News Items In Category XAlumni News

Mr. Trumpet heads for home

Posted on Sep 18, 2019 in Alumni News

Jim Doepke with the Mets mascotJim Doepke, the retired high school band director who 11 years ago launched a bid to play the national anthem in every Major League Baseball park, will wrap up his quest Thursday when he performs “The Star-Spangled Banner” at SunTrust Park in Atlanta before the Braves’ noon game with the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It’s been a great, fun experience,” Doepke, d’74, said Wednesday, as he prepared to board a flight to Atlanta for the 30th and final stop on his Anthem Across America tour. “Once the momentum picked up, it’s been even more enjoyable to put all the pieces together.”

Doepke’s quest started slowly—he convinced only three teams, the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Rockies—to host his solo trumpet performance from 2008 to 2011. Momentum began to build after baseball leaders like MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly got behind him. Doepke played seven ballparks the previous two seasons and 10 this season to finish strong.

“So many people have come on board supporting my efforts,” he says. “I’ve met so many fun, supportive people on the way. It’s just a real good feeling.”

Jim Doepke at CitiFieldBaseball is all about the round trip from home and back again, and there will be some special significance to finishing in Atlanta, Doepke says. He grew up in Milwaukee attending baseball games with his father, Howard, back when the hometown team was the Braves. (The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, leaving Milwaukee without a Major League team until the Brewers arrived in 1970.) It was his father’s military service in World War II that inspired Doepke to play the anthem. Howard died in March, at the age of 103. His birthday was Sept. 17.

“It’s nice to be able to cross the finish line in Atlanta, because there’s just some real cool connections there,” Doepke says. “I have some neat feelings about that.”

For more on Mr. Trumpet’s quest, check out Kansas Alumni’s coverage over the years, as well as the USA Today story by William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications alumnus David Dorsey, j’94.

—Steven Hill

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Jayhawks reflect on cost of freedom in Normandy

Posted on Sep 8, 2019 in Alumni News

Flying Jayhawks | Normandy

Seventeen KU alumni shared the extraordinary experience of visiting Normandy, as the Flying Jayhawks took part in our nation’s continued commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

“Homebased” out of the picturesque city of Honfleur, we spent eight days covering the Normandy region, including walking the hallowed ground of the Normandy invasion—the beaches of Utah, Omaha and Pointe-du-Hoc. Joined by 12 alumni from the University of Nebraska (who all were highly impressed with the great support we received from the KU Alumni Association), our group of 29 gained a newfound appreciation for the incredible sacrifices that the “Greatest Generation” made in liberating France and Europe.

As I reflect back on our trip, I don’t believe our eight-day visit could have been planned or executed any better—just like a military operation! We owe a huge shout out to the KU Alumni Association (thanks Tegan!); our intrepid travel leader, Emiliano “Emi” Rio; our daily tour guides, William, Claire and Marie; and the entire team from AHI Travel – you all rocked! As Emi continually reminded us in his perfect Argentinian, French and Belgian cocktail of an accent: “Dress like onions—many layers!” (The Jayhawks had to interpret for the Cornhuskers.)

While the beaches and the D-Day Memorial were certainly our primary calling, let’s be honest, everyone on the trip was a foodie. So let’s start there.

Each morning we awoke in our lovely hotel to the smell of a breakfast—and there was nothing “petit” about this petit déjeuner. The local cheeses, flaky chocolate-filled croissants, baguettes slathered with Normandy butter, fresh fruits (something had to be approved by our cardiologists!), the spécialté de la maison, Teurgoule. Stick a fork in me; I’m done!


Flying Jayhawks | NormandyOkay, back to the trip. We were treated with a “soft landing” on Monday, our first day in Normandy. We were led through the streets and rich history of Honfleur, which included Saint Catherine, which is quite an unusual wooden church. Saint Catherine looks a bit like an upside down boat, largely because the local shipbuilders constructed it in the 1500s.  And perhaps most importantly, our local guide pointed out the “must dine” restaurants in Honfleur.


Tuesday, was completely dedicated to visiting Mont Saint-Michel: amazing. Mont Saint-Michel looks like something straight out of a Hollywood studio—a fantastical city rising from Normandy’s tidal marshes with towering spires and ramparts.

As we quickly discovered, the Mont is not for the faint of heart, it was a bit of a workout traversing from our shuttle stop to the Mont’s entrance, and then onward and upward through the steep winding village street lined by museums, restaurants and shops. Finally, the “Grand Degre” stairs (350 steps) gateway led to the goal of our hike, the imposing abbey which has served as the goal for pilgrims since the 8th century. You cannot visit Mont Saint Michel without reflecting on Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and the improbable craftsmanship and ingenuity of 8th-century church-builders.


Wednesday was jam-packed and included one of the best meals we had as a group. (Did we mention we enjoyed the food?)

The day began with a visit to the Caen Memorial, which was thoughtfully placed at the beginning of our World War II battlefield study.  The museum included an overview of the beginnings of World War II, which provided us with a strong educational foundation for our upcoming walks along the D-Day landing beaches.

Following Caen, we drove to Les Vergers de Ducy, a family farm, which makes classic fortified apple cider and our group’s new favorite liquors: Normandy Pommeau and the famous apple brandy, Calvados. We were treated to a tour of the distillery and then shared an delectable French dejeuner of rooster, meats, local cheeses, fresh salads, another Teurgoule recipe, and of course, baguettes with butter! After lunch, we “sampled” the Poummeau and Calvados, and then made a beeline to their gift shop.

Wednesday afternoon continued our D-Day study, with visits to Utah Beach, the landing site of the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division (led by Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.), and Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town liberated by Operation Overlord.

We walked along reflectively, considering the lost youth and innocence of the young men who stormed ashore in 1944, supported by air assaults conducted by units from the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions. During our bus ride back to Honfleur, our tour guide William Jordan provided us a moving rendition of speeches given by Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery, as our group quietly considered our first experience of the D-Day invasion.

Flying Jayhawks | Normandy


Flying Jayhawks | Normandy

Again, I have to tip my chapeau to the trip organizer: Thursday was a day afforded to each traveler to do as they please!

After the emotional visit to the beaches, each of us was ready for a day to recharge and refit for the rest of the week. The world’s greatest travel director, Emi, worked with several groups to help them schedule visits to the art museums of Rouen; the modern-looking church of Eglise Jeanne d’Arc, which sits on the site of Joan of Arc’s burning; Lisieux, the home of the Catholic saint, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who founded “the Little Way”;  and of course, several chose to hang in Honfleur to take in a day cruise on the Seine and a bucket of mussels for lunch. (I’m not sure what the Nebraska group did on their day off—shucked some corn?)


Friday was our capstone event: the trip to Pegasus Bridge, Arromanches, Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc.

On this day, we came to appreciate the herculean effort involved in the allied amphibious invasion to liberate France and the rest of Western Europe. From the implausible construction feat of the “mulberries” to Colonel Rudder’s Ranger assault on the formidable cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, our travel guide and military historian introduced us to the everyday men and women who served our country with the highest valor.

As we walked along, we couldn’t help consider the juxtaposition of the serene beaches we experienced, with those blood-stained and scarred beaches of 1944. Perhaps the height of this juxtaposition was experienced during the last component of our Normandy battle visit—the visit to the iconic American Cemetery. Situated on a bluff overlooking Omaha beach, the American Cemetery is a solemn site. We are all transfixed by the green fields filled with seemingly endless ranks of white Christian crosses and Jewish Stars of David, especially when we consider they represent only a small fraction of the Americans who died here.

Flying Jayhawks | NormandyContaining the graves of more than 9,380 of our military dead and the engraved names of the 1,557 American soldiers whose bodies were never identified or found, the cemetery memorializes the human cost of the Normandy invasion with unimaginable peace and tranquility. The statue “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves” symbolizes the thousands of men who sacrificed their lives in Normandy for a people they never knew.

As we leave this cemetery this moving and somewhat haunting statue is our last stop. Rightfully so, as we complete the World War II component of our trip, we are left to ponder the incalculable cost of freedom: the lives lost, the dreams incomplete and families left behind.


We leave our incredible journey on a lighter note with a trip to a town that managed to avoid bombing in World War II, the city of Bayeux.

Flying Jayhawks | NormandyIt is here that we visit the best-known piece of embroidery in the world, the Bayeux Tapestry. Intended for an illiterate audience, the tapestry commemorates King William’s conquest of England. The tapestry is 230 feet long and contains exquisitely detailed scenes embroidered with tiny, precise stitches. Saturday evening provides our group one last opportunity to celebrate our combined Jayhawk camaraderie, reflect on the incredible travel experience we shared and bid farewell to one another and to our effervescent host, Emi.

As part of our farewell reception, we broke down in small groups and enjoyed a “Jeopardy-like” trivia contest to determine who had the best grasp of renowned KU trivia and important tidbits from the trip.

  • Question: “This classic hangout has served as the beginning of many long-term relationships to include that of your hosts”
  • Answer: “What is the Wheel?!”

(Sorry, Cornhuskers, missed that one?)

After recognizing the winning team with a bottle of Pommeau and some of Honfleur’s finest shot glasses, our group headed out for a wonderful meal in the heart of the dining district. Did I mention that we were all foodies?

Rock Chalk!

Mike and Karen

The Flying Jayhawks “Normandy” trip took place Aug. 17-25, 2019. The trip was hosted by Mike Denning, c’83, a retired Marine Corps colonel and director of the KU Office of Graduate Military Programs, and his wife, Karen Abram Denning, c’83.  Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

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KU Alumni Association honors two recipients of Fred Ellsworth Medallion

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in Alumni News

Fred Ellsworth Medallion | Ellsworth Medallion 2019

The 2019 recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service to the University of Kansas are Don Brada of Lawrence and Jeff Kennedy of Wichita. The KU Alumni Association will honor them Sept. 5 before the fall meeting of the Association’s national board of directors. Since 1975, the medallions have recognized KU volunteers who have continued the tradition of service established by Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the Association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963.

Don Brada

Don Brada, c’61, m’65 | Ellsworth Medallion 2019Brada, who grew up in Hutchinson, was the first in his family to attend college. He was involved in student activities, including Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Rock Chalk Revue, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1961, followed by a doctorate in medicine in 1965. He has remained devoted to KU for more than 50 years. He currently leads the KU School of Medicine Alumni Association as chair, and he is a member of the Jayhawks for Higher Education Steering Committee. He served on the KU Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors from 2012 to 2017.

“The long list of Don’s volunteer roles for KU doesn’t begin to capture his lifetime of service, both as a student and alumnus,” said Heath Peterson, Alumni Association president. “Don is a thoughtful, dedicated and action-oriented Jayhawk. He takes great pride in KU and the many people who have served as stewards of our great institution.”

Brada began his alumni involvement in Puerto Rico as a young physician in the Air Force, hosting an event for Caribbean Jayhawks with his wife, Kay, who also graduated from the College in 1961. He continued to volunteer when he returned to his hometown and established his practice as a psychiatrist. He assisted the Kansas Honors Program (now the Kansas Honor Scholars Program) and student recruitment, and he urged KU’s participation in the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson through the years.

Don and Kay continued their local alumni network service after they moved to Wichita, receiving the 1990 Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their years as volunteers. Kay received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 2015. The Bradas are Alumni Association Life Members and Presidents Club donors.

Don also dedicated much of his career to the School of Medicine-Wichita as a longtime volunteer faculty member; he later became a clinical associate professor and associate dean, retiring in 2016. He strongly advocated for the expansion of the Wichita campus medical curriculum from two years to four, and he continues to volunteer as professor emeritus and a mentor to students.

Since the Bradas’ move to Lawrence in 2010, the breadth of their service has expanded. They both served on the KU Campus Master Plan Steering Committee, and Don has advised and supported the Biodiversity Institute, the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Lied Center, the Williams Education Fund for Kansas Athletics, and the Dole Institute of Politics, where he co-founded the Elizabeth Dole Lecture Series.

For KU Endowment, Don is a Chancellors Club Life Member. The Bradas’ philanthropy has benefited numerous areas of the University and the Association.

“Don is such an integral part of the University; KU simply would not be the same without him,” said Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment president.

Jeff Kennedy

Jeff Kennedy, j’8 | Ellsworth Medallion 2019Kennedy, a Pratt native, also is a first-generation college graduate. He followed up his KU journalism degree (including work for the University Daily Kansan and KJHK radio) with a law degree from Washburn University. He began his KU alumni service in Wichita, where he joined the law firm of Martin Pringle Oliver Wallace & Bauer in 1986. He served as the firm’s managing partner from 2002 to 2014.

A stalwart volunteer for the Wichita Network, Kennedy received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award in 2007 for his local service. He guided the local alumni group as president and served for many years on the board. He also has contributed to the Kansas Honor Scholars Program, recruited prospective students and participates every year in the Jayhawk Roundup, a Wichita tradition since 2003. He and his wife, Patti Gorham, chaired the Roundup in 2013.

Kennedy, an Alumni Association Life Member and Presidents Club donor, was elected to the Association’s national Board of Directors in 2008. He chaired the Strategic Communications, Technology and Records Committee as well as the Executive and the Nominating Committees during his term, and he led the organization as national alumni chair from 2013 to ’14.

An ardent advocate for state funding of higher education, Kennedy is a longtime member of Jayhawks for Higher Education and, since 2014, he has chaired the JHE Steering Committee, working closely with Association staff and the KU Office of Public Affairs to coordinate alumni communications with legislators.

“Jeff is a proven and committed volunteer who cares deeply about all of KU,” said Peterson. “He is passionate about the vital importance of KU and higher education to the future of Kansas, and he has tirelessly and effectively spoken out about the urgent need to restore state support for our universities.”

Kennedy also helped lead the effort to expand the School of Medicine in Wichita to a four-year curriculum as chair of the first 4-Wichita Advancement Board, and he continues to serve on the board’s executive committee.

For KU Endowment, Kennedy is a Chancellors Club and Elizabeth Watkins Society member, supporting many areas of the University, including the Association, Kansas Athletics and the Spencer Museum of Art.

“Jeff has volunteered for KU for more than 30 years,” said Seuferling. “His leadership helped move the School of Medicine-Wichita forward through his effective advocacy and vital connections in the local business community.”

Since 1975, 158 KU alumni and friends have received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion.

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Jayhawks in the News | July 19

Posted on Jul 19, 2019 in Alumni News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at


Endangered language | Globe Miami Times

Dr. Willem de Reuse, g’83, a linguist employed by The Language Conservancy, is part of an effort to save the Western Apache language. de Reuse has studied the Apache for 25 years and is the author of A Practical Grammar of the San Carlos Apache Language.
Read full article.


Serious distance runners can’t stay away from Flagstaff, lure of high altitude | Arizona Daily Independent

Courtney Barnes, a former collegiate runner at the University of Kansas, is one of the newest employees of Run Flagstaff, a specialty running store located downtown on Historic Route 66. Barnes, c’18, c’18, moved to Flagstaff last year and is training for the USA National Championship in Des Moines, Iowa.
Read full article.


Former Jayhawk Perry Ellis inks with professional club in Japan |

Perry Ellis has agreed to join the Osaka Evessa club in Japan for the upcoming season. Ellis,’16, has spent his professional career playing in the NBA’s G League as well as overseas in Australia, Italy, Germany and Turkey.
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YWCA Greater Pittsburgh finds new chief executive in Texas | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Janine Woods was named chief executive of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh effective July 8. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, a master’s from Webster University in St. Louis, and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
Read full article.


Camcorp names new president | Feed & Grain

Camcorp, a manufacturer of high-performing air pollution control and pneumatic conveying equipment, named Tony Thill as its new president effective July 1, 2019. Thill earned an undergraduate degree in business in 1989 from the University of Kansas.
Read full article.


Walker School names new communications and marketing director | Marietta Daily Journal

The Walker School has named Karen Park, j’16, as its new director of communications and marketing. Park has worked at The Detroit Free Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and most recently at InterContinental Hotels Group.
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Expert in advance care planning named Director of Regenstrief’s Center for Aging Research | BioSpace

Susan Hickman, Ph.D., has been selected to lead the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at the Regenstrief Institute. She will be the second director in the center’s history. Dr. Hickman, g’95 PhD’98, is a clinical geropsychologist focused on optimizing the quality of life for older adults through improved decision-making and communication about treatment preferences.
Read full article.


Akron Children’s Hospital names chief ambulatory officer, 2 VPs | Becker’s Hospital Review

Akron (Ohio) Children’s Hospital has appointed Matthew Groninger as vice president of medical and surgical subspecialties. Groninger, g’04, most recently served as vice president of ambulatory services at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. He earned his master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
Read full article.


Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.


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Jayhawks in the News | July 12

Posted on Jul 12, 2019 in Alumni News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at


Jersey Mike’s SVP of leadership, coaching and culture presents strategies for improving work culture and personal development in new book | KITV4

With over 40 years of leadership and coaching experience, author Keith Hertling, the senior vice president of leadership, coaching and culture for Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, knows how to create and maintain a great work culture. In his new book “Life Lessons on Leadership, Coaching and Culture,” Hertling, g’86, shares his inspiring stories which also double as a resourceful guide for both business owners, managers, and employees.
Read full article.


Vice chancellor for public affairs named facilitator for the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission | University Daily Kansan

Reggie Robinson, vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas, has been named facilitator for the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission, Governor Laura Kelly announced Tuesday. Robinson previously served as director of the School of Public Affairs and Administration. He also received both his undergraduate and graduate law degrees from the University.
Read full article.


KU Libraries announces 2019 Research Sprints participants | University of Kansas

Melissa Peterson, g’11, was selected to participate in the 2019 Research Sprints. Peterson’s research project, “Kansas Homesteading: It’s More Interesting and Complicated Than You Would Expect,” focused on the daily experiences of Kansas homesteaders, the history of indigenous peoples’ dispossession and the expansion of the nation-state.
Read full article.


Multi-brand insurance company names CFO to bolster strategic financial operations |

Susan Wollenberg has been selected to serve as Chief Financial Officer for Windhaven® Insurance and The Hearth Insurance Group™, Jimmy E. Whited, CEO of the Florida-based companies, announced today. Wollenberg, b’85, began her career as a Certified Public Accountant at Deloitte and Touché.
Read full article.


Who’s Who 2019: Gary Komar | Chicago Agent Magazine

Gary Komar, c’92, is a vice president of residential lending at Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. and is based out of their downtown Chicago branch. In addition to his home market of Illinois, he is licensed to originate mortgages in California, Texas, Oregon and Washington, D.C.
Read full article.


Who’s Who 2019: Josh Denlow | Chicago Agent Magazine

As the leader of The Denlow Mortgage Team at Draper & Kramer Mortgage Corp., Josh Denlow, c’95, serves a diverse range of clients across Chicago, Evanston and the surrounding suburbs. He began his professional life in the telecommunications industry before the dot-com crash inspired him to seek a new direction.
Read full article.


Arbor Investments promotes Schoenfelder to VP | Food Business News

Josh Schoenfelder has been promoted to vice president of Arbor Investments, a private equity firm focused on the food and beverage industries. Schoenfelder, b’09, joined Arbor in 2014 and since 2016 was a senior associate.
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Jake Silverman joins Strategic Capitol Consulting | The Missouri Times

Political consultant Jake Silverman is the newest addition to Strategic Capitol Consulting, LLC, a government affairs and business development firm. Silverman, c’11, joins the firm as a lobbyist and political strategist.
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KU photographers capture campus from every angle | University Daily Kansan

Andy White, c’12, and Meg Kumin, c’99, g’03, the official photographers for the University of Kansas, are responsible for capturing campus life from every perspective. From the top of Fraser to the chaos of Allen Fieldhouse, there are few places Kumin and White haven’t captured.
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Tommy Bohler hired as city administrator | Waushara Argus

Tommy Bohler, g’15, was hired as the new city administrator, clerk and treasurer by the Wautoma City Council. He earned a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on city management.
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Rutgers Brain Health Institute announces appointments to further autism research | Rutgers News

Brian Greer, g’12, PhD’14, will join Rutgers in late July as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics in RWJMS and as a core member of BHI. He will serve as the assistant director of CSH-RUCARES, overseeing the Severe Behavior Disorders in Children Program.
Read full article.


Medical doctor connects faith and health care through theology degree | Public

Donna Ewy, m’94, holds a total of six degrees. She specializes in geriatrics, long-term care and hospice care, and uses her background in theology to connect her faith with health care.
Read full article.


Former governor staffer launches Congressional campaign | Ottawa Herald

Abbie Hodgson, D-Lawrence, has launched a 2020 campaign for the Kansas Second Congressional District. Hodgson, c’03 g’09 PhD’18, holds three degrees from the University of Kansas and taught in KU’s Communication Studies department for a decade.
Read full article.


Meet new Kansas executive director for Latino affairs Aude Negrete | KSHB

Aude Negrete, c’09, was announced as the state’s new executive director fo rthe Hispanic and Latino America Affairs Commission. The commission helps connect the Latino and Hispanic community with the governor’s office.
Read full article.


Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.


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Jayhawks in the News | July 5

Posted on Jul 5, 2019 in Alumni News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at


Copiah-Lincoln Community College announces new leader for Natchez campus | Natchez Democrat

The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Sandra Barnes, Ph.D., of Natchez as the new Vice President of the Natchez Campus during a recent special meeting, school officials said. Barnes, PhD’99, will begin her new role as vice president at Co-Lin, Natchez on July 15.
Read full article.


New United professor brings unique perspective to pastoral theology | Winslow Evans & Crocker, Inc.

Rev. Gary F. Green II, c’09, joined United theological Seminary of the Twin Cities as assistant professor of pastoral theology and social transformation. Green is a Ph.D candidate in pastoral theology at Brite Divinity School. His undergraduate degree is in applied behavior science.
Read full article.


City attorney named VP at Colorado Municipal League | Centennial Citizen

Centennial city attorney Robert “Bob” Widner was elected by the Colorado Municipal League executive board to serve as vice president for 2019-20. Widner is a 1989 graduate of the University of Kansas Law School.
Read full article.


After a career as Marion County’s ‘fixer,’ John Lattimer steps into retirement | Statesman Journal

After 51 years of public service – including positions in Oregon such as Legislative Fiscal Officer, State Auditor and Chief Information Officer – John Lattimer, g’72, retired as chief administrative officer for Marion County in Oregon.
Read full article.


Rick Wiedemann named next Tuthill Transfer Systems president | Pumps & Systems

Effective August 1, 2019, Rick Wiedemann will become President at Tuthill Transfer Systems. Wiedemann, g’08, has been with Tuthill since 2015 when he joined Tuthill Vacuum & Blower Systems in Springfield, Missouri as Director of Global Business Development & Americas Sales.
Read full article.


Preston James IV shared how he impacts the lives of students | Rolling Out

Preston James IV, the executive director and founder of the Other Side of Sports organization, shares what attracted him to the legal profession and how he impacts the lives of students. James, l’00, g’00, is also the sports management program director at LaGrange College.
Read full article.


Senior-level hires and promotions in South Florida | Miami Herald

Tiffany M. Hurwitz is a new partner at Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel, P.A., based in the firm’s Coral Gables office. Hurwitz, j’00, focuses on construction law and heads the firm’s contract drafting department. She joined the firm in 2006.
Read full article.


Dr. Maureen Weber joins staff at Wright Memorial Hospital |

Wright Memorial Hospital welcomed hospitalist, Maureen Weber, MD, to the medical team. Prior to joining Wright Memorial, Dr. Weber earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, KS. She was a Chief Resident in the Research Family Medicine Residency Program in Kansas City, MO.
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Eastern Michigan University appoints dean of the Honors College and assistant vice president for academic affairs | Education Dive

Brian Pappas, a professor of law and public policy and administration with extensive experience in conflict management and resolution, has been named assistant vice president for academic affairs. Pappas earned a doctorate in public administration at the University of Kansas.
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Columbus’ Partners Dance Studio moves to new location, offers more classes | Columbus Journal

Sabrina Castillo begins teaching at Partners Dance Studio this fall. She recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in business, including a minor in dance.
Read full article.


Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.


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Jayhawks in the News | June 28

Posted on Jun 28, 2019 in Alumni News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at


Public opinion on wrongful convictions swayed by entertainment series, study finds | University of Kansas

A new study suggests entertainment programs about cases of wrongful conviction actually change public opinion more effectively than facts or statistics. Kevin Mullinix, assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, co-wrote an article titled “Framing Innocence: An Experimental Test of the Effects of Wrongful Convictions on Public Opinion.” Mullinix is an expert in public opinion and public policy and earned his master’s degree at KU in 2011.
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Meet Dr. Brenda Walker, interim associate dean of the College of Education | University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Dr. Brenda L. Walker began her tenure as the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Education at USF St. Petersburg on June 3, 2019. She has spent the past 28 years at the USF Tampa campus, where she advanced through the ranks from Assistant Professor to full Professor. Walker earned a doctorate degree from the University of Kansas in 1992.
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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, announces new appointments and curatorial promotions | Art Daily

Christopher Atkins, c’92, has been named as the inaugural Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director of the Center for Netherlandish Art (CNA), an innovative center for scholarship on Dutch and Flemish art of the early modern period at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He comes to the MFA from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Read full article.


Horsley elected to INACSL board | The Brookings Register

Leann Horsley, assistant dean for South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing, was recently elected to the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning’s board of directors as vice president for programs. She earned a doctorate from the University of Kansas.
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Dr. Shaw’s career spans 4 decades, numerous AAP leadership roles | AAP Publications

Since joining the AAP in 1985, Pamela Shaw has dreamed of becoming president. She took a significant step closer to that goal when she accepted the nomination as a candidate for president-elect. Shaw, c’82, m’86, is a professor of pediatrics at KU Medical Center and assistant dean for clinical sciences and associate vice chancellor for student services.
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Ayesha Mehdi chosen for leadership program with national health care law association | Nevada Business

Las Vegas health care attorney Ayesha Mehdi of Frontier Health Law has been selected for the Leadership Development Program of the American Health Lawyers Association’s (AHLA) Fraud and Abuse Practice Group, starting July 1. Mehdi, l’10, g’10, and her physician husband spent five years in Kansas before moving to Las Vegas.
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KSU president named among most influential Atlantans | PublicNow

Kennesaw State University President Pamela Whitten was named this month to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Power 100, a list compiling the most influential and important leaders across metro Atlanta. Whitten holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University.
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Proper Title LLC promotes Wheatland, hires Gore | Daily Herald

Stacy Gore has joined Proper Title after a 10-year tenure as a real estate broker focusing on Chicago’s Gold Coast and surrounding neighborhoods. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a background in high net worth management.
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Unconditional love meets unbearable conditions in ‘Chasing Gods’ | University of Kansas

“Chasing Gods” opens July 12 under the direction of Markus Potter, co-artistic director of Kansas Repertory Theatre. DeAngelo Davis, c’19, has a role in the production, along with current KU students Gabrielle Smith and Jané Franklin.
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Three new district court judges appointed to the 17th Judicial District | Broomfield Enterprise

Patrick H. Pugh, l’05, was appointed to the 17th Judicial District Court in Colorado. Pugh is Of Counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP, a position he has held since 2007.
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New chief judge appointed for 21st Judicial District | Kansas Courts News Release

Hon. Grant Bannister, l’97, has been appointed chief judge of the 21st Judicial District by the Kansas Supreme Court. Bannister will serve in the role, which covers Clay and Riley counties, through the end of the year.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.


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Woodland reminisces about KU after U.S. Open victory

Posted on Jun 21, 2019 in Alumni News

Gary Woodland wins U.S. Open
Ross Randall, the coach and mentor who recruited Gary Woodland to the KU men’s golf team after Woodland spent a year playing basketball at Washburn University, was “always to the point. There was no sugarcoating it, at all,” Woodland recalls.

Coach Randall, who passed away two years ago, wasn’t the only KU coach with a straight-talking reputation, and Woodland says he was especially glad to have closed out his first major-tournament victory, Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, so he wouldn’t catch heat when exchanging post-tournament text messages with his pal Bill Self.

“You talk about not sugarcoating anything,” Woodland, c’07, said with a laugh Thursday while driving to his home course in Palm Beach County, Florida, for his first practice session since a three-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka. “Coach has been hard on me at times when I haven’t finished, so I was glad to finish this time so he had nothing bad to say to me. He couldn’t get on me like he does some of his guys.”

Woodland, a Topeka native who now lives with his wife and son in South Florida while also maintaining a home in Lawrence, told Kansas Alumni magazine that he’s eager to return to Kansas and celebrate with family, friends and fans, and he promises he’ll bring along the gorgeous U.S. Open trophy when he does.

That’s down the road. For now, it’s back to work. Woodland entered the U.S. Open No. 9 on the PGA money list and exited at No. 4. He also vaulted from No. 12 in Presidents Cup standings to No. 7; the top eight automatically qualify for the U.S. team in the biennial match between the best American and international (minus Europe) golfers.

The Presidents Cup, this year set for December in Australia, has long been a goal for Woodland, as has the even more prestigious Ryder Cup, which features spirited matches between American and European stars. The next Ryder Cup is Sept. 25-27, 2020, in Wisconsin.

“I’ve always believed in myself, but it’s hard sometimes to get other people to buy in without results,” Woodland said. “I think I’ve proven that I’ve become a more complete player and I belong on the bigger stage. I have to continue to get better and continue to go out and prove myself, but I think I’ve proven that I belong.”

Among other highlights from Kansas Alumni’s conversation with Woodland: He again emphasized the joy he felt in sharing the spotlight with his young friend Amy Bockerstette—a Special Olympics golfer who had her own star turn on NBC’s “Today” show, during which Woodland surprised her with his unannounced visit—and bringing attention to Folds of Honor, an organization founded by retired fighter pilot Maj. Dan Rooney, c’96, g’97, that delivers scholarships to family members of fallen members of the U.S. armed forces.

“I’ve been a huge part of Folds of Honor since 2009, when Major Dan, a fellow Jayhawk, got me to buy in. Men and women who go sacrifice for us to be free and to follow our dreams while they go sacrifice everything, it’s pretty special and it’s an honor to give back.”

Woodland also revealed that he’s spent the past year and a half working on his putting game with his new coach, Pete Cowen. They started retooling his full swing in December, and only recently Cowen also convinced Woodland to change his preshot routine.

“I’ve had the same routine—I’m a creature of habit—since I was in college,” Woodland said. “He changed it all about a month ago and it’s really been clicking for me.”

Told that his inspirational U.S. Open victory had convinced many of his fellow KU basketball fans to now make time to follow him on the PGA Tour, Woodland, who keeps a Jayhawk emblem on his tour bag, affirmed his devotion to the crimson and blue.

“Obviously I’ve been a fan my whole life,” he said, “but I’ve matured, I grew up, I became a man at the University of Kansas, and I’ll never forget that.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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Jayhawks in the News | June 21

Posted on Jun 21, 2019 in Alumni News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at


Neosho athletics director Cori Reid steps down to return to assistant AD role at MSSU | The Joplin Globe

Cori Reid, the first female to serve as athletics director at Neosho High School, has stepped down. She’ll return to her former role as an assistant athletics director at Missouri Southern State University. Reid is a 2005 graduate of the University of Kansas.
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Thomas Alan Kutscher Presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who | 24-7 Press Release

Thomas Kutscher was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a registered professional engineer who earned an MBA from the University of Kansas in 1982. Kutscher worked many years for Black & Veatch in Kansas City and later served as president of Kutscher Research. He retired in 2004.
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Hays native, TMP and FHSU graduate pens book describing 33 years in education | Hays Post

Chuck Schmidt recently published his first book “Tales from School: You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up!.” It’s a chronological narrative of his career experiences as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. Schmidt earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the University of Kansas in 1972.
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David Whan’s human impact | American Builder’s Quarterly

David Whan, chief human resources officer for TopBuild Corporation, unifies the company’s 290 branches through humanitarian strategies. He’s been with TopBuild for 18 months, and previously spent 20 years at John Deere. Whan earned an MPA in public administration from the University of Kansas.
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President Nyre reflects on his eight-years at Iona College with The Ionian | Iona College

Iona College’s eighth President, Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., completes his eight-year tenure in New Rochelle at the end of this month. He reflects on his time at Iona in this article. Nyre earned two doctorate degrees from the University of Kansas.
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Juneteenth: Creative couple make book of expressive images, words | Winston-Salem Journal

Cornelia Webster and her husband, James, have co-authored a book, “Society Conscious,” that’s designed around her artwork and expressionist writing and his poetry. Cornelia received a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Kansas.
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Meet the founder of NYC’s newest fitness obsession | Coveteur

Kristin Sudeikis wants to take you on a spiritual (and sweaty) journey. She opened Forward_Space, a fitness studio, in Nolita in late 2018. Sudeikis grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and studied dance and kinesiology at the University of Kansas.
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Board announces Machalek as finalist for town administrator position | Estes Park News

The Estes Park Town Board announced Travis Machalek as the single finalist for the position of Town Administrator. Machalek has served as Assistant Town Administrator since April 2015. He earned a master of public administration degree from the University of Kansas.
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Brothers behind Blackhall Woodworks bonded by a shared love for design | St. Louis Magazine

nside Matt and Josh Bender’s 120-square-foot woodworking shop, in the basement of Matt’s house in Rock Hill, the two meet regularly after their day jobs—Josh is an architect, Matt a graphic designer. Josh studied architecture at the University of Kansas. The brothers’ interest in furniture making began to dovetail after college.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Woodland wins U.S. Open

Posted on Jun 17, 2019 in Alumni News

Gary Woodland wins U.S. Open

Photo Courtesy USGA

KU alumni in professional sports reached a new height Sunday evening as Gary Woodland, c’07, won the 119th U.S. Open to become the first Jayhawk to claim a major golf championship.

Woodland played golf at KU from 2004-2007, after starting his college career at Washburn, where he played basketball.

“I went to Washburn to play basketball and I always believed if basketball didn’t work out then I had golf to fall back on,” said Woodland at a post-tournament press conference. “In our first game we played Kansas, they were ranked No. 1 in Division I. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich and I was like, ‘Okay I need to find something else because this isn’t going to work.'”

A native of Topeka, Kansas, Woodland is a Jayhawk through and through. See for yourself:

Read more on Woodland’s historic victory at Pebble Beach.

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