The KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment welcomed more than 100 veterans, alumni, students and military family members March 13 for a donor appreciation event at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.
Jayhawks gathered on the Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge, a stunning structure suspended over a field of 9,000 poppies, symbolic of the 9 million who perished in the war, before touring the museum and the Wylie Gallery, which currently features John Singer Sargent’s powerful masterpiece, “Gassed,” as part of a limited centennial exhibition.
University leaders attend
Several University leaders participated in the event, including Chancellor Douglas Girod, a former Naval surgeon; Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Reggie Robinson, c’80, l’87, who served in the Army; and retired Marine Corps. Col. Mike Denning, c’83, director of KU’s graduate military program and president of the Veterans Alumni Network.
Before delivering opening remarks, Denning playfully teased the crowd. “I have to admit,” he joked. “I think the Marines are probably outnumbering everybody else about five to one.”
Though Marines may have dominated the event in attendance, representatives from each branch of service turned out, including retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mike Flowers, c’77, an Alumni Association board member, and Col. Bob Ulin, g’79. Both men serve on the advisory board for the Veterans Alumni Network.
This year, KU was named the No. 5 school for veterans by the Military Times, up five spots from its top-10 ranking in 2016 and 2017. The Veterans Alumni Network has been instrumental in strengthening several resources for military students and veterans, including the Wounded Warriors Scholarship Fund, which since 2012 has provided $200,000 to military service members, veterans, primary caregivers and surviving spouses or children who want to attend KU.
“The scholarship offered me a chance to actually be a student for the first time,” said Leach, a first-generation student. “It gave me access to advisers, mentors and the opportunity to network with other veterans who had the same experiences I did while I was in the military. I’m very thankful for that.”
“As soon as you walk in there, it’s like you’re back in the service,” said JR Cadwallader, b’18, a Marine Corps veteran and past president of KU’s Student Veterans of America. “It’s like you’re at home with some of your greatest friends again.”
Chancellor Girod applauded Jayhawks for their generosity and commitment to funding programs like the Wounded Warrior Scholarship and the military-affiliated student center, emphasizing how critical these services are to military students and their families.
“You heard the students talk about how [the center] has become a core site and a home for our students—a very comforting home,” he said. “But more important, a lot of services take place in that center.”
Jeff Larkin, c’06, a Lawrence dentist who served in the Air Force, attended the event with his wife and daughter. He was pleased to learn his alma mater had established itself nationally as a top-ranking institution for military students and veterans.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
It is my pleasure to announce that Reggie Robinson has agreed to serve as our vice chancellor for public affairs. We are fortunate to have a leader of his experience and talents in this critical role for our campuses.
Reggie’s deep experience in higher education has made him an invaluable counselor to me since he began serving in this role in an interim capacity in August. In addition, he has already nurtured meaningful relationships inside and outside our campuses, and I know he will help us achieve our goals and raise our stature here and across the country.
Before his move to Strong Hall, Reggie had led our School of Public Affairs & Administration since 2014. From 2002-10, he served as president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. Before assuming his position with the Regents, he served as chief of staff to KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and visiting professor at the KU School of Law. He has also worked as a law professor and director of the Center for Law and Government at Washburn University. From 1993-98, he served at senior levels in the U.S. Department of Justice, initially as a White House Fellow assigned as a special assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno. He went on to serve in a number of senior executive posts in the department.
Reggie earned his undergraduate and law degrees from KU and was an intern for Sen. Bob Dole in 1978. Between college and law school, he served four years as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army.
The vice chancellor for public affairs oversees communications, outreach and government relations for KU. In this role, Reggie will be responsible for setting and carrying out a strategic communications agenda that elevates KU’s reputation at the international, national, state and local levels. He will also have responsibility for internal and external communications and the integration of messages across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners.
The Office of Public Affairs comprises the offices of Strategic Communications, Government Relations, Marketing Communications, the KU News Service, Event Management & Protocol, and Kansas Public Radio and Audio-Reader.
Reggie Robinson honored by Black Alumni Network
Last fall, the Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network named Robinson among the recipients of the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award. The project recognizes leaders from the KU community for their impact on society. These talented and sometimes controversial African-Americans helped shape the University as well as the cities, states and nations their work touched.
Watch the video below to learn more about Robinson.
Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes.If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at email@example.com.
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.
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