Posted on May 25, 2018
in Campus News
The University of Kansas celebrated its 146th Commencement May 13. Nearly 4,000 graduates made the traditional walk down the Hill and into David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
Chancellor Doug Girod addressed his first graduating class as the University’s 18th leader, and Kevin Carroll, the Alumni Association’s national chair, welcomed the Class of 2018 as alumni and encouraged graduates to connect with fellow Jayhawks through their one-year gift memberships in the Association.
Dr. Richard Weinshilboum, c’62, m’67, received an honorary degree during the ceremony. Weinshilboum is a Mayo Clinic scientist who is a pioneer in the field of pharmacogenomics, the study of how drugs respond to a person’s genetics.
Read more about the storied traditions of KU’s Commencement, and watch our slideshow below for photos from this year’s celebration.
Posted on May 24, 2018
in Campus News
The Kansas Union is full of KU history, but one piece was missing from public view for months. The scaled campus model, featuring a tiny Strong Hall, small Allen Fieldhouse, and minuscule Potter Lake, was undergoing its first major renovation since 2002.
Students Sarah Irby and Will Shadwick, both School of Architecture graduate students, worked on the project. “I committed to it before I saw the model,” Shadwick said. “Once I saw how big it really is, I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into.”
Despite the small size of the campus buildings, the construction process was far from simple. Irby, a’18, and Shadwick, a’8, used blueprints from building constructions to ensure they correctly matched the model’s 1/100 scale.
The technology used to construct the campus replica has certainly changed since the model was last updated. While wood is still used for some features, advancements in 3D printing allowed for plastic modeling of buildings to the 1/100th of an inch.
No amount of technology can replace the time commitment needed to paint windows, replace trees, adjust colors, and all the other details that come with the first renovation in 16 years. “Early on we had to decide what we were going to change, and what we would leave alone,” Shadwick said.
For example, Memorial Stadium still has a track surrounding the field. “With major stadium renovations coming soon, we thought we’d leave that to students later on,” said Shadwick with a smile.
“We’ve been meaning to do this for a long time,” said David Mucci, director of the KU Memorial Union. “These students did a great job.”
Past renovations to the model, a gift from the class of 1962, took pace in 1969, 1971, 1976, 1985, 1987, 1995, and 2002. “Usually it’s a renovation every five years, but with campus changing so rapidly we’d be repeating too often,” Mucci said.
The model is available to view on the third floor of the Kansas Union, near the staircase.
Read more about the KU Memorial Union’s changes in recent years, including its newest student space, Union Square.
Posted on May 21, 2018
in Campus News
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Monday, May 21, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to inform you of a leadership change in Kansas Athletics.
This morning I met with Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger and informed him that I am relieving him of his duties, effective immediately.
Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership. But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.
Sean Lester, our deputy athletics director, will serve as interim director. I have spoken with Sean about my expectations for the coming months, and I am confident he will provide sound leadership and stability during this transition.
I have begun the process of identifying a permanent athletics director. To lead this process, I have enlisted Drue Jennings, one of our most respected and accomplished alumni. Many of you know Drue as our interim athletics director in 2003 and for his role in leading the search processes that brought Chancellor Gray-Little and Coach Self to KU. Jed Hughes, a consultant with the Korn Ferry executive search firm, will assist Drue.
Some of you may have questions about our football program. I spoke with Coach Beaty earlier today and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.
Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU. A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.
The other common thread in these conversations is optimism for Kansas Athletics. Across the country, we are recognized as having elite programs, a proud tradition, and a loyal fan base. These assets will serve us well as we identify a new leader for Kansas Athletics.
I want to thank Sheahon for his service during the past seven years. Under his leadership, student-athlete GPAs reached an all-time high. Rock Chalk Park, McCarthy Hall, and the DeBruce Center are lasting tributes to his efforts. Most importantly, he prioritized our student-athletes and represented KU with integrity and class.
Thank you for your support in moving KU forward.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas
Posted on Apr 30, 2018
in Campus News
Another step in the evolution of the Central District at the University of Kansas is now complete. On the site of the old Burge Union, which opened in 1979, sits a brand-new building: a new Burge that can host events of any size and adds accommodations that make KU a more welcoming, inclusive campus.
“The big goal was to have a flexible conference space,” said JJ O’Toole-Curran, senior associate director at KU Memorial Union. “Student Senate wanted to have offices for student services, and the union wanted a flexible conference space with a large kitchen downstairs to serve as the catering hub for this side of campus.”
Departments such as the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, Legal Services for Students and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center all received offices in the new building.
The focus on inclusivity continued with the additions of a lactation room and a Wudu/Ablution room. Reflection rooms for meditation or prayer by students of all faiths are also available.
“These facilities were important to Student Senate to make our campus more accessible for our students,” said Sharon Leatherman, assistant director of building and event services. “Very few unions have everything we have here.”
The Forum, with a Skyfold wall down.
The Burge Union’s central room is the Forum, the largest single-function room in Lawrence with over 10,800 square feet. For comparison, the Kansas Union ballroom is 7,000 square feet.
The room can be divided into four separate rooms with Skyfold soundproof walls that unfold from the ceiling. Student groups can reserve facilities for free, with reduced rates available for staff and faculty.
A Roasterie Coffee and Hawk Shop convenience store sells grab-and-go food for students.
A seating area in the main entrance offers a view of Allen Fieldhouse.
A “Quiet Zone,” where students can study in total silence.
Study pods, recently added in the Kansas Union as well, line the windows in a hallway.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the old Burge, read our coverage from the decommissioning ceremony and a social recap of the day the demolition began.
Posted on Apr 27, 2018
in Campus News
As the Earth, Energy and Environment Center wraps up its first semester, Slawson and Ritchie halls are welcoming the public to see KU’s newest school buildings.
Slawson Hall hosted a formal dedication ceremony for the two buildings on April 25, where Chancellor Girod shared remarks. Other speakers included with Robert Goldstein, provost’s special adviser for campus development; Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, and Bryan Rodriguez-Colon, a graduate student in geology.
“The University of Kansas aspires to make discoveries that change the world — and the Earth, Energy & Environment Center positions KU researchers to do exactly that in areas related to energy, natural resources and the environment,” Girod said. “Thanks to these new facilities, the university will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to address challenges and create opportunities that shape our society for years to come.”
Members of the Lawrence community are invited to come see the building themselves at an opening celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 5. The event is free and includes activities for children and adults:
- A rock pile where children can search for stones and fossils to keep, with geologists on hand to identify them
- An augmented reality sandbox for participants to create models of geologic events and features like floods, landslides and lakes
- Demonstrations of the new state-of-the-art lab equpiment
- An exhibit of core samples, a cola-fueled volcano, showings of “Jurassic Park” and more
Maps will be available for self-guided tours. Guided tours will also take place to show the inner workings of the facility.
If you can’t make the open house, check out the tour we took with Robert Goldstein when the EEEC first opened, and a video on the 45-foot mosasaur that hangs in the atrium.
Posted on Apr 19, 2018
in Campus News
KU Parking & Transit has partnered with VeoRide to launch KU Bike Share, a new program that allows the KU and Lawrence community to rent a bicycle using a smartphone.
Renting is simple: Find the nearest available bike using the VeoRide app, and scan the bike’s QR code to unlock it. After your ride, park at any bike rack on campus and push a slider down on the bike to lock it. Rides are only 50 cents per 15 minutes, with daily, monthly and yearly rates available.
The Bike Share program comes as a result of the KU Bicycle Advisory Committee, a campus group that had input from KU Parking and Transit, Student Housing, the Center for Sustainability, and the city of Lawrence.
“The committee is a group of stakeholders across campus that have been working on bikeability and bike infrastructure on campus since we released a campus bike plan in 2016,” said Kim Criner, education and outreach coordinator at the KU Center for Sustainability. “We really tried to have all the voices at the table that are interested in what we’re doing.”
And don’t worry: The people in charge have thought all about the hills. The committee made sure to get bikes with seven gears. VeoRide can designate bikes in-app as free-to-ride “lucky bikes,” which provides a free ride in exchange for getting the bike back to a central location. VeoRide also hired local staff to maintain the bikes and move them back up the Hill as needed.
Currently, all bike rides must conclude on campus. However, discussions with the city of Lawrence are in the works to allow riders to leave bikes downtown.
Each VeoRide bike includes instructions in the front basket
Hear Candice Xie, co-founder of VeoRide, explain how the bike sharing program works.
Posted on Apr 18, 2018
in Campus News
The Jayhawk Bookstore closed for good in 2016, leaving a prominent corner in Lawrence unoccupied. (Jayhawks everywhere surely remember the bookstore’s jingle: “At the top of the Hill.) With renovations complete, the building just west of the Chi Omega fountain and across the street from the EEEC is now open for business.
Textbooks, paper, and Jayhawk sweatshirts have given way to coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and beers at McLain’s Market. The Kansas City-based small business also has a store in Overland Park, and the original McLain’s Bakery has operated in Kansas City since 1945.
The market opened April 9 and already is a popular hangout for KU students as they prepare for finals. A variety of seating options in different nooks and crannies of the two floors gives a welcoming coffee shop vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating offers views down Naismith Drive. Construction isn’t done yet, with a side room under renovation for Kansas City-based clothing company Charlie Hustle to move in.
Posted on Apr 17, 2018
in Campus News
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the message below to KU faculty and staff members Tuesday, April 17.
I am pleased to announce Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as our interim provost and executive vice chancellor. Carl will begin his new role April 30 as current provost Neeli Bendapudi leaves KU to become president of the University of Louisville.
Carl came to KU in 2016 from the University of Maryland, where he served as a professor of psychology and associate dean of research for the college of behavioral and social sciences. Since arriving at KU, he has further established himself as a skilled administrator and a respected leader. His experience with the College — our largest and most diverse academic unit — positions him to continue ongoing Provost Office initiatives while also pursuing new strategies on behalf of our university. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber serving as interim provost, and I am confident our university will benefit from his leadership.
Carl’s new role will require him to name an interim dean of the College. That announcement is expected within a week.
Please join me in welcoming Carl to his new role. I look forward to working with him — and all of you — to move the university forward.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas
Posted on Apr 9, 2018
in Alumni News
Provost Neeli Bendapudi shared the following with KU students, faculty and staff in the latest Strong Ties message from the Office of the Provost.
Dear students, staff, and faculty:
Strategists, engineers, writers, performers, coders, creators, artists, thinkers, builders, architects, explorers, problem solvers, inventors, business people, planners, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, visionaries.
At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.
Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.
Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.
This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.
In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.
Delano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.
The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”
Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.
Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.
One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Posted on Apr 4, 2018
in Campus News
The rapid growth and expansion of KU’s Lawrence campus continues with the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center, which opened earlier this semester. The EEEC features modern labs, classrooms and study spaces for the next generations of Jayhawk students.
The new construction also brings the campus closer together, as students can now walk from the engineering buildings to Jayhawk Boulevard without going outside, thanks to a skybridge over Naismith Drive. From the entrance to Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 to Lindley Hall, we took a walk through the path to see for ourselves.
And if you haven’t been on campus recently and are completely turned around, here’s where our path took us:
The new Earth, Energy and Environment Center opened for the 2018 spring semester. Find more coverage of the building here.