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Distinguished Alumni

Gen. (ret) Charles Boyd, a highly decorated
Air Force combat pilot and the only
Vietnam War prisoner of war to achieve
the four-star rank, was awarded the College
of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished
Alumni Award Oct. 18 at the Dole
Institute of Politics.
A self-professed farm boy from Iowa, Gen.
Boyd, c’75, g’76, was a 28-year-old captain
flying the F-105 fighter-bomber when he
was shot down over North Vietnam in
1966. He survived 2,488 days of solitary
confinement in various North Vietnamese
prisons before being released in 1973.
While in confinement, a fellow POW
taught Boyd Spanish vocabulary using
tap code. He learned 2,700 words by the
end, and would recite them alphabetically
every day. After he returned to the
U.S., Boyd decided to continue learning
Spanish and enrolled at the University. He
earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in
Latin American Studies in less than three
years.
“At the time I was released, I had spent
one-fifth of my life as a prisoner of war,”
Boyd said. “I came back to a society that
I didn’t recognize, and I had to figure out
what I wanted to do for the rest of my
life. I knew two things: I was not going to
spend the rest of my life being a POW for
nothing, and I knew that I loved this country
and I wanted to serve it in some way.”
After graduating in 1976, Gen. Boyd went
on to enjoy a distinguished military career
and retired from the Air Force in 1995
after 36 years of active service. He continues
to serve his country as an advocate
for economic and national security issues,
and serves as a board member on numerous
defense-related firms.
“I’ve flunked retirement four times,” Boyd
said.
After an hour-long conversation with
Landon Rowland, the former chairman of
Business Executives for National Security
in Kansas City, Gen. Boyd took time
to reminisce with old college friends and
reflect on his years at KU.
“This institution had a formative element
in my life,” Boyd said. “It took a guy who
was at a very confused point in his life and
it gave him an opportunity to kind of find
himself within a learning environment,
and it stuck.”
Maj (ret) Dan Rooney is the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a veteran F-16 Fighter Pilot with 3 combat tours in Iraq, the founder of The Patriot Golf Club, a PGA Professional, and author of A Patriot’s Calling—Living Life between Fear and Faith.  He was awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award on October 8, 2015 at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Folds of Honor is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members disabled or killed in action. In five short years Folds of Honor has raised over $35 million and awarded nearly 5500 scholarships to the family members KIA or disabled in combat.  Maj Rooney graduated from the College of Liberal Arts 

and Sciences in 1996 (Geography & Cultural Geography) and received his graduate degree from the School of Education (Health Sport and Exercise Science) in 1997. 

Maj Rooney is a two-time recipient of the Top Gun award and was honored with the Spirit of Attack award as a top graduate of F-16 training. He has received many decorations to include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Anti-terrorism Medal, Combat Readiness Medal and Air Expeditionary Medal.  For his service and patriotism—Rooney was presented the White House's “Presidential Volunteer Service Award” by President George W. Bush, the Air National Guard's “Distinguished Service Medal”, the Air National Guard’s “Directors Service Award” and the Ellis Island “Medal of Honor”. He was honored at The Masters Invitational with the “William D. Richardson Award” for his outstanding contributions to golf and received the PGA of America's first-ever “Patriot Award”. He has been recognized as one of People Magazine's “Heroes of the Year”, Money Magazine’s “Hero of the Year” and ABC World News Tonight's “Persons of the Year”. He is a “Significant Sigma Chi” and was featured on NBC World News Making a Difference report.

Rooney founded The Patriot, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is currently ranked 42nd among American golf courses in Golf Week’s Modern Top 100. The Patriot is home to the Folds of Honor Foundation headquarters. Rooney has continued his golf career as a majority owner of the historic Grand Haven (MI) Golf Club, ranked in the "Top 50 Public Courses in the Nation" by Golf Digest. Rooney is a majority owner of The Patriot, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr-designed course near Tulsa, OK. The Patriot is the home to the Folds of Honor Foundation headquarters. A percentage of all profits, guest play, as well as member contributions from The Patriot directly benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation.

 


Gen. (ret) Charles Boyd, a highly decorated Air Force combat pilot and the only Vietnam War prisoner of war to achieve the four-star rank, was awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award October 18. 2013 at the Dole Institute of Politics. 

A self-professed farm  boy from Iowa, Gen. Boyd was a 28-year-old captain flying the F-105 fighter-bomber when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966. He survived 2,488 days of solitary confinement in various North Vietnamese prisons before being released in 1973. While in confinement, a fellow POW taught Boyd Spanish vocabulary using tap code. He learned 2,700 words by the end, and would recite them alphabetically every day. After he returned to the States, Boyd decided to continue learning Spanish and entered Kansas University. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Latin A

merican Studies in less than three years. “At the time I was released, I had spent one-fifth of my life as a prisoner of war,” Boyd said. “I came back to a society that I didn’t recognize, and I had to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew two things: I was not going to spend the rest of my life being a POW for nothing, and I knew that I loved this country and I wanted to serve it in some way.”

After graduating KU in 1976, Gen.  Boyd went on to enjoy a distinguished military career and retired from the Air Force in 1995 after 36 years of active service. He continues to serve his country as an advocate for economic and national security issues, and serves as a board member on numerous defense-related firms. “I’ve flunked  retirement four times,” Boyd said. After an hour-long conversation with Landon Rowland, the former chairman of Business Executives for National  Security in Kansas City, Gen. Boyd took time to reminisce with old college friends and reflect on his years at the University of Kansas. “This institution had a formative element in my life,” he said. “It took a guy who was at a very confused point in his life and it gave him an opportunity to kind of find himself within a learning environment, and it stuck.”


 


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