Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 1995


August 29, 1995


Plans for a KU lecture series to rival the Landon Lecture Series at Kansas State are stalled.

The search for a high-profile, low-budget authority on international affairs to inaugurate a Kansas University lecture series generated plenty of frustration.

Attracting a person with the right credentials to launch the series honoring favorite son Dwight Eisenhower proved so difficult the project was placed on the back burner, said Terry Weidner, associate director for international programs at KU.

"When you launch it, you really want someone big," he said Monday in an interview. "We haven't been able to do that."

The goal is to create a lecture series comparable to the Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues at Kansas State University.

KSU's Landon series is a tribute to Alf Landon, a Kansas governor and 1936 Republican presidential nominee. The Landon series has featured about 100 speakers since 1966, including former Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush.

At KU, officials began the hunt for the inaugural lecturer about a year ago. The goal was to have the kickoff speech in spring 1995.

Overtures were made to former U.S. President Richard Nixon and French President Francois Mitterrand, both of whom later died. Weidner said a deal fell through to have the first lecture presented by Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who is running for president.

Another idea was to bring in retired Gen. Colin Powell, a potential presidential candidate. So far, he's resisted the urge to speak at KU.

"The problem is we can't pay," Weidner said. "A lot of people on the lecture circuit are asking a lot. Someone like Colin Powell is making $60,000 a pop."

The lecture series at KSU is supported by Landon patrons. No major patron network has been created at KU.

Eisenhower was president in 1953-61 and died in 1969. His grave is next to the Eisenhower Library and his boyhood home in Abilene.

Former KU Chancellor Gene Budig received permission from Eisenhower's son, John, to use the family name for the series.

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