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Natasha Veeser
William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications
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Sportswriter, author Frank Deford to receive 2013 William Allen White Foundation National Citation

Mon, 02/04/2013

LAWRENCE — The 2013 William Allen White Foundation National Citation will go to one of the most versatile journalists in the United States. Frank Deford will receive the citation Friday, Feb. 8, at the University of Kansas. 

The ceremony and lecture are free to the public and will take place at 10:30 a.m. in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The citation has been awarded annually since 1950, and the recipient is chosen by the William Allen White Foundation trustees.

Deford is an author and commentator. He is the author of 18 books, including his most recent New York Times best seller, his memoir, "Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter." He also is known for his National Public Radio commentaries.

“Frank Deford is a journalist with a true talent for the written and spoken word. His accomplishments and versatility in a demanding and changing industry make him a worthy recipient of this prestigious award,” said Ann Brill, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “The School of Journalism and the William Allen White Foundation is proud to present him with the National Citation. He joins a list of distinguished and talented journalists who have received the citation, and we are pleased to have him join us during our celebration of William Allen White Day.”

Deford was recently chosen as the first magazine recipient of the Associated Press Sports Editor’s Red Smith award for “major contributions to sports journalism.” He also was voted as U.S. Sportswriter of The Year six times by his peers at Sports Illustrated, where he has been a senior contributing writer since 1962. His honors include induction into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. Deford has been presented with the National Magazine Award for profiles, a Christopher Award, and he earned journalism honor awards from the University of Missouri and Northeastern University. The University of Texas presents an annual lecture in his name. He has been granted numerous honorary degrees. The Sporting News has described Deford as “the most influential sports voice among members of the print media,” and the magazine GQ has called him, simply, “the world’s greatest sportswriter.” 

Deford has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award. ESPN presented a television biography of Deford’s life and work, "You Write Better Than You Play."

“Frank Deford is not just a fine writer, but a regular essayist on National Public Radio and a longtime contributor to the weekly television program "HBO's Real Sports With Brian Gumbel." And while he is best known for sports writing, he has written for Newsweek and Vanity Fair, has authored 18 books and primarily because of the excellence of his writings, has been selected for 10 honorary degrees,” said Richard Clarkson, a William Allen Foundation Trustee. “Among his books was the touching and sensitive chronicle of the life — and subsequent death of his daughter, Alexandra, from cystic fibrosis. He was chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for 17 years.”

Two of Deford’s books, "Everybody’s All-American," and "Alex: The Life Of A Child," have been made into movies.

Deford can be heard Wednesdays on "Morning Edition" on National Public Radio and on television on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel."

Deford has served as the national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for more than a decade and remains chairman emeritus. 

KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications is named in White’s honor. White (1868–1944) was a nationally influential Kansas editor and publisher. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 and posthumously in 1947.

Other notable recipients of the William Allen White Citation include Candy Crowley, 2012; John Carroll, 2011; Leonard Pitts Jr., 2010; Seymour Hersh, 2008; Gordon Parks, 2006; Gerald F. Seib, 2005, Cokie Roberts, 2002; Molly Ivins, 2001; Bob Woodward, 2000; Bernard Shaw, 1994; Charles Kuralt, 1989, Helen Thomas, 1986, James J. Kilpatrick, 1979; Arthur O. Sulzberger, 1974; Walter Cronkite, 1969, and James Reston, 1950. A complete list of past recipients is available at www.journalism.ku.edu.



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

RT @kulibraries : Check out this news feature & then check out his book with us: http://t.co/gLNJxmtx1B #KULibraries #KUWorks https://t.co/L…
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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