LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee have named Larry and Nancy Stoppel of Washington, Kansas, winners of this year’s Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award. The annual award recognizes Jayhawks who consistently display school spirit, pride and tradition.
The Stoppels will ride in the Homecoming Parade at 6 p.m. Oct. 6 on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence and receive their award at the Homecoming Reception two hours before kickoff of the KU-Texas Tech football game Oct. 7.
Larry Stoppel earned his KU bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1973, the same year Nancy Stoppel graduated with her KU bachelor’s degree in education. He is an optometrist with Drs. Stoppel & Brown, where Nancy also works full-time. As Jayhawk volunteers, they served for more than a decade as Washington County coordinators of the Alumni Association’s Kansas Honors Program, which recognizes academically talented high school seniors statewide. Nancy Stoppel also served on the statewide advisory board for the Lied Center of Kansas, KU’s performing arts center. The Stoppels led the Flint Hills Network of KU alumni for many years, and they continue to advocate for KU in the Kansas Legislature as Jayhawks for Higher Education members. In 2004, they received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their local volunteer service to KU. From 2009 to 2014, Larry served on the Alumni Association’s national board of directors. The Stoppels are Association life members and Presidents Club donors.
The Spirit of 1912 Award commemorates the first year of KU’s Homecoming and honors Rich and Judy Billings of Lakewood, Colorado, who in 2011 created an endowment to fund future editions of Homecoming. The Billings, both 1957 KU graduates, will attend their 58th KU Homecoming celebration this year.
The theme for KU’s 105th Homecoming is “Jayhawks of the Galaxy.” This year’s parade grand marshals are Jayhawks and former NASA astronauts Joe Engle, a 1955 KU graduate, and Steven Hawley, a 1973 graduate who is now a KU professor of physics and astronomy.
A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found at homecoming.ku.edu. The Alumni Association and its Student Alumni Network oversee Homecoming 2017, which is sponsored by Crown Toyota Volkswagen and supported by Kansas Athletics, PepsiCo and Student Union Activities.
About the KU Alumni Association
Through the support of members and donors, the KU Alumni Association advocates for the University of Kansas, communicates with Jayhawks in all media, recruits students and volunteers, serves the KU community and unites Jayhawks. For more information, visit kualumni.org.