News Items In Category XAlumni News

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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Jayhawks in the News | June 14

Posted on Jun 14, 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


Rusted oil cans you’ll want to drink out of and other ceramic delights | Missoulian

Mitchell Span, a ceramic artist from Des Moines, Iowa, is participating in the Radius Gallery’s Ceramics Invitational show. He forages vintage labels from the Internet or books and catalogs to find these labels for his functional mugs, flasks and shot glasses. In graduate school at the University of Kansas, he spent several months developing his process through slip-casting, a molding process with liquid clay.
Read full article.


LEAD1 Association Announces Institute Scholarship Winners | The Punxsutawney Spirit

The LEAD1 Association today announced the recipients of the minority scholarship award for the 2019 LEAD1 Institute. Mike Harrity, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas, is one of the recipients. Harrity serves as a Senior Associate Athletics Director at the University of Notre Dame where he leads the areas that directly impact the student-athlete experience. He formerly worked for Kansas Athletics.
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Lisa Marie Thalhammer launches ‘Spirit of Stonewall’ mural | Lesbian News

Lisa Marie Thalhammer painted a brand new mural commemorating the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots that launched the LGBTQ rights movement. The mural, entitled “Spirit of Stonewall,” is located outside the Aqua Bar and Nightclub in Key West. Thalhammer received a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in painting with a double minor in women’s studies and art history from the University of Kansas.
Read full article.


John Colombo to become interim dean of CLAS | University Daily Kansan

John Colombo, director of the Life Span Institute, has worn many hats over his 37 years at the University of Kansas. Now, he’s preparing to start a one-year term as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences July 1.
Read full article.


Tenet Board appoints Chris Lynch as new independent director | University Daily Kansan

Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE: THC) today announced the appointment of Christopher S. Lynch to its Board of Directors. Lynch’s appointment will become effective August 7, 2019. He received a bachelor of science in accounting from the University of Kansas.
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KU selects former faculty member, alumnus to serve as pharmacy school dean | Lawrence Journal-World

The University of Kansas selected a former faculty member and university alumnus to lead its School of Pharmacy. Ronald Ragan, who served in several positions at KU from 1997 to 2012, will return to the university on Aug. 1 to become the new dean of the school. Ragan received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from KU.
Read full article.


On the Move: Leslie Doyle | Diverse Education

Leslie Doyle has been named chief inclusion officer at Rockhurst University. Previously, she was director of service, diversity and social justice at Fontbonne University. Doyle earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University, a master’s degree from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree from Fontbonne University and an Ed.D. from Maryville University.
Read full article.


Former student makes living playing Fortnite | University Daily Kansan

Amidst the pressure of earning a college degree, a former University of Kansas business student turned his gaming skills into a full-time paying job. Jack Schneider decided to break off from the traditional route of college and prioritize his passion in “Fortnite Battle Royale” competitive gaming.
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Ready to Rock | The Daily Sentinel

One year after a second-place finish in the Pioneer League, the Grand Junction Rockies are ready to take the field in 2019. For one new player, joining the Rockies is a homecoming. Owen Taylor was drafted by Toronto in the 27th round of the 2014 draft. Instead,he opted to play college ball at the University of Kansas, starting 42 games as a senior.
Read full article.


Cherokee Global Brands appoints Evan Hengel to additional role of Chairman of its Board of Directors | AZCentral

Cherokee Global Brands (NASDAQ: CHKE), a global brand marketing platform that manages a growing portfolio of fashion and lifestyle brands, announced that the Company has appointed current Director Evan Hengel to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Hengel received a B.S. with honors from the University of Kansas.
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Sabetha Community Hospital welcomes new director of physical therapy | Hiawatha World Online

Sabetha Community Hospital announced that physical therapist Brian Voos will be the new director of the Physical Therapy program at SCH effective July 1. Voos graduated from the University of Kansas Medical Center and is in his 20th year of providing physical therapy services.
Read full article.


KU School of Nursing-Salina graduates first class of students | KU Medical Center News

When Sarah Medlock begins her job as a registered nurse at Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, in June, she’ll be fulfilling a dream that began in childhood. Medlock is one of nine students who compose this first class from the Salina campus, who, along with more than 100 nursing students from KU School of Nursing main campus in Kansas City, received their bachelor of science in nursing diplomas at graduation ceremonies last month.
Read full article.


Bruce Scott receives ASHP’s 2019 Whitney Award | ASHP

Bruce E. Scott, M.S., FASHP, a pharmacy leader noted for his efforts to expand patient access to pharmacists’ services, commitment to developing future generations of pharmacy leaders, and active service to the profession, is the recipient of ASHP’s 2019 Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award. Scott received a Master of Science degree in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Kansas where he also completed an ASHP-accredited pharmacy residency.
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How these fathers inspired their daughters to become radiologists | MarketScreener

Dr. Ashley Huppe’s dad’s passion for radiology and breast imaging inspired her to follow in his footsteps. Huppe is a breat imager in an academic practice at the University of Kansas, while her father, Dr. Marc Inciardi is an assistant professor of radiology at KU. In this article, she shares how her dad’s work inspired her to enter the field.
Read full article.


Canadian rookies to watch this CFL season | TSN

TSN highlights a Canadian rookie on each CFL team, including Alex Fontana of the Ottawa Redblacks. Fontana started nine of 12 games last season at the University of Kansas.
Read full article.


President Donald J. Trump announces intent to nominate personnel to key administration posts |

President President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Matthew Keenan to be a member of the board of directors of the Legal Service Corporation. Keenan is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon and graduated from the University of Kansas and the KU School of Law.
Read full article.


USC Upstate names student affairs vice chancellor |

The University of South Carolina Upstate announced Thursday that Andre Fortune has been named new vice chancellor for student affairs. A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Fortune earned his bachelor of arts degree in communication studies and a master of science degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas.
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Barnaby Bright come out of a crisis with ‘Fight or Fly’ | Billboard

Barnaby Bright’s upcoming album came from what the married Kansas City duo of Becky and Nathan Bliss calls “a crisis point.” It’s the duo’s third album. Becky Bliss earned a degree in opera from the University of Kansas.
Read full article.


Knipp & Liberman join culture marketing council board |

Gregg Knipp, CEP of Dieste, has joined the board of directors of the Culture Marketing Council. Knipp graduated from KU’s school of journalism in 1989 and has spent the past twenty years marketing to U.S. Hispanics.
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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High Point University dean selected to lead KU School of Pharmacy

Posted on Jun 11, 2019 in Alumni News

Strong Hall

The founding dean for the High Point University School of Pharmacy will be the next dean of pharmacy at the University of Kansas.

Ronald Ragan, a KU alumnus and past KU School of Pharmacy faculty member, will begin his tenure Aug. 1.

“We were fortunate to have great candidates who clearly understood the opportunities and challenges,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost & executive vice chancellor. “Ron has an exceptional track record of success in his endeavors and programs, both at KU and at High Point. I appreciate his insight into the changing environments for pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical research, and I believe he will be an outstanding leader of the School of Pharmacy.”

Ronald Ragan selected as new dean of KU School of PharmacyRagan will succeed Kenneth Audus, who in November 2018 announced his decision to step away from the leadership role after 15 years. The School of Pharmacy offers the only pharmacy program in Kansas and has a presence on three KU campuses: Lawrence, Kansas City and Wichita. The school received more than $15 million in research funding in fiscal year 2018 and ranks seventh in the nation by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Approximately 150 students are accepted annually into the Pharm.D. professional degree program after completing two years of pre-pharmacy coursework. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and students in the class of 2018 achieved a first-time pass rate of 100% on the North American Pharmacists Licensure Exam.

“KU is recognized nationally and internationally for its clinical and graduate programs in pharmacy,” Ragan said. “This recognition is directly related to the exceptional faculty, staff and students we attract. I am proud to be a graduate of both the clinical program and the graduate program at KU and am honored to be returning to my alma mater as the eighth dean in the 134-year history of the school. There are great opportunities ahead, and this is the ideal time to return to Kansas and build on the success the school has enjoyed over the years.”

Ragan has been at High Point University, in High Point, North Carolina, since 2012. As founding dean of the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, Ragan has overseen development of a program that now enrolls 189 students. He also helped design the $120 million facility that opened in 2017. Prior to joining High Point, where he is also a professor, Ragan held several positions at KU. From 2004 to 2012, he was associate dean for academic affairs, managing a variety of curricular affairs for the school. During this time he also served on leadership teams that led construction of the Pharmacy Building and established the satellite teaching facility in Wichita. Between 1998 and 2011, Ragan directed KU’s nontraditional Pharm.D. program, a 44-credit-hour program that bridged professionals through the degree upgrade process. He initially joined the KU faculty as an adjunct instructor of pharmacy practice for the 1997-1998 academic year.

From 2000 to 2013 Ragan was president of Midwest Pharmaceutical Consulting Inc. His professional experience also includes direct patient care positions at independent and medical center pharmacies. While at KU as a student he worked at the Student Health Pharmacy in Watkins Health Center. His graduate student tenure also included positions as a graduate teaching assistant and as a researcher in pharmacology and toxicology. Ragan has published in various journals on topics related to neuronal cell death, drug therapy and pharmacy education research.

He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and served on its board of directors from 2013 to 2017. He is also a member of the American Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Society of Neuroscience, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and more. His service commitments include work on several committees and organizations at the school, university, community and regional levels. He received a KU Center for Teaching Excellence award in 2009, and he also received the 2003 PRISM Award from the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America. In 1989, he was selected as the Kansas Pharmacist Association Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year.

Ragan has a doctor of philosophy and a master’s degree in pharmacology and toxicology from KU. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from KU, and he has an associate’s degree from Butler County Community College. He is a licensed pharmacist in Kansas and North Carolina.

Lejuez expressed appreciation for those involved in the successful search effort.

“The dean of pharmacy search committee — led by Michael Branicky, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and past dean of the School of Engineering — worked diligently to identify great candidates and involve faculty, students and staff from all our campuses,” Lejuez said. “Our administrative support staff worked without the assistance of a search firm, and they and the others in the search committee did a remarkable job. I am grateful for their service.”

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Former KU defender living out World Cup dreams

Posted on Jun 10, 2019 in Alumni News

Estelle Johnson at KUEstelle Johnson, a four-year anchor on some of the most stifling defensive units in KU soccer history, this week launched her FIFA World Cup dreams as a member of the Cameroon National Team, which opened its Group E play against Canada Monday in Montpellier, France.

Johnson, c’11, who grew up in Colorado, is eligible for the Cameroon squad because she was born in the Central African country to an American father and Malian mother. Her father, Jerry, worked with subsistence farmers across the continent until moving the family to Fort Collins for a job at Colorado State University when Estelle was 7.

“I had been thinking about playing for Cameroon since 2015,” Johnson told the Sun newspaper, of Edmonton, Canada, shortly before the Cameroon-Canada match, “when I saw them play in the last World Cup.”

Johnson appeared in all 85 games of her four-year KU career, from 2006 to 2009, and was named to multiple All-Region teams. She began her professional career with the short-lived Philadelphia Independence, then stepped away from the game for graduate school at Avila University in Kansas City. After earning her MBA, Johnson returned to professional soccer with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit; she now plays with New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC.

Johnson was unable to reach any team officials in Cameroon until coach Alain Djeumfa took over in January, and she didn’t make her first international appearance with Cameroon until shortly before the World Cup began.

“I’ve been playing professionally now for nine seasons, so I’ve played with some of the best players in the world,” Johnson told the Fort Collins Coloradoan. “Just watching them achieve this and knowing I can hang with them … that’s when it hit me: I think I can do this and I want to actually try to make this happen.”

Cameroon advanced to the second round in its first World Cup four years ago in Canada. After Monday’s match, a 1-0 loss, Johnson and her Cameroon teammates face the Netherlands on Saturday and New Zealand on June 20.

—Chris Lazzarino

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Jayhawks in the News | June 7

Posted on Jun 7, 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


Ross A. Hollander ranked among top Kansas labor & employment lawyers by Chambers USA 2019 | Joseph Hollander & Craft LLC

Ross A. Hollander, of Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC, has been ranked among the state’s top band of labor and employment lawyers by Chambers USA 2019. This is the 11th consecutive year Hollander has received a top ranking from Chambers USA, which surveys clients and lawyers then ranks attorneys based on pre-eminence in their practice areas.
Read full article.


Women’s World Cup soccer player Estelle Johnson got her start in Fort Collins | Coloradoan

Estelle Johnson joined Cameroon’s national team on a trial basis a month ago and last week was named to its World Cup team. Johnson, 30, grew up in Fort Collins and played soccer at the University of Kansas. She’s payed nine seasons of professional women’s soccer.
Read full article.


Napa Valley winery Chappellet names David Francke new managing director | North Bay Business Journal

David Francke has been named managing director of Chappellet, a 52-year-old winery in upper Napa Valley. After studying at University of Kansas and University of Bordeaux, Francke, c’88, began his career in wine sales in Kansas City. He then went to work at Robert Mondavi Winery, where he rose to general manager and vice president. In his new role, he oversees sales and marketing including direct-to-consumer initiatives, hospitality, strategic planning, and operations in the vineyard and winery.
Read full article.


Nick Collison, Perry Ellis honored by separate Kansas Halls of Fame |

It’s been a big week for former Kansas basketball greats and Halls of Fame, with Nick Collison and Perry Ellis both receiving career honors in the past seven days. Collison will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame later this year. Ellis was inducted into the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the state track meet in Wichita.
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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Barcelona to Rome: Jayhawks set sail on the Mediterranean

Posted on May 28, 2019 in Alumni News

KU Alumni’s own Joy Maxwell recent hosted a group of Flying Jayhawks on a trip through Spain, France and more. Enjoy the trip through the eyes of the host.

There’s something quite special about seeing places you’ve heard about your entire life alongside Jayhawks who share your passion for KU. Don’t ask me to name the best stop on the trip, because every destination on the Flying Jayhawks: Mediterranean Collage was amazing.

Barcelona, Spain

Our group of 30 Flying Jayhawk passengers came from all across the United States – Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Florida, the KC area and beyond. Our first chance to meet each other came at the welcome reception as the Riviera set sail from Barcelona. Such a treat to swap travel stories and talk about what we looked forward to most in the week to come.

Mallorca, Spain

What a great spot to start. The island of Mallorca boasts history, charm and gorgeous countryside filled with olive and citrus trees. I would have loved to spend more time here. With so many incredible excursions to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one! We’ll definitely take time to experience the exquisite Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma on our next trip to Mallorca. Our experience at Els Calderers and the Castell de Bellver kept our group of Jayhawks busy exploring and taking in amazing weather that would last the duration of the trip. It was fun to “cheers” at end the day at the Captains Reception that evening!
• What to eat/drink: fresh fish
• What to buy: a ticket on the Soller Vintage Train Ride — our Flying Jayhawks passengers had great things to say about this excursion — or maybe a ticket to tour the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy where you can drink and eat with a view of Rafael Nadal’s own center court.
• What to see: Els Calderers – the benefit of driving past the grandeur of the Cathedral was getting out into the Spanish countryside and getting to experience Els Calderers. We could have spent the whole day at this 1700s rural manor. It was charming and beautiful – the perfect location. Also be sure to put the Castell de Bellver on your list as it provides a breathtaking view of Palma.

Provence/Marseille, France

Flying Jayhawks

Our time in Provence lived up to my every expectation. It’s easy to see why artists, including Van Gogh, looked no further than the rolling hills of Provence. The light when it meets the landscape is breathtaking. Our hours melted away as we experienced the fairytale charm of this part of the world. The Rock Chalk chant could be heard at the end of the day from the KU private reception.
• What to eat/drink: a warm baguette and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate)
• What to buy: more time, so much more time — a day is not close to enough in Provence
• What to see: Stop at the amazing hilltop city of Les Baux-de-Provence on your way to St Remy de Provence, and then allow yourself time to get lost in its charming streets before you follow the footsteps of Van Gogh to see the exact spots where he painted The Starry Night and Irises.


Flying Jayhawks

Monaco is flat-out splendid and glamorous. It’s easy to navigate and see in a day, and it’s fascinating to learn how such a tiny country has managed to survive and thrive. Don’t let your jaw drop when you see the luxe hairpin curves of the Grand Prix or when your guide tells you that the top two floors of the newest blue glass building sold for 300 million euro. This country is the second smallest in the world, but absolutely over the top.
• What to eat/drink: a cup of coffee at the Café de Paris
• What to buy: a small bag of patisseries to munch on as you stroll around the cliff-side gardens near Saint Nicholas Cathedral and oceanographic museum
• What to see: See it all in a day! That’s part of what makes this tiny country so incredible.

Cannes/Grasse/Antibes, France

Arrive into Antibes, France and be prepared to open your eyes and see white-capped mountains above the blue of the Mediterranean. The best part? Getting back to the ship and seeing the KU flag perched above the deck. We put on our KU finest and met on the grand staircase for a photo followed by dinner at the end of our day.
• What to eat/drink: fresh fruit — the oranges and strawberries burst with flavor — buy as much as you can carry and treat yourself before you go through security at the airport — this beats airport food
• What to buy: the bottled up scents (lotions, soaps, perfumes) of the Cote d’Azur
• What to see: Walk through the open market and narrow bustling shop-filled streets of Cannes before you arrive onto the red carpet at the venue for the Cannes Film Festival.

Corsica, France

Napoleon had it all wrong. I see little reason to leave the island of Corsica. The port of Ajaccio is gorgeous, and beautiful coastal lines give way to a mountainous island. Perfect for our group of Jayhawks, who all seemed to love the outdoors.
• What to eat/drink: the veal stew (trust me – it was to die for)
• What to buy: real estate (you won’t want to leave)
• What to see: It would be easy to stay put in Ajaccio, but do yourself a huge favor and see the Calanche of Piana and the Spelunca Gorges. What a gorgeous island.

Port of Liverno, Italy

Flying Jayhawks

Land in Liverno, and you have a hard decision to make. Our Flying Jayhawks spent time in the Tuscan countryside, strolling through Florence, holding up the leaning tower of Pisa and exploring the amazing coastal towns of Cinque Terre. We capped off our last night on board with karaoke in between bouts of packing to disembark.
• What to eat/drink: lemon drops (there is something next level about these)
• What to buy: just about anything in the quaint little shops that line the streets of Vernazza in Cinque Terre
• What to see: just the tip of the iceberg – you need two weeks to experience all there is to see in this region of Italy

Rome, Italy


Last stop meant farewell to our beautiful ship – the Riviera – and the amazing Flying Jayhawks passengers with whom we spent the week sightseeing. We had great weather on our trip and incredible dining aboard the Riviera. Now for a day in Roma!
• What to eat/drink: all the pizza and pasta you can absolutely manage plus ice cream regardless of how full you are
• What to buy: a ticket on the hop-on hop-off bus — SO WORTH IT
• What to see: the highlights of Rome (the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City) are easy to visit with the convenience of a bus pass. Walk and eat your way through this city, and don’t leave until you absolutely must. Ciao!

If you are considering a Flying Jayhawks trip, an itinerary like the Mediterranean Collage would be a great way to get your feet wet. Our flock of Jayhawks got to see so much, enjoy remarkable cuisine, return to the comfort of their rooms every night and greet each other with “Rock Chalk” every morning. It’s such a fun way to see the world. What are you waiting for? Pack up your crimson and blue and set sail. Bon Voyage!

The Flying Jayhawks trip “Mediterranean Collage” took place April 25-May 3 2019. The trip was hosted by Joy Maxwell, director of legacy relations. 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.

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3 reasons to move Provence with Flying Jayhawks to the top of your travel list

Posted on May 26, 2019 in Alumni News

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

If you’re like me, your bucket list consists of many different places. After my most recent trip to Provence with Flying Jayhawks, I can share a few insights for travelers.

If you are a historian, artist and/or wine lover and Jayhawk, Provence should be your next adventure!

1. Wine!

A staple in this area of France, wine appears to be in unlimited supply. Vineyards stretch for miles, can be found on hillsides (where some of the most valuable wines come from) and all along the Rhone River.

Châteaus sit on hilltops offering breathtaking views, long family history and of course, excellent wine. Our group of Jayhawks was lucky to begin our seven-day adventure with visits to two chateaus.

First stop: Château de Rully.

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

This castle has been kept in the same family since it was built in the 12th century!

Our private tour was led by Count de Ternay, a member of the family who owns the estate. After learning a little more about his family’s long history, our tour concluded with a welcomed wine tasting.

Second stop: Château de Montmelas en Beaujolais.

At another family-run chateau, we toured the grounds and learned of the family’s history, plus we got to enjoy a private piano concert. Of course, no tour is complete without a wine tasting!

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

Even though these were our only two major stops for wine tastings, we certainly got our fill of great wine for the remainder of the trip!

2. The Roman Empire’s best work

I didn’t imagine that my time in France would take us to so many Roman landmarks. After all it does makes sense—the Roman influence was very strong throughout Europe and many structures that were built in France are still standing today. But don’t be fooled, these Roman landmarks and cities have their own French flair.

For example, traditional Roman temples now sit alongside modern artwork:

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

The famous Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard is considered one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region:

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

Roman amphitheaters still stand but are now surrounded by French homes and businesses:

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

3. Picturesque countryside

The views are breathtaking, the churches are covered in intricate detail that tell Biblical stories, and the towns are patriotic. Provence offers all the best views, from atop the rolling hills and through the narrow streets.

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

But don’t take my word for it—see the Flying Jayhawks adventure for yourself!

Flying Jayhawks | Springtime in Provence

The Flying Jayhawks trip “Springtime in Provence” was May 8-16, 2019. The trip was hosted by Crysta Moon, coordinator of marketing and business development. 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.

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Jayhawks in the News | May 24

Posted on May 24, 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


Pittsburg State University announces new provost | Pittsburg State University

After a nationwide search, Pittsburg State University has announced its new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Howard Smith, g’79, currently the associate vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success, will assume the position on July 1. He follows Lynette Olson, who is retiring after having served in the position since March 2010.
Read full article.


Hawks to Watch: Carl Grauer, Contemporary Artist | KU College Stories

Wisdom and The Wizard of Oz, LGBTQ+ rights and the legacy of Stonewall, family and the uneasy tension between memory and reality, time and the construction of personal identity. KU alum Carl Grauer, c’98, is using his background in biology to explore human nature, but not in the ways that you might expect.
Read full article.


Leidos names Valerie Baldwin Government Affairs Senior Vice President | Tech Social Net

Leidos today announced the appointment of the Honorable Valerie L. Baldwin,  l’91, as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, effective immediately. In her new role, Baldwin will serve as the lead advocate for Leidos on Capitol Hill to educate and engender support for programs and capabilities that serve the national interest, advance governmental health research and patient care, and achieve efficiencies that benefit the taxpayer.
Read full article.


Bioethicist Monica Gerrek receives Jackson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring | Case Western Reserve University

Monica Gerrek, PhD’08, assistant professor of bioethics, had taken a philosophy course as an undergraduate but opted for the ostensibly safer choice of pursuing a business degree. “Once I completed my degree, I quickly recognized that my real interest was not in the world of business,” she recalls. That realization led to a life re-boot, beginning by casually taking three philosophy courses during a “gap year.” They resonated, and her love for philosophical ideas led to a PhD in philosophy from the University of Kansas.

Fast forward two decades and Gerrek, who joined the faculty in 2016, has been recognized with the 2019 J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring.
Read full article.


KU Law banner carrier graduates with a J.D. and a Ph.D. | KU Law Blog

Michael Hayes graduated from the University of Kansas with not one, but two, doctoral degrees this past weekend. He earned a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Kansas School of Law and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from KU’s Department of Philosophy. At the University Commencement ceremony on May 19, Hayes was the banner carrier for KU Law. Hayes was selected by the law faculty for this honor because of his exemplification of student excellence.
Read full article.


Attorney joins Arthur-Green Law | The Manhattan Mercury

Matthew B. Sondergard has joined Arthur-Green Law Firm of Manhattan as an associate attorney. Originally from Wichita, Sondergard earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Kansas State University in 2015, and his juris doctorate from University of Kansas School of Law in 2018. He will be joined in Manhattan by his wife, Jessica. Sondergard has a general civil practice.
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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All for Fun, Fun for All

Posted on May 20, 2019 in Alumni News

Blade & Timber
Matt Baysinger and Ryan Henrich met at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park. Both ran track for the Jaguars and both, in Baysinger’s words, “were a couple of real ding-dongs.”

“Our idea of fun was not what the typical high school kid is into,” says Baysinger, now 33 and CEO of Swell Spark, the Kansas City-based company that launched two of the most unique and popular entertainment options to hit Mass Street in years: Breakout Lawrence and Blade & Timber.

Read more about Swell Spark and the Jayhawk business partners.


Shared experiences are the heart of Matt Baysinger, c’09, g’11 and Ryan Henrich’s, ’09 epic adventures. After testing out escape rooms in Nashville, the pair of Jayhawks are bringing new ways to have fun in Lawrence. Read additional coverage in issue No. 3, 2019, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

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Elizabeth Broun’s career in art to be honored at Commencement

Posted on May 16, 2019 in Alumni News

Elizabeth Broun to be honored at Commencement

In recognition of her outstanding career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Elizabeth Broun will receive an honorary degree from the University of Kansas at the 147th Commencement.

Broun, c’68, g’69, PhD’76, served as curator and subsequently interim director of KU’s Spencer Museum of Art. During that time, she oversaw a dramatic expansion of its collections.

In 1983, she began her tenure at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, beginning as chief curator and assistant director and assuming the position of director in 1989. As director, she led the Smithsonian American Art Museum to become the premier center for research in the field of American visual history under her direction and vision. She retired in 2016.

For more on Broun’s career, read our feature from issue No. 4, 1999 of Kansas Alumni magazine.

To learn more about Commencement, including the history of class banners, honorary degrees, and the special experience for Big and Baby Jays, read our full feature, The Walk.

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