Alumni Profile: Clyde Toland reflects on more than a century of Jayhawk family tradition

It will come as no surprise to fellow alumni that many families truly seem to have KU in their DNA. Their family trees have generations of Jayhawks filling its branches.

Clyde Toland (c’69, l’75) is proud to have 34 Jayhawks in his tree.

“I believe in the importance of knowing your family’s roots in order to have a greater appreciation of who each person is,” Toland said. “Of particular interest are experiences we have in common, such as our shared KU heritage.”

Toland’s KU legacy began 110 years ago with his great-aunt, who graduated in 1906, and continues today with a second cousin currently in the School of Business. His family members have degrees from all of the schools at KU, but more than half are graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Clyde and Nancy Toland at their wedding celebration in Watkins Room of the Kansas Union.
Clyde and Nancy Toland at their wedding celebration in Watkins Room of the Kansas Union.

While it’s impossible to know exactly why so many of his family members have chosen to be Jayhawks over the course of the last century, Toland knows the quality of education and the hope of a secure future was part of it.

“KU provided an environment that I thrived in as an undergraduate – social and leadership opportunities, great faculty, a beautiful and historic campus, and KU basketball, of course,” Toland said.

KU was not only the academic foundation of so many of Toland’s family, but also love and future generations of Jayhawks. Eight couples started their futures together after meeting at KU and marrying, including Toland and his wife, Nancy (g’74).

Toland regards his formative years at KU as “one of the happiest periods” of his life, and it has been so natural and easy to continue to be passionate about KU for nearly 50 years. He fondly remembers winning the KU College Bowl Grand Championship in 1968 and proudly accepted one of the first Distinguished Alumni Award by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1996.

“The impact of attending KU so many years ago continues to this day,” Toland said.