Natasha Veeser
William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications

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

Happy Kansas Day, Kansans! We caught sunflowers standing tall at the Grinter Family Farms just outside Lawrence last fall. You may wonder how the sunflower came to be the State flower in 1903 and we found an excerpt from Kansas legislation: Whereas, Kansas has a native wild flower common throughout her borders, hardy and conspicuous, of definite, unvarying and striking shape, easily sketched, moulded, and carved, having armorial capacities, ideally adapted for artistic reproduction, with its strong, distinct disk and its golden circle of clear glowing rays -- a flower that a child can draw on a slate, a woman can work in silk, or a man can carve on stone or fashion in clay; and Whereas, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, "the sunflower state"... Be it enacted ... that the helianthus or wild native sunflower is ... designated ... the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas.

We caught sunflowers standing tall at Grinter Family Farms outside of Lawrence last fall. Happy Kansas Day, Kansans!
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (, associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times