Sixth-generation Jayhawk makes history

Posted on May 29, 2020 in Alumni News and News

Back in 2017, we profiled Corey Goodburn, a freshman from Roeland Park with some serious KU history. Fast forward to 2020, and Corey is now a proud KU graduate.

Like many Jayhawks, Corey Goodburn has KU in his blood.

His mother, Sara Dickey Goodburn, j’86, preceded his time at the University. It’s the four generations that came before that make this family historic.

Corey Goodburn CommencementSix generations of Goodburns have called KU their alma mater, with roots tracing all the way back to the beginning. Corey’s great-great-great-grandmother is none other than Flora Richardson Colman, c1873, the University’s first female graduate.

In addition to his mother and great-great-great-grandmother, Corey’s great-great grandmother, Nellie Colman Bigsby, c’1900; his great-grandmother, Flora Nell Bigsby Dickey, c’28; and his grandfather, David Wendell Dickey, b’56, all graduated from KU. All of that history makes the special day mean a little bit more for Corey.

Being a sixth-generation Jayhawk means that I’m more connected to my family than ever,” Corey says. “Yes, we may all come from the same family, but now we relate because we all share KU history.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Corey and his family were not able to have the Commencement experience every student wants. Their family made due with a celebration from home.

We made it a day celebrating Corey, complete with KU decorations, pictures, balloons and a congratulatory banner outside,” Sara says. “That morning, Corey dressed in his gown, mortar board and tassel as the immediate family settled in to watch KU’s virtual celebration. Extended family members either called, sent video messages or dropped by to see Corey during the day. I do look forward to the day when we can watch him walk down the Hill with his fellow graduates to make the celebration complete.”

Until then, Corey has spent his time both reflecting on the past and preparing for the future. 

“When I was young, I attended every single KU home football game,” he says. “After attending some games, I knew I had to attend college at KU. I saw firsthand that the KU culture and experience was something I wanted to be a part of down the line.”

So no pressure to attend KU, with all that history?

“Being a Jayhawk was my choice, and I wasn’t pressured a single bit from my family,” Corey says. “I will do the same with my future kids. Although they will be raised Jayhawks, I will want them to choose the path and university that is best for them. Fingers crossed it’s the University of Kansas.”

Editor’s note: Our profile of Corey as a freshman included the following: Although Corey’s days as a Jayhawk are just beginning, he’s already looking ahead to another four-year milestone. “On [my mother’s] graduation day in 1986, she and my grandfather took pictures by the Jayhawk statue in front of Strong Hall,” Corey says of the landmark that his grandfather’s class gave to the University in 1956. “It’s my wish to take the same photo with my mom upon my graduation in May 2020.”

Four years later, that wish has come true.

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