News Items In Category XCampus News

Students, this is for you

Posted on Sep 16, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall | Provost message

The following email was sent by Provost Carl Lejuez on Sept. 16 to students, staff and faculty at the University of Kansas. 

A high-quality education has several elements — things like great instruction, experiential learning, original research and scholarship, extracurricular activities, supplemental instruction, leadership opportunities, support services and more. The University of Kansas has a stellar network that empowers students to achieve. One element that is sometimes overshadowed at KU is how we harness the collective knowledge and care of our alumni as part of the student experience. Faculty and staff, who are front and center, are driven to ensure that undergraduate and graduate students have access to programs and are supported at KU. Although less visible, alumni are eager to do their part, too.

As Chancellor Girod has visited with groups across campus, he’s shared a message of strengthening KU to develop students of the future — individuals who are not simply smart and capable, but who are also adaptable life-long learners, able to find fresh opportunities in a rapidly changing world. The Chancellor likes to share the forecast that new graduates will change careers — not jobs — seven times before they retire. As we enter into strategic planning this year, we will all have a chance to focus on KU’s efforts that improve student success and, just as important, improve their success post-graduation. Making the most of our alumni connections is one area of impact that can and is affecting those outcomes right now.

It’s exciting to see the opportunities available to students through the KU Alumni Association’s KU Mentoring program. More than 4,000 alumni currently participate, and they are ready and willing to connect with students to share their career or college advice and experiences. Students can reach out to Jayhawks from all academic backgrounds in a wide range of industries and professions. KU Mentoring is the key benefit of activating a free Student Alumni Network membership.

  • Students can use KU Mentoring to:
  • Ask for resume help
  • Find interview tips
  • Get advice on classes related to your career goals
  • Talk about career advice or get a “day-in-the-life” experience

Yet another program with alumni connections is also helping students prepare for the future. KU alumnus Adam Wray, founder and CEO of AstrumU, is working to help KU students enrich their academic journeys and connect with employers. This fall KU launches AstrumU’s Career Pathways app. It is designed to let students track their skill-building through curricular and co-curricular pursuits — these are the marketable skills prized by employers. Students can learn which skills are most valued by industries and employers, identify gaps in those skills and receive personalized recommendations for skills to develop and experiences to pursue. The app also helps students identify and complete career-preparation activities sought by employers interested in hiring candidates with those skills. University Career Center coaches are ready to help students identify and secure those skill-building opportunities. And employers aligned with AstrumU will be able to coordinate their opportunities and job openings with the Career Center.

All across campus we have talented teams — whether in the professional schools and the College, or in our dedicated academic support units — working to connect students with the many resources that enrich their experience and support their lives. I can’t stress strongly enough how important these efforts are. Now we have additional opportunities to help students connect with and learn from an even broader community of Jayhawks and employers of Jayhawks. Career readiness and agility are some of the important elements that characterize the high-quality education we offer at KU. It’s my hope that every student takes full advantage of all that KU and the Jayhawk nation have to offer.


Carl W. Lejuez
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Students make a splash with ‘Wescoe Rooftop Pool’

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in Campus News

aerial shot of Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

The plaza in front of Wescoe Hall has been lovingly referred to as Wescoe Beach for decades. This year, a group of KU students are making a splash with a proposal to turn the classic building into a real beach party with a rooftop pool.

The concept of the #WescoeRooftopPool began as a humorous crusade on Twitter, which continues to grow with some big names jumping in on the fun, including Athletics Director Jeff Long and former NBA player Scot Pollard, d’97.

“@StudentsofKU had been tweeting about it for a while and made a Photoshop version of it,” says Jordan Yarnell, an architecture senior from Elgin, Illinois. “Someone commented ‘let the architecture students handle this’ so we did. The three of us started to joke about it and then we realized it would be fun and pretty easy to do.”

Yarnell teamed up with fellow architecture students Jordan Vonderbrink, of Eudora, and Aaron Michalicek, of St. Louis, to create the designs. The results are a sight to see:

As fun as it is to dream, it’s worth asking: Could this really happen?

“Short answer is no,” Yarnell says. “We don’t know the structural makeup of Wescoe for what really has to be done. To add 200 thousand gallons of water, another whole floor, a deck, a lot more people, and more concrete, that’s a lot of work.”

Don’t tell Jeff Long, as he appears to be all in. Long has certainly leaned into the joke, teasing the public with promises we don’t exactly expect to come true.

Here’s hoping he dives in and makes it happen. See the rest of the designs for yourself:

poolside bar in Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

concert at Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

Sidewalk shot of Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

—Ryan Camenzind

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Chancellor’s Message: A new year for our University

Posted on Aug 26, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall | Chancellor's message

KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members Monday, August 26.


Welcome back! I hope your summer was relaxing and productive, and I am excited to continue working with you to advance our university’s mission of education, service and research. I remain deeply appreciative of everything you do to enhance our efforts as a leading public research institution and member of the Association of American Universities.

The University of Kansas begins this academic year in a position of strength. On the Lawrence campus, thanks to our willingness to make tough decisions last year and think strategically about our future, we have right-sized our budget and are finalizing a new budget model that will ensure funding for foundational priorities. Chief among these priorities are merit raises, which we are able to provide this semester thanks in part to assistance from the Kansas Legislature.

Adding to our position of strength are the new leaders who join us this semester: Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research; Ronald Ragan, dean of the School of Pharmacy; and Dr. Akinlolu Ojo, executive dean of the School of Medicine. Relatedly, the search for our next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor is progressing well, and we expect to have finalists on campus this fall.

Other factors contributing to our position of strength include enhanced partnerships with state lawmakers – who last year restored $14 million to our budget – and our success in student enrollment, as evidenced by our five straight years of overall enrollment growth.

All of this is to say, while challenges remain, KU begins this semester in a stronger and more sustainable place. As a result, we are now positioned to pivot to the development a new strategic plan to replace the university’s Bold Aspirations framework. This strategic planning process will launch later this semester and conclude by spring 2020, and it will incorporate the great strategic planning work already completed by KU Medical Center, academic units such as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and other units such as Student Affairs. We will share details about this strategic planning process and opportunities for you to engage in the coming weeks.

Welcome back, Jayhawks. I am excited to get started on another academic year with you.



Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas


Chancellor’s Message: Protecting our research enterprise

Posted on Aug 21, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall | Protecting our research enterprise

KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members Wednesday, August 21.


As has been publicly reported, one of our faculty members has been involved in an investigation of alleged criminal activity. He is accused of fraud related to his work at our Lawrence campus and in China.

We take these allegations very seriously. We learned of this potential criminal activity this spring, and we reported it to authorities and have cooperated with the ongoing investigation. Additionally, we have placed the faculty member on paid administrative leave. Given that this is a personnel matter and an ongoing criminal investigation, we are not able to share additional details.

We can and should, however, reaffirm our commitment to the collaborative environment that serves as a cornerstone in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. As reinforced in a recent op-ed column from the presidents of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, international scholars — including those from China — are critical to our success, and they play a vital role in our educational and research enterprises.

At the same time, we also have been reminded of the importance of collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies. We remain vigilant in our own internal efforts to maintain the integrity and security of our research, including the research we undertake on behalf of federal research granting agencies and, ultimately, U.S. taxpayers. Our Office of Global Operations and Security serves as an important resource for faculty and staff to help them conduct international work in a safe and secure way. The office works to manage and mitigate risk and protect intellectual property while synchronizing efforts related to international work, export compliance, and security operations.

After the formation of that office in summer 2018, we looked at our policies and procedures that regulate how we conduct research and exchange information in an increasingly interconnected world and considered ways they could be improved. One example is our restricted party policy, which we created last December. This policy ensures that we are complying with U.S. regulations that prohibit transactions with various parties that appear on government restricted lists.

As with all of our efforts in this area, our goal is to reduce risk and act strategically while still fulfilling the mission of the university. We are continuing to update and develop our policies and procedures related to conflict of interest, foreign collaboration, and network security, among other areas. We will need the help of our faculty and staff in order to be successful as we concentrate on this process during the year ahead, and we will update you further as these efforts develop.

These recent events serve as a reminder of the importance of this work across our campuses, and we thank you for your attention to these issues. They are becoming more and more significant not just at KU, but at leading research universities across the United States.


Douglas A. Girod


University of Kansas Medical Center names Akinlolu Ojo Executive Dean of the KU School of Medicine

Posted on Jun 25, 2019 in Campus News

Akinlolu O. Ojo, M.D., executive dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine
The University of Kansas Medical Center has named Akinlolu O. Ojo, M.D., executive dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, where he will oversee the Kansas City, Salina and Wichita campuses for the School of Medicine, effective August 26, 2019.

“We are pleased that Dr. Akinlolu Ojo will join us to lead the three campuses that make up the KU School of Medicine,” said Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor for the University of Kansas Medical Center. “Dr. Ojo’s diverse and rich background and experience in clinical care and research made him the ideal candidate to lead our medical school.”

Ojo is currently associate vice president for clinical research and global health initiatives and professor of medicine and health promotion sciences for the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Board certified in nephrology, he also serves as an attending physician at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson and has clinical interests in chronic kidney disease, health disparities and kidney transplantation.

A national leader in research with more than $95 million in current grant funding and more than $200 million in total federal research grant awards during his career, Ojo is a member of the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel on Urologic and Gastrointestinal Devices and has been elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the American Clinical and Climatological Association.

His primary research interests are in the clinical epidemiology and clinical and translational research in chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantation; minority health and health disparities; and global health. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

“It a great privilege to serve as the next executive dean of the 15th-largest allopathic medical school in the nation and the only one in Kansas,” Ojo said. “I look forward to joining hands with the entire KU Medical Center community to advance the important missions of the KU School of Medicine. I am confident that our concerted efforts and focused collaboration with numerous stakeholders will accelerate discoveries in precision medicine and population health that will improve the health and well-being of the people of the great state of Kansas.”

Ojo earned his medical degree from the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria. He also earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he rose to the rank of full professor in the Department of Medicine. He also was inaugurated as the Florence E. Bingham Research Professor in Nephrology, becoming the first African American to be granted a named endowed professorship at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Ojo has held leadership roles on major national programmatic initiatives, including a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded program that has financially supported donation-related expenses for nearly 10,000 live organ donors and was recently highlighted by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar.

After medical school, Ojo served as a postdoctoral fellow in public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama, and continued his training at the University of Kentucky Hospitals in Lexington, Kentucky, where he completed an internship and residency, and he also served as chief resident for internal medicine. He completed his education at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, where he served as a clinical fellow and research fellow in nephrology.

Ojo will replace Simari, who was named executive vice chancellor in July 2017 and has continued to serve as executive dean while a national search took place.


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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Joe’s Bakery served up sweet memories

Posted on Jun 7, 2019 in Campus News

Joe's Bakery | Lawrence, KS

In honor of National Donut Day, celebrated on the first Friday of June each year, we’re taking a look back at one of the most beloved spots in Lawrence’s history: Joe’s Bakery.

Since 1952, Joe’s Bakery served the people of Lawrence with delicious sub sandwiches and fresh donuts, served up 24 hours a day except Sundays. The 24 hours were necessary, as a hot, fresh glazed donut from Joe’s was a staple of the KU student nightlife.

1980 brought the end of an era for the Lawrence classic, as Joe Smith, the owner of the store, hung up the apron for the last time May 16. The bakery would stay open with Joe’s son Ralph managing the store until October 2007.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Joe Smith’s last late night before retirement, courtesy of KU History.



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Jayhawk Impact Awards recognize three student leaders

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 in Campus News

The Jayhawk Impact Awards recognize students who have made an impact on the University of Kansas campus throughout the school year. The recipients will be recognized at the Jayhawk Impact Awards ceremony April 23. The event is hosted by KU’s Student Involvement & Leadership Center.

Caitlyn Howard

As president of the Unity Hip Hop dance crew, Caitlyn creates community among fellow students with a shared passion of hip hop culture. Caitlyn has continued Unity’s strong tradition, founded in 1995, and has led them into new opportunities like training sessions with visiting artist Amirah Sackett.

Humberto Gomez Salinas

Humberto’s extensive work within the international student community at KU helps shape the experience of more than 2,000 Jayhawks who come to Lawrence from all over the world. He serves as an International Undergraduate Student Senator and a resident assistant in Downs Hall. Both roles allow Humberto to create space for students to feel welcome and engaged with the campus community.

Jordan Young

When Jordan arrived at KU, he wanted to create a space for students that he couldn’t find. With assistance from faculty, Jordan created The Connect, a space for students to come together, eat and hang out. Student organizations come to The Connect to offer their services, academic resources are also available at the event. Jordan’s creation continues to grow and welcome more Jayhawks each month, just as Jordan set out to do.

Jayhawk Impact Awards logo

The Jayhawk Impact Awards program is sponsored by Hy-Vee of Lawrence.

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Remembering The Crossing on the anniversary of its demolition

Posted on Apr 19, 2019 in Campus News

Hawks Crossing

This weekend marks the anniversary of an event that many Jayhawks would rather forget. The Crossing, a campus icon, was demolished in 2008 to make way for the Oread Hotel.

The building opened in 1923 as Rock Chalk Café. It served as a lunch haven for students and catered to soldiers during World War II. Through the years, it became a go-to spot for students to spend an afternoon relaxing on the porch or playing darts inside. And if a student was hungry, Yello Sub and the Glass Onion were right next door.

Andrea Graham and her college boyfriend, Brandon, were big fans of the bar during their time at KU in the early 2000s. “My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, threw me a surprise 22nd birthday party at the Crossing,” says Andrea, j’02. “We loved that place!”

After a new owner took over in 2006, the bar stayed open until the teardown date arrived. The nine-story hotel complex opened in 2010.

In total, the bar was open for 85 years at 12th Street and Oread Avenue. The bar’s name fluctuated as owners changed in the 70s and 80s. Monikers for the dive bar included New Haven, Catfish Bar ‘N Grill, and Rock Chalk Bar. It became known only as The Crossing in 1988.

If you want to take a real trip down memory lane, check out the aptly-named “I drank at the Crossing in Lawrence Kansas in the 80s” Facebook group.

Do you have some memories or stories from hanging out at the Crossing that you’d like to share? Send them our way at

—Ryan Camenzind

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Memorial Stadium memories: A conversation with Howard Graham

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Campus News

Memorial Stadium Football

As David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium approaches its 100th year, one researcher has set out to find untold stories of the historic building.

Howard Graham, g’09, spends his days in the Office of First Year Experience as associate director of academic programs. He’s also a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Graham’s dissertation has him deep diving into the history of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. More than just memories from football games, Graham is looking for the experiences students, alumni, and fans have all shared in the building.

“I want to make sure we have living memories,” said Graham. “I want living stories for future researchers, for students, faculty and staff to be able to go into the archives and read your stories, and to best understand how Memorial Stadium has been a part of this community.”

Conversation with Howard Graham

David Johnston, vice president for strategic communications and digital media at the KU Alumni Association, sat down with Howard Graham to discuss the history of the nearly 100-year-old center of campus.

Part one includes discussions on the commonality of Memorial Stadium experiences, and Johnston, j’94, g’06, shared his own Memorial Stadium memories from attending the Kansas Relays as a boy, which led to him competing for the KU track and field team.

(If listening on a mobile device, click “Listen in browser.” If you already have the SoundCloud app installed, or want to install it, click “Play on SoundCloud.” 

Part two’s topics include the first walk down the Hill for Commencement, the annual Traditions Night to welcome freshmen, and how the game of football has changed from its violent beginnings.

Alumni are invited to share their memories of Memorial Stadium, whether they include football games, track meets, traditions night, commencement, or any kind of gathering in the historic stadium set at the foot of the Hill.

If you have a Memorial Stadium experience you’d like to share, email your stories to Howard at

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