Career shifts lead alumna from journalism to law to theology

Posted on Nov 3, 2015 in News

Julie Johnson Staples was among 12 alumni honored with the Mike and Joyce Shinn African-American Leaders & Innovators award at the Black Alumni Network‘s reunion, held on campus Sept. 25-27. The award recognizes leaders from the KU community for their impact on society.

Staples, a graduate of the KU School of Journalism, has pursued varied careers in journalism, finance and the ministry. She is currently interim senior minister of the 116-year-old Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church. As a KU student, she was the first African-American editor of the University Daily Kansan.

Staples, j’78, eventually became the White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun and The New York Times. In 1994, she earned her law degree from Georgetown University and went on to serve as the Justice Department correspondent for ABC News. She later began a career in international investing at Warburg Pincus and became the firm’s first African-American partner. Her career shifted again when she returned to graduate school to study theology and became ordained in the Congregational and American Baptist Church. She serves on the board of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.


Learn about other honorees of the African-American Leaders & Innovators Project here. These talented and sometimes controversial African-Americans helped shape the University as well as the cities, states and nations their work touched.

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Black Alumni Network honors alumni for achievements

Posted on Sep 11, 2015 in News

Black Alumni Network
Twelve alumni are the 2015 recipients of the KU Black Alumni Network’s African-American Leaders and Innovators award. The network, sponsored by the KU Alumni Association, will honor them Saturday, Sept. 26, during its biennial reunion. Ten recipients will attend the event, and two will be honored posthumously.

The 10 who are scheduled to attend are:

• Nedra Patton Bonds, c’70
• Mickey Brown, c’59, g’65
• Ralph Crowder, PhD’95
• Nathan Davis, d’60
• Cynthia Harris, c’78, g’82
• Alferdteen Harrison, PhD’71
• Erica Hawthorne-Manon, j’02
• Audrey B. Lee, j’76, g’78
• Julie Johnson Staples, j’78
• Evelyn Welton, c’49

The two posthumous honorees are:

• Bertram Caruthers Sr., c’33, g’35
• Alversa Milan, f’55

The KU Black Alumni Network also will posthumously honor Michael E. Shinn, e’66, who helped found the network and the Leaders and Innovators Project in 2006. The award will be renamed for Shinn, who died in March, and his wife, Joyce, of Highland Heights, Ohio, who will attend the event.

Biographies of this year’s honorees are available here.

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