Delta Upsilon Alumnus One of Three KU Graduates to Win Nobel Peace Prize

President Juan Manuel Santos ’73, with housemother Kandyce Horn, and undergraduate brothers Bobby Flournoy, Jackson Riley, Joseph DeBlase, Sam Leunig, Jack Walton, Thomas Guske, Dylan Jones, and Jackson Ehlert.

I think everyone appreciates that Nobel Prize winners represent the zenith of achievement in various areas, including the Peace Prize. But did you know that in the 152 years that KU has been teaching students, there have been a total of three Nobel Prize winners awarded to graduates or professors who attended or taught at KU? In contrast, Harvard has 133 winners.

 

And of those three, only one was an undergraduate student at KU. His name is Juan Santos ’73, and he graduated from KU in 1973, returned to his native country of Colombia, went on to become President, and won the Nobel Prize in 2016.

 

While he was a student at KU he was active in a fraternity: Delta Upsilon.

 

Santos returned to KU in 2012, the first time he had returned in 40 years. Santos made a surprise visit to the chapter house at 6 a.m., so only the chapter president was up to greet him. Brian Bracco ’73 was in the house with Santos. “He was a great guy and you knew from the moment you met him that he was going to be special.”

 

Five years later, on October 31, 2017, President Santos returned to his alma mater and spoke to a standing room only crowd at the Lied Center. In his remarks he touted the role that Kansas Chapter played in his education. According to the Lawrence Journal World, the DU house is where that he learned to play “real poker,” “a game he still enjoys from time to time in the tradition of both Roosevelts and Harry Truman, who reportedly hosted poker games in the White House.”

 

Santos earned the Nobel Prize due to his successful peace talks with a rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which had been at war with the Colombian government for over 40 years.

 

Before going on stage he met with eight members of Kansas Chapter, plus Housemother Kandyce Horn.

 

Delta Upsilon—a tradition on KU’s campus since 1920.

 

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