Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Alumni News and News
KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, was unanimously elected by the national board of directors in November 2015. Get to know President Peterson through this six-part series titled Meet Heath. Enjoy!
How did you become a Jayhawk?
I am a first-generation Jayhawk. Outside of KU basketball, I had very little exposure to the University of Kansas growing up, particularly six hours away in Hugoton. Ironically, my first meaningful encounter with the University occurred through a KU alumni event. In the late ’90s, I was invited to a KU summer picnic at the home of Barbara and the late Bernie Nordling, two very dedicated Jayhawks who lived in Hugoton at the time. The purpose of the event was to welcome incoming freshmen from southwest Kansas to KU and also to connect with students interested in attending KU. I had a great conversation with Bernie about his KU experience and how his KU degree prepared him for his career and leadership in his community.
I remember being struck by the passion he showed for his alma mater and how KU was still a significant part of his life many years removed from being a student. It also wasn’t lost on me that I did not receive an invite from alumni of any other institution. The experience motivated me to take a visit during the fall of my senior year in high school. I remember driving over the crest of Daisy Hill on 15th Street, seeing campus for the very first time. At that moment, I knew I wanted be a Jayhawk. Holding two degrees from KU and now having the opportunity to interact with thousands of alumni, I now understand why Bernie went out of his way to serve his alma mater! It’s also one of many great examples of the immeasurable ways the KU Alumni Association impacts KU. I’ve remained friends with many Nordling family members, who continue to do a great deal for KU.
Next time, Heath talks about how he began his career at the KU Alumni Association, in Meet Heath: Part 2. Have a question or comment to share? Email us at [email protected].