At the end of each semester, alumni from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are selected to receive awards from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association. A total of eight awards will be presented on May 23 at a luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with spring commencement.
Dr. Kevin Kjos will receive the President's Award, which recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire. See the full list of award recipients.
Kjos shares his history and advice to graduating Blugolds.
Dr. Kevin Kjos '89, bachelor's degree in music; '91, master's degree in music
Since leaving UWEC with a master's in music, I attended Indiana University where I earned a doctorate of music.
I taught at Minnesota State University Moorhead for two years before taking my current position at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where for the past 17 years I have been director of Jazz Studies and professor of trumpet.
I am a musician AND a teacher, something that I thought I would never do. But because of the way I was taught by Robert Baca and Ron Keezer, I found that carrying their spirit and wisdom in my own way to young musicians was a richly fulfilling life.
My wife and I met 30-plus years ago at UWEC, reason enough to be glad I attended UWEC!
As director of Jazz Studies, Kjos has created the Jazz Masters Series, a clinician series that has featured some of the best performers in the world. He also created the Jazz Outreach series that invites high school and junior high jazz ensembles to the KU campus for a day of clinics by the university's jazz faculty and students.
Kjos is the founder and director of the Minneapolis-based Cedar Avenue Big Band and the Sound Exploration Ensemble, a new music group in which he performed and composed. He also is the author of "Teaching Through Imitation, a Jazz Ensemble Guide" and "Reflections on the Teaching of William Adam."
Kevin's advice to the new Blugold alumni:
Be ready for everything because life seldom follows a predictable path. Follow what you most love and life will be an adventure.