KU News Release

September 4, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Jackson Sanner, KU Alumni Association, 785-864-4760

KU Alumni Association to honor three Jayhawks for outstanding service

Robert Hemenway

Sue Watson

David Wysong

More Information

LAWRENCE—Three dedicated Jayhawks will receive the Fred Ellsworth Medallion on Sept. 14 in conjunction with the fall meeting of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors. They are former Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Sue Shields Watson and David Wysong.

Since 1975, the Association has presented medallions each year to KU volunteers who have displayed outstanding service, following the example set by the Association’s longest-serving chief executive, Fred Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who led the Association for 39 years.

Hemenway guided the University from 1995 to 2009, a period of significant growth. Enrollment grew by 9 percent during his tenure, and research expenditures grew by 140 percent. New buildings and renovations on the Lawrence, Edwards and Medical Center campuses totaled $746 million, including improvements in student housing, research laboratories, athletic facilities and new structures for the Dole Institute of Politics and the Hall Center for the Humanities.

During Hemenway’s tenure, KU Endowment completed a $653 million capital campaign, KU First, and fundraising reached record heights in support from private donors, the number of donors and the amount of privately funded scholarships for students. He also spearheaded independence for the University of Kansas Hospital and set in motion KU’s quest to receive National Cancer Institute designation, declaring it KU’s top research priority in 2005.

Watson earned her KU degree from the School of Education in 1975. She served on the Association’s national board of directors from 2004 to 2011, chairing the group from 2009 to ’10. She and her husband, Kurt, are co-chairs of KU Endowment’s Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas. He is a 1975 KU graduate and a 2011 winner of the Ellsworth Medallion.

As a leader of the Association’s Wichita Chapter, Watson helped build the Jayhawk Roundup into an annual fall event that draws more than 500 KU alumni, fans and friends. She is a member of the Presidents Club of the Alumni Association and the Chancellors Club for KU Endowment. Watson serves on the advisory board for Women Philanthropists for KU, and she has helped guide the School of Education as a member of its advisory board.

Wysong, a 1972 KU graduate in journalism, leads Wysong Capital Management and the Wysong Family Foundation, which provides scholarships for KU journalism students. He represented northeast Johnson County in the Kansas Senate from 2004 until he retired in 2009. Earlier in his career, he worked in advertising, founding the firm of Wysong, Quimby and Jones.

He chairs the Advancement Board, an 85-member organization of business and community leaders formed in 2005 to promote the interests of KU Medical Center, University of Kansas Hospital and University of Kansas Physicians.

He also has served on the steering committees for two KU fundraising campaigns: Campaign Kansas, from 1988 to 1992, for which he also led the intercollegiate athletics committee, and KU First, from 2001 to 2004. Wysong is a member of the Chancellors Club and the Alumni Association’s Presidents Club.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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