William Hougland helped lead the 1952 Kansas University basketball team to a national and Olympic championship and the 1956 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.
As the first chairman of the board of directors of the KU Alumni Association, Hougland wants to move his alma mater's 46,000-member alumni group to the top.
With an internal reorganization, Fred Williams, KUAA former executive director, now has the title of president of the association and continues his responsibility as the association's chief staff officer.
"What we try to do is serve alumni and take the lead in making a great university greater," said Hougland, a '52 business school graduate and former president of Koch Oil Co. in Wichita.
HOUGLAND'S one-year term as chair of the 110-year-old association began July 1. He replaced Glee Smith, a Larned attorney.
Smith, who will serve on the association's executive committee for the next four years, said KU graduates should be eager to repay their debt to higher education.
"Anybody who graduates from the university should be interested first of all in the whole field of higher education and making all universities strong. Secondly, they should be interested in making their alma mater stronger," he said.
Smith said many of the last fiscal year's key issues for the alumni association will remain this fiscal year.
"We've got to fight for every available dollar in state appropriations for the university," he said.
Hougland said association members throughout the state will remain active in political issues related to higher education.
"THOSE PEOPLE can tell the KU story to their representatives," he said. "That's very important to the university."
Hougland said KU alumni played a major role in convincing the 1992 Legislature to allocate $18 million for the reconstruction of Hoch Auditorium, which burned in June 1991.
Smith said also said the alumni association needs to increase its operating endowment. The Task Force on Corporate Sponsorship has been created to investigate the feasibility of increasing outside donations to the association.
"You need a fairly substantial endowment just for the alumni association to take care of maintenance of the building."
Hougland said increasing KUAA membership remains a top priority.
"The big challenge is to increase the number of alumni in the association," Hougland said.
Hougland said to accomplish that goal he will work to improve services to alumni association members, including insurance and travel programs.
"THE PROGRAMS are designed to help alumni and help the association with fund-raising. We receive revenue from the programs," he said. "We need to increase support for the alumni association as we provide more and different programs for alumni."
Hougland said the alumni association also will work to expand recruitment of academically talented students to KU through the Kansas Honors Program which each year honors academically talented high school seniors all across the state.
"The idea is to promote KU and get a majority to come to the university. It's been successful. We're interested in trying to expand it," Hougland said.
Smith said an association committee also is studying the possibility of expanding the K.S. ``Boots'' Adams Alumni Center, which was dedicated in 1983 and serves as KUAA's national office.
"The alumni center is a great facility," he said. "It doesn't just serve the alumni for our own enjoyment. Some people have called it the gateway to the university.
"When new people come to the university, whether they are potential faculty members or parents or possible contributors, it creates a great first impression. It is overloaded now with meetings by the schools and our own association," he said.