K Ring Celebration Honors KU Senior Student-Athletes & Forrest Hoglund

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Athletics presented the student-athlete members of the 2023 senior class with their K Rings in an elegant ceremony held at the Kansas Union Woodruff Auditorium Monday night. The program featured several awards presentations as well as appearances by a host of former Jayhawk greats to help congratulate the graduating seniors on their outstanding Kansas careers.

More than 300 people, including the student-athletes, parents, faculty and athletics administrators, and more than 30 K Club members consisting of former KU student-athletes attended the event to recognize the outgoing members of the senior class for their accomplishments both in competition and in the classroom.

The highlight of the night came when former KU student-athlete and current associate athletics director of engagement and outreach Wayne Simien presented the nearly 100 Jayhawks with their K rings. Simien, who served as the emcee for the evening, discussed the importance of the rings and how each ring is a symbol of the athletes’ past, present and future.

Director of Athletics Travis Goff and KU Chancellor Douglas Girod kicked off the evening’s celebration by congratulating the student-athletes on their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Each also honored the parents and guardians of the seniors in the crowd for their efforts in getting the student-athletes to this stage in their lives.

“You all are exceptional,” Goff said. “What I want you to recognize is you have already proven that. You’ve proven that in a way that 99.9 percent of the population would not be able to achieve, accomplish or prove over the first 22, 23, 24 years of their lives.”

Senior swimmer Mackenzie Bravence and track senior Chandler Gibbens were then honored as the as KU’s recipients of the Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship, a $10,000 award given to two student-athletes at each Big 12 institution who have at least a 3.5 GPA and are expected to enroll in a graduate or professional school within 15 months after they graduate. The Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship was presented by KU faculty athletics representative Dr. Susan Williams, KU associate athletics director Ryan King and Dr. Sandra Gautt, widow of Prentice Gautt who lives in Lawrence.

Kansas track and field star Rylee Anderson and men’s basketball player Jalen Wilson took home the Robert E. Frederick Senior Scholar Athletes of the Year awards. Goff and deputy athletics director for sports administration and student-athlete well-being/senior woman administrator Nicole Corcoran presented the honors to Anderson and Wilson.

Anderson holds the Kansas school indoor high jump record clearing 1.88m (6-2 ft.) earlier this at the Bob Timmons Challenge in December 2022 and at the NCAA Indoor Championship where she finished second nationally. She is a six-time All-American and won the conference indoor high jump title each of the last three years and is the two-time defending outdoor Big 12 champion heading into the upcoming league meet.

Wilson will go down as one of the most decorated players in Kansas men’s basketball history. He won the 2023 Julius Erving Award as the best small forward in college basketball. Wilson is Kansas’ 32nd all-time Consensus All-America First Team honoree. The unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection, Wilson led the Big 12 in scoring at 20.1 points per game, rebounds at 8.3 and double-doubles with 12.

Then, rowing senior Kia Alexander, the student-athlete speaker, talked about coming to Kansas from Tampa, Florida, and her journey in becoming a KU graduate and how that was similar to many of the others being honored at the K Ring Celebration.

KU recognized former KU baseball player Forrest Hoglund as the recipient of the K Club Lifetime Service Award. Hoglund was a member of the Kansas baseball team from 1954-56. Following baseball, he had a distinguished career spanning more than 50 years in the oil and gas industry, much of that time in top management positions. Throughout his post-KU career, the Hoglunds, Forrest and his wife Sally, a KU 1956 graduate, have contributed numerous gifts to the University. Included is the home of Kansas baseball, Hoglund Ballpark, which was built in 1988.

The night concluded with a rendition of the alma mater and the Rock Chalk Chant led by KU junior women’s golfer Hanna Hawks, followed by a reception.