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Samira Sayeh

Samira Sayeh, assistant professor of French and Italian, specializes in Francophone literature and culture and the history of countries other than France that speak the language. Read More

Chancellor search committee members named

Hemenway named a 'Kansan of the Year'

The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed Drue Jennings of Prairie Village to chair the committee responsible for conducting the search for a successor to Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who was recently named a Kansan of the Year by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

“I appreciate Drue’s willingness to lead this search. His previous business, volunteer and leadership experience is such an invaluable asset,” said Donna Shank, chair of the board of regents. “As a former CEO, Drue has a wealth of business and executive experience and knows firsthand what it takes to lead a large organization. In addition, he is a dedicated alumnus who is deeply knowledgeable about the university, having served in meaningful capacities with KU Endowment, the medical center, Edwards Campus and athletics department. I’m confident that Drue’s work will enable the board to ultimately select a truly outstanding leader who will serve KU for years to come.”

Jennings, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Kansas City Power and Light Co., will lead a search committee comprised of approximately 15 individuals representing key university and community constituencies such as students, faculty, staff, alumni/endowment, the Kansas Board of Regents, the Lawrence community and the broader state community.

Jennings, a native Kansan, earned a bachelor’s in education in 1968 and a law degree in 1972, both from KU. He spent much of his career with Kansas City Power and Light, where he started in 1974, was named chairman and CEO in 1987 and retired from in 2001.

Jennings is on the Board of Directors of the Midwest Research Institute, a board member of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, a member of the KU Medical Center Advancement Board and a KU Endowment trustee. Jennings was KU’s interim athletic director in 2003, where he guided searches that ultimately brought Athletics Director Lew Perkins and men’s basketball coach Bill Self to KU. He is a senior counsel with the Kansas City law firm of Shughart Thomson and Kilroy, P.C.

On Dec. 8, Hemenway announced that he would retire at the end of the 2008-09 academic year after 14 years of service as chancellor.

On. Dec. 28, the Topeka Capital-Journal named him Kansan of the Year. The article cited his efforts to make cancer research the university’s top priority, bring together KU’s campuses, free the KU Hospital from state bureaucracy and increase campus diversity.

“Robert Hemenway isn't afraid of big ideas,” author James Carlson wrote.

“He talks about universities' ability to ‘triumph over poverty, to cure disease’ without wincing a bit at the audacity of what he just has said … Mostly he talks of the power of institutions like his to save lives and leave a better world for the next generation, and he makes no apologies for this vision.”


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