Law school will honor 3 with Distinguished Alumni Award

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LAWRENCE — An attorney, a legal scholar and a federal judge will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor.

Great Bend attorney Larry Keenan, Class of 1954; KU Law Professor John Peck, Class of 1974, and U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil, Class of 1975, will receive the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, which celebrates graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the university. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 16 in Lawrence.

After completing his joint undergraduate and law degree in 1954, Larry Keenan served for three years in the U.S. Army JAG Corps. He returned home to Great Bend in 1958 to practice with his older brother at the Keenan Law Firm, where he still practices today. Keenan served as Barton County Attorney for four years and is a past chairman and member of the Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors. He currently serves as president of Globe Exploration Inc. in Great Bend. Keenan is an avid supporter of his alma mater and a past president and lifelong member of the KU Law Board of Governors.

John Peck received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Kansas State University in 1968. After working for three years for the U.S. Public Health Service and the EPA in Washington, D.C., he began law school at KU, where he was an articles editor for the Kansas Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif in 1974. Peck practiced for four years with Everett, Seaton, Peck in Manhattan, then joined the KU Law faculty in 1978. A recognized authority on Kansas water law, Peck teaches contracts, land transactions, water law and family law and has received numerous teaching accolades. He is a member of the KU Law Dean’s Club and a past Medallion recipient and serves as chair of the Rice Scholarship Committee. In addition to his tenured faculty position, Peck is special counsel to Foulston Siefkin LLP, where his focus includes water and real estate law. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers of America in the areas of natural resources law and water law since 2003.

Judge Kathryn Vratil graduated from KU with an American studies degree in 1971. She completed law school in 1975 at KU, where she served on the Kansas Law Review and was named to the Order of the Coif. Following graduation she clerked for Judge Earl O’Connor for three years on the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, then practiced commercial and business litigation law for 14 years with Lathrop & Gage, serving as municipal judge for Prairie Village for two years. In 1992, Vratil was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas by President George W. Bush, becoming the first woman to serve on the court. She was named chief judge in 2008 and served in that capacity until she assumed senior status in 2014. Vratil is an active member of the legal community and devoted supporter of her alma mater. She has served two terms on KU Law’s Board of Governors, was named to the KU Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and has served on the advisory board for the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center (now the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity) since 2009.

View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored along with James Woods Green Medallion honorees and members of the Dean’s Club. Named after the school’s first dean, the Medallion recognizes the school’s major financial supporters. This year’s honorees include:

  • Bion J. Beebe, Class of 1976, and Vicki Storm Beebe
  • The Belin Foundation
  • Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, Class of 1981, and Maureen Mahoney, Class of 1984
  • Steve Davis and Kim Bowen Davis, Class of 1978
  • Jeanne Gorman, Class of 1978
  • Ross Hartley, Class of 1974, and Christine Ness Hartley
  • Mark Hegarty, Class of 1990, and Janelle Hegarty
  • Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer LLP
  • S. Lee Meigs Taylor, Class of 1982
  • Patrick Stueve, Class of 1987, and Janna Stueve
  • James Walters, Class of 1975, and Mary Clayton Walters.


Kansas Court of Appeals to commemorate Constitution Day with session at KU

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Kansas Court of Appeals in session at KU

LAWRENCE — A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear five cases Sept. 22 at the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas as part of the court’s observance of Constitution Day.

The court will hear cases at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium.

Judges Patrick D. McAnany and Michael B. Buser of Overland Park and Judge Steve Leben of Fairway will hear the cases. Leben has been designated the presiding judge for the hearings.

“The cases we will hear at KU were chosen because we think they present interesting constitutional issues for students,” Leben said. “The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in America’s courts in cases like these.”

Several of the cases involve disputes about a defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees our freedom from “unreasonable searches and seizures” and provides that search warrants be issued only on “probable cause.” Under what courts call the exclusionary rule, evidence that was obtained illegally — in violation of the Fourth Amendment — is generally excluded from the trial, although there is an exception to that rule when police officers had a reasonable, good-faith belief they were acting legally.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present arguments to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. After the hearings, the court will take each case under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

After each session, the judges will be available to talk to students. The KU School of Law will also host a one-hour “Ask the Judges” open forum for students and the public at 12:30 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium. The judges will provide some background about the U.S. Constitution and the court system and will answer questions.

The Kansas Court of Appeals hears cases throughout the state, with monthly hearing dockets regularly scheduled in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City. During 2015, the court has also had hearings in Beloit, Chanute, Garden City, Lawrence, Overland Park and Paola, and it will have hearings in Hutchinson in November. 

As part of its observance of Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution by a majority of delegates to the Constitutional Convention on Sept. 17, 1787, the Kansas Court of Appeals schedules September dockets at Kansas colleges and universities. In addition to the panel at KU, the court this year will have three-judge panels hearing cases at Wichita State University and Kansas State University.

There are 14 judges on the Kansas Court of Appeals. In 2014, the court resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The five cases to be heard at KU:

9 a.m.

State of Kansas v. Michelle Canfield, Appeal from Shawnee County
Police entered Michelle Canfield’s Topeka home uninvited to arrest her on a warrant that called for her arrest. They found methamphetamine on her person, and she was convicted of a possession charge. She appeals the district court’s denial of her motion to suppress the evidence found on her that day. She alleges that no recognized exception to the requirement for a search warrant authorized the police to enter her home when a man answered the door and said he wasn’t sure whether she was at home. The state of Kansas contends that the officers had authority to enter the home both because they had been called to check on the welfare of Canfield’s children and because they had probable cause to believe that Canfield, for whom they had an arrest warrant, was in the home.

State of Kansas v. Cornelious Jones, Appeal from Labette County
After police in Parsons made a traffic stop, a passenger in the car ran away on foot. Officers arrested him, took a cell phone from his pocket and then looked on the phone for texts without obtaining a search warrant. The information found led to charges against Cornelious Jones for possession and intent to sell illegal drugs. The district court ruled that the warrantless cell-phone search was illegal under a 2014 United States Supreme Court ruling, Riley v. California, which determined that the data on a cell phone of a person arrested cannot be searched without a warrant. The state of Kansas has appealed. It concedes that the search was illegal but argues that the evidence found should still be allowed in the case against Jones because the search occurred before the Riley decision and the officers acted in good faith.

10:30 a.m.

State of Kansas v. Justin Rice, Appeal from Shawnee County
After Justin Rice pled guilty to several crimes committed in Topeka, including solicitation to commit aggravated robbery, the district court found that the crimes involved the “use” of a deadly weapon, which made Rice subject to a requirement that he register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. Rice claims on appeal that the district court violated his constitutional right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He cites a 2000 United States Supreme Court case, Apprendi v. New Jersey, which said that “any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The state argues that offender registration is for public safety, not part of a defendant’s punishment.

2 p.m.

State of Kansas v. David Wasylk, Appeal from Lyon County
In a case from Emporia, David Wasylk was convicted of four counts of manufacture of methamphetamine and several other drug offenses based on evidence found in a residence by officers who had a search warrant. The district court found that the search warrant shouldn’t have been issued because the information in it came primarily from a single informant without sufficient corroboration. But the district court allowed the evidence to be used against Wasylk anyway because the court found that the officers acted in good faith. On appeal, along with several other issues, the defendant claims that the good-faith exception to the rule that normally excludes illegally obtained evidence should not have been applied.

State of Kansas v. Tiffany C. Hubbard, Appeal from Douglas County
Lawrence resident Tiffany Hubbard appeals her conviction for distribution of cocaine and other offenses. The charges were based on four drug buys and evidence found in her home. At trial, as proof that she lived there, the state presented her license to operate an in-home daycare facility. Hubbard contends that this evidence was irrelevant and prejudicial to her, leading the jury to convict on weak and circumstantial evidence because of concern that children were present when drug transactions may have taken place. She also argues that the prosecuting attorney made improper and prejudicial statements to the jury in closing argument; that the district court violated her constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution to present a complete defense in her jury trial (she wasn’t allowed to present some negative information about a witness who was cooperating with the state); and that the district court violated her constitutional right to be present at her own trial by holding a pretrial hearing without her presence.

Read the complete case briefs and judges' bios on the KU Law website

Law school alumna named KU Woman of Distinction

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Women of Distinction Calendar 2015-2016LAWRENCE — Twenty-five women with ties to the University of Kansas are featured in the 2015-2016 Women of Distinction calendar. The Emily Taylor Resource Center for Women & Gender Equity, which produces the poster-sized calendar, will host a reception to honor the women and their achievements Monday, Aug. 31.

The women represent KU students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumnae who have distinguished achievements in their efforts at the university or in their community.

“It is so important to recognize and celebrate women's contributions to our campus and the world beyond,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor center. “This year, we honor accomplished women who excel in their disciplines while serving as role models and mentors to inspire others to break barriers and reach for the stars.” 

Nine current students, seven alumnae and nine faculty and staff are featured on the calendar. Five areas of service and distinction also receive special attention through the calendar: Disability advocates, Hawks for health, women in flight, mentors making a difference and sisters in service.

A reception to acknowledge this year’s featured women and their contributions will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, in the ballroom of the Kansas Union. The public is welcome to attend.

The Women of Distinction calendars are free, although donations are accepted. They are available at several locations, including the KU Bookstore, Jayhawk Ink and the Emily Taylor Center, 4024 Wescoe Hall.   

Individuals featured on the 2015-2016 Women of Distinction Calendar and selected achievements and honors:

Emily Beck 
Doctoral candidate, bioengineering. Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship (2011)
National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship (2011)
Capitol Graduate Research Summit Kansas Bioscience Award (2014)

Prajnaparamita “Prajna” Dhar, Ph.D. Assistant professor, chemical and petroleum engineering
Research featured on the NIH Directors Blog and on the cover of Soft Matter, a Royal Society of Chemistry publication
School of Engineering Miller Scholar Award recipient
Selected for the doctoral dissertation award

Tammara Durham, Ed. D. Vice provost for student affairs and interim vice provost of undergraduate studies
Leadership in in enhancing campus response to student needs 
Work with student leaders, and in particular, Student Senate
Selected to serve as a mentor for the Hesselbein Global Academy, a leadership training program

Amy Long, M.A. Associate director, Student Involvement and Leadership Center
Outstanding Woman Staff Member, KU (2014)
Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County for six years
Helped in the creation the KUnity, a social justice-focused emerging leaders retreat for greek members

Miranda Wagner B.A., economics, KU (2015). Hometown: Shawnee
Student body vice president (2014-15)
Alternative Breaks finance coordinator (2013-14)
Spring Breaks co-coordinator (2012-13)

Paige Whiteside
Senior, biology. Hometown: Jefferson City, Tennessee
Big XII Council on Black Student Government, vice chair (2014-15)
Mordean Taylor Archer Most Outstanding Council Member of the Year Award (2015)
EMMPWR (Exposing Multicultural Males to Personal Wellness Resources) research project assistant (January 2015-present)

Elizabeth Weis
Senior, marketing and supply chain management; Business School Honors Program. Hometown: Leawood
Head teaching assistant for statistics (DSCI 202), School of Business
Dean Neeli Bendapudi Scholarship recipient (2015)
KU representative at the Kansas Hunger Dialogue

Disability Advocates

Martha Hodgesmith, J.D.
Associate director, Research and Training Center on Independent Living, KU Life Span Institute
B.A., anthropology, sociology and women’s studies (1974); J.D. (1978)
Kansas Women Attorneys Association - Jennie Mitchell Kellogg Achievement Award (2005)
Women Attorneys Association of Topeka – Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award (2012)
Kansas Bar Association – Distinguished Government Service Award

Ranita Wilks, CESP
Peer counseling specialist and Youth Employment Program coordinator, Independence Inc.
B.S., Journalism, KU (1998).
Mentoring Matters Award-Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy (2014)
Michael Lechner Advocacy Award-Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (2013)
Appointed to the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns and State Rehab Council of Kansas

Jean Ann Summers, Ph.D.
Research professor, Life Span Institute; research director, Research & Training Center on Independent Living; director of research, Family Research Unit of the Beach Center
Ph.D., special education, KU (1987); B.G.S., applied behavioral science, KU
Has taken leadership role in generating more than $20 million in grants to develop support for people with disabilities and their families as well as enhance training to professionals during her 40-year tenure at KU 
Has volunteered to help develop funding for various family support organizations, including those serving diverse and low-income communities
Has nearly 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters on families and disability, young children, fatherhood, self-determination and other research areas

Katerina Birge (not pictured)
Graduate student, public administration, University of Colorado. Hometown: Denver.
B.S., Latin American studies, KU (2011)
Co-founder/president of KU Ablehawks
Co-founder of Project Hope
Columnist, Creaky Joints, A Paso Lento

Hawks for Health

Leigh Loving
Graduate student, public health, Columbia University. Hometown: McPherson
B.S., biology with an emphasis in genetics, KU (2015)
Jayhawk Health Initiative, founder
Rhodes Scholar finalist (2015), Truman Scholar finalist (2014)
Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Outstanding Contribution Award (2014), Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership (2014)

Rajvi Shah
B.S., neurobiology, minor in psychology, pre-medicine concentration. Hometown: Stilwell
Honors Program Student Council, co-president
Student Health Advisory Board (Student Senate) voting board member
IBM Thomas J. Watson Memorial Fund Scholar

Women in Flight

Emily Arnold, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of aerospace engineering
NASA Earth and Space fellow (2012, 2013)
Amelia Earhart Fellow (2010, 2011)
NASA Group Achievement Award (2011)

Brooke Reid
Junior, aerospace engineering. Hometown: Cota de Caza, California
Self Engineering Leadership Fellow
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, KU Branch, president (2014-15)
Vincent Muirhead Award for Leadership (April 2015)

Lauren Schumacher
Doctoral student, aerospace engineering. Hometown: Rolla, Missouri
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Kansas representative for National Congressional Visit Day (2013)
KU University Scholars Program (Class of 2014)
Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) KU: vice president for undergraduates (2013-15)

Mentors Making a Difference

Grecia Rucoba
Senior, accounting; Business School Honors Program. Hometown: Anthony
Multicultural Business Scholars Program
Megan E. Taylor Memorial Scholarship recipient (fall 2014)

Dale Urie, Ph.D.
Senior lecturer, Humanities and Western Civilization Program
Fulbright German Studies Seminar, Berlin (summer 2011)
Outstanding Woman Educator, KU (2010)
Excellence in Teaching Award, KU Center for Teaching Excellence (2007)

Lisa Browning
Enrollment and student services coordinator, KU Edwards Campus
Helped to build student and enrollment services for the KU Edwards Campus, collaborating with KU Lawrence
Advocate for all Edwards Campus students, especially international students and veterans
Developed the MetroKC program, which serves more than 250 students in Greater Kansas City

Cindy Lynn
Education coordinator, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Office of Graduate Affairs
Graduate student, African and African-American Studies
Ethel Bohning Single Mother of the Year Award, KU (2007)
Boy Scouts of America National Outstanding Cubmaster (2015)
KU Advocacy Corps, vice president

Ashley Kruger, M.S.E.
Career adviser, KU Business Career Services Center
Spearheaded a successful overhaul for the School of Business Mentorship Program
Overhauled web presence of BCSC services and resources (spring 2015)
Initiated an event to address the unique career needs of LGBTQ+ students (April 2015)

Sisters in Service

Shelby Webb
Graduate student, public health, emphasis in epidemiology, KU Medical Center. Hometown: Ottawa
B.S., biology with a concentration in genetics, KU (2015)
Alternative Breaks, co-director (2014-15)
Board of Class Officers, Campanile Award Winner (2015)
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences student senator (2013-15) 

Ally Briggs
B.S., biochemistry, minor in leadership studies, KU (2015). Hometown: Ottawa
Alternative Breaks, co-director (2014-15)
Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute graduate (2014)
Phi Delta Epsilon pre-medical fraternity, community service chair

Laura Lyndall Fagen
B.S., theatre and journalism - strategic communications, KU (2015). Hometown: Wichita
She’s The First* {KU}, founder and president
Her Campus KU, president
Center for Community Outreach, communications director

Erin Calhoun
Senior, behavioral neuroscience. Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Chrysikou Cognitive Neuroscience Lab research assistant
Northwestern Memorial Health Care pre-medical intern (2014)
Center for Community Outreach managing director (2014-2015); development director (2013-2014).

Law school honors three graduates with Distinguished Alumni Award

Thursday, April 30, 2015

LAWRENCE — A retired attorney and devoted community servant, an international criminal law expert and a Kansas Supreme Court chief justice will receive the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor at a private ceremony this week. John W. (Jack) Brand, Class of 1959; Nicholas Kittrie, Class of 1950, and Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Class of 1982, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the school.

John W. (Jack) Brand completed his bachelor’s degree in history at KU before receiving his law degree in 1959. His career with the Lawrence law firm Stevens & Brand, co-founded by his father in 1925, spanned nearly 48 years. Brand represented Commerce Bank and its Lawrence predecessors, serving as bank director for 38 years, and assisted the Kansas Department of Insurance with receivership litigation. In 1997, the Kansas Supreme Court appointed him to the Kansas Justice Initiative, a comprehensive study of the Kansas court system. He has served as Douglas County Bar Association president, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Kansas Bar Foundation, a member of two governmental ethics commissions and as Legislative Committee chair and Ethics Committee chair of the Kansas Bar Association, receiving the KBA Outstanding Service Award in 1999. A community leader, Brand has served as president of the Lawrence United Way fund, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Rotary club as well as moderator of Plymouth Congregational Church. He taught trial practice at KU Law and served on the school’s Board of Governors.

Born in the United Kingdom, Nicholas Kittrie is a distinguished University Professor of Law and former dean of the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. In addition to his A.B., LL.B. and M.A. from KU, Kittrie studied at the London School of Economics and the universities of Cairo and Chicago, served as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University Law School and earned an LL.M. and an S.J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. An expert in American and international public and criminal law, Kittrie has served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is past president of the American Society of Criminology and chair of the United Nations Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Kittrie has authored and edited more than 15 books and numerous articles, and he is often consulted as an expert on political offenders, terrorist activities, war crimes, drugs and alcohol, extradition, penology and criminal sentencing. He travels extensively and is fluent in multiple languages, lecturing at universities and congresses in Europe, Asia and Africa. Kittrie has been a legal consultant to several foreign governments and to the United States Vice-President’s Commission on Terrorism.

A fourth-generation Kansan, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss serves on the Kansas Supreme Court. He graduated from KU in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in English and history before serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his discharge in 1979, he returned to KU for law school, graduating in 1982. Nuss began his career with Clark, Mize & Linville in Salina, spending 20 years representing corporations, individuals, defendants and the government in civil and criminal cases. Nuss served as chairman of the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, president of the Saline-Ottawa County Bar Association, mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas and president of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, which also awarded him the Distinguished Service Award and Defense Research Institute Exceptional Performance Citation. Gov. Bill Graves appointed Nuss to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2002, and Nuss became chief justice in 2010. He is currently the Supreme Court liaison to the Kansas District Judges’ Association. He has served as chairman of the Kansas Judicial Council and as Supreme Court liaison for the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, the Client Protection Fund Commission and the Kansas Board of Examiners of Court Reporters.

View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored along with James Woods Green Medallion honorees and members of the Dean’s Club. Named after the school’s first dean, the Medallion recognizes the school’s major financial supporters. This year’s honorees include the Bever Dye LC; Walter L. Cofer, L’81, and Nicola R. Heskett; Janice Miller Karlin, L’80, and Calvin J. Karlin, L’77; Matthew, L’84, and Lori Keenan; Jennifer Johnson Kinzel, L’78; Bradley G. Korell, L’97; Teresa M. Meagher, L’79 and T. Bradley Manson; Deborah Cawley Moeller, L’91, and Michael Moeller, L’91; Eric, L’84, and Tracy Namee; Mike, L’84, and Elaine Riggs; Sen. John Vratil, L’71; Steve, L’83, and Sandra Walton; Larry, L’57, and Beverly Worrall, Michelle Worral Tilton, L’88; and Rachel Worrall Smith, L’90.

The awards will be presented at an invitation-only dinner Saturday, May 2, in Lawrence.

Law alumni, faculty honored for achievements, service, careers

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Hon. Julie Robinson is inducted into the KU Women's Hall of Fame, April 7,2015LAWRENCE — Twenty women with ties to the University of Kansas were honored April 7 during the 2015 Women’s Recognition Banquet hosted by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity.

Event organizers inducted six women into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame as well as presented honors to a number of outstanding students, faculty and staff at KU. 

“KU has such a rich history of women who lead and make our community and our world a better place,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor Center. “It’s a privilege to honor these individuals and add to this growing legacy of involvement and achievement.”

The Women’s Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 exemplary KU alumnae, faculty and staff women since 1970. It recognizes those who through their significant contributions and achievements, overall effect and outstanding character, serve as role models for students as career women and community leaders.

The Hall of Fame is on the fifth floor of the Kansas Union. A complete list of Women’s Hall of Fame inductees and their accomplishments is available online. In addition to the inductees, 14 women were honored as recipients of 11 different awards.

The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity provides leadership and advocacy in promoting gender equity and challenging gender-related barriers that impede full access and inclusion. The center raises awareness of critical issues, provides opportunities to translate awareness into action and empowers individuals to advocate for themselves and others.

About this year’s inductees and honorees recipients:

Women’s Hall of Fame inductees      

Ann M. Brill, doctorate, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Brill joined the journalism school in 2000 and became dean in 2004.  Brill also serves as the president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), in addition to taking many other national leadership roles.

The school has flourished under her leadership and has received numerous grants from national foundations. She initiated significant curriculum revision for the school and oversaw the launch of its first doctoral program. Brill is dedicated to the students and has been extremely successful in raising support for the school.  She has created and endowed multiple new scholarships and awards, which greatly benefit the students, the school and the university. Her peers and colleagues describe Dean Brill as visionary.

Connie Burk, 1990 KU alumna, activist and author, NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse

Burk’s career of advocacy and activism began while she was studying at KU. As a student on campus, Burk was a member of many organizations — such as the February Daughters and Students Against Violence Against Women — and fought for progressive change. This activism spurred Burk to work for Women’s Transitional Care Services (now the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence), where she eventually became co-director. Under her leadership, the center expanded from sheltering survivors to raising awareness and educating the community about domestic violence. Burk also served as vice president of the Kansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

In 1997, Burk moved to Seattle to direct the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse (The NW Network). Since then, Burk’s vision, focus and optimism has led the NW Network to new heights. With her guidance, the network established the National LGBT Training & Technical Assistance Initiative and the National Q&A Institute. In addition to her job as the executive director of the network, Burk also is executive producer of the award-winning documentary “A Lot Like You” and co-author of the book “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others.” 

The Hon. Karen Mitchell Humphreys, 1970 and 1973 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. magistrate judge

As an undergraduate, Karen Mitchell Humphreys was an honors student. She was inducted into both CWENS and Mortar Board as well as being chosen as the outstanding woman of her sorority. She was one of only 12 women admitted to the School of Law in 1970.

In 1978, Humphreys was appointed to the position of district judge for the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. She remained in this position until 1993, when she was appointed as U.S. magistrate judge. KU’s Emily Taylor was on the selection committee for Humphreys’ appointment. Humphreys was the first woman to serve in this position. From 2003 to 2013, Humphreys was designated as the chief magistrate judge and led other federal magistrate judges in the area. 

In this position, Humphreys led an effort to create a specialty court, known as KAN-Trac. This program, which assists felony offenders re-entering the community, has been extremely successful. Humphreys has been referred to as the “human glue” which holds the program together. In recognition of her work on KAN-Trac and other programs, she has received many awards from the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Wichita Women’s Association, the Kansas Bar Association and the Wichita Bar Association.

Humphreys retired in January after more than 20 years of service to Kansas and more than 40 years in the field. 

Barbara P. Lukert, 1956 and 1960 KU alumna, M.D., professor of medicine emerita, endocrinology and metabolism, KU Medical Center

Dr. Lukert’s career at the KU Medical Center spans more than five decades, beginning with her residency in 1961. Since joining the Department of Medicine faculty in 1965, Lukert has served as the Mary F. Roberts Distinguished Chair in Nutrition, the director of the Osteoporosis Clinic, the Metabolic Laboratory and as the medical director of the Medicine Outpatient Clinic. She has lead or co-authored 96 full-length manuscripts and written 11 books or book chapters, served on the Wyandotte County Medical Society, and she serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr. Lukert is a nationally recognized educator, scholar and researcher. Among her many awards are the Boy Frame Award for Excellence in the Field of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, the KU Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 1982, the School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award in 1990 and the Honorary Health Professions Alumnus Award in 1999. Dr. Lukert is also the namesake of the Lukert Academic Society.

The Hon. Julie A.  Robinson, 1978 and 1981 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. district judge, District of Kansas

President George W. Bush appointed Robinson as the U.S. district judge for Kansas in 2001. A trailblazer in her field, Robinson is the first African-American woman to be appointed to this position. Robinson has served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the District of Kansas, a judge on the 10th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and an assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Kansas. 

Robinson has received numerous awards for her work, including commendations from the Secret Service, the Kansas Dr. M.L. King Jr. Memorial Committee’s Women of Distinction Award, the Baker University Trustee Medallion for Distinguished Public Service Award and the National Bar Association’s Wiley A. Branton Symposium Award. Before her current appointment, Robinson taught trial practice courses at KU. She also has served on the KU School of Law Board of Governors as president and on various committees.

Rosemarie T.  Truglio, doctorate, 1988 and 1990 KU alumna, senior vice president of global curriculum and content, Sesame Workshop

Truglio joined Sesame Workshop in 1997 as the vice president of education and research for Children’s Television Workshop, now known as Sesame Workshop.  In her current role, she is responsible for the development of the curriculum shown on "Sesame Street" and oversees all of the educational research for the show.  Truglio and her team work to enhance the educational and entertainment content of the show. She has written numerous articles, presented her work at international conferences and is the co-editor of ­“G is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and 'Sesame Street.'”

Truglio’s leadership of the Sesame Workshop creates an incredible legacy. Research has shown that high school students who watched the program when they were in preschool receive better grades in their classes and read more books than the average student.  Truglio, who was only 20 when she began graduate school at KU, has received the Annenberg Public Policy Award for her innovative development process.

Danica Hoose receives the 2015 Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award.2015 Award Honorees 

Jo Hardesty, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Staff Member Award

Hardesty currently serves as the director & managing attorney for KU’s Legal Services for Students (LSS). She has been with LSS for 35 years and has served as director for 29 years. In her time with LSS, Hardesty has demonstrated exemplary passion and leadership. Not only is she dedicated to the office’s mission of providing KU students with legal services and workshops, but she continues to inspire and mentor those around her, both students and colleagues. In addition to her work with KU, Hardesty also has been recognized for her work with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her service to the legal community and her commitment to social justice and equality, as well as her work with the IRS’ low-income taxpayer clinic program.

The award honors a female unclassified or classified staff member who, through outstanding work performance, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Danica Hoose, Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award

Hoose is a junior studying accounting and economics and a graduate of Parsons High School. She is a senator in KU Student Senate, works in the Office of the Provost and serves as the president for Omega Phi Alpha, KU’s only service sorority. She was elected president of her sorority after only one year as an active member, and the sorority has been very active under her leadership. 

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to off-campus organizations or agencies.

Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership Award

Jones-Jamtgaard is a doctoral student at the KU Medical Center and graduate of Duke University. She is president of Students Educating and Advocating for Diversity, vice president of the Student Governing Council and former president of Graduate Student Council. In addition she is involved in creating and collaborating on numerous projects and groups at KU. Jones-Jamtgaard also spearheaded the creation of the KUMC Childbirth Accommodation Policy, which is now used as a template at universities across the state. 

The award honors a woman student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills by taking an active role in campus or community organizations, developing a new project or addressing a current need.

Sharmin Kader, Outstanding International Woman Student Award

Kader is a doctoral candidate from Bangladesh studying architecture health & wellness with a focus on gerontology. She received her master's degree from Texas A&M University and her bachelor's degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. Through her short career, Kader has already earned an international reputation for her academic and professional work. Most recently she received the International Fellowship by the American Association of University Women and the American Institute of Architects’ Arthur Tuttle Jr. Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning and Design. She also presented at the Capitol Research Summit in 2014. Kader served as the founding president of the Bangladesh Student Association at KU, developing community support systems and organizing events in the area. In this role and in her personal life, Kader has served as a mentor and inspiration to many students.

The award honors an international woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Jennifer Marcinkowski, Outstanding Non-Traditional Woman Student Award

Marcinkowski is a senior majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in history. She received her G.E.D. in 2001. Marcinkowski has faced many obstacles in her path to receive her degree, but she has persevered and will graduate this spring. Marcinkowski works as an accommodation specialist for the university and serves as the president of AbleHawks and Allies. AbleHawks is a student group dedicated to raising awareness, advocating for accessibility and promoting disability as multicultural issue. Marcinkowski is a passionate advocate and an effective leader. Through her work and her leadership of AbleHawks, KU has become a better place. 

The award honors a nontraditional woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Erin McHale, Marlesa & Hannalesa Roney Student Success Mentor Award

McHale is a second-year graduate student at KU pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration. She is a graduate of Iowa State University. McHale is the higher education graduate assistant for the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

In her two years at the university, McHale has had an effect on the greek community and the campus community as a whole. She has served on numerous committees, developed programs, taught classes and facilitated retreats. She has been credited with showing passion and care for the students she serves.  McHale has demonstrated noteworthy dedication to sexual violence prevention and education. She has served on the Title IX roundtable, worked with the greek sexual assault task force and developed a program focused on the effects of overconsumption of alcohol and sexual violence. 

The award recognizes a woman graduate or undergraduate student who has contributed to the success of another student.

Shannon Portillo, doctorate, Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Woman Mentoring Women Award.           

Portillo currently serves as an assistant professor and the undergraduate program coordinator for the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Women who’ve learned with, through and alongside Portillo point out that she teaches not just directly, but also by example. She is credited with showing deep care for her students through her accessibility and willingness to offer career advice and guidance. Moreover she offers inspiration and encouragement to overcome self-doubts and build confidence among her students.

The award honors a woman student, staff, or faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the support and mentoring of women at KU.

Jessie Pringle, Outstanding Woman Student in Partnership Award

Pringle is a junior majoring in history and environmental studies and graduate of Chanute High School.In addition to her academics, Pringle is involved in a sorority and has served as an orientation assistant and as the chairperson for the Finance Committee of KU Student Senate. Within Student Senate, Pringle has impressed her peers and mentors with her ability to lead effectively and to bring people to the table.

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to students through her collaborative work and interactions with campus departments, services or organizations.

Monica Saha, Sally Mason Woman Student in Science Award

Saha is a second-year pharmacy student at KU, set to graduate in May 2017. She is a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School. Saha co-authored an article titled “Loss of GluN2A-Containing NMDA Receptors Impairs Extra-dimensional Set-Shifting,” which was published in Genes, Brain and Behavior, a notable scientific journal. Saha recently received a travel award through the Harvard Medical School to present at the New England Science Symposium in April. Saha also works with Hawk Link tutoring, is on the executive board for Kappa Psi, the professional pharmaceutical fraternity, and writes for the University Daily Kansan.

The award honors a female undergraduate or graduate student in the sciences who has demonstrated academic excellence, involvement in campus activities, and leadership in her academic department.

Melanie Wilson, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Educator Award

Wilson currently serves as a professor and as the associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Law. An expert in her field, Wilson has served as an assistant attorney general in Georgia, co-authored four books and many scholarly articles, and she has won numerous awards and commendations for both her work as an attorney and as a professor. In addition to her other roles, Wilson is also the director of diversity and inclusion for the law school. Wilson continues to make sure students feel safe and empowered in every space. Wilson was recently selected to become the next dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law. 

The award honors a female professor, instructor, or student teaching assistant who, through outstanding teaching skills, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Four students were selected to receive the Alma Poehler Brook Memorial Award. The award honors Brook, who served as director of Corbin Hall from 1929 to 1944. Upon her death, friends established the Brook Memorial Fund to recognize worthy and deserving students living at Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin Hall. Hall staff selected these recipients:

Nicole Johnson, sophomore in human biology from Lenexa

Rebekah Navarro, freshman, Holton

Marianne Rogers, freshman, Albuquerque

Victoria Peterson, freshman, Olathe.

Law alumna and former professor elected to KU Endowment board

Friday, September 26, 2014

LAWRENCE — KU Endowment’s Board of Trustees elected The Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha as new board chair and Charles E. Heath as vice chair, and elected five other University of Kansas alumni as trustees at today’s annual meeting of the association’s Board of Trustees. Tacha, the first woman to chair the board, succeeds A. Drue Jennings, of Prairie Village, who served four one-year terms.

The new trustees are Steve Lightstone, Kansas City, Missouri; Cathy Reinhardt, Lawrence; Annette Rieger, Seattle; Elizabeth “Beth” Stella, Lawrence; and Thomas Walsh, Leawood.

The Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha, of Lawrence and Malibu, California, graduated from KU in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies and earned a juris doctorate at the University of Michigan in 1971. Since 2011, she has been dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. From 1985 to 2011, she served as a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, and was chief judge from 2001 to 2007. Earlier, in 1974, she joined the KU School of Law faculty, becoming associate dean in 1977. In 1981, she was appointed KU’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, a position she held until 1985. She was elected to the KU Endowment Board of Trustees in 1992.

Charles E. Heath, of Lawrence, earned two degrees from KU — a bachelor’s in business in 1964 and a master’s in business administration in 1966. He is an independent director and compliance committee chair for Tortoise Capital Advisors’ closed-end funds. He also serves on the boards of directors for Corridor Energy and DCCCA. From 1971 until his retirement in 1999, he was employed by Employers Reinsurance Corporation, where he served from 1989 to 1999 as chief investment officer. He is a past president of the Kansas City Society of Financial Analysts and attained the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1974. He was elected to the KU Endowment Board of Trustees in 2006.

Steve Lightstone earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management in 1967 and a master’s degree in finance in 1970, both from KU. His wife, Terry, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 1968. Steve is a managing director with CC Capital Advisors, an investment bank and a division of Country Club Bank. He serves on the Board of the KU Medical Center Research Institute and the medical center’s Far Above campaign committee. He has served on the KU School of Business Board of Advisors, the KU academic medical center’s Advancement Board, the Kansas City chapter of the KU Alumni Association and the KU Alumni Association Honors Program, among others. Steve is a life member of the Chancellors Club and the Alumni Association.

Cathy A. Reinhardt graduated from KU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in history and in 1983 with a J.D. She and her husband, Norman St. Laurent, live in Lawrence. Cathy is president of Reinhardt Financial Services Inc. She is a past member of the KU Law Alumni Board of Governors. She is a member of the Elizabeth Watkins Society and a life member of the Chancellors Club and the Alumni Association.

Annette Rieger graduated from KU in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work. Her husband, Roger, earned a bachelor’s in business in 1967; they live in Seattle. Annette and Roger are owners of a private family foundation, the Tudor Foundation, which creates programs focusing on mentoring, counseling and financial support of low-income, inner-city students. Annette worked in Protective Services for Children. She was named to the KU Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006. She is a former member of the Women Philanthropists for KU Advisory Board and is a life member of the Chancellors Club and the KU Alumni Association.

M. Elizabeth (Beth) Stella graduated from KU in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in piano. She also earned master’s degrees in piano and in human development and family life and a doctorate in developmental and child psychology. Beth’s husband, Valentino (Val), is a distinguished professor in the School of Pharmacy. Beth retired as an associate research scientist at KU in 1998 and is a community volunteer. She serves on the Hall Center Advisory Board and on the center’s Far Above campaign committee. She also served on the Women Philanthropists for KU Advisory Board. She is a life member of the Chancellors Club and the Alumni Association.

Thomas J. Walsh graduated from KU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Tom and his wife, Teresa, live in Leawood and have three grown children, two of whom also are KU alumni. Tom is co-chairman of Silpada Designs Inc., a company co-founded by Teresa in 1997. He joined the Silpada Board of Directors in 2013 after the founding families reacquired the company from Avon. Tom is also a partner at Think Big Partners, and he has founded and developed several successful businesses, including Central Interchange and H2O Resources. Before that, he was part of the executive leadership team at Jack Henry & Associates for 14 years. Tom is a member of the KU academic medical center’s Advancement Board and a life member of the Chancellors Club and the Alumni Association.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Professorship honors former law faculty member

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas School of Law alumnus Art Piculell of Portland, Oregon, and his late wife, Dee, have made a $500,000 gift to establish a professorship honoring the late Professor Earl B. Shurtz, who taught at KU Law from 1955 to 1977.

Art said he appreciated the opportunity to spend time with Professor Shurtz.

“We would discuss the subjects of law and the subjects of life,” Art said. “He had a genuine concern for his students. For instance, if he saw you sitting in the library, he would come over and talk to you. That’s who he was.”

Art and Dee met at Emporia State University, where in 1959 they earned bachelor’s degrees, Dee in music education, Art in psychology and sociology. The couple married and moved to Wichita, where Art became a social worker with the Sedgwick County Board of Social Welfare and Dee was a grade school teacher. Later, they moved to Scott City, where Art was the county welfare director of both Scott and Wichita counties and Dee taught school. In 1962, they moved to Lawrence so that Art could attend law school. Dee taught grade school in Lawrence and served as president of the law wives’ club.

“We just basically are paying back for what we got,” Art said. “Dee and I were very fortunate to get our educations and to benefit from that.”

In 1965, after Art earned his law degree, the couple returned to western Kansas, where Art practiced law in Cimarron. In 1972, Art and Dee moved to Portland, Oregon, where Art was admitted to practice law in the state. In Portland, the couple developed residential communities and invested in commercial buildings in Oregon, Washington and Arizona through their companies, Homesite Development and the Piculell Group.

“I enjoyed practicing law, but I knew that wasn’t my bent in life,” Art said. “The benefits that I received from studying the law were applicable to the real estate businesses we ventured into.”

This is the second professorship Art and Dee Piculell established at the law school; in 2004, they created the J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law.

Stephen Mazza, dean of the School of Law, expressed appreciation for the gift.

“As so many of our graduates have, Art took the analytical skills he learned in law school and used them to gain success in an area outside of a traditional legal practice. His earlier gift to the law school was incredibly generous, and to follow that with another major gift speaks to his and Dee’s love for the school and their generosity,” Mazza said.

The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.


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