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Jayhawks in the News | April 20

Posted on Apr 20, 2018 in Alumni News

KU campus graphics | | Jayhawks in the news

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


Day in the Life: Evan Nichols enjoys his whirlwind routine as a Google software engineer | The University Daily Kansan

On a typical day, Evan Nichols, e’17, arrives to work in Google’s New York City office at around 8:30 a.m., stopping at one of the numerous restaurants and cafes that fill the fourteen floors for breakfast. Once he gets to his desk, he gets to work as a software engineer. “Forty percent of my job is coding, 20 percent is writing design documents, another 20 percent is reading other people’s design documents, and the last 20 percent is going to meetings,” Nichols said.
Read full article.


Mario’s Miracle memorialized in downtown Kansas City mural | The University Daily Kansan

Mario Chalmers’ game-saving shot during the 2008 NCAA basketball championship has been engraved into the minds of Kansas basketball fans. Now, it’s plastered onto the side of the soon-to be opened Two Light Luxury Apartments in Kansas City, Missouri.
Read full article.


Basketball, Marijuana And Poetry: These Police Tweet More Than Crime Alerts | NPR

Friday is April 20, a day that some people celebrate by smoking marijuana. The Police Department in Lawrence, Kan., is preparing for this week’s pot holiday by sending safety tips via their official Twitter account, run by officer Drew Fennelly.
Read full article.


Student Housing: Changes to scholarship hall hiring process will uphold tradition of community | The University Daily Kansan

University alumna Nancy Sims-West describes the communities within the 12 scholarship halls on campus, which house up to 50 students, as families. Sims-West, a 1980 graduate who lived in Miller Scholarship Hall, has one child who currently resides in a scholarship hall and one child who formerly lived in one. When she was approached by students about potential policy changes in the halls, she became concerned.
Read full article.


Former Kansas vaulters embrace new roles at KU | The University Daily Kansan

“Friendliness off the track, competitors on the track.” Those were the words of Jake Albright, ’17, shortly after defeating Nick Maestretti, ’17, in a “jump-off.” Albright, wearing a plain black sleeveless shirt, and Maestretti, wearing blue, were the last two standing in the college open pole vault on Thursday afternoon at the Kansas Relays.
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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Wichita’s Jayhawk Roundup a rousing success

Posted on Apr 17, 2018 in Alumni News

Jayhawk Roundup 2018 | Wood Jayhawks carved by Dan Besco
Nearly 500 KU alumni and friends gathered April 13 at Murfin Stables for the Alumni Association’s Jayhawk Roundup, the Wichita Network’s largest fundraising event, which was presented this year in partnership with Kansas Athletics and Williams Education Fund. The event, typically held in the fall, moved to spring this year for the first time in its 15-year history.

The theme for the festivities was “Game of Hawks,” a playful spin on the popular fantasy epic “Game of Thrones.” Bleached-white trees with crimson leaves lined the stables and centerpieces of swords and shields adorned each table, echoes of medieval times.

The event featured silent and live auctions, with top dollars going for a trip to the 2018 Champions Classic in Indianapolis, and the KU Libraries exhibit “Commemorate the Gr8s,” which celebrates the 1988 and 2008 men’s basketball national championship teams. Guests were also treated a feast of food and drink and live music from the band Annie Up, as well as a live carving of a Jayhawk from Kansaw Carvings artist Dan Besco.

Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, thanked event chairs and stable owners Dave, e’75, b’75, and Janet Lusk Murfin, d’75, for hosting the Roundup and honored longtime Wichita volunteer and 2017 Wintermote Award winner Camille Nyberg, c’96, g’98, along with Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award winners Jerry, p’69, and Lucy Burtnett, who hosted the event in 2011 and 2012.

Chancellor Doug Girod detailed the University’s recent accomplishments in Wichita, which included the debate team’s victorious run to the national championship title and the Jayhawks’ first- and second-round wins in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which brought thousands of alumni and fans to the area in March.

Several members of Kansas Athletics also attended the Roundup, including head football coach David Beaty, men’s basketball assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, PhD’96, who was celebrating his birthday.

“We had more guests in attendance than we have had in years,” says Danielle Lafferty Hoover, c’07, director of donor relations and Wichita programs. “The fans love having University partners and KU guests in the stables—it’s like bringing a part of Lawrence to Wichita.”

—Heather Biele

Check out more pictures from Jayhawk Roundup! Photos may be downloaded for personal use. Photos from the Lamphouse Photo Booth Company can be viewed here.

Jayhawk Roundup 2018

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Jayhawks in the News | April 13

Posted on Apr 13, 2018 in Alumni News

KU campus graphics | | Jayhawks in the news

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

He went down in the Pacific in World War II. Now, his remains are coming home to Kansas. | The Wichita Eagle

After nearly three-quarters of a century, Irvin Edmund Rink, c’41, is returning home. The 25-year-old Kansan disappeared in the Russell Islands near Guadalcanal on Aug. 4, 1943. He was a Navy pilot flying in a squadron when his F4F-4 Wildcat plane was shot down at sea by Japanese fighter planes.
Read full article.


Law Alumna Inducted into KU Women’s Hall of Fame | KU School of Law

Since 1970, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has honored a select group of women to be inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame. It honors and celebrates KU’s rich legacy of women who, through their transformational leadership and contributions, have changed the world.
Read full article.


Woodard inducted into KU Women’s Hall of Fame | KU Athletics

Kansas women’s basketball great Lynette Woodard, c’81, added to her list of accomplishments as a pioneer of the game after being inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame as selected by the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity on Thursday night.
Read full article.


BioKansas Hires Recent KU Graduate to Lead Workforce Initiatives | BusinessWire

BioKansas today announced that it has hired Dr. Alex Erwin, PhD ’18, as the organization’s new Director of Talent Development & STEMM Education, effective April 2nd.
Read full article.


Iowan Nick Collison gets special tribute from Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook | Des Moines Register

Iowan Nick Collison, c’03, got some love from one of his Oklahoma City teammates and the thousands packed inside Chesapeake Energy Arena at the start of the Thunder’s game Wednesday night versus Memphis. Collison, 37, played at Iowa Falls as a prep and led his team to back-to-back state championships in 1997 and 1998. He later went on to play at the University of Kansas, where his No. 4 jersey is retired.
Read full article.


New KU fellow to link scholarship with nonprofits to help realize positive change | The University of Kansas

You can call her a humanities evangelist. Nancy Jackson, c’92 g’01, believes, contrary to certain national dialogues, that the humanities are vitally important to a vibrant society. She points especially to the nonprofit sector in the United States, which she characterizes as humanities — and humanity — in action.
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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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Wichita alumna earns Wintermote honor for stalwart service

Posted on Apr 11, 2018 in Alumni News

Camille Nyberg, 2017 Wintermote Award Recipient
As a local and national KU volunteer, Camille Bribiesca Nyberg is known for her warmth, dedication and hospitality—qualities that earned her a 2017 Dick Wintermote Volunteer of the Year Award. As her hometown Wichita Network alumni gather this week for the 15th annual Jayhawk Roundup, Alumni Association president Heath Peterson will honor Nyberg, c’96, g’98, who has contributed countless hours to the Roundup and, with her husband, Glenn, ’79, chaired the event in 2014 and 2015.

Nyberg’s guidance was critical for Danielle Lafferty Hoover, c’07, when she joined the Association staff in 2015 as assistant director of Wichita programs. “Camille was instrumental when I first began my role,” says Hoover, who is now director of donor relations and Wichita programs. “She spent a lot of time helping me get to know the other volunteers and network board members. Anyone who knows Camille would agree that she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.”

As a new KU graduate, Nyberg left her home state to live in Dallas, where she quickly became involved in the local network, helping to host alumni and athletic events and Jayhawk Generations picnics for new freshmen and their families. Her fellow alumni nominated her to serve on the Association’s National Board of Directors, which she joined in 2009. Nyberg led the Association as national chair from 2014-’15, shortly after she moved back to her hometown. Back in Wichita, she attended numerous activities in addition to the Roundup, and she hosted events for alumni mentors and Wichita North High School students through the Helpful Alumni Working for KU (HAWK) Mentor Program with KU’s Office of Admissions.

Peterson, d’04, g’09, credits Nyberg for strengthening the Wichita Network: “Camille has invested considerable time in our events. Thanks to her efforts, KU has a much more visible and active presence in the largest city in Kansas.”

Nyberg was one of three alumni in 2017 to receive the annual award named for Dick Wintermote, j’51, who served as the Association’s executive director from 1963 to 1983 and helped establish the strong Jayhawk tradition of volunteering to help alumni and current students as well as prospective Jayhawks. The other winners were Kate Feller McSwain, b’12, who leads the Dallas Network, and Brandon Petz, b’06, g’07, who leads the Lawrence Network.

About the Award

This annual award recognizes network volunteers who demonstrate extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). An internal staff committee within the KU Alumni Association consisting of those who work closest with volunteers meets each year to decide on award winners.

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Burtnett family to receive Millie Award

Posted on Apr 10, 2018 in Alumni News

In recognition of their service to Wichita-area alumni, Jerry and Lucy Burtnett will be presented with the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award, affectionately known as the “Millie” award, at Jayhawk Roundup on April 13.

Roundup reliable

Jerry and Lucy Burtnett, Millie Award recipientsJerry, p’69, and Lucy have helped organize the Jayhawk Roundup since 2006, and they hosted the event in 2011 and 2012. KU Alumni Association president Heath Peterson thanked the Burtnetts for giving “a tremendous amount of sweat equity to Jayhawk Roundup, both serving on the volunteer committee and later as chairs of the event.”

Danielle Hoover, director of donor relations and Wichita programs, echoed Peterson’s praise, stating the Burtnetts “are some of the hardest working volunteers I have ever worked with. They’ve spent many, many hours helping set up, decorate and clean up the Murfin Stables for Jayhawk Roundup.”

Jerry and Lucy also served on the Wichita Network‘s board from 2011 to 2015 and contribute their time for Jayhawks for Higher Education.

“We got involved because of our local KU contacts and wanted to help,” said Jerry. “Working with our KU friends was very enjoyable and we continue to help with Roundup.”

The Burtnetts, who are Life Members of the KU Alumni Association, now split their time between Wichita and Florida.

Jerry and Lucy Burtnett as event chairs at the 2011 Halloween-themed Jayhawk Roundup

The Burtnetts as “event chairs” at the 2011 Halloween-themed Jayhawk Roundup

About the award

The Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award was created in 1987 to thank alumni and friends for sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level. The award honors Mildred Clodfelter, b’41, who worked for the University for 47 years, including 42 at the Alumni Association.

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From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni success

Posted on Apr 9, 2018 in Alumni News

Strong Hall | From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni success

Provost Neeli Bendapudi shared the following with KU students, faculty and staff in the latest Strong Ties message from the Office of the Provost.

Dear students, staff, and faculty:

Strategists, engineers, writers, performers, coders, creators, artists, thinkers, builders, architects, explorers, problem solvers, inventors, business people, planners, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, visionaries.



At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.

Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.

Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.

This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.

In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.

From the Provost: The energizing gift of alumni successDelano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.

The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”

Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.

Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.

Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.

One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk!

Neeli Bendapudi
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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Jayhawks in the News | April 6

Posted on Apr 6, 2018 in Alumni News

KU campus graphics | | Jayhawks in the news

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

How to Get $29 Million for Classroom Projects? Just Ask | The New York Times

In Illinois, one educator wanted a set of laptops to better prepare her students for middle school, while a teacher in Massachusetts sought $41,000 to stock a library in an elementary school that serves low-income students, many of them refugees. This week, those requests, along with the more than 35,000 others listed on, a crowdfunding website for school and classroom projects, were fully funded thanks to a single $29 million donation from Ripple. Brad Garlinghouse, c’94, is CEO of the virtual currency company.
Read full article.


Kansas alum: ‘Never forget Kansas-Kentucky in 2016’ | The Eagle Tribune

The Eagle Tribune featured an alum from each school in the Final Four with ties back to Massachusetts. Check out their feature on alumna Marina Simons, g’16.
Read full article.


A dud, a dinner and a roasting: Inside the 24 hours that changed KU basketball’s season | The Topeka Capital-Journal

Nick Bradford, c’02, didn’t know he was witnessing a turning point for this Kansas basketball team, nor was the former Jayhawk guard aware the speech he was listening to may be one that lives on in program lore depending on how the events of this weekend unfold.
Read full article.


Mikki Brock, Historian of Religion, Demonology and Witchcraft | KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

All of the research and ideas that went into writing her debut book, Satan and the Scots: The Devil in Post-Reformation Scotland, c. 1560-1700, gave Mikki Brock, c’06, away into contemporary discussions around witch hunts. In October 2017, she debunked the current use of the term witch hunt in a Washington Post article titled ‘No, there is no witch hunt against powerful men.‘
Read full article.


How I’ll approach my new role as publisher of The Dallas Morning News | Dallas News

Shortly after becoming the publisher of The Dallas Morning News, Grant Moise, j’98, shared his perspective on approaching his new position.
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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Provost Bendapudi named president of University of Louisville

Posted on Apr 3, 2018 in Alumni News

Strong Hal | Chancellor Doug Girod fall 2017 semester message
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.


I am writing to let you know that a key member of our executive team will be leaving the University of Kansas for a new opportunity.

Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was named the new president of the University of Louisville. She is slated to begin her new role in May.

While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville. As friends and colleagues, we can be happy for her. And as a university, we can be proud that her time at KU enabled her to refine her leadership skills and move on to the presidency of a major public research institution.

I will name an interim provost in the coming days. Additionally, I will keep you informed on the process for identifying a permanent successor in the coming weeks.

Neeli has been with the University of Kansas since 2011 and has been integral to many of our most important initiatives. As provost and executive vice chancellor since 2016, she has prioritized retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff development, and our university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to serving as provost, she was the Henry D. Price Dean of our School of Business. In that role, she partnered with KU Endowment to raise $198.6 million in total gifts, oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programming, and guided the school to gains in national rankings.

Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds.

The University of Kansas and the state we serve have benefited from Neeli’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating Neeli on her new position and thanking her for her service to KU.


Douglas A. Girod


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Chancellor Doug Girod to lead cross-disciplinary major

Posted on Apr 1, 2018 in Alumni News

Chancellor Girod announces new major focusing on human biology and rippin’ up the road on a classic hog.Chancellor Douglas A. Girod’s double duty as the 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas and part-time head and neck surgeon has left him with too much free time. Chancellor Girod is serving as lead advisor of a new major, focusing on the studies of human biology and rippin’ up the road on a classic hog.

“At the University of Kansas, we value students pursuing multidisciplinary education. Nothing would make me prouder than to give degrees to students who I know can both perform an anterior cervical discectomy and take a chopper white lining with the club,” said Doug Girod after leading a meeting while wearing his Jayhawk and flame-emblazoned helmet.

Chancellor Girod could not be reached for further comment, as he was busy constructing a curriculum for Integration of Brain Tissue and Throttle.


We hope you enjoyed our playful prank for April Fool’s Day. This post is pure fiction, so don’t be fooled! Check out all of our April Fool’s Day posts.

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A healthy dose of arguing leads debate teammates to marriage

Posted on Mar 30, 2018 in Alumni News

Plenty of Jayhawks think they have the best “how I met my spouse at KU” story. But Bill and Dana Hensley’s story isn’t up for debate.

Bill, c’73 l’76, and Dana, d’73 g’76, met each other through the KU debate program. After two years on the team together, it was only natural that they developed some chemistry. Ultimately, it led to marriage.

After this year’s team won a national championship, we reached out to the Hensleys to learn more about their time at KU and how the program has changed over time.

How did you meet?

“We both debated in high school in Kansas, but didn’t meet. Bill joined the debate squad as a freshman and competed for KU all four years. Dana was a piano major and didn’t debate until transferring as a junior to the School of Education with an emphasis in English and Speech in secondary education.

One course requirement was Introduction to Debate, which was taught by a graduate student/assistant debate coach. He encouraged Dana to come out for the KU debate squad and dip her toe into debate at a low-key tournament in Emporia. He gave her some debate material to look at. The next day, Dana opted to take the bus from Daisy Hill due to rain. At the next stop, Bill got on, saw the debate material on Dana’s lap, and struck up a conversation.”

Bill and Dana Hensley | KU debate teammates debate couple

What are your memories of KU debate?

“We remember spending a lot of time on debate and enjoying every minute. The squad was large, talented, and fun to be around. We had great coaches and traveled often. We had only one tournament together as colleagues. We always joked that Dr. Parson, the Head Jayhawk (Coach), thought that might break us up. It didn’t.”

Are you still involved in the program?

“There is an active debate alumni association that follows the KU debate program. Last year, in association with the National Debate Tournament which KU hosted, we had a debate association reunion at which some of the current KU debaters attended and [current debate director] Scott Harris spoke. Without financial support from KU alumni and other friends of KU debate, the program couldn’t travel the large squad to national tournaments and compete at the high level it has historically.”

How does debate nowadays compare to when you were students?

“It is probably more specialized now than when we debated, but the activity continues to match KU debaters against the best and the brightest in other universities, both public and private. Judging by KU’s track record in recent years, the KU program is in the best shape it has ever been, even though we will both claim we debated during the halcyon years.”

Thank you to the Hensleys for sharing their story! Debate is one of the oldest activities on KU’s campus. The first debate on campus was held on November 8, 1867. Learn more about KU Debate, and find out how you help support KU Debate as an alumnus.

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