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
Michelle Mohr Carney, professor and director of the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, has been named dean of the school and will officially join the KU faculty in July.
“KU is indeed fortunate to have someone with Michelle’s leadership experience and scholarly background joining our team,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi. “I’m confident she will guide the school toward new opportunities and partnerships that address student and societal needs.”
“I am very excited to join such a prestigious university and school,” Carney said. “I can’t wait to start working with the engaged and productive faculty, and the dedicated staff. The KU School of Social Welfare is poised to be an even greater leader in social work education in the next decade.”
Bendapudi said she was thankful for the effort displayed by those involved in the dean search as well as leaders in the school.
“I want to thank the members of the search committee, led by Dean of the School of Law Stephen Mazza, for their important contributions of time and talent to this institution,” Bendapudi said. “I also must acknowledge the dedication and service of Professor and Associate Dean Stephen Kapp, who stepped in to assist as interim dean during this time of transition.”
Learn more about the new dean of the KU School of Social Welfare in the official news release from the university.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two-time PGA tour winner Gary Woodland, who ranks 10th on this season’s money list with four top 10 finishes in 11 events, is playing in his fifth Masters and first since 2015. He did not qualify for the tournament last year. Read full article.
As a graduate of the University and the last dean of women, Kala Stroup, c’59 g’64 PhD’74, has held many positions in higher education and still works with students to make the University an inclusive place. Read full article.
Linda Ellis-Sims spent her childhood in Independence, Missouri. Though her parents did not attend college themselves, they always placed a priority on education. Ellis-Sims gained an appreciation for math and science while achieving academic success in high school. An athlete in high school, Ellis-Sims also developed a strong passion for sports. Both of her interests factored into her decision to attend the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Susan Tabor, who was born blind, works for a service that provides both readings and information to those who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled. After high school graduation, Tabor went on to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social welfare at the University of Kansas. Read full article.
A veteran, a state government leader, a CEO and a managing partner will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 8 in Lawrence. Read full article.
Teeter, b’71 g’75, has been working in analytics at KU for 45 years. Not only has she changed the way the University handles the data, but she has forever impacted the lives of those that work with her. Read full article.
Washburn University has hired former University of Kansas player and Wake Forest assistant Brett Ballard, d’04, to succeed Bob Chipman as head men’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday. Read full article.
C.B. McGrath has been named UNCW’s 11th head coach of men’s basketball, the university announced today. His appointment is effective Tuesday, April 4. McGrath earned a B.A. in human biology and a master’s degree in education from KU. Read full article.
Faegre Baker Daniels partner Brandee Caswell, l’98, has been selected for the 2017 “Top Litigator” award by Law Week Colorado. The award is given to lawyers who excel inside and outside of the courtroom in plaintiff and defense work, and in trials and appeals. Read full article.
Topeka native and University of Kansas graduate Steve Tilford, a popular figure at cycling events in Lawrence because of his outgoing personality and area roots, died early Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 near the Utah-Colorado border, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Read full article. Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at email@example.com, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.
The University of Kansas announced the appointments of several new administrators this month. The new appointees include five individuals selected to fill vacancies, including an interim dean to serve while a nationwide search is planned to launch later this year to identify a new dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, KU’s broadest and most diverse academic unit. Read the full announcements at news.KU.edu by clicking on each headline below. Help us welcome these outstanding educators to the Jayhawk family:
January 7: University announces new dean of social welfare
Paul Smokowski, Distinguished Foundation Professor in Child and Adolescent Resilience in the Arizona State University School of Social Work, was named dean of the School of Social Welfare. Smokowski succeeds Mary Ellen Kondrat, who served as dean of the social welfare school for eight years before retiring in June 2014. He starts July 1. Read more.
January 13: James Tracy named new vice chancellor for research
James Tracy has been named KU’s new vice chancellor for research. He is the former vice president of research at the University of Kentucky and professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at the UK College of Medicine. Tracy will start April 1. Read more.
January 14: Associate Dean for the Humanities
Paul Kelton, associate professor of history, will begin the new appointment July 1. He has served the university in numerous capacities, including chair of the Department of History from 2008 to 2013, senior administrative fellow at KU and executive committee member of the Indigenous Studies Program. The position is a key administrative role in the College dean’s office. Kelton will supervise 14 departments and programs as well as the newly created School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures. Read more.
January 14: Don Steeples to become interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
KU geology professor Don Steeples has been named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Steeples is the Dean A. McGee Distinguished Professor of Applied Geophysics in the College and a renowned seismology expert. He will begin his role in March 2015 as current dean Danny Anderson prepares to leave KU to become president of Trinity University. Read more.
January 15: KU names new director of student conduct, community standards The University of Kansas has named a new leader for the administration of the nonacademic conduct system for individual and organizational accountability. Lance Watson will join KU as director of student conduct and community standards Feb. 23.As director, he will oversee the university’s efforts to educate about and hold students accountable to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities while also preserving students’ rights and helping them develop their decision-making abilities. Read more.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and a team from the KU School of Social Welfare, the Alumni Association and KU Endowment traveled to Garden City and Hays June 22 to celebrate the launch of KU’s new western Kansas-based master’s in social work. Receptions in each city drew about 50 alumni, students and community leaders.
Through a partnership with Garden City Community College and Fort Hays State University, which host the classes on their campuses, KU began the program June 1 to begin meeting the urgent need for social workers in western Kansas. Among 4,058 social workers statewide who are licensed as clinicians, supervisors and administrators, only 187 work in counties west of Wichita.
Twenty students began KU master’s classes this summer. “I’m so excited,” said Kellie Henderson, a 2013 Fort Hays graduate who wanted to begin her graduate program immediately and stay in her home community. “This will open up so many opportunities for me. I hope to be a school social worker. Kids need mentors who can help them stay in school and set goals.”
In schools, hospitals and agencies, social workers support families and communities in numerous ways. The KU master’s program, ranked among the nation’s top 20 by U.S. News and World Report, “is a powerful tool to enhance the careers of students in the program and enhance the quality of life for people in this region,” Gray-Little said.
Kendal Carswell, s’04, a KU faculty member, coordinates the new program. As a native of Alton, 50 miles northwest of Hays, he earned degrees from Garden City and Fort Hays before completing his education at KU. For several years he taught at Fort Hays and helped expand its bachelor’s program in social work to Garden City. “I’m very passionate about social work and very passionate about the success of western Kansas,” Carswell said at the two celebrations. “Because I am alumnus of all three schools, I see this as three houses united: Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, Hail to Old Fort Hays State and Go Busters!”