Lawrence Assistant City Manager Debbie Van Saun Named Associate AD/SWA at Kansas

July 30, 2007

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Debbie Van Saun, assistant city manager of Lawrence, Kan., since July 2000, has been named associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at the University of Kansas.

Van Saun will replace Kelly Mehrtens, who has been named director of athletics at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Among her duties, Van Saun will:
–directly supervise selected sports and provide administrative guidance to those coaches and their programs;
–work closely with student-athletes regarding financial aid, housing, summer school, fifth-year aid and other pertinent areas;
–monitor Kansas Athletics efforts to comply with Title IX and NCAA gender equity principles;
–monitor NCAA governance issues and coordinate the University’s position on new NCAA legislation, and
–prepare financial aid budget reports for the Athletics Director.

“Debbie has shown outstanding management and leadership qualities during her many years in city government,” Kansas Athletics Director Lew Perkins said. “Those skills, plus her obviously strong organizational skills, will serve as a tremendous asset to the University of Kansas.”

In her position as assistant city manager, Van Saun has provided direct supervision to the Planning, Neighborhood Resources, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Utilities departments. Her responsibilities include oversight of the Public Safety Departments and the development of the annual operating budget for the City of Lawrence – $140,842,355 in 2008. She also assists the City Manager with day-to-day management of the city staff, which included personnel management, daily interaction with all department heads, and frequent interaction with elected officials. She also played a leadership role in negotiations with Lawrence Police Officers Association.

Van Saun was assistant utilities director for the city of Lawrence from 1989 to 2000, during which time she provided direct supervision to the clerical, technical, and professional staff responsible for providing water and wastewater services to the community. Prior to that she served as the city’s assistant finance director (from 1985-1989) and as collections supervisor (from 1979-1985).

Van Saun, who grew up in Wichita, Kan., earned undergraduate (Bachelor of Science in Education) and graduate (Master’s in Public Administration) degrees from the University of Kansas. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Shelter, Hilltop Child Development Center and People’s Bank. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Court-Appointed Special Advocates and the Red Cross.

Van Saun’s husband, Paul, played varsity football for KU in the 1970’s and owns Van Saun Decorating Service in Lawrence. They have two adult children – Kristen Van Saun Toner, a 2006 graduate of KU Law School currently working for Chief U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum, and Joseph, a CPA with Deloitte & Touche LLP. Kristen was a four-year member of the Notre Dame swimming team; Joseph was a four-year member of the Boston College swimming team.

“Leaving the City of Lawrence after 28 years of serving the citizens of this community has not been an easy decision for me, but I am excited about this new opportunity,” Van Saun said. “The University of Kansas Athletics Department has a wonderful reputation and outstanding leadership in Lew Perkins. I am pleased and honored to be a part of the exciting future of that organization.”