At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.
Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.
Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.
This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.
In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.
Delano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.
The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”
Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.
Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.
One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
It’s time for our sometimes-annual roundup of holiday cards from departments across the University of Kansas campus.
KU School of Music
The KU School of Music’s video greeting includes original music and animation by Leslee Wood, a graduate student working on a doctorate in musicology. The music is performed by the Bellissimo bell choir, directed by KU alumnus Jackson Thomas.
KU School of Law
Dean Stephen Mazza and the entire KU School of Law family are wishing Jayhawks an easy, breezy holiday season filled with peace & good cheer. Their greeting gives a playful nod to Dean Mazza’s area of expertise, tax policy and procedure.
KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
As the fall semester drew to a close, the College took the time to thank those who makes the KU experience special for everyone involved with a snowy picture of the bronze “Academic Jay” outside their office in Strong Hall.
Thank you, Jayhawks, for another fantastic semester. It’s you, our creative, compassionate and curious faculty, students, staff and alumni, that make the College the #HeartofKU. We appreciate all you do and hope you enjoy the winter break! pic.twitter.com/jhV3m7hWox
Grey Group promoted Michael Houston to Worldwide Chief Executive Officer. A 10-year veteran of Grey, Houston, c’15, has served since 2016 as Global President and becomes only the fifth person to hold the CEO position since Grey’s founding in 1917. Read full article.
If you attended the University of Kansas or lived in Lawrence during the early 2000s, you might remember the radical politics of Solidarity. The ECM has housed the Solidarity Library for about 10 years now, according to Ailecia Ruscin, a local photographer who helped found Solidarity as a KU graduate student around the dawn of the millennium. Read full article.
Former Kansas point guard Aaron Miles, who got a crack at the NBA and spent eight years playing overseas and later coaching on KU coach Bill Self’s staff, officially was named the head coach of the NBA G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors on Wednesday. Read full article.
Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, on Monday joined the staff of Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer in anticipation of Gov. Sam Brownback’s resignation. Barker graduated from the KU School of Law in 1997. Read full article.
Jessica Nelson has been selected for the KC Chamber’s ATHENA Young Professionals Leadership Award. Nelson, j’11, is the current president of the Greater Kansas City Network of the KU Alumni Association and is the managing director for TeamKC:Life+Talent with the Kansas City Area Development Council. Read full article.
Holly Teeter, l’06, has been nominated by President Trump to be a federal judge in Kansas. Teeter currently works in Kansas City, Missouri, and her background includes work at the Shook, Hardy & Bacon law firm’s Kansas City office. Read full article.
The University of Kansas will soon have a new interim vice chancellor for public affairs. Reggie Robinson, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, will assume his new role effective Aug. 14, KU announced earlier this week. Robinson, a KU alumnus, has led the School of Public Affairs and Administration since 2014. Read full article.
In her new position at the AAG office, Emily Fekete will lend her expertise in communications and media geographies to the communications team through new content curation, social media and program development. Fekete holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Jenifer Ashford, a Prairie Village resident who current serves as prosecutor for the cities of Shawnee and Lake Quivira, has been named to fill a 10th judicial district magistrate judge opening. Ashford, who graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law, will be sworn in later this month. Read full article.
Russ and Linda Sims, e’79, have sort of made it their signature move to take a bright blue flag that reads “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” to all of the historic and scenic places they’ve traveled to both capture the moment and represent the Jayhawks. Read full article.
The Institute for Energy Law is honoring Houston partner John Bowman, l’80, with its Lifetime Achievement in Energy Litigation Award, which is given to one energy litigator each year whose achievements “have won the admiration of his or her peers,” according to the organization. Read full article.
Former KU and NBA basketball player Drew Gooden finished work on his communication studies degree in December and enjoyed the fruits of his academic labor walking down Campanile Hill on Sunday morning into Memorial Stadium for KU commencement exercises. Read full article.
Devenie Ross, a 2016 School of Business graduate, is one of the winners of the American Institute of CPAs’ 2016 Elijah Watt Sells Award. A total of 102,323 individuals sat for the exam in 2016, and Ross was one of 58 candidates to meet the award criteria. Read full article.
Attorney Diane L. Bellquist, of Joseph, Hollander &Craft LLC, is the newly elected president-elect of the Topeka Bar Association. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, nominated Monday by President Donald Trump to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, is described by colleagues as a scholar who can build bridges with colleagues on the bench. Read full article.
Just Play Sports Solutions announced it will partner with seven professional WNBA teams — the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, LA Sparks, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystic. Austin Barone, a graduate of the KU School of Business, is a co-founder of the company. Read full article.
Kevin Pritchard — who played at Kansas and was the starting point guard on the Jayhawks’ 1988 national championship team — is the new president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers. Read full article.
Fatimah Al Ghafli, 53, is a University of Kansas student from Saudi Arabia, a mother of nine and a grandmother of nine. She celebrated her second degree from KU, a master’s in math. Her husband and two kids also have degrees from KU, and two more children currently attend the university. Read full story.
University of Kansas professor emeritus of art history Edmund Eglinski was known as an advocate for learning through direct experience. Eglinski, 85, died Sunday in Lawrence of a heart attack. Read full article.
Michael Crawford — professor of anthropology, founding director of the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology and a founder of the field of anthropological genetics — has been at KU since 1971 and founded the lab in 1975. After more than 45 years on the Hill, Crawford is retiring and handing over leadership of the lab. Read full article.
Former Kansas basketball guard Nick Bradford remembers consulting two of his college mentors — former Jayhawks head coach Roy Williams and assistant Neil Dougherty — about his future career path. Bradford was announced as girls head basketball coach at Olathe North High School. Read full article.