Three distinguished Kansas University alumni will be honored with Fred Ellsworth Medallions, the KU Alumni Association’s highest honor for volunteers, on Sept. 9, one weekend after several other alumni award recipients are scheduled to be recognized.
The Ellsworth recipients are Rich Clarkson, a 1955 journalism alumnus from Denver; Linda Ellis Sims, a 1979 engineering alumna from Independence, Mo.; and Kurt Watson, a 1975 education alumnus from Wichita.
Jennifer Sanner, senior vice president for communications at the KU Alumni Association, said the award is selected by a committee that includes representation from the Alumni Association, KU Endowment, Kansas Athletics and the chancellor’s office, with input from other campus colleagues.
It recognizes a wide breadth of service to many different areas of KU, Sanner said, including, but not limited to, athletics, the Alumni Association and the endowment association.
Clarkson, a nationally acclaimed photographer, owns Rich Clarkson and Associates. He has taken photos for the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Denver Post, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic.
Sims manages U.S. third-party basestock sales for ExxonMobil Corp. She has served on search committees to help find the new athletics director and chancellor, and is a trustee of the KU Endowment Association.
Watson is the president and chief operating officer of The IMA Financial Group Inc. in Wichita. He concluded a four-year term as chairman of the KU Endowment Association in 2010, and is serving as co-chairman, along with his wife, Sue, of the steering committee for KU’s ongoing comprehensive fundraising campaign.
All are life members of the Alumni Association and are involved with KU Endowment.
This weekend, the KU Alumni Association will honor recipients of two other awards: the Mildred Clodfelter Awards and the Dick Wintermote Chapter Volunteer of the Year Awards.
“Both Millie and Dick were known for their incredible connection to generations of alumni,” Sanner said, adding that it’s a trait that the awards named in their honor hope to recognize.
The “Millie” awards recognize volunteers who have served KU in their communities for 10 years or more, following the example of Clodfelter, who worked for the Alumni Association for 42 years during her 47-year career with KU.
Those recipients are:
• Chris Ballard, a 1974 graduate from Haviland and a senior vice president at Greensburg State Bank.
• Colette Kocour, a 1973 graduate from Wellington and a staff training coordinator at Futures Unlimited in Wellington.
• Brad Korell, a 1997 law graduate from Austin, Texas, and an attorney.
• Jody Bosch Sellers, a 1981 pharmacy graduate from Council Grove and a clinical pharmacist at the Fort Riley Military Hospital.
The Wintermote awards honor the association’s longtime executive director and recognize outstanding chapter leaders in the association.
• Ryan Colaianni, a 2007 graduate from Alexandria, Va., and leader of the Washington, D.C., chapter. He is an account executive with Edelman Public Relations.
• Greg Ek, a 1976 graduate from Overland Park, and board member for the Greater Kansas City Area Chapter. He is first vice president for investments at Wells Fargo Advisors.
• Rick Erwin, a 1977 graduate from Garden City and president of the Great Plains Chapter in Western Kansas. He is manager of Finley’s Men’s Wear in Garden City.
• Delbert Powell, a 1997 graduate from Valley, Neb., who worked with other alumni to re-establish an active Omaha Chapter. He owns Pure Energy Inc., which is involved in the speculative electricity market.
• Tom Vaughn, a 1978 law and master’s graduate from Chicago and president of the KU Black Alumni Chapter. He is an attorney.