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David Martin
University of Kansas Medical Center
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University mourns Ann Weick, former social welfare dean

Wed, 06/04/2014

LAWRENCE – University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Thomas McDonald, interim dean of the School of Social Welfare, released the following statements regarding the death of Ann Weick, former dean of the School of Social Welfare.

Gray-Little: “Ann Weick was instrumental in building the School of Social Welfare into the internationally respected school it is today. In addition to her exceptional academic leadership, she was a talented scholar and possessed a great passion for human rights and social justice. I offer my sincere condolences to her family, friends and former colleagues.”

McDonald: “We are all deeply saddened by the death of our former dean, Ann Weick. At the school, in our local community and in our professional community, both nationally and internationally, Dean Weick commanded the respect and admiration of everyone. Her kindness and grace masked a determination that our school stand for diversity, inclusion, social justice and a recognition of the strengths in every one of us. We are both stronger and better for having had her as our dean, and poorer for the loss of a great friend.”

Weick died May 31. She was 73.

Weick led the School of Social Welfare from 1987 to 2006. During her tenure, the school developed a strong reputation and was recognized for its innovation in social work theory development. Research and policies developed in the school in the areas of child welfare, aging, mental health and community development guided local, state and national leaders. External research funding and philanthropy grew substantially.

Weick joined the faculty at KU in 1976. She was named acting dean of the School of Social Welfare in 1987 and became permanent dean in 1988. She was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame in 1992.

Weick earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon, a master’s degree in social work from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in social policy and planning from Brandeis University. Her research interests included holistic approaches to social work and medical practice, health and social issues of women, alcohol and drug abuse, and developments in social work practice and education. She co-edited one of the earliest and most influential social work books on women.

The former Peace Corps volunteer made service a priority throughout her life. She chaired the City of Lawrence’s Task Force on Racism, Discrimination and Human Diversity, which recommended the formation of the Lawrence Alliance Against Racism and Discrimination. She founded Just Food, a Lawrence food bank.



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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.

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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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