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.
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.”
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.
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.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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. Read full article.
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.
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…
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
Huma, 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.
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.
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.
KU’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.