School of Business names 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Lauren Cunningham, communications director

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Business will honor Gary Padgett and Mike Thompson with its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Padgett and Thompson are set to receive the award for their dedication to business excellence, community service and commitment to KU on Thursday, April 20, during a private reception at the Kansas Union.

Gary Padgett earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas in 1955. He is chairman of The Citizens National Bank, a family-owned, independent financial services organization based in Greenleaf, Kansas.

Padgett has been a supporter of KU since graduating, serving on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and as a member of many committees. In recognition of his numerous contributions, he was awarded the KU Alumni Association’s Fred Ellsworth Medallion, the association’s highest award for service to KU. Padgett also received the K Club’s Lifetime Service Award.

Mike Thompson received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1972. He worked at Merrill Lynch for 34 years before founding his own consulting practice and serving as a managing director for the Union Bank of Switzerland. Thompson is currently branch manager of Wells Fargo Advisors in Mission Woods.

He serves on the KU School of Business Board of Advisors and is an engaged student mentor. Thompson has also served on several chambers of commerce and on the board of trustees for the Catholic Foundation and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, both based in Dallas.

The School of Business established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998 to honor outstanding graduates. To date, 57 alumni have been recognized with the award. Past recipients include investor David Booth, entrepreneur Philip Anschutz, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president and CEO Robert Kaplan, Cerner Corp. co-founder Cliff Illig and Emprise Bank chairman Mike Michaelis.

Award recipients are chosen from the nominations of other alumni and the dean’s advisory board. Candidates are selected on the basis of their business success and service to their communities and to KU.

The School of Business will also recognize the winners of the 2017 Emerging Leader Award at Thursday's reception. Created in 2016 by the school in partnership with KU Endowment, the award is given annually to two young alumni who have excelled in their careers and made lasting impacts on the university.