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June 28, 2006
Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

University mourns KU alumnus Judge Cordell Meeks Jr.

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway and KU Alumni Association President Kevin Corbett issued the following statements of condolence in response to the death today of KU alumnus and Wyandotte County District Court Judge Cordell D. Meeks Jr. of Kansas City, Kan. He was 63.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway:

“Cordell Meeks was a good and close friend to me personally and to the University of Kansas. Our hearts go out to Mary Ann, his wife, and to his son, Cordell III. I know of no one who better understood than Cordell the importance of higher education and the door to opportunities that it opens. Cordell was a inspirational leader for racial equality in our region. He motivated us all to do better. We will miss him dearly.”

Kevin Corbett:

“Cordell Meeks’ volunteer leadership at KU has spanned more than 30 years and has been wide ranging. As a former chairman of the KU Alumni Association Board of Directors, recipient of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion and the Distinguished Service Citation, his wise counsel and tremendous enthusiasm for the university will be missed. He was a tremendous Jayhawk and a model alumnus.”

Biography of Cordell D. Meeks Jr.

Meeks, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1964 and a law degree at KU in 1967, was a second-generation law school alumnus following his father, Cordell Meeks Sr., the first African-American district court judge in Kansas. Meeks had an enduring interest in the opportunities for minority students on campus, which led to his role on the advisory board for minority development for the KU Graduate School and for KU’s Edwards Campus in Overland Park. He also served as a member of the community development advisory board for the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, whose mission is to improve the lives of at-risk children in urban communities. For the School of Law, Meeks was a member and president of the Law Society Board of Governors.

For the Alumni Association, Meeks served as national chairman from 1997 to 1998. He presided as a speaker for the association’s Kansas Honors Program and participated as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education. He is former steering committee member for the Rock Chalk Ball, a Kansas City event hosted by the greater Kansas City alumni chapter to benefit the recruitment and retention of National Merit Scholars at KU.

For KU Endowment, Meeks and his wife, Mary Ann Sutherland Meeks, a 1967 KU graduate, were members of the Chancellors Club. Meeks was a member of the Campaign Kansas National Council and a Greater University Fund advisory board alumni member in the early 1990s. In 1995, Meeks received the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest honor bestowed by the university and the Alumni Association for service to humanity. In 2001, the School of Law honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Citation.

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