50 years strong

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Dr. Ambler at Student Senate reunion

Two hours before the KU vs. Oklahoma football game Saturday, Oct. 5, nearly 50 current and former student government leaders gathered in Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Student Senate

Though student government on Mount Oread dates back to 1909, today’s model was created in 1969 during a tumultuous time on campus. 

“Student Senate was born as this effective way to channel student activism and voice,” said Zach Thomason, a Leawood junior majoring in business analytics and accounting and the current administration’s chief of staff. “Because students have so effectively been able to lead for 50 years, I thought it was extremely important that we recognize that and get everyone back together to reflect on those times.” 

Among those celebrating the governing body’s 50-year milestone were former student leaders David Awbrey, c’71, g’72, who was elected the first student body president in 1969; former U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder, c’99, l’02, chief executive during the 1998-’99 academic year; and Reggie Robinson, c’80, l’87, the 1978-’79 student body vice president.

Longtime champion of student success David Ambler, who served as vice chancellor for student affairs from 1977 to 2002, also returned for the reunion and joked about seeing many familiar faces that “help me feel ancient.”

“My whole 25 years at KU I was one of the advisers to Student Senate,” he said. “I was impressed when I came here how much involvement student government had and their potential for really having an impact on the institution, which I think they have had over the years.”

Well said, Dr. Ambler. Here’s to 50 more.


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