Colombian president visits campus to accept honorary degree

Posted on Oct 31, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, receives honorary degree from KU at Lied Center
Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia and recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, received an honorary doctorate from KU tonight at the Lied Center.

Chancellor Doug Girod and former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little participated in a hooding ceremony that awarded Santos, b’73, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for “outstanding contributions to achieving peace in his country and the world.”

Elected president in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, Santos won the Nobel Prize for helping broker a peace agreement that ended the civil war that ravaged Colombia for 54 years, killing more than 220,000 and displacing nearly 6 million. The Colombian government and FARC rebels signed a peace deal in November 2016 that was ratified a week later by Colombia’s Congress.

“This added, obviously, to the immense pride those of us at KU and alumni around the world felt for our fellow Jayhawk,” Girod said. “His success also really highlights the efforts of our own faculty, students, staff and alumni in our efforts to make this campus a welcoming place for students from around the world.”

“I am very humbled and deeply moved to be standing here before you all to receive this degree from my beloved alma mater, where I graduated 44 years ago,” Santos said. He credited his brother, Luis, j’70, then attending the William Allen White School of Journalism, for his decision in 1969 to attend KU. “He wrote to me, saying that this was a great university and that I would love it. And I did. Since then I have been a proud Jayhawk, and I shall always be to the end of my days.”

Santos is the 15th person to receive an honorary degree since KU began awarding them in 2012.

Alumni Association members will find expanded coverage in issue No. 6 of Kansas Alumni magazine.

—Steven Hill

Tags: , ,