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
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to let you know that a key member of our executive team will be leaving the University of Kansas for a new opportunity.
Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was named the new president of the University of Louisville. She is slated to begin her new role in May.
While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville. As friends and colleagues, we can be happy for her. And as a university, we can be proud that her time at KU enabled her to refine her leadership skills and move on to the presidency of a major public research institution.
I will name an interim provost in the coming days. Additionally, I will keep you informed on the process for identifying a permanent successor in the coming weeks.
Neeli has been with the University of Kansas since 2011 and has been integral to many of our most important initiatives. As provost and executive vice chancellor since 2016, she has prioritized retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff development, and our university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to serving as provost, she was the Henry D. Price Dean of our School of Business. In that role, she partnered with KU Endowment to raise $198.6 million in total gifts, oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programming, and guided the school to gains in national rankings.
Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds.
The University of Kansas and the state we serve have benefited from Neeli’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating Neeli on her new position and thanking her for her service to KU.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following email message to University of Kansas staff and faculty on Aug. 14, 2017.
Confronting racism and hate
We are writing to share our profound sadness and concern at the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, beginning Friday night. Like many of you, we were horrified at the sight of white supremacists with racist and hate-filled messages marching on a university campus. Even worse was the violence, injury and loss of life that ensued. It was a terrible weekend for Charlottesville and our nation, and a reminder of how much work we have left to do as a society.
The expressions of neo-Nazism and white supremacy at the heart of the weekend’s events are heartbreaking, sickening and unacceptable. There can be no place for that kind of racism and hate in a civilized society — and that includes at the University of Kansas.
Beginning Saturday evening, several KU offices and leaders have used social media to denounce the abhorrent behavior and statements of white supremacists and express concern for the victims. We want the people of Charlottesville and our colleagues at the University of Virginia to know they are in our thoughts, and their experiences will inform our efforts to confront hate and make our KU community more inclusive. Moreover, we support UVA President Teresa Sullivan in condemning the despicable acts and sentiments that have affected their community and our nation.
As faculty, staff and students return to Mount Oread this week, we will apply ourselves to discussing how we can continue to confront hatred and bigotry, both through our scholarship and efforts outside the classroom. More broadly, we will commit ourselves to our ongoing work to address diversity and inclusion on our campuses, and to ensure that all Jayhawks feel valued and welcome here.
The University of Kansas is a marketplace of ideas. We will – and should – have difficult conversations and disagreements with each other on complicated topics. But racism, intolerance and hatred – and violence borne of those views – are never acceptable at KU and, in fact, are antithetical to our values as a university. We pledge to work with all of you to ensure we live up to those values and do our part to condemn and confront prejudice and hate wherever they exist.
Douglas A. Girod
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for the Lawrence Campus
Executive Vice Chancellor for the KU Medical Center and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine
L. Paige Fields, professor and dean of the School of Business at Trinity University, has been named Henry D. Price professor and dean of the KU School of Business. She will begin her tenure July 1.
“I am truly excited to have Paige joining our faculty,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi. “Dr. Fields has proven leadership skills that will continue the upward trajectory of the school and build important partnerships within the university as well as the across the state of Kansas and in the Kansas City region.”
“I am honored to be joining the KU family as the new dean of the School of Business,” Fields said. “With Capitol Federal Hall as our home, outstanding opportunities for the School of Business abound. I am absolutely thrilled to begin the process of working with the KU community to develop strategies, new ideas and cutting-edge programs that will enhance the school’s already outstanding reputation. We should look to invest, innovate and grow, and I am eager to help KU’s incredible group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and business community members do just that.”
Fields fills the vacancy created when Bendapudi, the previous dean of the School of Business, was selected to be KU’s provost and executive vice chancellor.
KU Provost Neeli Bendapudi visited southwest Kansas recently to discuss efforts made at the University of Kansas to alleviate transfer issues as well as a program to help Pell Grant and first-generation college students acclimate to a large campus. Alumnus Al Shank, a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors, is also mentioned in the article. Read full article.
The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced additional public programs for the spring 2017 semester. A group of distinguished KU alumni will headline the semester’s programming, including 2017 Dole Lecture guest Robert Kaplan. Read full article.
Sheila Bair has been mentioned as a potential candidate for one of three vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board. Bair, c’75, l’78, is currently the president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Read full article.
Dan Ryckert, an alumnus who holds two Guiness World Records and is a well-established voice in the gaming community, and his fiancee are competing to become the first couple to be married in the new Taco Bell Chapel in Las Vegas. Ryckert, c’08, has also published six books, including one about his experiences at KU. Read full article.
Stephanie A. Lovett-Bowman, c’05, j’05, l’10, has rejoined the Spencer Fane’s litigation practice after serving with the U.S. Department of Education. Previous to her time at the DoE, Stephanie served with Spencer Fane for five years. Read full article.
Catina Taylor, a co-founder of the V Form Alliance, uses virtual reality that allows elementary and middle school students to take a “field trip” exploring landmarks in Kansas and Missouri that are relevant to black history. Taylor earned a degree from the KU School of Law in 1999. Read full article.
Mary Loveland, a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors from 1977-1982, is a candidate for the open seat on the Lawrence school board. Loveland, c’70, previously served on the board from 1987-2003 and again from 2007-2011. Read full article.
We’re recounting the most memorable moments and biggest KU stories of the past year. With help from our crack team of KU experts, a.k.a. your hard-working KU Alumni Association staff, we’ve assembled and ranked the top ten of 2016. Read on as we present the best of KU…
10. Basketball Rules
The new home of Naismith’s original rules of basketball hosted a housewarming party when the DeBruce Center held its official grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 23. Hundreds of loyal fans and alumni made the pilgrimage to Lawrence to pay tribute to the game’s inventor and tour the new building connected to Allen Fieldhouse.
9. Winning week
A big basketball win over Duke, a double-overtime Border War win for soccer, KU’s first Big 12 volleyball title and an upset football victory over Texas. It was more than just a great week to be a Jayhawk. From Sunday to Sunday, it was a week for the athletics ages.
8. Open for Business
In May, we took a sneak peek inside the School of Business’ new building, Capitol Federal Hall, where expansive, flexible design encourages collaborative learning and innovation is welcome. More details and images of the school’s new space can be found in the May issue of Kansas Alumni magazine.
7. KU Endowment announces results of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas
The largest higher education fundraising effort to date in the state, Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, raised $1.66 billion, far exceeding its $1.2 billion goal. The campaign, which ended June 30, boosted student support, faculty, facilities and programs at the University of Kansas and The University of Kansas Hospital.
6. Twelve straight Big 12 Conference titles
Highlights of the 2015-16 season included a gold medal at the World University Games in South Korea; the championship trophy at the 2015 Maui Invitational in November; a 12th-straight Big 12 Conference regular season; and the Big 12 Postseason Championship title. It truly was an amazing year.
5. KU student earns Rhodes Scholarship
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 Huma, from Bel Aire, is majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish, and she is particularly interested in working toward justice for Muslim immigrants. Huma is KU’s 27th Rhodes Scholar.
4. KU School of Business dean Neeli Bendapudi named Provost
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve my alma mater in a new capacity and look forward to working with people across campus to make it an even better place for our students, our faculty and our staff to learn and to work,” Bendapudi said. “This is a truly wonderful place that means so much to me and my family, and this opportunity is a dream come true for me.”
3. KU Sesquicentennial
In 2016, KU celebrated a 150-year tradition of educating leaders and serving the state of Kansas. The KU Alumni Association contributed to the momentous occasion with a number of commemorative activities, including a KU150-themed birthday celebration at the 2015 Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita, a special edition of our annual alumni calendar with historic images of KU and a reprise of our popular Jayhawks on Parade with three one-of-a-kind Jayhawks to celebrate KU.
2. Chancellor Gray-Little to step down in summer 2017
Bernadette Gray-Little, the 17th chancellor of the University of Kansas, has announced she will step down from the position in summer 2017. “It has been an honor to lead the University of Kansas,” said Chancellor Gray-Little. “KU has always been a special place with terrific people and an instinctive spirit to change our world for the better. Leading this remarkable institution is a privilege I always will cherish, and I’m grateful to the entire KU community for believing in our mission.”
…and the biggest KU story of 2016 (drumroll please)…
1. KU alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at ending a civil war that has ravaged his country for more than 50 years. “This great honor only adds to the immense pride KU alumni around the world have felt for their fellow Jayhawk since President Santos devoted himself to the cause of peace in Colombia,” said KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson. “This Nobel Peace Prize also brings honor to the long-established mission of University of Kansas faculty, administrators, students, staff and alumni to make our heartland campus a welcome home to students from around the world. Our international missions, as educators and alumni advocates, will continue with an energized pace thanks to President Santos, whom we are proud to call one of our own.”
How did we do? Was your favorite KU moment mentioned or did we forget another unforgettable moment? Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com, and check out more stories while you’re here. It’s been a great year worth celebrating, and we know our chant will rise in 2017!
Jayhawks in the Dallas Network assembled Oct. 23 at the Omni Hotel for the first installment of Jayhawks on Business (JOBS), a new series that highlights the strong partnership between the Alumni Association and the School of Business.
JOBS events will feature Dean Neeli Bendapudi and local Jayhawks who can share career stories, professional advice and their perspectives on the current business landscape. In Dallas, Dean Neeli hosted a discussion with Forrest Hoglund, e’56, arguably one of the most loyal Jayhawk volunteers in recent memory. Following his graduation from the School of Engineering, Hoglund began a distinguished career in the energy industry, including many years in top management with Exxon, Texas Oil and Gas and EOG Resources. He now serves as the chairman of SeaOne Maritime Corporation, and he is a leading philanthropist through several nonprofit organizations, including his own Hoglund Foundation. For KU, Hoglund and his wife, Sally Roney Hoglund, c’56, led the successful KU First fundraising campaign for KU Endowment from 2001 to 2005. They each have received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for their extraordinary service to KU.
During the JOBS discussion, Hoglund shared tales of his journey from the KU baseball team to the military and eventually to Texas, where he had a front-row seat for some of the wildest times in the history of America’s energy industry. He also welcomed questions from the crowd.
“Seeing his passion for his current projects was inspiring and served as a great reminder of the phenomenal Jayhawk Nation we are a part of, ” said Nick Kallail, d’04, l’07, Dallas network board member.
The event also was a prime opportunity to showcase renderings of the future home of the KU School of Business—currently under construction—as well as provide attendees an opportunity to network with fellow Jayhawks.
“It was great to hear directly from a fellow KU alumnus on what it took for him to get from the classrooms in Lawrence to operating wildly successful businesses and philanthropic foundations,” said Aaron Brinkman, j’98, a member of the Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors. “I was also left feeling proud and confident in the future of the School of Business, knowing that someone with the passion, energy and experience of Dean Neeli is at the helm of the school.”
Be on the lookout for future editions of Jayhawks on Business in other U.S. cities!
In our latest video in the Proud Member series, Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business, shares her excitement and enthusiasm for the KU Alumni Association.
“Alumni membership is not just important, I think it’s vital. I think it’s crucial. How do you have a university unless you are able to show the connections from the past, to the present, to the future?”
Calling herself a simple businessperson, she uses a business analogy: “When you get a degree from an institution, it’s as though you’ve bought stock in a company. You want it to do well.”
Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business, attended the 60th anniversary celebration of Allen Fieldhouse on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. This is her reflection on the memorable evening. This post originally appeared on the KU School of Business blog and is republished with permission.
Tonight at Allen Fieldhouse with four extraordinary coaches will be a memory I will cherish always as a Jayhawk.
It was also one of the finest lessons on leadership that I have witnessed as a professor of business or as a business executive.
All the coaches emphasized the importance of getting the best people, helping them achieve their potential, getting them to play unselfishly, i.e. to put the team ahead of themselves, and building lifelong relationships.
They all talked about building sustainable success. The players who introduced them described them as “my mentor,” “my friend,” and “my hero.” These were not leaders who expected or tolerated mediocrity. They expected the best of their players; the players responded because they knew the coaches held themselves to the same standards.
As someone who has never followed sports commentators and could probably name three if pushed, I am proud to say that as of today, I am a fan of @jaybilas who did a great job of moderating the evening and I learned he encouraged the very best coach, @coachbillself, to come here.
I cannot capture the wit and wisdom of our coaches. But here is something Coach Self said that I believe to my core. We are all just temporary caretakers of a great institution and a legacy of excellence. Students, faculty, staff, in every arena we play in, let us also remember the impact we have on KU and strive to be champions in all we do.
Student Alumni Leadership Board members had a blast working the 19th annual Rock Chalk Ball. This year’s theme was Jayhawks and Juleps, and seersucker suits, bright colors and derby hats were all on display. SALB members spent the night manning the auction tables and interacting with KU alumni.
“This year’s Rock Chalk Ball was so fun,” said Rachel Volk, SALB’s vice president for alumni relations. “I enjoyed being able to help organize this event for SALB members.”
Not only is Rock Chalk Ball a lot of fun, it’s a great opportunity for SALB members to see the strong community of KU alumni. With more than 900 Jayhawks in attendance, SALB members met all sorts of KU celebrities.
“I am a huge Celtics fan, so being able to meet Scot Pollard was the highlight of my night,” SALB member Madison Flint said.
Another KU celebrity students enjoyed talking with was Dean Neeli. She has so much enthusiasm and support for KU that being in her presence makes students feel empowered.
At the end of the night SALB members headed back to Lawrence and put another Rock Chalk Ball down in the books. It was a night to remember, and we can’t wait to see what next year’s event has in store.
–Autrin Naderi, vice president of communications, Student Alumni Leadership Board