Archive for Saturday, October 19, 1991


October 19, 1991


Three members of the Kansas University Alumni Association were honored Friday as recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, the association's highest honor for service to KU.

Joan Darby Edwards, Mission Hills; Elmer C. Jackson Jr., Kansas City, Kan.; and John F. Kane, Bartlesville, Okla., were recognized at a dinner at Adams Alumni Center.

Since 1975, 89 medallions have been presented in memory of Fred dddqaEllsworth, former alumni association executive secretary who retired in 1963 after 39 years of service. Recipients are chosen by a committee of representatives from the KU chancellor's office, the Alumni Association, the KU Endowment Association and the KU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Edwards is a Kansas City civic leader and corporate director. She attended KU from 1939 to 1942.

She heads two family businesses, Mitchelhill Seed Co. of St. Joseph, Mo., and Darby Railway Cars Inc. of Mission, and has served on the boards of the Commonwealth General Insurance Co., KPL-Gas Service Co., Leavenworth Steel Inc., Piping Contractors Inc. and the Darby Corp.

She has been a trustee for Bethany Medical Center for 20 years and is chairwoman of the Bethany Medical Center Foundation Inc. and the Edith and Harry Darby Foundation.

Her KU activities have emphasized athletics and fund raising. She is vice chairwoman of the Campaign Kansas Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, and through the Edith and Harry Darby Foundation, provided a gift for athletic scholarships and the expansion of Parrot Athletic Center on the KU campus. Campaign Kansas is KU's fund-raising drive that recently reached $210 million in gifts and pledges.

Edwards is a past member of the KU Athletic Corp. board, serving as an Alumni Association representative from 1979 to 1983. With her family, she commissioned the athletic mural in the Adams Center's All-American Room.

JACKSON, an attorney and civic leader, is past president of the National Bar Assn. and the first black to serve on and lead the Kansas Board of Regents. He received his bachelor's degree in 1933 and his law degree in 1935, both from KU.

He has been in private practice since 1935 and was Kansas special assistant attorney general from 1936 to 1939 and general counsel and project director for the Wyandotte County Legal Aid Society from 1963 to 1968. He is a past board member for the National Legal Aid and Defender Assn.

In Kansas City he is vice president of the Kansas City, Kan., Chamber of Commerce. He has chaired the Human Relations Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals and was commissioner of the Public Housing Authority.

He served on the Kansas Board of Regents from 1970 to 1978 and was chairman from 1975 to 1976.

He has beeen a member of the KU Law School Board of Governors and a trustee for the Endowment Association. He was a member of the Alumni Association board of directors from 1985 to 1990. He serves on the National Council for Campaign Kansas and the Alumni Development Committee.

In 1985 Jackson helped establish the Black History Collection at Spencer Research Library, donating a portion of his personal and professional papers.

He has received many civic and professional awards, including the 1986 Kansas Governor's Medal of Merit for Outstanding Service to his city, state and nation and the 1979 Distinguished Service Citation, the highest award given by KU and the Alumni Association for service to humanity. His other honors include the School of Law Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Distinguished Kansan award.

KANE OWNS and operates Kane Cattle and the Crossed J Cattle companies in Osage and Washington counties, Okla., and is president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Assn. He also is a director of the National Cattlemen's Assn. and the Beef Promotion and Research Board. He obtained an engineering degree from KU in 1956.

He chaired the Bartlesville Community Center Trust Authority, which in 1982 built a $13.5 million center without debt financing or federal funding.

He has volunteered extensively for the alumni association, serving on its board of directors since 1983. In addition to five years as a director, he was executive vice president from 1988 to 1989 and national president from 1989 to 1990. He will continue on the executive committee through 1995. He has chaired the Membership Task Force and the Communications Committee and has served on the Long-Range Capital Needs Task Force.

For the endowment association he is a trustee and a member of the Campaign Kansas National Council, Steering Committee and South-Central Regional Committee. He also is a member of the Second Century Fund-Raising Committee, formed during the campaign to raise a $5 million endowment for alumni association programming. Kane and his wife, Betty Burke Kane, are Chancellors Club life members and Williams Educational Fund members.

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