Santos says years as KU student influenced his life, career
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos says his years as a student at The University of Kansas were important in the development of his character and career.
Santos, 61, who graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration, was elected president of the South American country in August 2010 after serving as the nation’s finance and defense ministers.
Like other undergraduate students at KU, Santos said he learned many things, both in his academic field and his personal life.
“I went to a fraternity, and that taught me many things about people, about the importance of living together with different people,” he said. “I also learned something that has been quite useful: I got to know how Americans think and behave.”
Santos, who also served as chief of the Colombian delegation to the International Coffee Organization and Colombia’s first foreign trade minister, has been selected by The Topeka Capital-Journal as its 2012 Kansan of the Year.
Each year, The Capital-Journal selects a Kansan of the Year and several Distinguished Kansans of the Year. To qualify for the recognition, nominees must have some tie to Kansas — born here, grew up here, went to school here, worked here, etc.
Categories for the Distinguished Kansan recognition vary from year to year, but typically include education, business, politics/government, arts/entertainment, youth, humanitarian, law enforcement/military, sports, community involvement and science/medicine.