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Archive for Friday, March 27, 1998

COMMUNITY ASSETS

March 27, 1998

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They may not be household names, but George Catt and Jane Johnson both have made important contributions to Lawrence and Kansas University.

Two stories in Thursday's Journal-World told of the retirement of two individuals who have played a significant and important role in helping make Lawrence and Kansas University better places.

These two people, Judge George Catt and Jane Johnson, may not be the best known local residents, and they do not seek the public spotlight, but each, in his and her own way, have contributed a great deal.

George Catt announced he is stepping aside as the city's sole Municipal Court judge after 25 years of service. At a time when our judicial system is so important and is being tested more and more, it is essential that everyone in law enforcement and the judicial system conduct themselves in a professional and totally fair manner. This applies to everyone from the newest police department recruit to the most senior judge on the nation's highest court.

Thousands of people have come before Judge Catt, and although many may not have agreed with his judicial decisions, chances are a large percentage of these individuals have high respect for the judge's honesty and fairness. Catt has set a high standard for his successor to try to match.

For years, Jane Johnson has been the ``front door'' to the KU chancellor's office. And she has done it in a superb manner. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, she has handled all types of situations in which her manner and professionalism has reflected credit on the university and the chancellor's office.

The three KU chancellors she has assisted, as well as the university, all have benefited from Johnson's commitment to KU and the office of the chancellor.

As Chancellor Bob Hemenway said, ``Jane is one of the best people I have ever worked with and she has made the chancellor's office function with efficiency and humanity for generations of students ... It has been a privilege to share the office with her.''

Upon learning of Johnson's desire to step aside from her daily responsibilities, former Chancellors Archie Dykes and Gene Budig also were high in their praise of their former secretary.

It is relatively easy to be pleasant when dealing with happy situations but far more difficult to handle visitors and phone callers who are unhappy about some university-related matter. Johnson has handled all such situations in a dignified, firm and helpful manner.

Johnson and Catt have served well, 27 and 25 years respectively, and they both deserve the thanks and appreciation of a broad cross-section of the city and university families.

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