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Alumni couples take leadership roles in KU campaign

Kurt and Sue Watson
Kurt and Sue Watson

Three alumni couples will lead the steering committee for the next comprehensive campaign for the University of Kansas.

Campaign chairs will be Kurt and Sue Watson, of Andover. Co-chairs will be Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson and his wife, Stacy, of Topeka; and Tom and Jill Docking, of Wichita.

Kurt Watson said he and his wife, Sue, are proud to serve as campaign chairs.

“We are energized by the transformational impact this campaign will have in KU’s future,” Watson said.

The couples will be the public faces of the campaign. Their job will be to recruit the next level of steering committee members, rally support for priorities and provide guidance throughout the public phase of the campaign.

“We’re fortunate to have such dynamic and visionary campaign leaders,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “As KU alumni, all of them have climbed Mount Oread and graduated to excel in their lives and careers.”

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed confidence with the campaign’s leaders.

“With this capable leadership, I’m sure this campaign will succeed in creating a bright future for KU,” Gray-Little said. “Our success will have a ripple effect on the economic vitality of our state, driven by this university’s spirit of leadership and innovation.”

Kurt Watson is president and chief operating officer of IMA Financial Group, Wichita. He is past chair of the KU Endowment Board of Trustees and a current member of its executive committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 1975. Sue Watson earned a bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 1975. She is past chair and a current member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the KU Alumni Association.

Gov. Mark Parkinson earned his law degree from KU in 1984. In January, he will become the new president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living in Washington, D.C. Stacy Parkinson is an attorney who earned three degrees at KU — bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology in 1981 and a law degree in 1984.

Tom Docking, a partner in the Wichita law firm of Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock and Kennedy, earned three degrees at KU — a bachelor’s in economics and political science in 1976 and a law degree and a master’s of business administration in 1980. He served as Kansas lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987. Jill Docking received her bachelor’s degree in history at KU in 1978 and her master’s of business administration in 1984. She works as a financial adviser and recently served as chair of the Kansas Board of Regents. She is a member of the KU Endowment Board of Trustees.

The steering committee leaders were recruited by the campaign organizing committee, which held three meetings in 2010.

The campaign is being planned by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363