Remembering Chancellor Budig

The University of Kansas lost a faithful advocate and friend when former Chancellor Gene Budig died Sept. 8. Budig served as chancellor from 1981 to 1994, and his vision guided KU to unparalleled successes. Under his leadership, KU enrollment reached an all-time high of 29,161 in 1992, KU Medical Center returned to sound financial footing, and the number of distinguished professorships at KU nearly tripled.

His administration brought campus growth with additions including the Dole Human Development Center, Adams Alumni Center, Anschutz Science Library, the Lied Center for the Performing Arts and the opening of the KU Edwards Campus.

Budig not only oversaw new growth but also came to the rescue of historic structures. A lightning strike in 1991 started a fire at Hoch Auditorium that left only the front façade intact. Budig lobbied the state Legislature and helped secure an $18 million appropriation to rebuild the structure, which was christened Budig Hall at its dedication in 1997.

While at the university’s helm, Budig provided leadership to Campaign Kansas, a five-year fund drive that brought in $265 million in gifts and commitments to KU Endowment for the benefit of the university. He and his wife, Gretchen, also were generous donors to KU, creating six endowed funds for faculty and staff. In 2008, their lifetime giving exceeded $1 million.

Budig resigned in 1994 to become president of Major League Baseball’s American League. Before leaving the university, he told Oread magazine, “I leave with a sense of satisfaction and appreciation. It has been the highest honor to be associated with the people of KU. Lawrence will always be special to our family. It is home.”

Budig was a KU Endowment Life Trustee. Memorial gifts can be made to the Gene and Gretchen Budig Teaching Professorships at www.kuendowment.org/budig.