Two University of Kansas students, Elaine Pope of Overland Park and Adrian Romero of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, are winners of the 30th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards. The award presentation during the KU-Oklahoma State football game Oct. 3 in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium concluded KU’s 108th Homecoming celebration.
Pope, a senior in English and pre-medicine, participates in the University Honors Program. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority, where she served as special events coordinator and currently directs programming as a member of the executive board. She is director of Rock Chalk Revue and founder of FOCUS Bible Study. She participated in a study abroad program in England and Scotland in 2019 and was a member of the Business Leadership Program for two years. She traveled with the Jayhawk Health Initiative Medical Brigade to Panama in 2019 and participated in a FOCUS mission trip to Peru in 2020. She was a certified nurse aide at Mid-America Nursing & Allied-Health Institute in Overland Park, and she volunteered at the Hope Family Care Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Romero, a senior in chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis, is vice president of student outreach for the Engineering Student Council and a regional student representative for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He participates in the University Honors Program and has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2018. He is an undergraduate research assistant in water sustainability and resource recovery and helps perform COVID-19 testing in wastewater samples in Douglas and Johnson counties. He was an engineering student senator and a student assistant in the Office of International Admissions. He interned in the water technology group at Black & Veatch in summer 2020 and participated in a summer research project at West Virginia University in 2019. He is an IHAWKe Exceptional Scholar and was named a Student Housing Staff Member of the Year in 2019.
The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations.
The Alumni Association also honored Katy Wagner, a pre-medicine senior from Topeka, with the Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award, which recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding loyalty and dedication to the University. The award honors Alderdice, of Lawrence, who led student programs for the Alumni Association from 1999 to 2009 and earned her KU master’s degree education in 1999.
Several traditional Homecoming activities were replaced this year with digital events, including a weeklong game of bingo, which drew nearly 400 Jayhawk participants, and a virtual scavenger hunt, both of which were played via the KU Alumni app. More than 200 students and alumni also participated in Kyou Networking Week, a series of 11 virtual events in a variety of professional fields, hosted by the Alumni Association and its Jayhawk Career Network. A Facebook Live event, featuring a performance by the Marching Jayhawks and a celebratory flyover, rounded out the week and took the place of the annual Homecoming parade.
The week’s events were organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led steering committee, which was chaired by Peyton Hadley, a sophomore from Shawnee majoring in film and media studies; Julie Jorgensen, a senior from Cedar Falls, Iowa, majoring in strategic communications; Madi McGuire, a senior from Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, majoring in human biology; Andrew Ost, a junior from Olathe majoring in finance; and Peyton Werner, a senior from Topeka majoring in information systems and business analytics. They worked with Alumni Association staff member Megan McGinnis, assistant director of student programs.
Chancellor Doug Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff Thursday, Oct. 1.
I write to share a few thoughts about our annual 20th day enrollment numbers, which were released today in coordination with the Kansas Board of Regents, and to describe how recent enrollment trends will impact KU both in the short run and in the years ahead.
First, our overall enrollment fell 2.8 percent this year – a decrease of 804 students – due largely to declines in international students and first-time freshmen. Specifically, more than half of the decrease stems from a drop in international students (down 18.1 percent), while more than a third of the decrease stems from a drop in first-time freshmen (down 7.2 percent), which includes a 29.3 percent decline in international freshmen.
Additionally, today’s data show the one-year retention rate for last year’s freshmen is 85.7 percent – the second-highest rate in KU history – while the two-year retention rate for the 2018 freshmen is an all-time high 77.1 percent.
Given the hardships the pandemic has presented students and families – and the uncertainty it has created in the higher education market – we are pleased to have experienced such a modest enrollment decline. To have limited the decline to just 2.8 percent, and to have maintained historically high retention rates, is a testament to the great work you’ve done to help students continue their coursework during these turbulent times. To put it simply, we exceeded our expectations and outperformed many of our peer institutions, thanks to you.
While we are pleased with this year’s enrollment, the reality is the university – and in particular the Lawrence campus – still faces unprecedented fiscal challenges that necessitate painful cost-savings measures in the months ahead. In the short term, we need to address the current fiscal year deficit, which we previously projected to be $120 million. While we likely will be able to revise that projection down due to our better-than-expected enrollment, the current fiscal year challenge remains substantial. We will provide a revised projected deficit soon.
Beyond the current fiscal year, the decline in international students and freshmen presents ongoing revenue shortages that will follow us for years. When freshmen enrollment falls, that isn’t a one-year tuition hit; rather, we lose tuition we would have received for multiple years. Additionally, the decline in international students disproportionately impacts tuition revenue because these students pay the higher non-resident rate.
In summary, while we should pause to celebrate today’s enrollment data, we must be mindful of the unprecedented financial challenges we continue to face. As I’ve written before, KU will need to adopt new business models, reorganize and restructure, and implement cost reductions. All options – including furloughs, layoffs, and salary reductions – must be considered for us to manage through this. The decisions ahead will be hard, but they are necessary to ensure the long-term health of the university.
Thank you for your efforts to help students become and remain Jayhawks. It is, quite simply, the most important thing each of us can do for the university right now.
Five senior students have been selected as finalists for the 30th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. Two winners will be announced at the conclusion of Homecoming week, which culminates in the KU-Oklahoma State football game Oct. 3 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to two students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations. The selection committee included representatives from Student Union Activities, the Board of Class Officers, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center and the Homecoming Steering Committee.
The award was first given in 1991 to recognize two students for achievement. Names of winners are listed on a plaque on the fifth level of the Kansas Union. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time undergraduate students with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Each finalist completed an application and participated in an interview. The finalists and their academic majors are listed below, along with highlights of their campus achievements.
From Overland Park
Elaine Pope, a senior in English and pre-medicine, participates in the University Honors Program. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority, where she served as special events coordinator and currently directs programming as a member of the executive board. She is director of Rock Chalk Revue and founder of FOCUS Bible Study. She participated in a study abroad program in England and Scotland in 2019 and was a member of the Business Leadership Program for two years. She traveled with the Jayhawk Health Initiative Medical Brigade to Panama in 2019 and participated in a FOCUS mission trip to Peru in 2020. She was a certified nurse aide at Mid-America Nursing & Allied-Health Institute in Overland Park, and she volunteered at the Hope Family Care Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
From Prairie Village
Deegan Poores, a senior in political science and a first-year law student through the Legal Education Accelerated Degree Program, is a lifelong musician. He became a DJ at KJHK during his freshman year and led the staff as programming director from 2019 to’20, organizing several events for the KU and Lawrence communities. He currently serves as one of the radio station’s music directors. He became a Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) observer for the University in 2018.
From Kansas City, Kansas
Adrian Cisneros, a senior in sociology and women, gender and sexuality studies with a minor in social justice and leadership studies, is an off-campus student senator and vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion. They served as vice president of programs for the Student Alumni Leadership Board and vice president of development and fine arts coordinator for Student Union Activities. They helped coordinate and lead orientation for two years for the Office of First-Year Experience and International Support Services. In addition, they served as an information specialist for KU Info and coordinated programs for the Association of University Residence Halls. They also worked as a desk assistant for KU Student Housing and as a receptionist at the Adams Alumni Center.
Jaya Chakka, a senior in behavioral neuroscience and molecular, cellular and developmental biology, is a University Honors Scholar and participates in the University Honors Program. She has been a DJ at KJHK since her freshman year, serving as music director in 2019 before becoming station manager in summer 2020. She was an undergraduate research assistant in the department of psychology during her junior year and currently works as a research assistant at the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training at KU. She worked for KU Info and reported on arts and culture for the University Daily Kansan. As a volunteer, she provided musical entertainment at the Hillside Village of De Soto senior community.
Adrian Romero, a senior in chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis, is vice president of student outreach for the Engineering Student Council and a regional student representative for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He participates in the University Honors Program and has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2018. He is an undergraduate research assistant in water sustainability and resource recovery and helps perform COVID-19 testing in wastewater samples in Douglas and Johnson counties. He was an engineering student senator and a student assistant in the Office of International Admissions. He interned in the water technology group at Black & Veatch in summer 2020 and participated in a summer research project at West Virginia University in 2019. He is an IHAWKe Exceptional Scholar and was named a Student Housing Staff Member of the Year in 2019.
Chancellor Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff on Friday, Sept. 25.
Last month, we made the decision to begin our fall athletics season without fans in attendance. This included our first home football game against Coastal Carolina and all volleyball, soccer and cross-country events through September.
Today I am writing to let you know we will begin allowing fans to attend Kansas Athletics competitions, starting with the October 3 football game against Oklahoma State, with attendance limits and robust health and safety protocols in place.
For next weekend’s football game, we will host approximately 10,000 fans in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, which represents about 19 percent of the stadium’s capacity. Key health and safety protocols include the following:
Masks will be required at all times.
All stadium seating will be reserved seating to ensure proper social distancing.
There will be contact-less entry through metal detectors for fans.
Shuttle busses will operate at a reduced capacity.
Seating has been reconfigured in suites and the press box.
Elevators will also be limited to five individuals at a time.
Hand-washing stations and Plexiglass barriers have been installed in the stadium.
Law enforcement officers will monitor neighborhoods surrounding the stadium.
Tailgating will not be permitted on campus.
Our requirements regarding mask usage and reserved stadium seating will be strictly enforced, and fans will be removed from the stadium if they do not comply with these important infection prevention protocols. Additional details are available on Kansas Athletics’ COVID-19 Fan Information webpage.
The decision to host fans is based on a number of factors. First, regional COVID-19 rates remain stable and in line with what we are prepared to manage. Additionally, by not hosting fans for our Sept. 12 game, we gave ourselves an additional month to learn from other universities and professional sports organizations that have been hosting competitions.
I want to emphasize that the decision to host fans is fluid and can change at any time, including before the next football game. In partnership with local health officials, we will do a full debrief after the game and make adjustments as needed. Certainly it is our hope to continue hosting fans throughout the fall, but these decisions will be made in an ongoing way based on the latest information, and always at the guidance of the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team.
I want to thank the university staff, the Kansas Athletics staff, and our health and safety partners across the region who have worked tirelessly to develop health and safety protocols for upcoming events. Athletics competitions are integral to campus life, to our national recruitment efforts, and to the local economy. Additionally, the opportunity to compete in front of fans is important to our student-athletes, who have demonstrated tremendous resilience amid all this uncertainty. I know I can count on you to support these remarkable young women and men throughout the year.
Again, thanks to each of you – faculty, staff and students – for all you are doing to help us continue our mission of education, service and research while prioritizing health and safety.
The University of Kansas will celebrate its 108th Homecoming Sept. 28-Oct. 3, culminating in the KU football game against Oklahoma State Oct. 3 in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The theme for this year’s event is “Rock Chalk Around the World.”
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several traditional Homecoming activities have been replaced with digital events, including a weeklong game of bingo and a virtual scavenger hunt for students and alumni, both of which can be played via the KU Alumni app.
To further unite and engage Jayhawks around the world during Homecoming week, the Alumni Association and its Jayhawk Career Network will host Kyou Networking Week, a series of 11 virtual events for students and alumni in a variety of fields, including journalism, design and architecture, business and education. Details for these programs, along with reunion activities for the schools of Health Professions, Law, Nursing and Medicine, can be found at kuconnection.org.
The following events will also be featured:
Sept. 28: Homecoming in a Box—The Homecoming Steering Committee will deliver an assortment of T-shirts, cups, stickers and pens throughout campus.
Sept. 29: Homecoming Digital Banner Display—Students are encouraged to create original Homecoming-themed artwork, which will be highlighted in a social media campaign.
Oct. 2: Home Football Friday—The Alumni Association will provide a grab-and-go lunch at the Adams Alumni Center, followed by a Facebook Live event in the evening, featuring a performance by the Marching Jayhawks and a celebratory flyover.
The winners of the Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards and the Jennifer Alderdice Award will be announced at the conclusion of the week.
Kansas legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers passed away on Wednesday at the age of 77.
Nicknamed the “Kansas Comet”, Sayers established himself throughout his collegiate and professional career as one of the great running backs in the history of football. A two-time All-America selection for the Jayhawks, Sayers concluded his KU career with 2,675 yards rushing and 3,917 all-purpose yards.
Sayers led KU in rushing, touchdowns and kickoff returns all three years he was in the lineup. He also led the team in receiving and punt returns as a junior and senior. Sayers became the first player in NCAA Division IA history to record a 99-yard run when he broke loose against Nebraska in Lincoln during the 1963 season.
Sayers also had a 96-yard kickoff return in a 15-14 upset of Oklahoma his senior season. Sayers was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears (and Kansas City Chiefs) and had an abbreviated seven-year NFL career that was cut short by a knee injury. He led the league in rushing in 1966 and 1969.
Sayers retired in 1972 with a career total of 4,956 rushing yards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34, the youngest person ever selected. In a relatively short career, Sayers compiled a record that can never be forgotten.
He totaled 9,435 combined net yards, 4,856 yards rushing and 336 points scored. At the time of retirement, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in kickoff returns. Sayers won All-NFL honors five straight years and was named Offensive Player of the Game in three of the four Pro Bowls in which he played.
He served as an assistant athletics director at his alma mater from 1972-76. Most recently, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) inducted Gale Sayers into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame on June 19, 2009.
Statement from Director of Athletics Jeff Long “One of the greatest, if not the greatest, players to ever wear a Kansas football uniform, Gale Sayers was a trailblazer on and off the field. There are only three numbers retired in the history of our football program, and the number 48 jersey worn by the “Kansas Comet” is one of those.
“His achievements on the field are well documented and he certainly left his mark on the KU football and NFL records books, but Gale Sayers was far more than a football player, he is one of the finest men to ever grace our program. We are so proud of the way he represented our University and the entire State of Kansas.
“In less than two weeks, we will be unveiling the Gale Sayers statue at halftime of the Oklahoma State game on October 3rd. Thankfully Gale was able to be involved throughout the sculpting process and had a chance to see photos of the finished statue. It is a long overdue honor and will be a bittersweet ceremony, but this will allow us the opportunity to forever immortalize another KU football legend.
“Football fans everywhere that were fortunate enough to watch him play or meet this wonderful man, all mourn the loss of Gale Sayers. Our deepest condolences to his amazing wife Ardie and the rest of the Sayers family. A true hero, Gale will be greatly missed.”
Statement from Head Coach Les Miles “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Kansas great, Gale Sayers. I cherished every opportunity to watch him play and I am privileged to coach in the stadium that he once played in. He had a remarkable impact on the game of football and the University of Kansas, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Statement from Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker “The “Kansas Comet” burst onto the scene in the National Football League and captured the attention of all of America. Despite playing only 68 NFL games because of an injury-shortened career, Gale was a clear-cut — and first-ballot — Hall of Famer for his accomplishments on the field and for the man of character he was in life.
“Sharing a room with Brian Piccolo — the first interracial roommates in the NFL — set an example for racial equality in the League and across the country. In many ways, our country is still trying to emulate the courage, commitment, compassion and excellence Gale has demonstrated since first setting foot on a football field in Kansas.”
Chancellor Girod sent the following message to faculty, staff and students Sept. 20, 2020.
It is with a heavy heart that I write you regarding Reggie Robinson, one of our most accomplished and beloved Jayhawks, who passed away this weekend at the age of 63.
Reggie leaves behind his wife, Jane, their two daughters, Clare and Paige, and countless Jayhawks whose lives he touched. He also leaves a legacy of public service and leadership unlike any in recent memory. With his passing, our community has lost one of our most respected leaders, a humble giant and a beautiful soul.
Reggie was a brilliant and devoted public servant whose passion was to help others and make the world a better place. He most recently served as CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, a position he described to me as a dream job. Prior to that, he was vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, a faculty member at the Washburn and KU schools of law, chief of staff to Chancellor Robert Hemenway, a White House fellow, special assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno, and deputy associate attorney general for the United States.
In addition to these leadership roles, Reggie gave back to the KU community through his service on boards of directors for the Friends of the Spencer Museum of Art, Hall Center for the Humanities, Kansas Leadership Center, Douglas County Community Foundation, and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center. He also was a life trustee of KU Endowment and held advisory roles with the KU Alumni Association.
Reggie was a 1975 graduate of Salina High School South and received both his undergraduate degree and law degree from KU. As an undergraduate, he was student body vice president. In law school, he was editor in chief of the Kansas Law Review. Between college and law school, he served four years as a field artillery officer in the United States Army and was honorably discharged at the rank of captain.
Reggie was a pillar in the KU community for more than four decades, and his legacy lives on in the many students and colleagues who benefitted from his teaching and mentorship. I have heard from so many former students who have told me Reggie was their favorite professor, and from so many colleagues who have said how much they grew as a result of working with him. While they admired his skills and expertise, it was his personal interest in their success that set Reggie apart.
Beyond his remarkable intellect and record of service, Reggie will be remembered for his uncommon kindness, warmth, generosity and decency. To put it plainly, Reggie was the nicest and most compassionate person one could ever hope to meet. He was humble, thoughtful and gracious. He had a disarming wit and an easy smile that lit up the room. He cared deeply about people and made those around him feel special — because to Reggie, everyone was special.
In recognition of a life well lived, gifts in Reggie’s memory can be sent in support of the Reginald L. Robinson Law Scholarship through the KU Endowment Association, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928, or given securely online at kuendowment.org/give.
I am confident the best way to honor Reggie’s legacy is to follow his example of serving others with kindness, generosity and grace. Reggie’s life was a life of meaning because he consistently worked to advance causes bigger than himself. We can now carry on in his stead. His example calls us to follow our passions, be active citizens, lift up others, value education, pursue justice and work for healing. In the days ahead, when I reflect on my friendship with Reggie, like so many of you who knew him as a friend, I will feel the warmth of his spirit, remain in awe of his character and be grateful that he inspires the best in those who knew him.
Reggie Robinson embodied the best of what it means to be a Jayhawk and a Kansan, and he will be missed.
Jessica Guardiola is the former SALB President of the Student Alumni Network. Take a sneak peek at how Guardiola, c’20, used familiar Jayhawk connections to land a job after graduating from KU.
Where did plans take you after your time on the Hill? I moved to Washington, D.C. in August, after graduating from KU in May 2020. I decided to make an introductory post on the D.C. Jayhawks Facebook page to talk a little bit about myself and see if anyone could offer advice on the job search.
What connections did you make through the D.C. Jayhawks Facebook page? Deb Roby, b’93, commented on my post and referred me to one of her colleagues at a legal staffing agency. I reached out to her colleague via email.
Nice! How did that go? It just so happened the company had a new job opening that day and they thought I would be a perfect fit. I had several interviews with Mayer Brown before they extended me the position through the legal staffing agency.
Stay tuned to read more about Jayhawk Career Network connections in Kansas Alumni Magazine.
Chancellor Girod sent the following message to faculty, staff and students Sept. 8, 2020.
I am sad to report that former Chancellor Gene Budig has passed away at the age of 81. He leaves behind his wife, Gretchen, their three children and five grandchildren, and countless Jayhawks whose lives he touched.
While we are saddened by Chancellor Budig’s passing, we can be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate his life and contributions to KU. I encourage each of you to set aside some time in the coming days to reflect on his legacy at KU.
Gene Budig was named the university’s 14th chancellor in 1981. On the day he accepted the job, he said he aimed “to help a great public university become greater” — a goal he undoubtedly achieved over the next 13 years as chancellor.
An experienced university administrator as well as a major general in the Air National Guard, Chancellor Budig presided over an impressive amount of physical growth on campus, including the Dole Human Development Center, the Adams Alumni Center, the KU Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Anschutz Science Library, the Lied Center for the Performing Arts, and the opening of the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.
Under Chancellor Budig’s leadership, KU enrollment reached an all-time high of 29,161 in 1992, the KU Medical Center returned to sound financial footing, and the number of distinguished professorships at KU nearly tripled.
Additionally, Chancellor Budig helped lead KU through Campaign Kansas, a five-year fund drive that brought in $265 million in gifts and commitments. During his chancellorship, annual giving for KU’s benefit rose from about $12 million to $34.6 million.
In 1991, tragedy struck the campus when lightning caused one of the KU’s oldest and best-loved landmarks, Hoch Auditorium, to burn, leaving only the historic facade. But through Chancellor Budig’s tireless lobbying efforts, KU received an $18 million appropriation from the state to rebuild the structure. In recognition, the new building was christened Budig Hall when it was officially dedicated in 1997.
Chancellor Budig resigned in 1994 to become president of Major League Baseball’s American League – an unsurprising next chapter for a man with an unabashed lifelong passion for baseball.
The family requests memorials to the Gene and Gretchen Budig Teaching Professorships in care of KU Endowment, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928, or give online at kuendowment.org/budig.
Before leaving the university, Chancellor Budig told the Oread magazine, “I will leave the university with a sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Many things have been made better, and it has been the highest honor to be associated with the people of KU. Lawrence will always be special to our family. It is home.”
Well, Gene — we promise to look after your home in your absence.
Please join me in reflecting on Chancellor Budig’s life and contributions to KU.
Douglas A. Girod Chancellor University of Kansas
Recollections from friends and colleagues of Chancellor Budig
Bill Tuttle, Professor Emeritus of American Studies
Always thoughtful and generous, Gene Budig was a marvelous friend. In my mother’s waning years and in her last visit to us in Lawrence, Gene and Gretchen invited her to visit for tea at The Outlook. We had a wonderful time, and afterwards, Gene wrote my mother. “Bill and I talk about our mothers often,” he wrote. “You are very important to him, and have had a great impact on his life. As you know, he is one of the university’s real academic stars.” My mother was thrilled.
Gene’s sense of humor was also legendary. On my 50th birthday, he arrived at my house decked out in his tuxedo. He was there, he announced to my guests, to park cars. Gene and I considered ourselves to be “brothers.” In his 13 years at KU, Gene Budig was one of the university’s great chancellors.
Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment President
Chancellor Budig left an indelible legacy at the University of Kansas. His leadership during Campaign Kansas resulted in numerous benefits which, more than 30 years later, continue to serve our KU students and faculty.
Following his service as chancellor, he would delight in meeting successful KU alumni around the world who had a “Gene Budig” diploma on the wall in their homes or offices.
Gene and Gretchen never forgot KU as evidenced by their personal gifts which endowed six Gene and Gretchen Budig Teaching Professorship and Award Funds. He was a great friend.
David Ambler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Emeritus
We have lost one of the great chancellors of the University of Kansas, and I mourn the passing of a valued and important friend, mentor and colleague.
The career of this shy, adopted son of a used-car dealer in McCook, Nebraska, is a quintessential demonstration of the realization of the American dream. Before the age of 30, Gene had completed three degrees at the University of Nebraska and served as assistant to its president and that state’s governor. From there he went on to serve as the president or chancellor of three major state universities and ultimately realized his dream of being the last president of the American League of Baseball.
But for me, I shall remember him most for his personal integrity, kindness, sense of humor, wisdom, visionary leadership and his steadfast commitment to education as the means of making this a better world for all of us.
Jim Carothers, Emeritus Professor of English
Gene Budig was calm, modest, principled in academic values, and a responsible and enthusiastic KU Chancellor, as well as a great family man.
He also had a subtle and frequent sense of humor, which he was likely to share only when the microphones and cameras were turned off. “Would you take this job for a Buick?” he once asked a reporter who was interviewing him.
He also loved baseball. He once asked a colleague, “What role would you most like to have on a major league baseball team at this stage in your life?” His colleague offered, “I’d most like to be the radio color commentator for the Royals or the Cardinals. What would you be?” Quickly, Budig replied, “the owner.”
He was a steadfast champion of the faculty, of the good will of all of us, and interested in support for individual colleagues who needed help. When a faculty member got into front-page trouble in the local newspaper, the individual’s department chair got an early morning phone call from the Gene, asking, “How can we help him?”
He paid careful attention to student needs and opinions. Remarkable for any chancellor or president, he taught a class every year he was in Lawrence. He often showed up at individual classes “to learn something” or to “ask questions.”
His family life was often mixed up with his university responsibilities. He and Gretchen hosted students and faculty on a great variety of occasions. They watched carefully as their three children developed and grew up, and all five of them played jokes on each other. I especially remember one graduation present that seemed to be the most atrociously available used car they could find, then they pointed out the real gift car, hidden in another place. Gene and Gretchen quietly gave great amounts of money to the university, in support of scholarship students, particular KU schools, and myriad new distinguished professorships.
He saw as many KU basketball games as anyone, was faithful at KU football games, and, of course, baseball games. He was a genuine Jayhawk.
His term as Chancellor was, for many students and faculty, the best period of their academic years. We shall miss him. Rock Chalk, Gene.
James Moeser, Dean, KU School of Fine Arts, 1975-86
KU has lost one of its greatest chancellors. I was a KU dean for 11 years, and Gene Budig was my friend and mentor. I went on to another deanship at Penn State, became provost at the University of South Carolina, and then was Chancellor at two universities– the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At every step along the way, Gene was there. He was a wonderful friend. Susan and I will miss him.
Chancellor Doug Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty, staff and students Aug. 31.
Earlier this year, we created the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team to guide our decisions related to campus operations. This team comprises nine of the region’s top public health officials and has been instrumental to our efforts to begin the fall semester in a way that prioritizes health and safety.
Today I am writing to let you know that, at the advice of the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team, we will begin our fall athletics season without fans in attendance. This includes our first home football game Sept. 12 against Coastal Carolina and all Kansas Athletics competitions at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena, Rock Chalk Park and Rim Rock Farm through September.
In addition, tailgating will not be permitted on campus for the Sept. 12 football game.
We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks. Our football, volleyball, soccer and cross country contests will not be the same without you there. But this is the right decision for our community at this time.
We will continue to evaluate safety conditions with the hope that we can welcome fans to athletics events after September. We will report back to you as we approach our second home football game, which is slated for Oct. 3 against Oklahoma State.
For those of you with tickets to upcoming Jayhawks sporting events, Kansas Athletics will contact you in the days ahead.
One final thought: It will undoubtedly be disappointing for our student-athletes to not have you cheering from the stands. So if you have the opportunity to interact with these remarkable young men and women when they aren’t competing, please tell them how much you appreciate their resilience amid all this uncertainty, and remind them how important they are to our university.
Thank you for all you are doing to help us continue our mission of education, service and research while prioritizing health and safety.