Lew Perkins Receives Civic Giant Award

Nov. 24, 2008


University of Kansas Athletics Director Lew Perkins Monday night received Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s inaugural Civic Giant Award at halftime of the KU-Washington basketball game at the Sprint Center.

“Lew Perkins is a leader who has been a good friend to Kansas City and who has made a lasting and healthy difference in our community at large,” said Tom Bowser, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. “Lew, his KU coaches and student-athletes create positive role models for young people throughout our region. These life-long impressions are essential for healthy living and healthy communities like ours. Thanks to Lew, student-athletes are becoming champs in life. We say ‘thanks’ to Lew for being such a good neighbor by showcasing many of the KU Athletic programs in the Kansas City area.”

Under Perkins, who has been KU’s athletics director since July 2003, the KU football team has won an Orange Bowl and has been bowl-eligible five of six years. The KU men’s basketball team won the NCAA in 2008 and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 2004 and 2007. Women’s volleyball, soccer and basketball also have made multiple postseason appearances since Perkins’ arrival. Dozens of KU student-athletes have earned national and conference academic and athletic awards.

Perkins has also overseen multiple upgrades and expansions to KU’s athletics facilities, and has doubled the department’s budget. Readers of TIME Magazine’s Time.com voted him the world’s top sports executive in a 2008 on-line poll. He was the only college administrator listed among the poll’s 35 candidates.

Under Perkins’ direction, Kansas has provided guidance in nutrition, health and fitness, educational workshops on substance abuse, healthy relationships and finances. Kansas Athletics has instituted a fitness program with local elementary students and is committed to the CHAMPS/Life Skills program, which recognizes students for academic excellences, athletic excellence, personal and career development and community service.

“I am tremendously honored that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is recognizing me,” Perkins said, “but we could not have accomplished what we have without our tremendous coaches and student-athletes. We are committed to being the best role models we can be for the youth of this area.”