Reggie Robinson, former KU administrator and Board of Regents leader, dies at 63
Reggie Robinson, the current president of the Kansas Health Foundation who previously served as a longtime faculty member and administrator at the University of Kansas and as the former president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, died of cancer on Saturday at the age of 63.
Known for his decades of public service, Robinson served as a White House fellow and special assistant to Janet Reno, President Bill Clinton’s attorney general, before returning to KU, his alma mater that granted him his undergraduate and law degrees. Robinson then served as the chief of staff to former KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and as a visiting professor in KU’s School of Law for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s before being appointed to the role of president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, which he held from 2002 to 2010.
After his stint leading the governing body of Kansas’ public colleges and universities, he worked as the director of the Center for Law and Government at Washburn University for several years before returning to his alma mater — he had earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at KU.
Robinson led KU’s School of Public Affairs & Administration from 2014 until he moved to a role as KU’s top communications official, vice chancellor for public affairs, in January 2018. He held that role until November 2019, when he left KU to take what he described as his “dream job” leading the Kansas Health Foundation.
In a campus message Sunday evening, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said Robinson’s passing meant the loss of the university’s “most respected leaders, a humble giant and a beautiful soul.”
“Beyond his remarkable intellect and record of service, Reggie will be remembered for his uncommon kindness, warmth, generosity and decency. To put it plainly, Reggie was the nicest and most compassionate person one could ever hope to meet,” Girod said. “He was humble, thoughtful and gracious. He had a disarming wit and an easy smile that lit up the room. He cared deeply about people and made those around him feel special — because to Reggie, everyone was special.”
Blake Flanders, the current president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, said in a statement that he and the entire board were deeply saddened by Robinson’s passing, and that Robinson was “an incredibly gifted leader and a dedicated and caring public servant.”
“He was also a caring and thoughtful friend and mentor to everyone whose path he crossed,” Flanders said. “Those of us who were fortunate enough to call ourselves his colleagues will forever be grateful for the chance to work alongside him.”
According to Girod’s message, gifts in Robinson’s memory can be sent in support of the Reginald L. Robinson Law Scholarship through the KU Endowment Association, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044, or given securely online at kuendowment.org/give.
Robinson is survived by his wife, Jane, and daughters Clare and Paige.
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