LAWRENCE — 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.
Since 1975, 153 KU alumni and friends have received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion.