The 2019 recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service to the University of Kansas are Don Brada of Lawrence and Jeff Kennedy of Wichita. The KU Alumni Association will honor them Sept. 5 before the fall meeting of the Association’s national board of directors. Since 1975, the medallions have recognized KU volunteers who have continued the tradition of service established by Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the Association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963.
Brada, who grew up in Hutchinson, was the first in his family to attend college. He was involved in student activities, including Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Rock Chalk Revue, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1961, followed by a doctorate in medicine in 1965. He has remained devoted to KU for more than 50 years. He currently leads the KU School of Medicine Alumni Association as chair, and he is a member of the Jayhawks for Higher Education Steering Committee. He served on the KU Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors from 2012 to 2017.
“The long list of Don’s volunteer roles for KU doesn’t begin to capture his lifetime of service, both as a student and alumnus,” said Heath Peterson, Alumni Association president. “Don is a thoughtful, dedicated and action-oriented Jayhawk. He takes great pride in KU and the many people who have served as stewards of our great institution.”
Brada began his alumni involvement in Puerto Rico as a young physician in the Air Force, hosting an event for Caribbean Jayhawks with his wife, Kay, who also graduated from the College in 1961. He continued to volunteer when he returned to his hometown and established his practice as a psychiatrist. He assisted the Kansas Honors Program (now the Kansas Honor Scholars Program) and student recruitment, and he urged KU’s participation in the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson through the years.
Don and Kay continued their local alumni network service after they moved to Wichita, receiving the 1990 Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their years as volunteers. Kay received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 2015. The Bradas are Alumni Association Life Members and Presidents Club donors.
Don also dedicated much of his career to the School of Medicine-Wichita as a longtime volunteer faculty member; he later became a clinical associate professor and associate dean, retiring in 2016. He strongly advocated for the expansion of the Wichita campus medical curriculum from two years to four, and he continues to volunteer as professor emeritus and a mentor to students.
Since the Bradas’ move to Lawrence in 2010, the breadth of their service has expanded. They both served on the KU Campus Master Plan Steering Committee, and Don has advised and supported the Biodiversity Institute, the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Lied Center, the Williams Education Fund for Kansas Athletics, and the Dole Institute of Politics, where he co-founded the Elizabeth Dole Lecture Series.
For KU Endowment, Don is a Chancellors Club Life Member. The Bradas’ philanthropy has benefited numerous areas of the University and the Association.
“Don is such an integral part of the University; KU simply would not be the same without him,” said Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment president.
Kennedy, a Pratt native, also is a first-generation college graduate. He followed up his KU journalism degree (including work for the University Daily Kansan and KJHK radio) with a law degree from Washburn University. He began his KU alumni service in Wichita, where he joined the law firm of Martin Pringle Oliver Wallace & Bauer in 1986. He served as the firm’s managing partner from 2002 to 2014.
A stalwart volunteer for the Wichita Network, Kennedy received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award in 2007 for his local service. He guided the local alumni group as president and served for many years on the board. He also has contributed to the Kansas Honor Scholars Program, recruited prospective students and participates every year in the Jayhawk Roundup, a Wichita tradition since 2003. He and his wife, Patti Gorham, chaired the Roundup in 2013.
Kennedy, an Alumni Association Life Member and Presidents Club donor, was elected to the Association’s national Board of Directors in 2008. He chaired the Strategic Communications, Technology and Records Committee as well as the Executive and the Nominating Committees during his term, and he led the organization as national alumni chair from 2013 to ’14.
An ardent advocate for state funding of higher education, Kennedy is a longtime member of Jayhawks for Higher Education and, since 2014, he has chaired the JHE Steering Committee, working closely with Association staff and the KU Office of Public Affairs to coordinate alumni communications with legislators.
“Jeff is a proven and committed volunteer who cares deeply about all of KU,” said Peterson. “He is passionate about the vital importance of KU and higher education to the future of Kansas, and he has tirelessly and effectively spoken out about the urgent need to restore state support for our universities.”
Kennedy also helped lead the effort to expand the School of Medicine in Wichita to a four-year curriculum as chair of the first 4-Wichita Advancement Board, and he continues to serve on the board’s executive committee.
For KU Endowment, Kennedy is a Chancellors Club and Elizabeth Watkins Society member, supporting many areas of the University, including the Association, Kansas Athletics and the Spencer Museum of Art.
“Jeff has volunteered for KU for more than 30 years,” said Seuferling. “His leadership helped move the School of Medicine-Wichita forward through his effective advocacy and vital connections in the local business community.”
Since 1975, 158 KU alumni and friends have received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion.
The KU Alumni Association has announced the recipients of this year’s Fred Ellsworth Medallion: John Dicus and John Mize.
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.”
Fred Ellsworth Medallion recipients are honored by the Association at a special dinner in conjunction with the fall Board of Directors meeting and introduced during the home football game that weekend.
Past winners of the medallion have been honored for their leadership in Kansas higher education, as chairs and members of University boards and committees, as consultants for special KU projects, and as donors to the University.
John Dicus, b’83, g’85, Topeka, is chairman and CEO of Capitol Federal Savings. He comes from strong Jayhawk lineage—his parents and grandparents attended KU. His father, Jack, b’55, received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1990, and his grandfather, Henry Bubb, ’28, received the honor in 1977.
Dicus served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 1996 to 2001. He and his wife, Brenda Roskens Dicus, b’83, are longtime Life Members and Presidents Club donors, and they regularly participate in local alumni events and fundraisers, including the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City.
Dicus helps guide the School of Business as a member of its Board of Advisors, and in 2014 he was honored as a Distinguished Business Alumnus. As a trustee of the Capitol Federal Foundation, the bank’s charitable arm, Dicus was instrumental in facilitating the foundation’s $20 million contribution in 2012 toward the school’s new building. He also has contributed to the Kansas Honors Program.
For KU Endowment, he is a trustee and Chancellors Club Member, and he serves on the executive and investment commit- tees. He has helped lead the University’s fundraising e orts as a member of the Far Above campaign organizing committee. He also serves on the Greater University Fund advisory board.
“From his KU fraternity to the business school to KU Endowment to educational institutions across Kansas, John has been a ready and willing participant,” says Neeli Bendapudi, PhD’95, the University’s provost and executive vice chancellor. “What sets his engagement apart is the humble, unassuming manner in which he makes his contributions, whether it be time, talent, treasure–or frequently and just as likely—all of the above.”
Dicus served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee to Athletics from 1990 to ’94, and he contributed to the KU First campaign as a member of its athletics committee. The Dicuses are Williams Education Fund members.
Mize, c’72, Salina, is an attorney at Clark, Mize & Linville and general counsel for the Salina Regional Health Center. His dedication to KU and the Alumni Association spans decades and dates back to 1975, when he first volunteered for the Kansas Honors Program. He served on the Association’s national Board of Directors from 1999 to 2004, and in 2005 he received the Mildred Clodfelter Award for his volunteer service in Salina.
Mize and his wife, Karen Shumacher Mize, g’85, are Life Members and Path to Life Premium members and have participated in several KU activities in their local community, including Senior Sendoff and KU Days. They also have attended several Rock Chalk Balls.
As a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education, Mize advocates for the University and promotes the advancement of higher education in Kansas. He also serves on the Hall Center Advisory Board and has contributed to the Kansas Honors Program.
For KU Endowment, Mize is a 20-year trustee and an audit committee member. He is a Chancellors Club Life Member and Watkins Society member, and he served on the Campaign Kansas fundraising committee from 1988 to 1992. He also is a member of the Greater University Fund advisory board.
“His deep knowledge of local politics, community culture and the regional health system provided invaluable advice to KU administrators and KU Endowment fundraising staff in building a critical level of community support for not only the initial founding of the School of Medicine in Salina, but for the future expansion and growth of the permanent facilities for KU’s presence in Salina,” says Dale Seuferling, j’77, president of KU Endowment.
For Kansas Athletics, he served on the 2001 search committee for a KU football coach. The Mizes also are longtime members of the Williams Education Fund.
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.
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.
Docking, 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.”
Risley, 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.
The 2015 recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service to the University of Kansas are Carolyn “Kay” Cromb Brada of Lawrence and Ray D. Evans of Leawood. The KU Alumni Association will honor them Friday, Sept. 11, during the fall meeting of the association’s national board of directors. Since 1975, the medallions have recognized KU volunteers who have continued the tradition of service established by Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963.
Brada has assisted KU in numerous roles since earning her bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1961. In Hutchinson, she coordinated annual events for the Kansas Honors Program, the Alumni Association’s longstanding tradition of recognizing academically talented high school seniors throughout the state. She also hosted many other KU events as an alumni network volunteer. In the 1980s, she served five years on the Alumni Association’s national board of directors.
She continued her service in Wichita, helping to recruit numerous KU students and Alumni Association members through the years and advocating for KU in the Kansas Legislature as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education. Most recently she served on the 4-Wichita Advancement Board to expand the medical school’s curriculum to four years.
“The Alumni Association and many other areas of KU have benefited from Kay’s straightforward advice and keen insight through the years,” said Heath Peterson, the Alumni Association’s interim president. “She believes wholeheartedly in giving back to the university that changed her life so future generations will benefit from the KU experience.”
As Alumni Association life members and donors to the Presidents Club, Brada and her husband, Don, have attended countless KU events in communities throughout Kansas and the nation. In 2012, they created an endowment to support the Association’s alumni outreach programs.
For KU Endowment, she has served on the advisory boards for the Chancellors Club, Women Philanthropists for KU and the Greater University Fund. She also served on the Campaign Kansas National Council. The Bradas are members of the Chancellors Club, and they have provided support for numerous KU programs, including the Dole Institute of Politics. For Kansas Athletics, the Bradas are members of the Williams Education Fund.
Her father, Arthur “Red” Cromb, a 1930 KU graduate, was among the first winners of the Ellsworth medallion when the association created the award in 1975. Cromb led the Alumni Association as national president from 1959 to 1960 and served on the Kansas Board of Regents.
Evans, who earned his KU bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business in 1982 and 1984, is managing partner of Pegasus Capital Management in Overland Park and a former member of the KU School of Business advisory board.
He led the Alumni Association as national chair from 2012 to ’13 after beginning his term on the board in 2007. He also led the Kansas City Alumni Network as president and assisted the annual Rock Chalk Ball as a member of the steering committee. He and his wife, Sarah, chaired the event in 2012, and they are Alumni Association life members and Presidents Club donors. They also contribute to the Chancellors Club for KU Endowment, where he is a trustee and member of the investment committee.
“KU is a stronger institution today because of Ray Evans,” Peterson said. “He is a trusted adviser to the university on many important issues and has provided top-shelf leadership as a volunteer. Ray is a pillar of the KU community.”
Evans has advocated for KU in Kansas City as a member of the KU Edwards Campus advisory board and by raising funds to support the KU Cancer Center and the university’s successful quest to earn National Cancer Institute designation.
For Kansas Athletics, Evans led the search committee to hire Sheahon Zenger as athletics director. As a former football player for Coach Don Fambrough, Evans has steadfastly supported the football program and was part of the committee that hired Coach David Beaty. The Evanses are members of the Williams Education Fund.
Evans also continues a family tradition of commitment to KU. His father, Ray R. Evans, a 1947 KU graduate, led the Alumni Association as national president from 1952 to 1953 and received the Ellsworth medallion in 1976. He was a member of the 1948 Orange Bowl team and an All-American in both football and basketball. He also served on the Kansas Board of Regents.