The State of Kansas has added three Kansans of distinction to the Kansas Walk of Honor that surrounds the state capitol. Bronze plaques recognizing Charles Curtis, Amelia Earhart, and Jack Kilby were unveiled during a ceremony on the south lawn last week.
Located within the sidewalks on the capitol grounds, the walk features Kansans who have contributed on a state and national level and have significant connections to the Sunflower State.
"On this beautiful fall day, we enshrine in the Kansas soil three native Kansans who changed the world," Gov. Brownback said. "The Kansas Walk of Honor helps to raise the awareness of the accomplishments of Kansans and gives us the opportunity to honor Kansans' contributions to society."
Jack Kilby moved to Great Bend as a child. Inventor of the microchip and developer of ideas for more than 60 US patents, Kilby won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. Glenn Opie, a classmate of Kilby's, spoke about the electrical engineer and helped the Governor reveal Kilby's bronze plaque. Mr. Opie worked tirelessly to create the Jack Kilby plaza and monument in Great Bend.
Amelia Earhart was a woman of many firsts. Born in Atchison, she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, the first woman to fly solo from coast to coast and the first to fly solo over the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California. Louise Foudray, who has run the Amelia Earhart birthplace museum since 1987 in Atchison, spoke about Earhart and helped the Governor reveal Earhart's bronze plaque.
Charles Curtis is the only U.S. Vice President from Kansas. Born in the Kansas Territory in 1860, the Native American served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate for 20 years. Curtis served as Vice-President under President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933. Nova Cottrell, the owner of the Charles Curtis house and museum in Topeka, spoke about the political leader's many legislative accomplishments and helped the Governor reveal Curtis' bronze plaque.
"Why honor Kansans of distinction? Each year tens of thousands of people visit the Kansas State Capitol. Some come to learn about Kansas and others come to reaffirm what they already know about their state," Kansas Historical Society Executive Director Jennie Chinn said. "It is important to remind ourselves of the accomplishments of those who have come before us because they can inspire us as we shape the state's future."
Kilby, Earhart and Curtis join former Kansas U.S. Senator Bob Dole on the Kansas Walk of Honor who had the first bronze plaque revealed last fall.