• Home
  • After Graduation
  • Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni

Our graduates' careers demonstrate the endless possibilities of a degree in the liberal arts and sciences. To recognize the most significant among our alumni's many achievements, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences honors a few select graduates each year with the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. It is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the College.

The award recognizes our graduates' outstanding contributions to KU, their professions or their communities in a wide range of disciplines, including the arts, public service, business, academia and more.

2017-2018


Delano Lewis
Diplomat, executive
The list of careers Delano Lewis has held is lengthy and diverse. After graduating from KU in 1960 with majors in political science and history and a law degree soon after, he embarked on a career including roles with the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda, as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, CEO of NPR and more than 20 years in telecommunications with C & P Telco in D.C., culminating as president of Bell Atlantic/DC, which is now Verizon.

Alongside his professional career, Lewis has made contributions as a public servant and philanthropist in the Washington, D.C. community, and on a federal level. Recently, he’s focused his energy on sharing his experiences with others, compiling his life lessons in his memoir, “It All Begins with Self: How to Discover Your Passion, Connect with People, and Succeed in Life.”

2015-2016


Anne Levinson
Judge, civic leader
1980


Brad Garlinghouse
Tech executive
1994


Dan Rooney
Philanthropist
1996


2014-15


Edgar Heap of Birds
Multidisciplinary artist
1976


Sharon Lee
Physician
1974


William Fisher
Geology professor
1958, 1961

2012-13


B. Lynn Pascoe
Diplomat
1964


Charles Boyd
Retired four-star general of the U.S. Air Force
1975, 1976


Chris Martin
Visual effects
2003


John Gurche
Paleo-artist
1974, 1979


Rosemarie Truglio
Sesame Workshop executive
1986, 1990

2011-12


Juan Manuel Santos
President of the Republic of Colombia
1973


Marla Prather
Art Curator
1978, 1981


Marla Spivak
Entomology researcher
1989


Robert Kipp
Civic Leader
1956

2010-11


Cynthia Carroll
Business executive
1982


Mark Amin
Film producer
1972


Vernon L. Smith
Economist
1954


Wes Jackson
Environmentalist
1960

2009-10


Ann Hamilton
Visual artist
1979


George William James
Baseball statistician
1973, 1975


Kathleen Sebelius
Former governor of Kansas
1980


Steve Mills
Television producer
1951

2008-09


Deanell Reece Tacha
Federal judge
1968


Jacqueline Z. Davis
Performing arts executive
1973


Robert Hill
Biochemistry researcher


Sheila Bair
Economist
1975

2007-08


George Sheldon
Surgeon
1957, 1961


James Gunn
Science fiction author
1947, 1951


Mary Dawson
Paleontologist
1957


Thomas Rudkin
PowerPoint software engineer
1973

2006-07


B.H. "Pete" Fairchild
Poet


Randy Scott
Biotechnology inventor
1984


Rosemary O'Leary
Public management and policy researcher
1978, 1982


Steven Hawley
Astronaut
1973


Thomas G. Burish
Provost
1975, 1976

2005-06


Charley Oswald
Businessman
1951


David M. Hillis
Molecular systematics researcher
1983, 1984,1985


Sally Hoglund
Public service advocate
1956


Sara Paretsky
Crime fiction author
1967

2004-05


Elizabeth Broun
Art museum director
1968, 1969, 1976


Gary Sick
Middle East affairs analyst
1957


Irving Johnson (1925-2014)
Pharmaceutical researcher
1953


Mike Robe
Television writer-director-producer
1966, 1968

2003-04


Douglas D. Heckathorn
Sociology researcher
1969, 1972, 1974


Edward F. Reilly Jr.
Chairman of the United States Parole Commission
1961


Paul S. Keim
Infectious disease researcher
1981


Terrence D. Jones
Performing arts executive
1970, 1972

2002-03


Jill Docking
Financial executive
1978, 1984


Paul R. Ehrlich
Biology researcher
1955, 1957

2001-02


Jill Quadagno
Gerontology scholarM
1975, 1976

2000-01


Fred N. Six
Kansas Supreme Court Justice
1951, 1956

1999-2000


James E. Hesser
Astronomy researcher
1963

1998-99


Martha Peterson
Higher education administrator
1937

1997-98


Arthur F. McClure II
Historian
1966

1996-97


Clyde W. Toland
Attorney
1969, 1975


Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker
Senator
1954