where he leads the Washington, D.C. Alumni Network and has hosted numerous student recruitment and alumni events. In 2011, he received the Dick Wintermote Award, which honors network volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their network and the alumni association. Ryan is a Life Member and Presidents Club member and is also a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors.

I became a Jayhawk because…

Ryan Colaianni, j'07, c'07I knew that I wanted to study journalism at a university that allowed me to write for the student paper my freshman year. I started working for the Kansan before my first class and by my sophomore year, I was traveling the country covering the KU football team. By my junior year I was covering the men’s basketball team. I was writing professionally for the Lawrence Journal-World and the Topeka Capital Journal before I graduated.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

The hands-on experience I gained at KU through a variety of activities, including the University Daily Kansan, and spending a summer as an orientation assistant helped develop my writing skills and instilled an ability to meet any deadline.

Where is the most unexpected place you’ve ever heard someone yell, “Rock Chalk”?

I’ve heard it everywhere! From Copenhagen to Florence to Jamaica, there is not a place I have been while wearing a KU shirt that I haven’t heard “Rock Chalk.” That bird helps make real connections in the places you least expect it.

What made your degree program distinctly KU?

I visited a number of journalism schools while looking at colleges and most provided a bland presentation with dozens of other prospective students. When I visited KU, I toured with just one other potential student and got to meet real students and professors to hear firsthand how I could succeed at KU. That experience carried over throughout my four years.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

I didn’t know a soul when I arrived at KU from the east coast. The campus community was unbelievably accepting, and I quickly had a number of different niches and groups to be a part of. From Greek life, to my classes, to the campus activities I picked, I was always challenged to go further and try something new.

My best advice for college students is…

Go to class. It will save you hours of pain when you try to cram for that exam or write that paper.

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Nominations underway for the KU Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award

Posted on Jan 19, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Black Alumni Network | www.kualumni.org

Each year, the African-American Leaders and Innovators Project recognizes leaders from the University of Kansas community for their impact on society. These talented and sometimes controversial individuals helped shape the University as well as the cities, states and nations their work touched.

“The award is a great way to honor African-American individuals who have done such extraordinary things in their communities and for KU,” says selection committee member Rosalind Gumby Bauchum, c’74, g’76. “I’m reminded of the first African-American student to graduate from KU in 1895—just one generation beyond slavery. What an educational statement and achievement for other African-Americans.”

The African-American Leaders and Innovators Project, made possible through gifts from KU alumnus Mike Shinn, e’66, who passed away in 2015, was initiated in 2006 and brought to fruition through the coordinated efforts of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Alumni Association, Spencer Research Library and KU Endowment Association.

Recipients are selected from nominations submitted to the KU Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award Committee. To be considered, a nominee must be an African-American who attended or graduated from the University of Kansas and an acknowledged leader or innovator within his or her community, chosen profession or society at large. Posthumous nominations are acceptable and encouraged. The committee will accept nominations for the 2017 awards through Feb. 17.

Honorees will be recognized in the fall at the biennial KU Black Alumni Network Reunion Celebration. All nominees and their families are encouraged to participate.

To complete a nomination form and read about past honorees, visit kualumni.org/kublackalumni.

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Three student leaders receive “Judy Rudy” awards

Posted on Jan 4, 2017 in Alumni News and News

img_about_us
The KU Alumni Association offered three outstanding Student Alumni Leadership Board members with Judy L. Ruedlinger Awards of $500 each for spring 2017.

The recipients are Maren Hansen, a junior from McPherson, Kansas; Sarah Heitmeyer, a sophomore from Littleton, Massachusetts; and Emily Carmack, a junior from Lone Jack, Missouri.

The Judy L. Ruedlinger Award honors the first Student Alumni Leadership Board adviser, who was known by her students as “Judy Rudy.”

The award was established to maintain commitment and involvement of past, present and future members of the Student Alumni Leadership Board at KU. The award is granted to those who convey pride in membership, public awareness of the Student Alumni Leadership Board and a sense of permanence, strength and integrity in the organization. Ideally, it also is meant to encourage Student Alumni Leadership Board members to join the KU Alumni Association after graduation and continue contact with the university.

The Judy L. Ruedlinger Award Fund is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU.

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KU student earns Rhodes Scholarship

Posted on Nov 21, 2016 in Alumni News and News

University of Kansas senior Shegufta Huma is one of 32 American students to win a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious recognitions of scholarly excellence.

Shegufta HumaHuma, from Bel Aire, is majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish. She is fluent or proficient in six languages. She emigrated from Bangladesh as a child before becoming a U.S. citizen and is particularly interested in working toward justice for Muslim immigrants. Huma is KU’s 27th Rhodes Scholar.

“We are very proud of Shegufta’s election as a Rhodes Scholar,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Besides being an outstanding scholar, she is a powerful spokesperson for the marginalized and most vulnerable members of our society, and her voice will now have the opportunity to resonate on an international level.”

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

Huma said she was grateful to receive the opportunity and that she was ready to get to work.

“This has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who shares my joy during triumphs like this but, more importantly, those who help me power through the struggles that have led me here,” Huma said. “I’m overjoyed to have this opportunity to further my commitment to social justice through my studies at Oxford.”

KU has produced more Rhodes Scholarships than all other colleges in Kansas combined.

Read the full news release on KU’s website.

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University of Kansas concludes 104th Homecoming celebration

Posted on Oct 26, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Homecoming 2016

The University of Kansas celebrated its 104th Homecoming Oct. 16-22. The annual event was organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led Homecoming steering committee, which was directed by Katie Gerard, a Hanover senior in supply chain management. She worked with Alumni Association adviser Jacey Krehbiel, assistant director of alumni programs. Homecoming sponsors were Crown Automotive, Coca Cola and Kansas Athletics.

The theme for this year’s event was “Rock Chalk Super Hawk.” Students and alumni participated in several activities throughout the week, including competitions, community service opportunities and reunions. Members of the KU and Lawrence communities collected more than a ton of non-perishable food items for Just Food of Douglas County during the Stuff the Bus competition. They also donated more than 1,000 books for the Lawrence for Literacy Children’s Book Drive, which was sponsored by the Homecoming steering committee and the United Way of Douglas County.

The Homecoming parade was Friday, Oct. 21, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence and featured Bob Davis, the former play-by-play voice of Kansas Jayhawk football and men’s basketball, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist and former KU track and field sprinter Kyle Clemons as grand marshals. A pep rally at Eighth and New Hampshire streets followed the parade. The weeklong celebration culminated with a KU football game against Oklahoma State University Saturday, Oct. 22, in Memorial Stadium.

The 2016 Homecoming event and award winners are:

ExCEL Awards
Jordan Hildenbrand, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, majoring in chemical engineering
Abdoulie Njai, a senior from Wichita majoring in human biology

Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award
Sarah Pickert, a junior from Wichita majoring in visual communication in graphic design

Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award
Linda Ellis Sims, e’79, from Independence, Missouri

Overall Winners

Greek Life
1st place: Alpha Delta Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Delta Lambda Phi
2nd place: Delta Delta Delta, Theta Chi, Alpha Kappa Lambda
3rd place: Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Tau Delta, Beta Sigma Psi

Student Life
1st place: Omega Phi Alpha, Beta Upsilon Chi
2nd place: KU School of Engineering
3rd place: Student Union Activities, The Big Event, KJHK

For more information and a complete list of competition winners, visit homecoming.ku.edu.

 

2016 KU HomecomingKU’s 104th Homecoming celebration, Rock Chalk Super Hawk, takes place Oct. 16-22. For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, fun facts and historical information, visit www.kualumni.org/homecoming. Share your photos with us by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #kuhomecoming, and follow the hashtag to see more pictures of the celebration. Click here to read more stories about Homecoming.

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2016 Ex.C.E.L. Award winners announced at Homecoming game

Posted on Oct 22, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Abjoulie Njai, 2016 Ex.C.E.L. Award winner

Two University of Kansas seniors received the 26th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards during halftime of the KU-Oklahoma State Homecoming football game Oct. 22 in Memorial Stadium.

The 2016 Ex.C.E.L. award winners are Jordan Hildenbrand of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Abdoulie Njai of Wichita.

Jordan Hildenbrand, who is majoring in engineering, is the daughter of Wendy Hildenbrand of Blue Springs, Missouri, and the late Wade Hildenbrand. She is a member of the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Class of 2016 and a KU Admissions student ambassador. She is a member of Delta Gamma sorority and has served on the Homecoming Steering Committee. She has also conducted research at KU and the Mayo Clinic.

Abdoulie Njai, a human biology major, is the son of Ousman and Mariama Njai of Wichita. He is director of diversity and inclusion in Student Senate and president of the Minority Association of Premedical Students. He is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon premedical fraternity, where he serves as academic chair, and he also served as a Hawk Link guide for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 award to two students. The winners will present at the Blueprints Leadership Conference next spring in conjunction with KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

The winners were selected from among 10 finalists on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations. The selection committee included representatives from Student Union Activities, the Board of Class Officers, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, and the Homecoming Steering Committee.

The award was established in 1991 to recognize one male and one female student for achievement and to add student interest to annual Homecoming festivities. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time undergraduate students with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Each finalist completed an application and participated in an interview.

Jordan Hildenbrand, 2016 Ex.C.E.L. Award winner
 

2016 KU HomecomingKU’s 104th Homecoming celebration, Rock Chalk Super Hawk, takes place Oct. 16-22. For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, fun facts and historical information, visit www.kualumni.org/homecoming. Share your photos with us by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #kuhomecoming, and follow the hashtag to see more pictures of the celebration. Click here to read more stories about Homecoming.

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Longtime KU volunteer Linda Ellis Sims to receive Homecoming Spirit of 1912 Award

Posted on Oct 18, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Homecoming float

img_news_sims_interview_spirit2The University of Kansas Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee have named Linda Ellis Sims of Independence, Missouri, as the winner of this year’s Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award. The annual award recognizes Jayhawks who consistently display school spirit, pride and tradition throughout their lives.

Sims will receive her award during Homecoming Food Fest and Jayhawk Jingles at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Adams Alumni Center.

Sims graduated from the School of Engineering in 1979 and has served on the school’s advisory board since 1990, including a term as chair. She also served on the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering advisory board and the Diversity & Women’s Programs advisory board. In 2014, she was recognized as a Distinguished Engineering Alumna. She and her husband, Russ, are Life Members of the Alumni Association and contributors to its Presidents Club. She led a network of Jayhawks in Houston and served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 1991 to 1993. In 2011, she received the Association’s Fred Ellsworth Medallion for her outstanding volunteer service to KU. She is a KU Endowment trustee and executive committee member, and she helped guide the recent Far Above campaign as a member of the steering committee. A former KU swimmer, she is a K-Club member and donor to the Williams Education Fund.

The Spirit of 1912 Award commemorates the first year of KU’s Homecoming and honors Rich and Judy Billings of Lakewood, Colorado, who in 2011 created an endowment to fund future editions of Homecoming. The Billings, both 1957 KU graduates, will attend their 57th KU Homecoming celebration this year.

The theme for KU’s 104th Homecoming is “Rock Chalk Super Hawk.” The Homecoming parade begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. This year’s grand marshals are Bob Davis, the former play-by-play voice of Kansas Jayhawk football and men’s basketball, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist and former KU track and field sprinter Kyle Clemons. A pep rally at Eighth and New Hampshire streets will follow the parade.

2016 KU HomecomingKU’s 104th Homecoming celebration, Rock Chalk Super Hawk, takes place Oct. 16-22. For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, fun facts and historical information, visit www.kualumni.org/homecoming. Share your photos with us by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #kuhomecoming, and follow the hashtag to see more pictures of the celebration. Click here to read more stories about Homecoming.
 

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