Drue Jennings

2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Drue Jennings Portrait

Argentine High School, 1964

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Noble Prentis Elementary, Arrowhead Middle

Drue Jennings’ life has been guided by the lessons and spirit of perseverance that he learned in junior high and high school.

As an athlete at Argentine Junior/Senior High, his coaches pushed him beyond his comfort zone and taught him the definition of dedication. His classroom teachers challenged him and encouraged him to never give up. These lessons combined, gave him the tools he needed to be successful.

Jennings is the former president, CEO and chairman of Kansas City Power & Light. He joined the company in 1974 as an attorney and spent the next 27 years moving up the ladder, retiring as chairman of the board. After leaving KCP&L, he served as interim athletic director at the University of Kansas in 2003 before joining the law firm of Shughart Thomson & Kilroy where he stayed for eight years.

During high school, Jennings didn’t dream about going to college because he thought it was financially out of his reach. But his athletic prowess in football paid off. He received a full scholarship to KU. A year out of college, he applied to law school and received a scholarship based on his letterman status in football.

During his years moving up the ladder at KCP&L, he often heard the voices of his teachers in his head, telling him how to construct a paragraph, how to calculate rates or what the chemical reactions are for different substances.

Early in his career, Jennings began giving back to his community through volunteer service on a number of boards. The experience was not only rewarding, but it also taught him boardsmanship skills, which were later of value to him as he was advancing up the career ladder. Next to his children and grandchildren, he said community service is the most vital thing he has ever done.

He spent four years as board chair for the KU Endowment Association, and currently serves on the Bloch School Foundation Board. He is board vice-chair of MRI Global and serves on the KU Edwards Campus Advisory Board, plus others.

“All of us have the obligation to give back,” he said.