Delta Upsilon - University of Kansas

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Kansas Chapter of Delta Upsilon at the University of Kansas

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The Sunflower Page 2 2019 DistinguisheD Alumnus RAnDolph g. Austin '63 D elta Upsilon's reputation as a fraternity of gentlemen and scholars first attracted Randy Austin '63 as a high school senior in Salina, Kansas. In addition to the Chapter consistently being in the top three or five on campus in all categories and its emphasis on scholarship, Randy's sister, Colinda, an Alpha Chi at KU, spoke highly of the members. Leaving home in Texas after his junior year in high school, Randy moved to Salina in order to graduate in Kansas and get in-state tuition; KU was always his first choice. Finding a second home at Delta Upsilon would aid him throughout his collegiate years and in his career. Randy says, "The scholastic competition in the house was hugely beneficial, as well as the mentoring by upperclassmen." Randy managed to combine studying and participating in intramurals with starting a sandwich business as a junior. He laughs and says, "The DUs were my best and worst customers. I'd finish up around 1 a.m., and they would hang around to see if I had any leftovers." However, he says his favorite job during the summers and semester breaks was as a tour escort for Berry Travel of Kansas City. "Jim Lowe '56, a former tour escort for Berry, encouraged me to apply. I began by taking people to the Seattle World's Fair and then to others in New York and Montreal, to the western national parks, to Mardi Gras, to Banff and Lake Louise, and to Quebec and up the Saguenay River. Then I landed in the international division with tours to Europe, the Middle East, and the Orient. Thanks to Jim Lowe, I had worked in 30 countries before I turned 24." After graduation, Randy joined the Marines before heading to law school. He earned his J.D. and was a Highway Commission trial attorney for a couple of years before starting his own private practice in Johnson County. Although Randy enjoyed practicing trial law for over 20 years, he switched gears when his aunt asked him to manage his uncle's estate. Since then, he has focused on commercial real estate, development, and banking and is president of Fairlawn Plaza Development in Topeka. In 2017, he was inducted into the Washburn University Business Hall of Fame. Randy has been heavily involved in civic and community service over the years, including the United Way, as chair of the Humanities Council of Kansas, and as president of the Topeka Zoo Foundation. He has also been a volunteer reader to the blind and sight-impaired with KU's Audio Reader program for 28 years, where he also chairs the development committee. Randy has two children, Ed '94 and Heather, and four grandchildren. He says his fatherly hopes were realized when Ed joined the Kansas Chapter and that Ed's DU experience was also very positive. Randy and Ed, who is a private pilot, both enjoy flying to different courses around the country to play golf. Staying in touch with his DU brothers has always been important to Randy, and he's been able to do so in business and in his travels. Being named the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus has given Randy "an opportunity to remember and appreciate how important DU was certainly during my undergraduate years and, especially, beyond." And Delta Upsilon is proud to honor such an outstanding member of our fraternity. Randy can be reached at S ince the first Greek organization came to campus in 1873, sorority and fraternity life has become a vital part KU's history and tradition. Unfortunately, the state of Greek affairs around KU, universities, and U.S. is less than ideal. Situations including hazing, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol abuse allegations have plastered the news in recent years and created uncertainty and animosity within the Greek community. To address these growing concerns, Chancellor Douglas Girod announced in November 2018 that a sorority and fraternity life task force had been created to evaluate the state of sorority and fraternity life at KU. The group will also explore best practices related to policy and programming changes and submit recommendations to the chancellor on how Greek life can be enhanced for our Greek brothers and sisters. "The sorority and fraternity community has a rich tradition of leadership, scholarship, service, and friendship," Girod said. "While we can be proud of this history, it is crucial that our sorority and fraternity community is prepared to address today's challenges and opportunities. With sororities and fraternities under scrutiny nationwide and at KU, we must commit to raising our standards for health, wellness, and self-governance to meet the expectations we have for our community." The goal of this task force is to ensure that a strong sorority and fraternity system continues to be a valuable part of the student experience at KU. This diverse 27-person task force is led by KU and Beta Theta Pi alumnus Mike Michaelis, and members include students, parents, KU alumni, housing corporation representatives, advisors, university administrators, and staff. To view a complete list of task force members, visit task-force. The group is set to provide its recommendations to the chancellor this summer so he may then evaluate those recommendations and announce next steps in fall 2019. For more information, please reach out to the Office of Student Affairs at Working Toward a Better Tomorrow Chancellor Announces New Sorority and Fraternity Task Force A longtime volunteer, Randy arrives at KU Audio Reader studios.

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