Houston Jayhawks join forces to help after Harvey

Posted on Sep 5, 2017 in Alumni News and News

With the Houston floods receding, local Jayhawks are mobilizing to get to work.

The Houston Jayhawks Facebook group has been active with posts from Houston residents asking for help, with even more posts by locals asking how they can help. With their positive energy and willingness to get their hands dirty, Jayhawks assisted the family of Allyn Risley, e’72, 2016 Fred Ellsworth medallion recipient. Risley’s step-daughter, Erica Frost, sustained serious flooding at her house. Frost’s sister, Natalie Morgan, j’06, reached out to the Facebook group from her home in Kansas City.

Morgan’s request for help for her sister was met with multiple Houston-area Jayhawks joining friends and family of Frost for a day of hard work removing damaged flooring and drywall. The altruism of the group of alumni impressed Frost, who even overheard a friend say “the Houston Jayhawks must have some sort of emergency whistle that they sound, because they all showed up and jumped right in!”

Houston Demolition

Watch party for a cause

Megan Gile, c’11, organized the annual watch party for the first KU football game, but knew she had to add something to give back to their community.

“We decided to host our annual football kickoff watch party to add a piece of normalcy to Houston,” Gile said. “It’s an event we host every year and even with the hurricane and terrible flooding across Texas and Houston, it’s important to stay united and give everyone something to look forward too. We added the donation drive as way for Houston Jayhawks to give back to Houstonians. Beyond donating their time, donating items for shelters is a great way for Houston Jayhawks to give back.”

KU Cares Box

The Houston Jayhawks set up a donations box at their alumni bar and asked attendees to fill the box with new socks and underwear.

“The watch party and donation drive was incredibly successful,” Gile said. “We had Jayhawks drive in from all across Houston to attend. More profoundly, regulars at Coaches Pub, our alumni bar in Houston, left the bar and returned with donation items once they found out what we were doing. Houstonians, Jayhawk or not, are really banding together to help each other during this time of need.”

KU Houston Watch Party

When asked about the strong turnout and even stronger support for the people of Houston, Megan pointed to their alma mater.

“I think it’s about helping our own and how our bond as Kansas alumni is different. Being in a state so far from home for most of us, as most of us are not Texas natives, we really stick together and are proud to be Jayhawks. We are proud to be Kansas alumni and proud to be Houstonians, helping anyway we can. Come hell or high water, we will get through this.”

-Ryan Camenzind

The University of Kansas, Kansas Athletics, Inc., KU Endowment, and the KU Alumni Association support relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Alumni and fans should work directly with their preferred charity to support relief efforts. For Jayhawks looking for groups to support, four organizations were suggested to fans attending last Saturday’s football game: Team Rubicon, Save the Children, Texas SPCA, and the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

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Ellsworth Medallion recipients honored at annual event

Posted on Sep 12, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Fred Ellsworth Medallion

Alumni and friends gathered at Maceli’s Banquet Hall Sept. 9 to honor two outstanding Jayhawks with the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, the highest award presented to individuals by the Alumni Association.

This year’s recipients are Jill Sadowsky Docking, c’78, g’84, and Allyn Risley, e’72. Learn more about Docking and Risley here.

Fred Ellsworth, c’22, led the Association staff as executive secretary from 1924 to 1963. Since 1975 the Fred Ellsworth Medallion has honored individuals “who have provided unique and significant service to the University.” The recipients are recognized at a special dinner in conjunction with the fall Board of Directors meeting and introduced during the home football game that weekend.

Check out the snapshots below to see photos from the event, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr.

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

Fred Ellsworth Medallion 2016

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Ellsworth honorees commit time, talent and resources to KU

Posted on Aug 19, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Fred Ellsworth Medallion
The Association will present the 2016 Fred Ellsworth Medallion Sept. 9 to two exceptional Jayhawks, Jill Sadowsky Docking, c’78, g’84, and Allyn Risley, e’72.

Each year the Association presents medallions to KU volunteers who have displayed outstanding service, a tradition that began in 1975 in memory of Fred Ellsworth, c’22, the Association’s longest-serving chief executive. The recipients are honored in the fall during a meeting of the Association’s national Board of Directors and will be introduced during the home football game Sept. 10.

Jill Docking

Jill DockingDocking, c’78, g’84, Wichita, has been a steadfast advocate for the University and for higher education in Kansas. She served on the Kansas Board of Regents She served on the Kansas Board of Regents from 2007 to 2010 and was elected chair of the Regents in 2009. She has consistently supported KU as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education.

Her commitment to the Alumni Association has been unwavering, as evidenced by her five-year appointment to the national Board of Directors and her service on its Executive Committee from 2004 to ’06. She has contributed to the Kansas Honors Program as a donor and keynote speaker, and she has helped guide the Wichita Network. Docking and her husband, Thomas, c’76, l’80, g’80, are longtime Life Members and Presidents Club donors and regularly participate in local alumni events and fundraisers, including the Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita and the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate in history, Docking was honored in 2003 by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for distinguished achievement, and in 2010 she was recognized as a distinguished alumna of the School of Business, where she earned her master’s in business administration. She served on the business school’s Board of Advisors for five years in the early ’90s.

For KU Endowment, she is a trustee, KU First donor and Chancellors Club member, and she and Tom helped lead the Far Above campaign as co-chairs. She served on the Women Philanthropists for KU advisory board as well as the KU Medical Center and 4-Wichita advancement boards. The Dockings also were funding partners of the KU Cancer Center in the University’s successful quest for National Cancer Institute designation in 2012. For Kansas Athletics, they are members of the Williams Education Fund.

“Jill’s involvement with KU is long-term, consistent and deep,” says KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling, j’77, who nominated Docking for the honor. “The Ellsworth Medallion criteria of ‘individuals who have provided unique and significant service to the University’ sounds like it was written to describe Jill’s contributions.”

Allyn Risley

Allyn RisleyRisley, e’72, Houston, has shown outstanding dedication to KU on national and local levels. He served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 2002 to ’07, and he was a volunteer and officer for the Association’s Houston Network for several years. His KU service in Texas earned him the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award in 2010.

He has recruited KU students in Texas as a HAWK (Helpful Alumni Working for KU) volunteer and served as a ’Hawk to ’Hawk mentor. He hosted and participated in numerous alumni and athletic events in Houston and attended the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City.

Risley and his wife, Jill Bogan Risley, assoc., are Life Members and contribute annually to the Presidents Club. They also have provided $50,000 to establish the Risley Family Texas Programs Endowment for the Alumni Association.

As a student, Risley belonged to the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and he has continued his leadership of the School of Engineering since graduating. He is a member of the school’s advisory board and was inducted in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Hall of Fame in 2002. He was part of the SELF Engineering Fellows speaker series in 2011 and served as a keynote speaker for the KU Energy Conference. The School honored him with its Distinguished Engineering Service Award in 2011.

“As you look at Allyn’s commitment to the University of Kansas, you will see a person who truly loves the University,” says Frank Becker, e’58, who has known Risley for more than 20 years and nominated him for the award. “His activities are exemplary in every way.”

For KU Endowment, Risley is a Chancellors Club and Mount Oread Society Life Member and a member of the School of Engineering Dean’s Club. He has served as a longtime fundraiser and contributor to the school through Campaign Kansas and KU First, and he chaired the Far Above engineering campaign committee. He helped fund the renovation of the undergraduate petroleum engineering laboratory and has provided support to help hire key faculty members and enhance the SELF Engineering Fellows’ international experience. He also contributed to the construction of the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center on campus.

For Kansas Athletics, he helped organize KU’s participation in the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Awards, and the Risleys contribute to the Williams Education Fund. They also are Friends of the KU Libraries.

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