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Talent pool grows for KU's campaign steering committee

Kurt and Sue Watson
Kurt and Sue Watson

Momentum is building for the University of Kansas’ comprehensive campaign with the formation of its steering committee.

Jill and Tom Docking
Jill and Tom Docking
Mark and Stacy Parkinson
Mark and Stacy Parkinson

Some of KU’s most generous donors and supporters are included as members of the committee, which will hold its first meeting on March 11. They will draw on their backgrounds and professional expertise to promote the goals of the campaign. They join three alumni couples who are leading the campaign: chairs Kurt and Sue Watson, of Andover, and co-chairs Tom and Jill Docking, of Wichita, and Mark and Stacy Parkinson, of Potomac, Md.

“We are thrilled to count on this group of people to contribute their energy and talent to this campaign,” said Kurt Watson. “Each of them brings an impressive skill set and most importantly, a passion for KU. Together with them, we are embarking on a journey that will transform KU’s future.”

Fundraising for the campaign already is under way, with a public launch planned for spring 2012.

“Private philanthropy is essential for KU to excel as an institution,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “We’re fortunate to have this group of supporters to take our message around the country. I believe this campaign will bring unlimited possibilities for all the people we serve.”

The new members of the steering committee are:

David Booth, of Austin, Texas. Booth is CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors. He earned two degrees at KU — a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in business. He also has an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Joe and Jean Brandmeyer, formerly of the Kansas City area, now of El Paso, Texas. They are the founders and former owners of Enturia.

Linda Zarda Cook, of Naples, Fla. Cook is a retired executive of Royal Dutch Shell’s global Natural Gas and Power division in the Netherlands. She earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at KU.

Ed and Helen Healy, of Eastborough. Ed Healy is an attorney in the Wichita law firm of Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson and Kitch. He earned two degrees at KU — a law degree and an MBA. Helen Healy earned an MBA from KU.

Jay Howard, of Austin, Texas, is president of JDH Investments and chair of the KU Alumni Association Board of Directors. Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at KU and a law degree from the University of Texas.

Drue Jennings, of Prairie Village, is senior counsel with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart PC in Kansas City, Mo. He earned two degrees from KU — a bachelor’s in education and a law degree. He is chair of the Board of Trustees of KU Endowment.

Brian and Buffy King, of Leawood. Brian King is affiliated with Frontier Wealth Management in Kansas City, Mo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history at KU. Buffy King is a civic leader. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from KU.

Joe and Susan Morris, of Leawood. Joe Morris is former chairman of the Capital Corp. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at KU. Susan Morris is a civic leader.

Charles and Anne Rhoades, of Mission Hills. Charles Rhoades is a physician and president of Dickson-Diveley Midwest Orthopaedic Clinic. He earned two degrees at KU — a bachelor’s of general studies and a medical degree. Ann Rhoades attended nursing school at KU and is a civic leader.

Linda Ellis Sims, of Independence, Mo., is an executive with ExxonMobil Corp. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at KU.

Michael Shinn, of Highland Heights, Ohio, is a certified financial planner and owner of Shinn Financial Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at KU and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Tom Wiggans, of Olathe, is chair of Excaliard Pharmaceuticals. He earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at KU and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Forrest and Sally Hoglund, of Dallas, are honorary members of the steering committee. Forrest Hoglund is owner of Hoglund Interests. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at KU and was chair of KU First, the previous comprehensive campaign. Sally Hoglund earned a bachelor’s in political science at KU.

KU Endowment, the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU, is coordinating all campaign efforts. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.


Michelle Keller

Assistant Vice President, Communications and Donor Relations 785-832-7336

Michelle Strickland

Media Relations 785-832-7363