Reginald (Reggie) L. Robinson

Reggie Robinson, 63, died on September 19, 2020, in Lawrence, Kansas, at home with his family.

A long-time Kansan, Reggie had an extensive record of public service and philanthropy both in Kansas and nationally. He most recently served as CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. Prior to that, he was vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, a faculty member at both the Washburn and KU schools of law, a White House fellow, special assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno, and deputy associate attorney general for the United States.

Reggie was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly as facilitator for the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission and was a member of several state juvenile justice advisory groups. He was appointed by Kansas attorneys general to the Sunflower Foundation Board of Trustees, was a member of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet for nine years, and was appointed to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Reggie’s community service included serving on boards of directors for the Friends of the Spencer Museum of Art, Hall Center for the Humanities, Kansas Leadership Center, Douglas County Community Foundation, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, National Academy of Public Administration, and National Organization for Victims Assistance.

Reggie was a 1975 graduate of Salina High School South and received both his undergraduate degree and juris doctor from the University of Kansas. As an undergraduate, he was student body vice president. In law school, he was editor in chief of the Kansas Law Review. Between college and law school, he served four years as a field artillery officer in the United States Army and was honorably discharged at the rank of captain.

Beyond his remarkable record of public service, Reggie will be remembered for his uncommon kindness, warmth, generosity and decency. Those who knew him will miss his reassuring calmness, his ability to make everyone he engaged with feel special, and his infectious smile – which always shone brightest when he spoke of his daughters.

Reggie is survived by his wife, Jane; two daughters, Paige and Clare (Jason Marshall); mother, Beryl; four brothers, Alphonso (Laurie), Ron (Jeannie), Michael (Wendy), and Danny (Wendy); father- and mother-in-law, Richard and Mary McGarey; six siblings-in-law, Kate (Tom Vasey), Mimi, John, Matt, Clare (Kevin Wallace) and Mark (Kendra); and 23 nieces and nephews.

A scholarship endowment honoring Reggie’s incredible life and his legacy to the University of Kansas is being established, and gifts in his memory can be sent in support of the Reginald L. Robinson Law Scholarship to: KU Endowment, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928, given securely online at or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Service arrangements are pending.



11 Condolences

  1. Wilma Guilbeau on September 21, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Dearest Jane and your Sweet Family, I am overwhelmed with sadness for the great loss to your hearts. My sincerest kindness and empathy for you all as you move through each day. For everything that Reggie did for everyone, he was truly Yours, when you are sad, remember that. Much Love, Wilma Guilbeau.

  2. Beth Benfield on September 22, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had the privilege to meet Reggie as a guest instructor during our Emerging Leaders Academy in 2016. He awoke in me the desire to continue my higher education and I enjoyed talking with him on occasion, mostly on elevator rides and while he was listening to Jazz in the morning. For all the short periods of time with being around him, he was able to make you feel better, feel appreciated, inspire and entertain you with great stories while never giving the impression you were taking up his time. My heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers are with you during this time and beyond.

  3. Noreen Carrocci on September 22, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Dear Jane and Family,
    I never had the pleasure of meeting you all, but I am one of the countless folks who had the pleasure and honor of knowing Reggie. Back in 2007, I returned to Kansas as president of Newman University in Wichita. Reggie was CEO of KBOR at that time, and at the first meeting I attended of the Kansas Independent Colleges presidents, Reggie met with us. Before the meeting was over, we realized that our hunch that we knew one another was true – I taught his Interpersonal Communication class at KU when he was an undergraduate and I was a graduate student! Ever since then we had several different encounters, always enjoyable! I was thrilled when Reggie was appointed President of the Kansas Health Foundation. I believed then and now that he was just the right person to lead KHF to an exciting future. Reggie must have been needed in heaven more than we can fathom. I hope and pray that in time your great sadness will be replaced by happy memories of this remarkable man!
    Noreen Carrocci

  4. Eli Alford on September 22, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Dear Jane and family, I was so saddened to hear of your loss. Reggie and I served together an age ago at Fort Lewis as lieutenants. A year older than me, he took me under his wing like an older brother and tried to keep me from doing anything stupid. So smart and kind, but with a leader’s backbone. When he decided to leave the Army I knew he’d go on to do great things. I vividly remember sitting across the desk with flash cards helping him memorize bartending recipes so he had a job to fall back after he separated. Obviously that didn’t last long. Aside from all his professional accomplishments, nothing matters more than having a family who love and remember him and carry on. Although you don’t know me, my heart is with you. Eli Alford

  5. Janice DeBauge on September 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Dear Jane and loving family,
    We are so saddened to hear of this untimely loss of Reggie. We have the utmost regard for him in every way and shall miss him. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Paul and Janice DeBauge

  6. Randy and Becky Holm on September 23, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Dear Jane and Family,
    We were very saddened to hear of Reggie’s passing. Although I did not get to know Reggie personally like I did you through nursing, I know he was a great valued member of our community. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
    You and the girls are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Randy and Becky Holm

  7. Pete Howard on September 24, 2020 at 2:39 am

    My heart goes out to the Robinson family for their loss. My brother and I knew Reggie and his brother Mike from the KU Scholarship hall program, having been hall-mates with them in the late seventies / early eighties. We were recently reminiscing on those days, and the Robinson brothers came up. We both agreed that they were some of the most impressive, intelligent, and just plain fun to be around people in our halls. Our sincerest condolences.
    – Pete Howard

  8. Susan Lomas on September 27, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Jane, Paige, Claire,
    I was shocked to read that Reggie passed away. I will miss seeing him and exchanging a quick but friendly good morning as he jogged by the house. Take care, neighbors.

  9. Lisa Jones on October 1, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Words cannot express the loss I feel for the Robinson family and all those that knew Reggie. I first got to know Reggie working at the Kansas Board of Regents and was so impressed by his leadership. As others have noted, he had such a warmth and light about him – and that quick smile. Our paths crossed again while working at Washburn University and again I got to experience his kindness, warmth, and generosity as he was always willing to listen, share his knowledge, and inspire me and others. My heart goes out to you Jane, Clare and Paige at this very sad time.

  10. Mike Harper on February 14, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Dear Jane and Family,

    I only recently learned of Reggie’s passing and want to express my sorrow and condolences to you, Claire, and Paige. Reggie and I ran together for Student Body President and Vice President at K.U.. He was one of the kindest most compassionate people I have met in my lifetime. He fully gave himself to the University each and every day, and continued to do so for years. The University of Kansas and the State of Kansas were so fortunate to have his intelligence and skilled leadership for several decades. I was so very fortunate to have met him, worked with him, and learned from him during our time together at K.U.. He left much too early, and I am devastated at his passing.
    Wishing you and the family the very best in the future, your husband and father left a remarkable legacy.

  11. Eileen Ma on April 5, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Dear Mrs. Robinson and Family:
    COVID-19 kept me very isolated and I was unaware of Reggie’s passing until now. As belated as they are, I wanted to send my heartfelt condolences to you all.

    I knew Reggie from Washburn Law, where I had him as a professor for three of my classes and interacted with him in his role of Director of the Center for Law and Government. Reggie’s warmth and engaging manner in class quickly made him one of my favorite professors and he went on to become a friend and mentor, as well.

    Reggie was thrilled for me when I was offered my job in the Statehouse and I would see him there on occasion. We would always spend a few minutes catching up and my day would always be brighter for having chatted with Reggie.

    Teachers live on in the knowledge that they bestow on their students. Even though his death was such a shock, I hope you find comfort knowing that Reggie touched so many students’ lives.
    In addition to all he taught, I will always remember Reggie’s warmth, his friendship, and his gentle encouragement at a time when I very much needed it.

    God bless you all.

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