KU honors Men of Merit

LAWRENCE — Sixteen men have been selected for the 2012 Men of Merit poster, which recognizes men at the University of Kansas who positively define masculinity through challenging norms, taking action and leading by example while making contributions to the university and/or the community. The men selected for this year’s poster represent students, faculty, faculty emeritus and staff from diverse backgrounds who serve as positive role models for men on the KU campus.

This year’s honorees include David Ambler (vice chancellor, emeritus); Gabriel Bliss (senior, civil engineering); Kellen Bolt (senior, English and American studies); Ben Chappell (assistant professor, American studies); Jahmal Clemons (senior, anthropology and journalism); Eric Fitzmorris (senior, social welfare); Steven M. Johnson (BGS, economics with business minor); Nick Kehrwald (student conduct officer); Zack McQuiston (junior, journalism and Spanish); Robert Minor (professor emeritus, religious studies); John Nalbandian (professor, public affairs and administration); Chris Stoppel (interim director, new student orientation); Brad Turnbull (graduate student, higher education administration); Kris Velasco (junior, political science and sociology); Milton Wendland (assistant professor, women, gender and sexuality studies); Sean Weston (junior, American studies).

Posters were released Wednesday, Feb. 15, and are available at the Student Involvement & Leadership Center.

The honorees will take part in a one-day Masculinities Symposium from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center. Attendees need to RSVP by Friday, Feb. 24, to menatku@gmail.com.

The KU Men of Merit poster project was created four years ago by former KU football player, Gary Green, and undertaken by the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center, in collaboration with Commission on the Status of Women, Student Senate and KU Athletics.

Current research supports the important role gender plays in college students’ identity development and academic achievement. Recently, attention has been focused on men’s declining enrollment in college as well as their higher rates of underperformance and underachievement compared to women. In fact, recent studies indicate that nationally, male students are less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than are female students. In addition, men are less likely to engage in volunteer activities and participate in student clubs and organizations. This growing gender gap points to the need for college campuses to address this disparity and create mechanisms for increasing men’s involvement, engagement, and achievement.

This poster aims to increase awareness of the importance of education and involvement in men’s lives, inspire campus men to take an active role in their college experience and provide role models and mentors for men to be successful.    

This year’s poster would not be possible without the contributions and support of Andrew Lee, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Multicultural Education Fund, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Student Involvement & Leadership Center and the Office of Diversity and Equity.

This project is sponsored by the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center.