As a KU undergrad in the early 90s, Curtis led the local chapter of the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs. Since then, he’s been using his entrepreneurial drive to help create new programs at KU and beyond. His first position was with the Office of Research, helping create a technology transfer department, and a KU technology business incubator.
In 1997, Curtis left KU for the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. While obtaining an MBA from UMKC, he held three positions for Kauffman in their entrepreneurial education division. The last position was in partnership with the Direct Marketing Association which led to an opportunity to return to KU.
In 2000, Curtis accepted a newly created position for KU Continuing Education titled Associate Director for Marketing. He created the KUCE Information Center, then moved on to program director to help create the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Duke Tip Scholar Weekends at KU.
In 2005, Curtis became program director for KU Info, a unique KU tradition of 45+ years whose pre-internet reputation was the ability to answer to any question under the sun. The program was restructured under Curtis to embrace a variety of electronic forums. KU Info went from answering 100 questions a day in 2006 to 300 a day in 2011.
His newest challenge came about in January of 2016. Along with his KU Info responsibilities, he now serves as Director of the DeBruce Center, a building that doubles as a shrine for the original rules of basketball and a student gathering center complete with a dining facility and retail shop.
Other current activities include:
- Advisor for several student groups in community service and leadership.
- Instructor for COMS 202, Intro to Leadership Studies, for nine years.
- Graduated in the inaugural class of the KU Staff Fellows Program, and helps lead the SFP advisory board.
- Was awarded the 2010 Citation for Leadership and Achievement in Student Services and was one of the 2011 Men of Merit.
Curtis relishes a small role in community development. At age 25, he was the youngest person to go through the Leadership Lawrence program, has served on their advisory board for 20 years and earned the Lawrence Chamber community leadership award in 2004. He is a Paul Harris Fellow with the Lawrence Rotary Club and served a 15-year board position with Kansas International, a local trade association. His primary passion remains his wife of 15 years and two sons, ages 11 and 12.
Curtis teaches in the Leadership Studies Minor because many students are already in leadership positions and haven’t yet identified them as such. Class projects, camping groups, student orgs, intramurals and even roommate situations. All these activities put them in leadership positions without a great deal of authority. By better understanding these situations, together we can develop inclusive leadership styles that will help so much when we find ourselves in more traditional authoritative roles.