Kansas University is home to more than 30,000 students either beginning or enhancing their career paths.
It’s also a haven for many who have completed their formal education but who see learning as a lifelong process. These advanced students come from all walks of life, including former KU faculty and staff. Their common bond is their continued thirst for learning and active participation in a variety of high-quality events offered at KU.
Maurice Joy, a retired KU business school professor, and his wife, Betsy, are self-proclaimed political junkies and members of Friends of the Dole Institute. They attend events there whenever they can.
“We’re enthusiastic supporters of the institute and consider it one of the jewels of KU and Lawrence,” Maurice said. “It’s first of all a unique and lovely building, and the programs are every bit as good as the venue. The program presentations are very broad, from the internationally well-known to lesser-known but very interesting personalities like author David Nichols.”
He and Betsy particularly appreciate the institute’s bipartisan approach to speaker selection.
“We get to hear all sides of political issues,” Maurice said. “We love the place and know we’re lucky to have director Bill Lacy.”
Bob Pattie, a retired hospital chaplain, and his wife, Dory, a retired interior designer, agree. Like the Joys, they attend the institute as often as their schedules permit.
“We particularly enjoyed the ‘First 100 days of Obama,’ and the Lincoln series, as well as the interview with Senators Elizabeth and Bob Dole at the Lied Center,” Bob said.
The Patties also attend a wide variety of other KU events when time permits.
“We’ve attended lectures at the student union, sporting and theater events,” Bob said. “We’ve also participated in scientific studies like the speech and hearing clinic’s recent study. The assets of KU are a special attraction to all the citizens of Lawrence and the state, and we appreciate the opportunity to participate.”
Marilyn Bradt is another KU regular. She worked for the nonprofit Kansas Advocates for Better Care, functioned as a full-time lobbyist during legislative sessions and was president of the Kansas League for Women Voters. She revels in the wide range of free events offered at KU.
“I’ve had a lifelong interest in politics, and the Dole Institute provides a wonderful focal point for my continued interest now that I’m retired,” she said. “They’ve done a superb job of presenting compelling issues of public policy both present and historic, with a carefully balanced perspective. Their speakers are uniformly excellent and the topics wide-ranging.”
Bradt’s interests aren’t confined to politics. She also attends concert and chamber series at the Lied Center, organ concerts and recitals at the Bales Organ Recital Hall, numerous student choruses, chorales and individual recitals.
“I also like to attend events at the Hall Center for Humanities and the William Allen White School of Journalism lectures. They’re always of such high quality,” she said.
Bradt, like many others, including Janet and Stan Roth, also attends Endacott Society events in the Adams Alumni Center. The society was founded in 1981 as “KU Retirees Club” but changed its name in 1999 to honor Paul S. Endacott, an All-American KU basketball player from 1921 to 1923.
“We enjoy the friendships, intellectual contacts and learning from retired brilliant-minded faculty and staff, some of whom are still active and vital in their nineties,” Janet said. “As well as the social contacts during the weekly coffee time, we enjoy participating in a wide range of the society’s interest groups.”
These groups include armchair travel, cinema and computer study groups, gardening seminars, opera, singing for fun and pre-concert dinners at Brandon Woods Retirement Community before events at the Lied Center.
Bradt summed it up with a sigh: “KU offers so much, it’s quite impossible to find time to do everything I’d like to do.”