As I approach retirement this summer and my time as KU Endowment president nears the end, I find it rewarding to reflect on the past two decades as our team’s captain. The job and work required has been what you would expect to run an organization with 160 staff members and assets of nearly $3 billion providing about $200 million in support for the University of Kansas each year. A great deal of time has been spent handling staffing, budgeting, revenue, strategic planning, meetings and events.
This work requires the involvement of a dedicated and motivated team. Just like the KU men’s basketball team couldn’t have won the NCAA National Championship without their coaches, trainers, teachers, support staff and families, the success of KU Endowment relies on a robust team. It would not be possible without the involvement of generous Jayhawk donors, volunteers, staff members, university leaders, faculty, students, alumni and friends.
Over time, as I learned the ins and outs of the job, I increasingly recognized and appreciated that the core of what we do is improving the human condition through philanthropy. It’s really all about people and always has been. Donors are motivated to be part of curing diseases, helping students achieve educational goals, inspiring the latest innovations and celebrating the arts and humanities. Simply put, leaving a legacy to improve people’s lives, which makes the world a better place.
I’ve spent my career striving to achieve KU Endowment’s mission of partnering with donors in providing philanthropic support to build a greater University of Kansas. In doing so, I have been richly rewarded with countless experiences of working with individuals in developing plans to achieve their goals to help others. For many, they were motivated to “pay back” the benefits afforded them. For some, their plans represented their life’s legacy.
I am so grateful to have had such a rewarding and fulfilling career — helping others to benefit society, follow their passions and realize their dreams. Let’s be honest: It doesn’t get much better than that!