Here are the recipients of the Kansan of the Year and Distinguished Kansans of the Year awards since The Topeka Capital-Journal began the recognition in 1965.

*Kansans of the Year

 

1965

*Jim Ryun

*Deborah Bryant, Miss America

William Lear, industry

Emory Lindquist, education

Robert Harder, religion

William H. Avery, politics

John McCormally, journalism

1966

*Gov. Robert Docking

Jim Ryun, sports

R. Charles Clevenger, business

Ronald W. Livers, agriculture

George S. Eckhardt, military

Clark Owens, law

 

1967

*Joseph B. Anderson Jr.

Eugene Pond, law enforcement

Debra Barnes, youth

Carolyn Smith-Meyer, music

James McCain, education

Pepper Rodgers, sports

 

1968

*Sgt. Donald Tanking and the men of the 69th Infantry Brigade

Robert Ellsworth, politics

Robert Walters, national spelling bee champion, youth

Bobby Douglas, sports

William L. White, journalism

Clarke Wescoe, education

 

1969

*Gordon Parks

Sam Jackson, government

Walt Menninger, human relations

Vince Gibson, sports

Rick Von Ende, KU youth movements, youth

 

1970

*Gen. Lewis W. Walt

Gov. Robert Docking and Rep. Bill Roy, politics

Richard L.D. Morse, consumer affairs

Grier Jones, sports

Franklin D. Murphy, business

 

1971

*Earl W. Sutherland Jr.

Huaman, Nice and Young, medical research

Ted Owens, sports

Willard Garvey, business

Robert Dole, politics

Warren Kliewer, theater

Melvin E. Neely, education

 

1972

*Ron Evans

Edward T. Kanemasu, agriculture

Lyle Yost, business

Loren J. Humphrey, medicine

Ray Nichols, education

James C. Wofford, sports

Lt. Gen. Bernard Rogers, military

Wetterson and SASNAI, recreation

Alisa Greer and Gregory Hack, youth

 

1973

*James McCain

David Jaynes, sports

Brian Lanker, journalism

Rep. John Rhodes, politics

Edward T. McNally, business

Tom Ostrander Sr., agriculture

Linda Rutledge, youth

Karl Menninger, Kansas emeritus

 

1974

*Gov. Robert Bennett

Gary Clarke, recreation

Larry Elliott, sports

Rachel Scott, books

William Arnstein Jr., agriculture

Ted Charveze, arts

Ruth Murphy, public health

Alf Landon, Kansan emeritus

 

1975

*W. Eugene Smith

Balfour Jeffrey, energy

Grant Cushinberry, humanitarian

Rex Duwe, finance

Nolan Cromwell, sports

Ruth Patrick, science

Daniel Worcester, agriculture

David Honigs, youth

Frank Carlson, Kansan emeritus

Paul Thayer, business

 

1976

*Gen. Bernard Rogers

Margaret Murdoch, sports

William Hoover, research

Joe Greve, humanitarian

Robert Dole, newsmaker

Dan Glickman, politics

Larry Goins, business

 

1977

*Mike Torrez

Kay McFarland, law

Frank Carney, business

John Throne, research

Edward Asner, acting

Robert Boyer, medicine

Elmer Heyne, agriculture

Sen. Harry Darby, Kansan emeritus

 

1978

*Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum

Tinkham Veale II, business

Jim Kramer, agriculture

Eva Jessye, music

Peg McCarthy, youth

Carolyn D. Jones, education

Gov. John Carlin, politics

 

1979

*Bradbury Thompson

Keith Fuller, journalism

Diana Putnam, youth

McDill "Huck" Boyd, citizenship

Jackie Engel, education

Don Bachman, fine arts

Gary L. McDaniel, business

 

1980

*Sen. Robert Dole

Robert Brock, business

Jim Halsey, entertainment

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton, art

George Brett, sports

Olive Ann Beech, aviation

Henry Bubb, Kansan emeritus

 

1981

*Col. Joe Engle

George Amis and Bill McCormick, community service

Richard Volk, energy

Edward J. King, business

Lynette Woodard, sports

Samuel Ramey, music

Charles Hamon, agriculture

 

1982

*Dean Smith

John Slaughter, education

Paul Thayer, business

Bill Kurtis and Jim Lehrer, media

Dee Wallace, theater

Gov. John Carlin, politics

Major Jim Latham, military

 

1983

*Gary Adamson

Gen. Bernard W. Rogers, world affairs

Kenneth Dam, government

Peggy Greene, journalism

John Riggins, sports

Cynthia Sikes, entertainment

Ned Fleming, Kansas emeritus

 

1984

*Robert and Elizabeth Dole

Juan Sepulveda, education

James Dutt, business

Ron Winegar, youth

Steve Mills, entertainment

John L. Green, administration

Steve Hawley and Sally Ride, space research

 

1985

*Joe Snell

Maj. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, minority affairs

Deanell Tacha, law

Marianna Beach, volunteerism

Takeru Higuchi, science/business

Don Johnson, entertainment

John Ripley, Kansan emeritus

 

1986

*Irene Nunemaker

Delores Lebbert, humanitarian

Stan Herd, art

Robert D. Ballard, science

Gen. Larry D. Welch, military

Wayne Angell, business

Gov. Mike Hayden, politics

 

1987

*Marlin Fitzwater

Robert M. Gates, government

James W. Gordon, defense

Tom Meier, sports

Ronald Richey, business

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton, art

Don W. Wilson, public service

 

1988

*Fred Bramlage

Tom Barrett, business

Mike Robe, entertainment

Georgia Neese Gray, art

Victor Viola, science

Sam Brownback, agriculture

Danny Manning, sports

Barry Sanders, sports

 

1989

*Ewing Kauffman

Harriet Lerner, literature

Jordan Haines, business

Marily Rhudy, medicine

Jerry O'Shaughnessy, sports

Marg Roberts, civic action

Jack Staddon, education

 

1990

*Gov. Joan Finney

Col. Mick Baier, military affairs

Ed Seaton, journalism

George Haley, government

Kim Watkins, heroism

Jim Lehrer, broadcasting

Kai-Wai "Ken" Wong, science

 

1991

*Col. Mick Baier

R.D. Hubbard, sports

Judge Patrick F. Kelly, jurisprudence

Richard Morse, consumer interests

Robert M. Gates, government

Detectives Craig Fox and Danny Hay, law enforcement

Tim Jenison and Paul Montgomery, business

 

1992

*Bill Koch

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton, art

Gene A. Budig, education

Ross O. Doyen, government

Dane A. Britton, foreign relations

Donna Sweet, medicine

Janie Wagstaff, sports

 

1993

*John E. Hayes

John Atkinson, medicine/science

Camilla Cave, humanities

Shirley Palmer, education

Sue Bartley, heroism

Delano Lewis, broadcasting

Dick Lee, law enforcement

 

1994

*Cheryl Brown Henderson, Lynn Hinkle, Nancy Landon Kassebaum and Deanell Tacha

Terry Bullock, law

Bill Snyder, sports

Jane Mackey, health

Stan Herd, art

Russell W. Meyer Jr., business

Jon Wefald, education

 

1995

*Betty Simecka

Howard Fricke, business

Lou Allen, citizenship

Gov. Bill Graves, government

Elizabeth Farnsworth, professional

Shelley Foster, sports

"Treasure of the Czars" volunteers, volunteerism

 

1996

*Sens. Robert Dole and Nancy Landon Kassebaum

Ross and Marianna Beach, philanthropy

Keen Umbehr, law

Albert Guardado, sports

Dale Cushinberry, education

Dick Davidson, business

Kathleen Sebelius, government

Melissa Masoner, Kids Voting Kansas

Wes Adell, environment

 

1997

*Russ Meyer

Sue Buchanan, business

The Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, religion

Grace Sawyer Jones, education

Ron Klataske, environment

Dean Smith, sports

Carla Stovall, government

Christopher Wilson, heroism/youth

Carl Bosley, academics

Ben Lerner, communication/youth

Anna Riphahn, entrepreneur/youth

 

1998

*Jon Wefald

Greg Brenneman, commerce

Brian Shay, athletics

Lou Falley, philanthropy

David Chavez, culture

Jennifer Knapp, entertainment

Kansas Health Foundation, families

 

1999

*Delano Lewis

Max Ary, tourism

Lew Ferguson, media

Jim Brothers, arts

Maurice Greene, sports

Alyssa Buecker, youth

Barry Flinchbaugh, agriculture

Martina McBride, music

Eric Rosen, law

Mary Turkington and Pat Hurley, public service

 

2000

*Jack St. Clair Kilby

Tara Nott, sports

Sen. Sam Brownback, politics

Kris A. Robbins, business

Kalila Dalton, youth

Sherie Renee Scott, arts

John Frieden, government

Joan Wagnon, government

 

2001

*Gen. Richard Myers

Stewart Bailey, entertainment

John C. Dicus, business/philanthropy

Jean Folkerts, media/journalism

Michael Ford, education

John Freeman, youth

Matthew Haug, academics

Jackie Stiles, sports

 

2002

*Vernon L. Smith

 Judy Bell, sports

Richard “Dick” Dean Bergen, arts

Steven J. Douglass, business

David Nieto, youth

Zach Pahmahmie, leadership

Sara Paretsky, literary arts

Kathleen Sebelius, politics

 

2003

*Pfc. Patrick Miller

Clark Balderson, business

Martina McBride, music

Nicole Ohlde, sports

Paul Rudd, entertainment

LaVerne Allen, nursing

Mike O’Toole, military

Chris Wolf Edmonds, visual arts

Chloe Sheridan, youth

Judy Walton and Lynn Heiligenthal-Showalter, citizenship

 

2004

*Cheryl Brown Henderson

Greg Brenneman, business

Jared Huske, youth

Jill Warford, arts

Scott Bloch, politics

Stewart Bailey, entertainment

Sally Buzbee, media

Chuck Broyles, sports

Matt Stinemetze, science

 

2005

*Bill Snyder

Jeff Boerger, business

Jaide Ramirez-Jennings, youth

Neil Dobler, civic involvement

Lt. Ken Landwehr, law enforcement

Judy Showalter, government

Matt Copeland, education

Washburn University women’s basketball team, sports

Strategic Military Planning Commission, military

 

2006

*Patriot Guard

Bennie Young, humanitarian

Alan Mulally, business

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Boyda, politics

Kannon Shanmugam, judicial

Frank Elliott, education

Jason Sudeikis, entertainment

Mark Turgeon, sports

 

2007

*Greensburg residents

Brenda Dietrich, education

Emma Marten, youth

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, military

Brian McClendon and James Press, business/technology

Bobby Sharp, entertainment/arts

Mark Mangino and Clint Bowyer, sports

 

2008

*Jon Wefald and Robert Hemenway

Sheila Bair, business

Elizabeth Broun, art

Hal Ritter, journalism

Clint Bowyer, sports

Bill Self, sports

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, politics

Carolyn Campbell, education

Rob Riggle, entertainment

 

2009

*Gov. Mark Parkinson

Robert Ballard, science

Dale Dennis, education

The late Pete Goering, journalism

Carey Maynard-Moody, transportation

Alan Mulally, business

Keith Olsen, philanthrophy

Matthew Porubsky, arts and entertainment

Tom Watson, sports

 

2010

*Alan Mulally

The folks behind Think Big Topeka, business

Eric Stonestreet, arts and entertainment

Colleen McCain Nelson, journalism

Stephen G. Young, medical science

Frank Martin, sports

Jeff Hart. business

Gov. Sam Brownback, politics

Joe Kamer, animal science

 

2011

*Ken Calwell

Gary Woodland, sports

Brady Tanner, sports

Deborah Rose, military

Clare Vanderpool, literary arts

Roger Kemp, community service

Bill Kuhn, science

Melissa Miller Ormond, entertainment

John L. Allen, journalism

 

2012

*Juan Manuel Santos

Anita Wolgast and John Hunter, business

The Rev. Max Manning, humanitarian

Melissa Jarboe, community service

Trei Dudley, youth

Norm Conard, education

Ajit Paim, government

Bill Snyder and Collin Klein, sport

Brian Schodorf, arts and entertainment

 

2013

*Pete Souza

Dean Smith, humanitarian

Steve Fisher, agriculture 

Charles Boyd, military

David Osborne, arts and entertainment

Kiana Knolland, youth  

DeLoss Dodds, sports

Anne Levinson, law

Brad LeDuc, education

 

2014

*Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson

Matt Besler, sports

Marily Harper Rhudy, business

Robert and Adlynn Harte, advocacy

Betty Henrie, education

Bryan Pinkall, performance arts

Bill Shepard, volunteerism

Corine Wegener, arts

Sarah Deer, law

 

2015

*Paul Rudd

Mark Mallouk, arts and entertainment

Lance Feyh, humanitarian

Mark Hittner and Tom Stephan, sports

Retired U.S. Army Col. Guy C. Beougher, military

Vanya and Kavya Shivashankar, youth

Chris Imming, community activism

John Kemp, community service

Wes Jackson, environment/agriculture

 

2016

*Jayne Houdyshell

Harold Jackson, journalism

Nico Herandez, sports

Priti Lakhani, medicine/health

Juan Sepulveda, television

Jeff Probst, pop culture

Cindy Lane, education

Nick Long, business

Glen Fountain, science

 

2017

*Patty Jenkins

University of Kansas School of Law Project for Innocence, law enforcement

Frank Mason III, sports

Pittsburg High School journalism students, journalism

Pam McComas, education

John Musgrave, military

Axtell High School, youth

James Iliff, business

Kevin Young, literary arts

 

2018

*Gov. Laura Kelly

Katie Uhlaender, sports

Carl Ice, business

Steve Lacy, mass media

Chad Leat, humanitarian

Wes Jackson, agriculture

Kevin Willmott, arts and entertainment

Washburn Rural High School, education

Mid-State Materials, conservation