RCW: Donor Spotlight - Dr. Bernie Kish

More than contributor to the University of Kansas academically as an instructor for more than 10 years, Dr. Bernie Kish comes from a Jayhawk family as his wife and oldest daughter earned degrees from KU. An avid fan of all Kansas student-athletes and teams, Kish also supports the athletic department as a member of the Williams Education Fund. Here’s more on Dr. Kish in this week’s Donor Spotlight.

Are you University of Kansas alumni?
I received my Doctorate in Higher Education in 1998. I decided to pursue a PH.D after retiring from the military in 1989. We are a Jayhawk family. My wife Judy received a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 1967, and our oldest daughter Keri received her undergraduate degree in Political Science in 1995.

What’s your favorite KU Athletics memory?
Actually, I have two. In 1991, I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, with Dr. Jerry Nossaman for the NCAA Regional Basketball Tournament. Arkansas was the top seed, and Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers were seeded No. 2. We blew Indiana out of the gym on Thursday night and came back on Saturday from 12 points down at the half to beat the “40 Minutes of Hell” Razorbacks soundly, giving Roy Williams, in his third year at KU, the first of his four Final Fours. To this day, the 1990-91 edition of the Jayhawks are my favorite KU men’s basketball team.
The second favorite memory was when the Hawks beat the Missouri Tigers in the snow at Arrowhead in 2008 with that now iconic Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier touchdown pass. I did not go to the game but waited to greet the team when they arrived back at Memorial Stadium. Coach Mark Mangino was the first person off the bus. I said “Congratulations, Coach,” and he replied with a huge smile and said, “You liked that Bernie, huh?”
Why do you support Kansas Athletics and its student-athletes?
First of all, over my ten plus years teaching at KU, I have had a bunch of student-athletes in my classes. They are respectful, courteous, hard working and eager to learn. Just terrific youngsters.  And, I have developed a close relationship with several coaches, particularly Ray Bechard and Ritch Price – two great guys who do things right and represent our great university with class and dignity. So, I give because I truly feel that I am supporting a noble endeavor.
What’s your favorite KU tradition?
I love singing the Alma Mater before KU football games at Memorial Stadium and men’s basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse, rocking back and forth with the people on your left and right. It is a beautiful song, and with the images of KU on the Jumbotron and Scoreboard, it often gives me a lump in my throat and has a tear trickling down my cheek, and particularly before a big, big game.
What’s one word to describe KU?
One-of-a-kind. (This really is one word!)
Any final comments?
I am blessed to be teaching and working at KU. No other place like it. Terrific students. World class faculty.  Highly talented staff. I have the late Dr. Bob Frederick, who hired me in 2005 and whose memory of treating all people with respect is with me every day, to thank for my being here.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray Little has been a remarkable leader. She has led the Jayhawk Nation with what Tony Dungy calls “Quiet Strength.” I am very proud to be a member of her team. 

For more information on the Williams Education Fund, including tickets, parking, premium seating, facility projects and special events visit WilliamsFund.com.