In the grand scheme of our 155 year-old University, a decade is barely a blip. But that doesn’t mean the past 10 years have gone without notable accomplishments.
We welcomed presidential visits, brought the original rules of basketball home and said farewell to a home on Daisy Hill. We revered Jayhawks who won the Nobel Peace Prize, Rhodes Scholarships, MacArthur fellowships and an Academy Award.
Jayhawks have much to be proud of.
KU Cancer Center achieves NCI designation
“I am here,” said Kathleen Sebelius, g’80, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “to formally award the University of Kansas Cancer Center with the prestigious designation as a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.” With that proclamation on July 12, 2012, the University succeeded in its longtime quest for NCI designation, transforming cancer research and care for Kansas and the region to a gold standard.
Alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his efforts at ending a civil war that ravaged his country for more than 50 years. Santos, b’73, visited KU in 2012 and returned in 2017 to receive an honorary degree. The Colombian leader was not the only sitting president to visit KU during the last decade: In 2015, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit KU in more than a century.
Rock Chalk Champions
It was a decade of dominance for KU men’s basketball, including 14 straight Big 12 titles and Final Fours in 2012 and 2018. Allen Fieldhouse hosted numerous legendary players and performances, including an overtime classic against Missouri in 2012 and Frank Mason III’s National Player of the Year season in 2017.
The women’s outdoor track and field team won the national championship in 2013, and KU’s volleyball team reached its first final four in 2015. KU Debate also won the 2018 National Debate Tournament—its sixth national championship.
Honors and Awards
KU students, faculty and alumni won numerous prestigious awards during the past decade.
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and most celebrated fellowship in the world, and each year just 32 students from the United States are selected. Two Jayhawks received the coveted award: Kelsey Murrell, c’12, became KU’s 26th Rhodes Scholar in 2011, and Shegufta Huma, c’17, was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2016.
Two Jayhawks were named MacArthur Fellows in the past ten years. Often called “genius grants,” the fellowship provides a $500,000 no-strings-attached grant that helps exceptional artists, scholars, scientists and teachers to pursue projects.
Marla Spivak, PhD’89, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. She is a McKnight Distinguished Professor in entomology at the University of Minnesota and an international leader on honey bee research.
Sarah Deer, c’96, l’99, was a winner of the MacArthur fellowship in 2014. Deer is a legal scholar, strategist and advocate for policies and legislation designed to help Native American tribal courts more effectively address violence against women. She returned to KU in 2017 as a professor in the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration.
In 2012, the University began awarding honorary degrees at Commencement to recognize intellectual, scholarly, professional, or creative achievement, or service to humanity. It is the highest honor bestowed by the University.
Kevin Willmott, a KU professor of film & media studies, was nominated for and won his first Academy Award in 2019. Willmott was a co-writer on Spike Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The rules come home
The original rules of basketball, penned by James Naismith in 1891, were brought to a public auction in December 2010. Jayhawk David Booth, c’68 g’69, spent a record $4.3 million to bring the rules home.
“[The rules are] incredibly important and they should be at the University of Kansas,” Booth said. “Naismith was there 40 years. He invented basketball and Phog Allen was one of the key figures in making it so popular.”
The DeBruce Center opened in 2016 to host the historic rules, along with other basketball history exhibits and a cafe.
Far Above: The campaign for Kansas raises more than $1.6 billion
Far exceeding its original goal of $1.2 billion, Far Above, The Campaign for Kansas, had raised $1.66 billion when it ended June 2016. The campaign, which began in July 2008 and was managed by KU Endowment, boosted support for students, faculty, facility and programs, creating 735 new scholarships and fellowships, 53 new professorships and 16 new buildings or major renovations. During the campaign, the University also celebrated its sesquicentennial, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes on September 12, 1866.
The implosion of McCollum Hall in 2015 changed the Lawrence campus skyline, as KU witnessed unprecedented building and expansion over the past decade. KU Housing alone saw several buildings built or renovated, including Self, Oswald, Downs and McCarthy halls, Stouffer Apartments plus Corbin and GSP. The KU School of Pharmacy received a state-of-the-art home on West Campus, and the school’s expansion in Wichita was made possible thanks to state support. The KU School of Business moved from Summerfield into beautiful new Capitol Federal Hall, while the KU Medical Center welcomed the new Health Education Building to its Kansas City campus. A new KU School of Medicine Salina Campus grew, along with major projects in Lawrence, including Rock Chalk Park, Central District, KU School of Engineering expansion, Spencer Museum of Art renovation and more.
The 2010s were a decade of unprecedented growth at the University under Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s leadership. In 2017, Gray-Little stepped down as chancellor of the University, a position she held since 2009.
Douglas A. Girod, formerly executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, was named KU’s 18th chancellor in July 2017. At the KU Medical Center, he oversaw the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, succeeded Kevin Corbett, c’88, as Alumni Association president in 2015, continuing a decade of sustained growth and impact, including the creation of the KU Mentoring program and the Jayhawk Career Network. During that time, the Student Alumni Association became the Student Alumni Network (SAN), eliminating dues for student members. The group quickly grew to become the largest student organization at KU and the biggest of its kind in the Big 12. Similarly, loyal alumni fueled the growth of the Presidents Club to record numbers, allowing the Association continue its vital work to advocate for the University of Kansas, communicate with Jayhawks in all media, recruit students and volunteers, serve students and alumni, and unite Jayhawks worldwide.
The University lost some of its top Jayhawks including chancellors Robert Hemenway, in 2015, and Del Shankel, in 2018. Several other beloved Jayhawks left us in the last decade, including Max Falkenstien, c’47, the voice of the Jayhawks for more than 60 years; the legendary Coach Don Fambrough, d’48; and Hal Sandy, j’47, creator of our smiling Jayhawk, plus too many more to name. These incredible Jayhawks will forever be remembered fondly by alumni who love KU.
Bonus: Your favorites
To cap off this list, we had to include some of your favorites. Here are some of our readers’ most popular blog posts:
A spring semester gift to the University of Kansas is already paying dividends.
On Feb. 7, Silicon Valley financial technology company Ripple awarded a $2 million grant to KU as part of the University Blockchain Research Initiative. The program focuses on accelerating academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments at top universities.
Ripple is led by Brad Garlinghouse, c’94, who serves as CEO of the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency and digital-payment processing firm.
One of the programs benefiting from the grant is the KU Blockchain Institute, a student-led organization that focuses on advancing KU’s standing in the fast- developing field of blockchain. The group is open to students from all disciplines, including engineering, business, economics, mathematics, science, health care and technology.
Daniel Jones, a senior from Owasso, Oklahoma, is president and co-founder of the KU Blockchain Institute. His interest in blockchain was sparked by attending industry conferences and studying abroad.
“I was able to network with seasoned professionals who seemed adamant that blockchain technology would be a huge disruption for their industry,” Jones says. “I remember thinking, ‘If these executives are so worried about this technology, maybe I should check it out.’ Incumbent firms may see blockchain as a major disruption, but the KU Blockchain Institute sees blockchain as a serious opportunity for student entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo.”
Daniel Jones, Brad Garlinghouse and Jack Schraad, co-founder and vice president of the KU Blockchain Institute
Since its launch in August 2018, the KU Blockchain Institute has hosted three large conferences, including an October 2019 conference on cybersecurity. Speakers from FedEx, Lockheed Martin, the University of Arkansas and IBM attended, as well as Garlinghouse.
So what exactly is blockchain?
“Blockchain uses applied mathematics and cryptography to create trust in any transaction,” Jones explains. “Blockchain is a verifiable data structure that creates trust or traceability through a transfer of value. The transfer of value takes place through a transaction around a digital asset. A digital asset can represent any piece of physical property or store of value.”
“Using distributed ledger technology, blockchain creates a direct peer-to-peer exchange system for the transfer of value. Blockchain is to value what the internet is to information.”
The third annual KU Cares Month of Service brought Jayhawks closer to the communities they call home. One of our favorite events comes from the Twin Cities Jayhawks.
When your doorbell rings on Halloween, you’re expected to answer with candy in hand. But when the Pence family shows up, it’s time to hit the pantry.
Stacy, c’10, and her husband Tyler, d’11, have spent their Halloween evenings for the past six years going door to door in their Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Instead of candy, they collect donations for the St. Louis Park Emergency Program, which provides food, clothing and other assistance for those in need.
“My husband and I did the first trick or treat supply drive only on our block to meet neighbors and help a good cause,” Stacy says. “It was so popular that we decided to make it an entire neighborhood effort the following year.”
The scope of the night continued to grow the past two years as the all-call went out to other Jayhawks to help out as part of the KU Cares Month of Service.
“Generally, it is very well received,” Stacy says. “So many thank yous! Flyers are given to every home in advance so many people are ready with bags of donations. Others are surprised when an adult is knocking on their door on Halloween, but when we explain our cause they run to their kitchen to get something.”
As for the results? They’re spook-tacular:
“I couldn’t count the items as there are literally thousands that fill our entire living room. This year 1,705 pounds were donated, which brings our to-date total over 11,500. Pretty insane.”
Thanks again to all Jayhawks who participated in the third annual KU Cares Month of Service. Jayhawks can make a difference in their community anytime. Visit kualumni.org/info-for/volunteer to learn how you can organize a KU Cares event in your network.
Grant Snider, ’07, the orthodontist by day and illustrator by night who calls himself “the incidental comic,” this fall published his first picture book for kids. What Color is Night?, which explores the wonders and colors of night, came out in November from Chronicle Books. The read-aloud bedtime book’s target audience is 3- to 5-year-olds, but as Snider’s own experience suggests, kids of any age will delight in the book’s message that there’s plenty to appreciate in the night if only you look closer.
“Even before I had kids, I would read picture books,” says Snider, the subject of a 2013 feature in Kansas Alumni. “It’s a medium I think you can say so much in, and has so much possibility, and that’s why I hope I can master it or come close some day.”
The publication of his first book, The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity, in 2018 marked the realization of a longtime dream for Snider, who drew a daily comic strip for the University Daily Kansan’s editorial page in 2007 and in 2008 won the Charles M. Schultz Award for college cartoonists. His whimsical takes on life and literature soon found a place in the pages of The New York Times and The New Yorker.
In an interview with Kansas Alumni about The Shape of Ideas, the father of four acknowledged the deep satisfaction he got from launching his first book into the world, while hinting at another goal he hoped to fulfill.
“One thing I’ve been working on in both rewarding and frustrating ways for about three years now is a picture book,” Snider said. “Having kids and being interested in art and reading and drawing, the natural thing to do is draw a book your kids can read. It’s a fun process that’s a lot more challenging than I thought it would be, but that’s another thing that over the next year, five years, or 10 years I want to explore creatively.”
Just how difficult that process proved to be—and the many false starts Snider encountered along the way (who knew it would be hard to sell a book about a tapir learning to ride a tricycle?)—is the subject of a recent post on Snider’s excellent website, incidentalcomics.com.
What Color Is Night? will be followed in May by What Sound Is Morning?
“It feels incredible,” Snider says. “My children have been an eager sounding board for ideas over the long process of making a book, and they are always ready to hear a new story. When my wife, Kayla, showed them the first copy of the book, my son Trent (who the book is dedicated to) said ‘We’ve already read this before!’ They’d heard it over and over again in the revision process, so weren’t too impressed by seeing the exact same story in printed form. Reading to one’s own kids is a good way to stay humble as an author!”
First, a disclaimer: This was my third Flying Jayhawks trip, but I’m not actually a Jayhawk (gasp!). My wife, son and daughter-in-law are the Jayhawks. I’m a West Point graduate, and I served more than 22 years on active duty in the Army, including fighting in Vietnam in 1971 to ’72 as an armored cavalry platoon leader, where I was wounded twice.
Tegan suggested to me that it would be interesting for the Flying Jayhawks to hear about my experiences in going back to Vietnam for the first time since 1972. I will leave it to another Flying Jayhawk to describe the entire trip, but here are my highlights.
We had a great local guide named Viet, a 40-year-old North Vietnamese man who was with us during our entire visit to Hanoi. He was smart, thoughtful and very willing to answer questions and give us his views, which sometimes didn’t correspond with the party line. He definitely was not a typical minder and was our best local guide of the entire trip.
The most interesting part of the visit to Hanoi for me was visiting the Hoa Lo Prison (the “Hanoi Hilton”). Most of the prison has been torn down and only a small part of it remains as a museum. That museum highlights how badly the French treated the Vietnamese they imprisoned there during the French colonial era and their war in Indochina and includes mannequins that show how they were shackled, how they were tortured, and how some died there, often by guillotine.
The part of the museum devoted to the “American War” was limited to a display of a few items, including a POW uniform and some photos of prisoners relaxing, playing chess, cooking and putting up Christmas decorations. It was pure propaganda and intended to contrast their “humane” treatment of the Americans with the brutality of the French. I have a good friend and West Point company mate who was shot down over North Vietnam and imprisoned there from December 1972 to February 1973. He told me that the cell where he was held, part of what the POWs called the “new guy” section, was still there. I’m not sure I was able to identify the exact cell that was his, but the prison is a dark and gloomy place that was depressing to tour.
After telling Viet that I’d fought in Vietnam, I mentioned that my friend was a POW there and I asked whether I could tell our group about his imprisonment. That was well received and a number of folks told me they appreciated my telling his story.
Cu Chi tunnels
The Cu Chi tunnels near Saigon are a massive complex of miles of tunnels stretching from the Cambodian border towards Saigon. They were designed to allow the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army to move troops into South Vietnam and provide sanctuaries where they could rest, get medical care, etc.
During the war we discovered some tunnels but were unaware of many others, including a complex directly under a major U.S. base. We had a different but also good local guide, a South Vietnamese man, who gave us a tour of the site, which is one of two they take people to (not the one that was under the big U.S. base that I’d been to at one point in 1972). They had some tunnels that we could crawl through and our guide explained the measures they took to conceal the tunnel complexes from the Americans and demonstrated the types of punji stakes and tiger traps they used to deter Americans from entering the tunnels. I crawled through the longer tunnel—about 50 yards—and had to do part of it on my hands and knees, while my wife, Sondra, did a shorter one, which was a little larger; she was able to get through by stooping over in some places.
My experience in crawling confirmed that I never could have been a tunnel rat! As I did in Hanoi, I told our guide that I’d fought nearby in 1971 to ’72 (that got a startled expression) and asked him whether I could speak with the group about my experiences. On the bus after our tour I explained how we cleared bunkers and tunnels, what tunnel rats did, and how we used smoke grenades to identify air holes and exits. Sometimes we used CS grenades if the tunnel rats had gas masks.
Throughout Vietnam, I found the Vietnamese people to be friendly and mostly too young to have experienced the war. One other highlight of the trip was having Kim Phuc with us as a lecturer. She was the “Napalm Girl” in the iconic photo, which showed her running away naked from a napalm strike, and now she is a woman in her 50s. She was badly burned over most of her back and one arm, but she has recovered after multiple operations, although she still is in a lot of pain.
She defected with her husband to Canada some years ago, has two children and is now a UNESCO Ambassador for Peace who tells her story around the world. She’s a remarkable woman, and through faith she has been able to turn her life around from anger and resentment to forgiveness. She is always smiling. Sondra and I made a personal connection with her, and I told her that I operated very near her home in Trang Bang six months before her horrific injury.
Tired of visiting temples, Sondra and I daringly broke away from the group itinerary and, at Sondra’s suggestion, took an all-day excursion with a private guide and driver to the bridge over the River Kwai.
You may know the general story of the bridge and what they call the Death Railroad from the 1957 movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” We discovered that the movie, although based in fact, is not historically accurate. The short version of the real story: the railroad was built during World War II in 1943 by the Japanese to connect existing north-south railroads in Thailand and Burma and allow the Japanese to move troops and supplies into Burma for their attack west into India.
They used around 200,000 conscripted local Thaisand other natives and more than 60,000 POWs, mainly British, Australian and Dutch, many of whom had been captured when Singapore fell, to build the railroad. Working in terrible conditions, more than 100,000 laborers (both natives and POWs) died from malnutrition, chronic dysentery, malaria, cholera, and other diseases; brutal treatment from sadistic Japanese guards; and unfortunately, from bombing by the Allied Air Forces who were unaware that the camps housed POWs.
This is one place where the movie presents an unrealistically rosy picture of the conditions in the camps. The famous bridge was built using POW forced labor (designed by Japanese engineers, not British ones as shown in the movie), and actually consisted of concrete and steel spans rather than wood scaffolding and was not blown up by British commandos but was bombed by US B-24s in June of 1945, which dropped three central spans. The bridge was rebuilt after the war by replacing the dropped spans, and the eastern two-thirds of the railroad is still in use.
We drove about three hours from Bangkok, got on a train with hordes of tourists and Thais, rode over the bridge on the train and later walked back over it. In addition to seeing the bridge, there is a superb museum there, which alone was worth the visit. Near the museum, there is a cemetery that is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and includes the graves of thousands of POWs who died building the railroad. They did an amazing job of identifying remains and collecting them in the cemetery. Apparently if they could identify family or NOK of the dead, they allowed them to include personal messages on the markers, most of which are heartbreaking. A few of the messages I read were: “A voice we love is still, a place is vacant which we can never fill,” and “We think of him still as the same and say: ‘He is not dead, he just is away.’” These messages really brought home the sacrifice and loss of those young men long before their time. The visit, although it took all day, was memorable and I’m very glad we made the trip.
Side note: People have asked me how it felt to go back to Vietnam and whether I recognized any of the places I had been. I didn’t have any extremely traumatic experiences in Vietnam, so I found I was OK with going back, although the visit to the Hanoi Hilton was emotional. Although my unit operated in an area northwest of Saigon very close to both Cu Chi and Trang Bang, I didn’t expect that I’d recognize places I had served, and that was the case. I spent almost all of my tour in the jungle, bashing through the trees on armored vehicles looking for bunker complexes or leading dismounted ambush patrols in search of Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army, and jungle looks pretty much the same, no matter where it is. My sense was that Vietnam is much more built up than when I was there in the ’70s—roads that were dirt when I was there are now paved, and there are far more buildings, small businesses and houses than there were almost 50 years ago.
Flying Jayhawks passenger, Exotic Vietnam and Angkor Wat
The Flying Jayhawks “Exotic Vietnam and Angkor Wat” trip took place Nov. 5-19, 2019. The trip was hosted by Tegan Thornberry, d’05, g’09, the Alumni Association’s director of membership. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.
Marcus Herford, Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2007 and a member of KU’s victorious Orange Bowl team that season, is, more than a decade later, living his best life, coaching football and winning championships. That much is, more or less, going to script.
The part he never saw coming? Most of Herford’s players, fellow coaches, team ownership and fans speak English, if at all, as a second language. Turns out, coaching—or, more precisely, teaching—American football in Italy, Germany and Brazil offers unexpected joys.
“It’s football at its purest moment,” Herford says from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, shortly after joining Galo Futebol Americano as offensive coordinator. “They play with passion and enthusiasm. It definitely makes coaching that much more fun.”
Herford, c’09, a Dallas native, was in his first coaching job, at Valdosta State University in Georgia, when he was introduced to overseas football while watching clips posted by former KU teammate Jocques Crawford, ’10.
“He was tearing it up,” Herford recalls. “I’m like, man, where is this? He told me everything, as far as getting overseas and how to get looked at.”
Herford’s overseas playing career didn’t last long, with brief stints in France and Turkey in 2011 and ’12. He was newly married at the time, and carrying too much weight, so he returned stateside and accepted a job as passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College. When he heard the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, a dominant team in Germany’s pro league, were looking for an offensive coordinator, he made a snap decision to apply.
Herford landed the job, but, three days before arriving in Germany, he learned that Baltic’s head coach, Dan Disch, had resigned to become defensive coordinator at Southern Miss. Baltic promoted Herford to the top job and he led the Hurricanes to within one game of the championship in consecutive seasons.
When Herford three years ago joined Seamen Milano, a powerhouse in the Italian league, as offensive coordinator, the club was coming off its third championship in four seasons. Seamen has since twice defended its title, including a 28-point fourth-quarter rally to win Italian Bowl XXXIX last July.
Shortly before that game, Herford was contacted by an international football talent scout who was helping the Galo Roosters hire an offensive coordinator. Rather than drift back to Dallas in the offseason, Herford accepted the gig; not long after he joined Galo, Milano announced it had promoted Herford to head coach for the 2020 season.
“It’s definitely been a blessed ride. My whole coaching career, how things have gone, it’s been pretty awesome. If I complain, I’ll be lying. I’m definitely excited about what’s going on.”
When Matt Lindberg reached out to us about a special 10-year anniversary surprise for his wife Sarah, we couldn’t pass up the chance to give the Life Members a tour of campus to see their alma mater, old and new.
Ten years since they last visited campus has been 10 years too long for this Jayhawk couple. Matt, j’08, and Sarah Strathman Lindberg, c’09, returned to Lawrence October 11 to find a campus filled with change, but still familiar.
Their day began with a trip to the Oread Hotel, a far cry from the pile of rubble that was once the Crossing. On the 9th-floor rooftop terrace, familiar sights mixed with the new: A giant apartment complex across the street from the nearly 100-year-old Memorial Stadium, and renovated Jayhawk Boulevard and Memorial Drive connecting historic campus buildings.
Next, a walk down Jayhawk Boulevard past Fraser Hall where the couple met in French class, and Watson Library, home to studying among the stacks.
“It still feels comfortable walking around. I recognize everything,” Matt said. “It still feels like campus to me.”
The tour brought the pair to Matt’s old stomping grounds at the School of Journalism and the University Daily Kansan, where memories of 2008 came back.
Matt was on the paper’s staff as a student, including serving as special sections editor his senior year.
“After KU won the title, Mario Chalmers came into the Kansan offices asking for a paper, apologizing for not having his KU student ID,” he said. “I think we gave him a dozen copies.”
From there, the couple trekked across campus to the new football complex, which has seen massive changes since the Lindbergs’ graduation after the 2007-’08 Orange Bowl season.
They were able to poke their head into the football facilities, in part due to their fandom: They spent the night camping for front-row seats in the student section during the Jayhawks’ 12-1 season.
The last stop on the tour was the DeBruce Center, where the couple got to check out the “Original Rules of Basket Ball,” an exhibition that features a recording of James Naismith describing his invention.
After a full morning of tours, the Lindbergs were sent off to explore Mass Street and Lawrence, thanks to gift cards from KU Alumni restaurant partners Papa Keno’s Pizza, Jefferson’s and Merchants.
In between stops to see the newest additions to the campus, the Lindbergs were happy to reminisce about memories of the little things.
“For me, it’s been walking up and down the hills,” Sarah said. “I did that so many times, and now here I am doing it again, except now I’m not going to class.”
For Matt, it’s a return to what was once normal. “Going into the Kansan room, I haven’t been there since I graduated. I used to be in there every day.”
Despite everything that’s changed, the campus contains a spirit that continues to last.
“It feels very much the same, but current,” Matt said. “Some things just haven’t changed, and I like it.”
Six alumni will receive the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award for their contributions to the university, their profession and their communities. The award is named for the late Mike Shinn, a 1966 School of Engineering alumnus, who helped found the KU Black Alumni Network and the Leaders and Innovators Project, and his wife, Joyce.
The six recipients will be honored Friday, Oct. 25, during KU Homecoming week and the Black Alumni Network’s biennial reunion. They are:
Katherine Conway-Turner, Buffalo, New York, who received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1976, her master’s degree in psychology in 1980 and her doctorate in psychology in 1981;
Jyarland Daniels, New York City, a 1997 business graduate;
Bonita Gooch, Wichita, who completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1977 and her master’s degree in public administration in 1978;
Eva McGhee, San Francisco, who earned her doctoral degree in cellular immunogenetics in 1995;
Ivory Nelson, Houston, who received his doctorate in chemistry in 1963; and
Norma Norman, Georgetown, Texas, who completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1967 and her law degree in 1989.
Conway-Turner has been a leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Before becoming president of Buffalo State College-State University of New York in 2014, she served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Hood College and State University of New York, and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University. A first-generation college student, she advocates for affordable tuition and food security for those who are underserved.
She serves on several national, state, and local committees and boards, including Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.), based in Rochester, New York. As chair of the organization’s education committee, she travels frequently to Borgne, Haiti, to assist community members with health, education and economic efforts. She also created Bengals Dare to Care Day, an annual community service project at Buffalo State College.
Daniels is a steadfast advocate for social justice and racial equity. After graduating from KU, she launched her career in marketing and public relations and worked with several Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Ford Motor Company, before earning her law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, where she focused on education and civil rights law.
She has since served as executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Detroit, and in 2016 she founded Harriet Speaks, an equity and inclusion consulting firm that provides services for corporations, government agencies and educational institutions nationwide. Most recently, she was appointed interim chief communications officer of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Gooch is a veteran journalist, community activist and entrepreneur. She owns TCV Publishing, which produces several local newspapers, including the Community Voice, the Tanker Times and the Big Voice. As editor-in-chief of the Community Voice, which features news, issues and interests of the African American community, she has been honored with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Media Advocate Award and two Kansas Press Association awards.
She volunteers for several organizations, including the American Red Cross and the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and she has received numerous awards for her leadership and community service.
McGhee is a scholar and humanitarian whose research focuses on health disparities in African American and Hispanic women. One of her most notable accomplishments is the discovery of the candidate gene for Coffin-Siris Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Her research has been widely published, and she contributed to a report for President Barack Obama on HPV vaccinations. She currently serves as assistant professor of medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
As a professor, she has mentored hundreds of students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and science, and she established a scholarship program for high school students at Mount Zion Baptist Church in San Francisco.
Nelson has had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, educator and leader in higher education. At KU, he was the first African American student to receive a doctorate in analytical chemistry and to be inducted in Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society. In 1986 he became chancellor of the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio and later served for more than seven years as president of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In 1999 he became president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where the Ivory V. Nelson Center for the Sciences was built in 2009, two years before his retirement. His career in higher education also includes receiving a Fulbright Lectureship.
A recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Citation in 1998, he has served as director of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and was appointed by the governor of Washington to the Washington State Commission on Student Learning.
Norman has devoted her career to education and human resources. She served as an elementary school principal in California and managed a state education-certification program before moving to Las Vegas, where she directed employee and labor relations at the Bellagio Hotel for 10 years. She later served as a civil rights officer for the Department of Transportation in Nevada and as a human resources counselor and employee relations coordinator for the Texas Workforce Commission.
She has volunteered in her community for several years, working with the MGM Mirage Resorts Diversity Champion Program in Las Vegas; the Human Resources Management Association in Austin, Texas; and the Northeast Economic Development Corporation in Kansas City, Kansas. She was inducted in the Topeka High School Hall of Fame in 2008.
The KU Black Alumni Network has honored 77 African American Leaders and Innovators since 2006. For information on previous winners and details of the Black Alumni Network Reunion Oct. 25-27, visit kualumni.org/blackalumni.
Sixteen lucky Jayhawks spent 12 days traveling the beautiful country of Peru!
We wandered the capital of Lima, explored the Amazon, roamed the Sacred Valley, conquered Machu Picchu and checked out Cusco.
We were so lucky to experience all the spectacular wonders of Peru with such a great diverse group of travelers. The trip was amazing, but the company of Jayhawks and friends was even better.
Day 1-2: Lima
Welcome to Peru! We took off to wander Peru’s capital city, Lima, one of South America’s largest cities with a population of nearly 9 million residents. Here we visited the beautiful Larco Museum, Lima Cathedral and the San Francisco Monastery. Concluding our tour of the capital city, we spent our evening with a local woman named Marie at her family’s historic home in the heart of Lima, Casa Garcia Alvarado.
Day 3-5: The Amazon
Next we set off to explore the Amazon. After a quick flight to Iquitos and a bus ride to Nauta, we embarked the Delfin III. During our time on the Delfin III, we explored the rainforest, kayaked with pink dolphins, bird-watched and made friends with monkeys. Our group of Jayhawks also fished for piranhas, visited a local community called San Jose, and had a champagne toast at the point where the Maranon and Ucayau rivers form the Amazon. We had so many amazing adventures during our time on the river thanks to our amazing guide, Sandro Soria!
Day 6 & 7: Cusco (Sacred Valley)
After a hard goodbye to the crew on the Delfin III, we set off to “The Sacred Valley of the Incas.” Here we visited the Ollantaytambo ruins, ate a delicious meal at the Wayra Restaurant with a Peruvian horse show and visited Chincheros to get an authentic weaving demonstration. Our guides Wilson and Queoma were so passionate and filled us with so much knowledge on the history of this region of Peru.
Day 8: Machu Picchu
The day we had all been waiting for! We headed off to the Ollantaytambo train station to board our train on the Inka Rail to Machu Picchu. The train ride in itself was gorgeous: the views of the mountains and the changing countryside was fascinating.
Upon arrival we headed up the mountain on a bus to enter into Machu Picchu. It truly was amazing; words do not do it justice. We were so lucky to have a perfect day learning about its history and seeing its beauty. We finished off with a great meal at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, where many of us had guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy.
Day 9-11: Cusco City
Our final stop in Peru was Cusco City. We visited the Koricancha Temple (Sun Temple, now the Santo Domingo Monastery, Sacsahuaman archeological area) and the Cusco Cathedral. The city was filled with gorgeous architecture, engaging history and delightful food.
We finished off the trip with farewell cocktail hour, where the entire group got to say final goodbyes and our good friend Rowe lead the Jayhawks in the Rock Chalk Chant! The perfect way to end the trip.
The Flying Jayhawks “Wonders of Peru” trip took place Sept. 27-Oct. 7, 2019. The trip was hosted by Merideth Warinner, d’16, the Alumni Association’s operations and membership coordinator. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.