Howard and Debra Cohen of Leawood to receive Homecoming Spirit of 1912 Award

Posted on Sep 17, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Howard and Debra Cohen of Leawood to receive Homecoming Spirit of 1912 Award

Howard and Debra Cohen of Leawood to receive Homecoming Spirit of 1912 AwardThe University of Kansas Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee have named Howard and Debra Cohen of Leawood as winners 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.

The Cohens will ride in the Homecoming Parade at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence and receive their award at the Homecoming reception, before kickoff of the KU-Oklahoma State football game Saturday, Sept. 29.

Howard earned his KU bachelor’s degree in business in 1979 and for nearly 40 years has worked at Deloitte in Kansas City, where he’s a lead client service partner. He chaired the business school’s advisory board and served on the national board of directors for the Alumni Association from 2006 to 2011. He has volunteered as a trustee for KU Endowment since 2003. He is a Life member of the Alumni Association and participates in Jayhawks for Higher Education. In 2005, the School of Business honored him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Debbi is a dedicated Jayhawk and co-chairs the Women Philanthropists for KU advisory board. She and Howard have attended numerous KU events in Kansas City, including the Rock Chalk Ball, the Association’s largest fundraising event, for nearly two decades. The Cohens are longtime contributors to the Presidents Club and donated to the School of Business’ capital campaign, which raised funds for the construction of Capitol Federal Hall.

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 60th KU Homecoming celebration this year, serving as grand marshals in the parade.

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Crimson and Blues

Posted on May 1, 2013 in Alumni News and News

More than 800 Jayhawks–including Coach Bill Self and his wife, Cindy–turned out for the 18th annual Rock Chalk Ball April 27 at the Overland Park Convention Center. The ball is the largest annual event hosted by the KU Alumni Association’s Kansas City Chapter.

In keeping with the “Crimson and Blues” theme, guests picked up souvenir sunglasses as they entered the reception, serenaded by the sounds of live jazz, courtesy of student musicians in the Lucas Parker Trio. A special exhibition from KU Libraries, “Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU,” highlighted the libraries’ Sound Archive, one of the largest jazz collections west of the Mississippi. Guests mingled during the reception as they kept their eyes on their bids in the silent auction.

Trumpet players ushered guests into the ballroom for a rousing performance of KU favorites by KU Spirit Squad, Pep Band and Mascots. Emcee John Holt, j’81, l’84, introduced event chairs Howard, b’79, and Debbi Cohen, assoc., and Nick, b’04, and Clare Blasi, assoc. along with Brooke Briley Robison, d’01, g’04, and Mark Frutiger, b’01, who led the Rock Chalk Ball committee for the Kansas City Chapter.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and her husband, Shade Little, continued their tradition of being the first couple on the dance floor. This year they sported their souvenir sunglasses, as did many other dancers of all ages amid the soulful sounds of the Karen Davis Project. Those who craved dessert enjoyed flaming Bananas Foster, prepared by chefs stationed throughout the ballroom

When the dancing ended and the lights came up at midnight, the party was still going strong. Jayhawks, mark your calendars for the next Rock Chalk Ball, April 26, 2014!

–Jennifer Jackson Sanner

Check out photos from Rock Chalk Ball in the slideshow below:

Click here if you can’t see the slideshow. Photos by Steve Puppe and Dan Storey.

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