Alumnus remains close to KU for seven decades

Posted on Feb 2, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Larry Hickey, Proud Member | www.kualumni.orgAs Larry Hickey Jr. recalls his student years on the Hill, he says he’s 92 going on 18. “It was the opening of my whole life. I just revel every time I think about the University, the beauty of the campus and the thrill of being there.”

Hickey, b’43, has remained close to the University, serving for decades as an alumni ambassador in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri from his home base in Joplin, Missouri, and contributing financial support for alumni programs. This year he provided $100,000 to support the Alumni Association. “I don’t feel that I ever really left KU,” he says.

He became a Jayhawk with help from a banker in his hometown of Coffeyville. After he finished his studies at the community college, he wanted to continue his education at KU, but money was tight. Thanks to the banker’s $250 loan, Hickey made his way to Lawrence. To earn living expenses, he waited tables at his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, and worked in the basement of Hoch Auditorium, firing cement cinder blocks in a kiln for 10 cents each. The following summer, he paid off the loan by delivering ice in Coffeyville, working for 30 cents an hour. When the banker asked how much he needed for his senior year, Hickey thought $250 would suffice, but the banker insisted he buy a new suit.

After graduation, Hickey paid off the second loan and attended the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Northwestern University. He served in the Navy until 1946. He began his career with the Phillips Petroleum Co., where a fellow KU graduate hired him to work in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Through the years, he and his wife, Virginia, ’40, hosted numerous events for area Jayhawks and campus leaders. He served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 1976 to 1981. In 1996, the Hickeys received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their longtime service to KU in their community.

Hickey describes Virginia, who died in 2003, as “absolutely flawless.” As a leader in her KU sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, she was chosen to start a new chapter at the University of Southern California, where she graduated summa cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. But she remained a Jayhawk at heart.

The Hickeys traveled 16 times with the Flying Jayhawks. “Our alumni were always peppier than any other school on the trip,” Larry recalls, “and travel with the Flying Jayhawks was a great education. We didn’t know the language, but we could get anywhere with a handshake, a smile and a ‘Thank you.’”

Like her husband, Virginia became a devoted community volunteer in Joplin. They are the only couple to each earn distinction as Joplin’s Outstanding Citizen.

Hickey credits fellow Jayhawks for helping him succeed in business ventures throughout his career, and he hopes his involvement and support of the Association will extend the tradition of friendship and generosity: “Life has been a road map of miracles for me,” he says, “and I’m truly grateful.”

This profile was originally published in the KU Alumni Association’s 2013-14 Annual Report, a supplement to Kansas Alumni magazine. Click here to view the full report and learn more about membership and alumni records, Presidents Club, the Association’s year-end financial report and highlights from the year.

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Clarkson encourages Jayhawks to nurture their University legacies

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Rich Clarkson, Proud Member |
He was director of photography for National Geographic magazine, worked for many years as a freelance photographer for Sports Illustrated—a relationship launched with his iconic image of Wilt Chamberlain, ’59, then a young KU sensation, tying his shoes while seated in a folding chair—and spent many years as photo editor at both the Topeka Capital-Journal and Lawrence Journal-World. Few professionals can offer better perspective on technological changes revolutionizing visual communications than Rich Clarkson, j’55, and, while he admires the work that came before, Clarkson does not yearn for a return to the past.

“I view this as the best days of all of the photojournalism I’ve been involved with,” Clarkson says from his Denver photography, publishing and project management firm, Clarkson Creative. “This is the golden era, right now.”

Clarkson, a 2011 Fred Ellsworth Medallion honoree, has long maintained close ties with the University, including as a Presidents Club and life member of the Alumni Association, longtime trustee of the William Allen White Foundation and an Endowment Association life trustee. In 2011 he donated $200,000 to create the Rich Clarkson Multimedia Gallery in Stauffer-Flint Hall, and in 2014 he gave a $100,000 endowment to support Alumni Association communications, including Kansas Alumni magazine.

“It’s the greatest outreach that the University can possibly have,” Clarkson says, “and you all do it so well.”

He encourages others to follow his lead in nurturing their University legacies, in part by affiliation with the Alumni Association.

“It’s an extension of the University experience,” Clarkson says, “and a beautifully orchestrated extension at that.”

Clarkson in 2015 will photograph his 60th-consecutive men’s NCAA Final Four. It would be a bonus for him to again watch his beloved Jayhawks from his courtside perch, but regardless of KU’s tournament fortunes, he’s certain to savor an experience that never grows old.

“One never knows for sure who is going to win. It could be the best team on one really interesting night in a regional that then marches forward to the national championship. It’s the surprise, the unpredictability, and at the same time the excellence of play and the intrigue of all of the fans.”

This profile was originally published in the KU Alumni Association’s 2013-14 Annual Report, a supplement to Kansas Alumni magazine. Click here to view the full report and learn more about membership and alumni records, Presidents Club, the Association’s year-end financial report and highlights from the year.

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Alumnus offers advice for recent grads, prospective students

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Clint Rogers |

For our ongoing Proud Member Monday series, we are highlighting alumni volunteers who serve the University of Kansas across Kansas and around the world. Today we feature Clint Rogers, b’98, a Life and Presidents Club Member from Ellsworth who is dedicated to growing the Jayhawk network in North Central Kansas. We asked Clint how his experience at KU has served him since leaving the Hill.

Tell us about your career path.
After graduation I went to work for Cashco, Inc. I started in the sales and marketing department developing advertising, presentation material and understanding the markets we serve. I moved to outside sales and was promoted to Western Regional Manager covering the western United States. I was then promoted to a variety of positions including overseeing all domestic and international sales channels, engineering R&D, and now I am acting General Manager for the company.

How did your KU experience help prepare you for your career?
Whether living in Templin Hall or attending classes, I was always surrounded by individuals who had unique backgrounds from around the world. I think this best served me as I moved to international travel and helped develop my company’s international growth plan. It taught me to value diversity and how to leverage my skills when working with others who had different skill sets.

What is one fun fact about your company?
Cashco, Inc., is in almost every industry, including the semiconductor industry and chemical weapons disposal facilities. We even supply products to help inflate the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

What advice do you have for recent graduates in your field?
Look around and see how you can improve your company; make yourself a vital part of the daily activity. The more you challenge yourself and stretch, the more you can grow your career. Don’t be afraid of failure. The only people who don’t fail are those who don’t do anything.

Why should a prospective student consider becoming a Jayhawk?
Diversity. Some of the best friends I met at KU were from England, Korea, Indonesia, Virginia and Michigan. And for the faculty: I had professors who inspired me to push myself to see what was possible and made me think about topics I never would have considered.

Why are you a Proud Member of the KU Alumni Association?
A large part of who I am today is because of what I did at KU. My experience gives my son a chance to open up his mind at an even earlier age.

How do you stay connected to KU?
I try to be active in the Alumni Association and go to lectures offered by the University on topics that interest me. I even have used the University to help locate translators for work from its various departments. KU continues to be a great resource to have in my daily work.

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New member benefit: Lawrence Country Club dining

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Members, we have a great new benefit for you—just in time for football season!

Whether you still call Lawrence home or you’re traveling from afar, you’ll be able to enjoy access to the dining room at the Lawrence Country Club on the day of and day after* KU football and men’s and women’s basketball games.

This benefit is available for Life Members and Presidents Club members of the Alumni Association. Reservations are required—call 785.843.2866, ext. 6, and then show your membership card when you arrive. A Lawrence Country Club membership is not required to take advantage of this new benefit!

For a list of complete membership benefits, visit Not a member? Visit to see our membership options!

*Excludes Mondays and Fridays

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Jayhawks and Juleps

Posted on Jan 9, 2014 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Rock Chalk Ball 2014 Jayhawks and Juleps

Although we’re in the midst of a long stretch of cold winter weather, one thing Jayhawks in the Kansas City area can look forward to is the annual Rock Chalk Ball, the premier fundraising event for the KU Alumni Association.

This year’s Rock Chalk Ball will feel especially spring-like with a Derby-style theme. Start planning your attire now, ladies and gentlemen– it’s time to unleash your inner southern belle with a wide-brimmed hat featuring flowers, feathers and ribbons, or show off your style in a seersucker suit with a colorful bowtie.

Event details

The 19th annual Rock Chalk Ball, hosted by event chairs Laura and Todd Sutherland, will take place on Saturday, April 26, at the Overland Park Convention Center.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. and features silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing to the music of The Michael Beers Band. And mint juleps, of course. A special party for Presidents Club members, benefactors and their table guests will precede the event, and the KU Band and Spirit Squad will also make appearances.

Members-only ticket offer

Through Jan. 31, Alumni Association members can purchase tickets for the Ball at last year’s prices! The ticket prices will increase on Feb. 1, so don’t miss this opportunity to save a little money. Individual ticket options are available, or gather a group of friends together and buy a table.

If you’re not already a member, we have an option for you, too! you can buy a ticket at the member price along with a single annual membership, all at the same time.

A message from the emcee

Watch the video below for a special message from Steve Doocy, j’79, co-host of “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel and this year’s emcee:

Be sure to check regularly for more updates. We hope to see you on April 26!

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A windy day on the golf course

Posted on Oct 16, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

The fourth annual KU Alumni Association Invitational was held at Prairie Dunes Country Club near Hutchinson on Monday.

Twenty-five teams of four players each battled tough, windy conditions and a short rain shower on the famous course, but the golfers persevered.

The winning team included Life Member Mark Lierz, c’83, m’87, of St. Joseph, Mo., and friends Brad Nurski, Harry Roberts and Matt Thrasher. The winning score was a tournament record 18 under par 52.

The team will represent KU in the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at North Carolina’s legendary Pinehurst Resort.

Many thanks to Jeff Kennedy, j’81, chair of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, for working at the tournament and greeting golfers, and to his law firm, Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P., for sponsoring the tournament.

Thanks also to Chris Hamman, b’85, and his business, Golf Etc., for sponsoring the tournament and providing hole prizes.

Stay tuned for information about next year’s tournament!

Check out pictures from the tournament in the slideshow below, or click here to see the photos on Flickr. The photos may be downloaded for personal use.

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Jayhawks have fun at the Salina Steak Out

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

More than 150 Jayhawks gathered in central Kansas this past Saturday, July 27 for the annual Salina Steak Out. For the fifth year in a row, the Wilson family hosted the popular event at their ranch near Salina. Jim Trower, b’77, president of the North Central Chapter of the KU Alumni Association, led the planning of the event. Butch Billips, assoc., of America’s Best Steaks proved the company’s namesake and provided the main course for dinner. Both men are Life Members and members of the Presidents Club.

After dinner, Jayhawks were treated to updates from Mt. Oread by Jeff Vitter, provost; Andrea Hudy, assistant athletics director for sports performance; and KU basketball legend Bud Stallworth. KU head softball coach Megan Smith and head swimming coach Clark Campbell also attended. Following the short program, the KC All Stars entertained the crowd with live music well into the night.

Thanks to the KU alumni, fans and friends who attended this great event!

Click here to view pictures from Salina Steak Out, or watch the slideshow below.

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“Millie” Award presented to Monty Strecker

Posted on Jun 20, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Congratulations to Monty Strecker, b’80, who was presented with the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award!

Strecker, a Presidents Club member, has organized KU events in the Great Bend area for many years; he credits the late Bob Roth, a fellow KU graduate from Great Bend and Larned, for encouraging his involvement with the Alumni Association. Strecker has volunteered as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education, the Association’s legislative advocacy group, since the 1990s. He also has helped recruit students to KU and advised campus leaders regarding alumni views on key issues, including admissions standards. From 2003 to 2006, he served on the Association’s national board of directors, helping begin the Golden Belt Chapter in 2006 and leading the group as president.

Strecker built his professional career as an entrepreneur and currently serves as president of INA Alert Inc., A/R Management and Cornerstone Healthcare. He also serves as managing partner for Country Place Senior Living.

The Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award  was created in 1987 to thank alumni and friends for “sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level.” The award honors the memory of Clodfelter, a 1941 KU business school graduate who worked for her alma mater and the Alumni Association for 47 years.

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Kent Colvin, Wintermote Award winner

Posted on May 21, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Kent Colvin | www.kualumni.orgKent Colvin, a Presidents Club member and lifelong Jayhawk fan, was presented with the Dick Wintermote Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award at the KU Football Preview Party event in Liberal last week.

Colvin helped start the Southwest Kansas Chapter of the KU Alumni Association seven years ago, and he has assisted with numerous alumni events including the annual Southwest Jayhawk Tumble. He is also a founding member of the Southwest Kansas Pro Am golf event in Garden City, which benefits the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at St. Catherine’s Hospital.

A resident of Liberal for 57 years, Colvin is the president of High Plains Pizza, where he has worked for 44 years. His father became a Pizza Hut franchisee in 1962, and Colvin currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association.

He enjoys playing golf and watching sporting events, especially KU events. Click here to see coverage from the local paper, the Leader and Times.

The Wintermote Award is named for Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. The annual award is presented to two Kansas chapter volunteers and two national chapter volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their chapter and the Association during a one-year period.

Click here for more information about the award, including alphabetical and chronological lists of past recipients.

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Wintermote Award presented to Steve Dillard

Posted on May 17, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Congratulations to alumni volunteer, Life Member and Presidents Club member of the KU Alumni Association Steve Dillard, c’75, who was honored as a recipient of the Dick Wintermote   Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award!

The award was presented to Dillard at the KU Football Preview Party luncheon in Wichita on Thursday, May 16.

Dillard, vice president and co-owner of Pickrell Drilling Company, Inc., has served as president of the Wichita Chapter of the KU Alumni Association and has been a chapter board member for six years. He’s also active with the Wichita River Festival and Wichita Wagonmasters.

Lynn Loveland, Steve Dillard, Jeff Kennedy |

Dillard is pictured above with Lynn Loveland, ’76, assistant director for Kansas programs for the KU Alumni Association, and Jeff Kennedy, j’81, chair-elect of the Association’s Board of Directors.

The Wintermote Award is named for Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. The annual award is presented to two Kansas chapter volunteers and two national chapter volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their chapter and the Association during a one-year period.

Click here for more information about the award, including alphabetical and chronological lists of past recipients.

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