Topeka The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday granted Gene Budig the title of chancellor emeritus for his 30 years of service to Kansas University.
Budig was chancellor of Kansas University from 1980 to 1994. He served as president of baseball’s American League from 1994 to 1999. He is now part-owner of a minor league baseball team in South Carolina. And recently, he released a book about baseball greats, “Clearing the Bases.”
In a letter to regents, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little praised Budig for his meritorious service as chancellor and continued support of KU.
Gray-Little recounted when — in June 1991 — a lightning strike caused a fire and ultimate destruction of Hoch Auditorium.
“Through Chancellor Budig’s tireless lobbying efforts, KU received an $18 million appropriation from the state to rebuild the structure. In recognition of his dedication, the new building was named Budig Hall when it was officially dedicated in October 1997,” she said.
She said in the letter that Budig and his wife, Gretchen, have been generous donors to KU, establishing professorships in several departments and a scholarship fund.
Last month, KU announced the Budigs established a new professorship in social and behavioral sciences. Including that gift of $100,000, the Budigs have given more than $1 million to KU.
A resolution read aloud Thursday at the regents meeting said that under Budig's tenure as chancellor he presided over growth including construction of the Dole Human Development Center, Adams Alumni Center, Anschutz Science Library, Lied Center, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and regents center in Overland Park, now known as the Edwards Campus. Enrollment under Budig reached an all-time high of 29,161 in 1992, KU Medical Center improved its financial footing, and the number of distinguished professorships increased from 49 in 1981 to 135 in 1994, the resolution said.
Last year, the regents designated Robert Hemenway chancellor emeritus. Hemenway had been chancellor for 14 years prior to stepping down in 2009. The title is honorary and doesn't include any benefits.
On Thursday, Budig was not present at the regents meeting. Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park said he spoke with Budig who said he was honored by the proposal but that his responsibilities and travel schedule did not allow him to attend the meeting.