From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni success

Posted on Apr 9, 2018 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Strong Hall | From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni success

Provost Neeli Bendapudi shared the following with KU students, faculty and staff in the latest Strong Ties message from the Office of the Provost.

Dear students, staff, and faculty:

Strategists, engineers, writers, performers, coders, creators, artists, thinkers, builders, architects, explorers, problem solvers, inventors, business people, planners, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, visionaries.



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.

From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni successDelano 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.

Rock Chalk!

Neeli Bendapudi
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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Millie Award Recipient: Leland Hansen

Posted on Mar 16, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Leland Hansen, Proud Member
Leland Hansen, p’71, was honored with the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award on February 25 in recognition of his sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level for more than 30 years. The award was presented during the Kansas Honors Program in Atchison, where the KU Alumni Association was honoring the top ten percent of high school seniors in Brown, Doniphan and Atchison Counties.

The Kansas Honors Program and many other alumni programs would not be possible without the help of more than 1,600 loyal volunteers like Hansen.

“I am honored and deeply appreciate this award,” Hansen said while accepting the award in front of a large crowd at the Atchison Heritage Conference Center that included students from Horton High School, where he attended in 1966. Principal David Norman commended Hansen before he presented the Kansas Honor Scholars from Horton High and encouraged them to live up to Hansen’s example by giving back.

After graduating from Horton High, Hansen attended Highland Community College for 2 years, receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in 1968. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas in 1971.

Following graduation, Hansen began working for Chuck and Harold Tice at Tice Rexall Drugs in Hiawatha, Kansas. In 1978, he became the first full-time pharmacist at Hiawatha Community Hospital, and in 1992 he purchased Tice Healthmart, where he remains as owner/pharmacist.

In 1972, he married Debbie Crawley of Overland Park, Kansas. They have two children: Rachel, who graduated from KU with a Bachelor Degree in Nursing, and Lance, who graduated from KU with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering. They also have three grandchildren.

Hansen has been the Brown County Coordinator of the Kansas Honors Program for the last 30 years. He also supports the School of Pharmacy both financially, as a member of the Deans Club which raises money through its dues for student scholarships to the School of Pharmacy, and as a preceptor for first year pharmacy students.

In addition, Hansen is very active in his community and church, prompting the Kansas Pharmacists Association to select him as the recipient of the coveted Bowl of Hygeia Award in 2013 for his “outstanding civic leadership and service to his community.”

It was my pleasure to present Hansen his award and thank him for his service on behalf of KU and thousands of proud members of the KU Alumni Association.

–David Johnston

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. “Millie” award recipients are honored by the Association at special events in their communities hosted by local alumni chapters. Learn more or nominate an outstanding KU alumni local volunteer.

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Jayhawks in the workplace

Posted on Jul 3, 2013 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

How do you display your Jayhawk pride?

Loyal alumni and donors John, c’95, g’04, and Carrie Pepperdine, e’96, were thrilled to find fellow Jayhawks Kate Klockau, p’12, and Regan Lofgreen, p’09, behind the pharmacy counter in Frazer, Colo., where the Pepperdines vacationed last weekend.

“It speaks well of employers who know the value of the Jayhawk!” said John.

We couldn’t agree more.

Jayhawks at the pharmacy |

Share your photos of Jayhawk pride in the workplace! Email them to

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Relive Commencement memories

Posted on May 21, 2013 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Another Commencement weekend has come and gone, and the KU Alumni Association is proud to welcome more than 4,500 Jayhawks to alumni status.

According to the KU Office of Public Affairs, the class of 2013 represents 95 Kansas counties, 41 other states and 42 other countries. Click here for a list of degree candidates.

Check out Commencement photos here, or watch the slideshow below:

We’ve rounded up the best Commencement photos and coverage and listed them below.


KU’s Facebook Commencement Album

KU Endowment Facebook Album

KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Facebook Album

KU School of Business Facebook Album

KU School of Engineering Facebook Album

KU School of Journalism Facebook Album

KU School of Law Facebook Album

KU School of Pharmacy Facebook Album

Lawrence Journal-World Commencement album


Sun shines on KU graduates’ smiles as they celebrate  commencement (Lawrence Journal-World)

When furniture turned into art: Wendell Castle’s KU  connection (Lawrence Journal-World)

Mother, son to graduate from KU together  Sunday (Lawrence Journal-World)

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook album of vintage Commencement photos! If you know of other great Commencement stories or photo albums that should be included in our list, let us know. Email us at

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True love at a KU basketball watch party

Posted on Mar 22, 2013 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Matt Dandurand says it’s pretty much a miracle that he met his wife, Kristen, 1,500 miles away from their home state of Kansas in Los Angeles, a little city of 12 million people.

Thank goodness for Kansas basketball.

Kristen Bloom, c’01, PharmD’08, a self-professed KU basketball addict, grew up watching every game and driving back and forth from Wichita to Allen Fieldhouse. She even used to memorize the height, weight and numbers of all the players and collected their basketball cards and posters.

Kristen was completing her final month of rotations for KU School of Pharmacy in 2008, and she was in Los Angeles for four weeks for an externship. She contacted the Los Angeles alumni chapter’s president, Maria Skeels, c’97, g’01, to find out where she could watch KU’s Final Four game with fellow Jayhawks.

The watch site for Jayhawks was El Guapo (now called The Parlor). The place was packed because UCLA played Memphis before the KU vs. North Carolina game. Kristen asked a group if she could share their table, and she ended up sitting next to Matt.

Matt actually didn’t attend KU. In fact, he says he’s the black sheep of his family because of it. His father and younger brother both hold pharmacy degrees from KU; his sister and brother-in-law both earned law degrees from KU; and his mother attended classes for a few years.

Matt moved to L.A. with a friend who graduated from KU and has met many other Jayhawks while attending watch parties at El Guapo and The Parlor. “I more or less feel like an honorary alumnus because it’s in my blood and half my friends out here went to KU,” he says.

Fate intervenes
Bloom-Dandurand wedding photoKristen struck up a conversation with Matt and quickly discovered a connection: she had grown up visiting Dandurand Drug Store in Wichita, which is owned by Matt’s father.

They didn’t talk much during the game, but after it was over and everyone was celebrating, he asked for her phone number. Later, he called to ask if he could take her to the watch party for the championship game against Memphis. “I had a great time and figured he was some sort of good luck charm,” Kristen says.

Kristen and Matt spent time together through the end of April. On the last day of her externship, Kristen was offered a job at the hospital in L.A. She had already accepted another position back home in Wichita, and although she likes to say she didn’t make the decision to move to L.A. based on Matt, she now realizes that he probably tipped the scales in favor of L.A.

After two months of discussing her options with friends and family, Kristen took the job in Los Angeles.

Kristen and Matt have been married for 18 months, and they have a baby Jayhawk on the way. They still attend as many alumni gatherings as possible and can’t wait to attend a game in Allen Fieldhouse together.

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Alumni help pharmacy students learn about life after college

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

KU students might be on winter break right now– spring classes begin on Jan. 22– but that doesn’t mean they’re all taking a break from school.

Ten students in the KU School of Pharmacy toured independent pharmacies in southwest Kansas to learn more about life in the real world, and alumni of the school like Matt Morrison, p’09; Jim Coast, p’72; and Jim’s son Mike Coast, p’95, are teaching them.

The trip included visits to small towns like Cimarron, Medicine Lodge and Anthony, larger towns including Garden City and Dodge City, and even Wichita. The students got a taste of what it’s like to run a business and learned about various challenges like handling insurance claims and changing technology.

Ken Audus, dean of the School of Pharmacy, and Gene Hotchkiss, senior associate dean, accompanied the students on the trip.

Click here to read the full article from the Dodge Globe.

Do you have a story about how alumni are helping current students? We’d love to hear it. Email us at

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Why KU? Brian Sullivan, p’96

Posted on Oct 17, 2012 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Dr. Brian Sullivan, p’96, shared his thoughts about the University of Kansas and the KU School of Pharmacy in this video for the KU Office of Admissions. Part of the “Why KU?” series, Sullivan explains how his education at KU prepared him for a successful career as the owner and president of Lindburg Pharmacy in Pittsburg, KS, and why coming back to Lawrence makes him feel like a student again.

“When I go back there,” Sullivan admits, “I sometimes forget I’m not a student. It’s nice. It’s like coming back home.”

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