News Items In Category XCampus News

Stories of the Decade

Posted on Dec 31, 2019 in Alumni News

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

Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, received an honorary degree from KU

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

Fans celebrate on Mass Street after KU beats Duke to advance to the Final Four | 2018

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.

Changing campus

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.

Chancellor transition

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.

Association news

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.

Legends lost

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:

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Chancellor Gray-Little to have building named in her honor, receives Chancellor Emerita status

Posted on Dec 18, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Wednesday, December 18.

Colleagues,

Today is a special day for our university as we have the occasion to celebrate a former chancellor’s many contributions to the University of Kansas and to our society.

The Kansas Board of Regents voted today to give us the authority to rename our Integrated Science Building in honor of Bernadette Gray-Little, our 17th chancellor.

The building will be officially renamed as Gray-Little Hall, effective in spring 2020.

Today’s news continues a long tradition we have at KU of honoring our former leaders and recognizing their service to our university and our state. Our former chancellors all have a building named for them, and there is not a more fitting selection for Chancellor Gray-Little than the Integrated Science Building.

In her time at KU, Chancellor Gray-Little led a physical transformation of our campuses, particularly with regard to our Central District. There, the Integrated Science Building is the focal point of a new hub of education and research that addressed immediate infrastructure needs and positions KU for excellence for decades to come.

In addition to the building, the Kansas Board of Regents also granted Chancellor Emerita status today for Chancellor Gray-Little, in recognition of her distinguished administrative service.

Please join me in celebrating both of these honors, which are apt recognitions for a leader whose special dignity and grace made her a role model and an inspiration to students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike.

Respectfully,

Doug

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor
University of Kansas

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Barbara Bichelmeyer named provost and executive vice chancellor

Posted on Dec 6, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Friday, December 6.

Colleagues,

Throughout its history, the University of Kansas has been a community of talented scholars and leaders who believe in the power of higher education. Today, we have a special opportunity to welcome another remarkable scholar and leader — and to do so with excitement and optimism about our university’s future.

It is my pleasure to announce Barbara Bichelmeyer as the next provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence campus. She will begin her new role in late February.

As many of you observed during her campus visit, Barbara is a tremendously talented researcher and administrator, as well as a proud KU alumna with an unabashed love for this place. She is currently the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also served as interim chancellor. Prior to that, she excelled in multiple leadership roles at Indiana University-Bloomington – a fellow Association of American Universities institution – and elsewhere within the IU system.

My excitement about Barbara goes beyond her credentials. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for years on initiatives to enhance higher education’s role in regional economic development. As a result of our work together, I have come to know Barbara as a genuine and compassionate person who cares deeply about students, research and higher education. Moreover, she is a Jayhawk to the core and committed to this university’s success. For all these reasons, I have no doubt she will be a strong and effective leader.

I will tell you, this was not an easy decision — and that’s a good thing. Our national search produced four outstanding finalists who each offered distinctive strengths that would benefit KU. That said, when I consider KU’s challenges and opportunities, and my vision for KU, I am confident Barbara is the right fit at the right time for our university.

I want to thank the search committee, including co-chairs Michelle Mohr Carney and Steven Soper, for guiding us through this process. I also want to thank everyone who participated in the process by attending the finalists’ campus presentations and providing feedback. Your input was central to my decision.

Importantly, I would like to express my deep appreciation for Carl Lejuez, who has provided strong leadership and energy as our interim provost amid challenging circumstances. KU is in a better place today as a result of his efforts during the past 19 months. Please join me in thanking Carl as he returns to his role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

As I said at Visioning Day, despite challenges in higher education, KU is in a position of strength and poised to determine our own destiny. My vision is for KU to be a destination for talented scholars nationwide, an engine of economic growth, and a strong member of the Association of American Universities. I look forward to working with Barbara, and all of you, in pursuit of that vision.

Respectfully,

Doug

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor
University of Kansas

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KU Alumni Association sets dates for Homecoming 2020

Posted on Dec 5, 2019 in Campus News

KU Homecoming 2020

The University of Kansas will celebrate its 108th Homecoming Sept. 26-Oct. 3, culminating in the KU football game against Iowa State Oct. 3 in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The KU Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Leadership Board will coordinate the week of Homecoming activities. Association staff members leading the effort are Ally Stanton, assistant vice president of student programs, and Megan McGinnis, assistant director of student programs. KU’s Homecoming tradition began in 1912.

Homecoming leaders will meet throughout the spring semester to select a theme and finalize the schedule of activities, which will include competitions for student organizations, community service activities, reunions, the Homecoming parade, and the selection of 10 student finalists for the Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards. The winners will be announced during halftime of the football game Oct. 3.

The Alumni Association will continue to update kualumni.org/homecoming as information becomes available.

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University of Kansas announces Ex.C.E.L. Award winners, concludes 107th Homecoming celebration

Posted on Oct 28, 2019 in Campus News

Far Above the Golden Valley | KU Homecoming 2019 | Oct. 19-26| Ex.C.E.L. Award 2019

Three University of Kansas students, Tiara Floyd of Junction City, Daphne Lin of Coffeyville and Jalynn Tann of Centennial, Colorado, are winners of the 29th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards. The award presentation during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech football game Oct. 26 in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium concluded KU’s 107th Homecoming celebration.

Floyd, a senior in African American studies with minors in Germanic language and literature and political science, is the 2019-’20 KU student body president. She served as chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee and director of policy and development for Student Senate, and she was a student representative in University Senate. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the Black Student Union, and she served as chair of diversity and inclusion at Douthart Scholarship Hall. She interned at the Kansas Legislature and worked as an administrative assistant at a law firm in Manhattan. She received the KU Black Alumni Network Impact Award in 2019.

Lin, a senior in humanities and pre-medicine, is president of Sigma Psi Zeta, a multicultural Greek organization for women. She also served as the sorority’s chair of community service, social media and academics. She is co-coordinator of the Center for Community Outreach’s Concerned, Active and Aware Students Program, and she has been a member of the Asian American Student Union since 2016, during which time she held several leadership roles. She participates in the University Honors Program, and she was a research assistant in the department of anthropology. She is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon medical fraternity and volunteers at KU Lutheran Campus Ministry. She received the 2017 SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital Value in Action Award for her volunteer services.

Tann, a senior in business administration with a minor in Spanish, has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2017. She is vice president of KU G.E.M.S. and also served as treasurer for the female student organization. She was the freshman action team president and served as treasurer of the KU Resident Hall Government Association. She participated in a study abroad language and cultural immersion program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in summer 2018, and she has worked for the City of Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space in Colorado for several years. She has volunteered for the Big Event at KU and Harvesters’ BackSnack Program in Kansas City.

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations.

The theme for this year’s Homecoming was “Far Above the Golden Valley.” The event was sponsored by Best Western Plus West Lawrence; Crown Toyota, Volkswagen; and the KU Bookstore. Students and alumni participated in several activities throughout the week, including competitions, reunions and tailgates.

The annual Homecoming celebration was organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led steering committee, which was chaired by Brianna Gabriel, a senior from Westlake Village, California, majoring in strategic communications; Eli Linder-Taylor, a senior from Overland Park majoring in strategic communications; Brianna Mears, a senior from Georgetown, Texas, majoring in strategic communications; Nick Siegel, a junior from St. Louis majoring in accounting; and Chelsea Stitt, a senior from Ottawa majoring in economics. They worked with Alumni Association staff member Ally Stanton, director of student programs, and Keon Stowers, development officer for the Alumni Association at KU Endowment.

The Homecoming parade was Friday, Oct. 25, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence and featured Chancellor Douglas Girod as grand marshal.

Other 2019 Homecoming event and award winners are:

Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award

Julie Jorgensen, a junior from Cedar Falls, Iowa, majoring in strategic communications

Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award

Lawrence residents Warren Corman, a 1950 School of Engineering alumnus, and his wife, Mary Crissman Corman, a 1973 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and 1974 School of Health Professions alumna

Overall Winners

Greek Life
1st place: Triangle, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Delta Pi
2nd place: Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Delta Tau
3rd place: Alpha Tau Omega, Theta Chi, Delta Gamma

Student Life – Large Organization
1st place: Scholarship Hall Council
2nd place: University Daily Kansan
3rd place: Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall

Competition Winners

Greek Life
Décor
1st place: Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Gamma, Theta Chi
2nd place: Triangle, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Delta Pi
3rd place: Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Delta Tau

Chalk & Rock
1st place: Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Delta Tau
2nd place: Scholarship Hall Council
3rd place: Abbi Dougherty

Jayhawk Jingles
1st place: Triangle, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Delta Pi
2nd place: Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Delta Tau
3rd place: Alpha Tau Omega, Theta Chi, Delta Gamma

Parade
1st place: Triangle, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Delta Pi
2nd place: Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Delta Tau
3rd place: Alpha Tau Omega, Theta Chi, Delta Gamma

Student Life – Large Organization
Décor
Scholarship Hall Council

Most Outstanding Homecoming Participant – Individual
Abbi Dougherty

For more information about this year’s event, visit kualumni.org/homecoming.

Homecoming 2019 sponsors

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KU couple returns to their ‘Home on the Hill’

Posted on Oct 24, 2019 in Alumni News

Baby Jay

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.

The Nest

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.

2008 Championship edition of the Daily Kansan

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.

KU Football meeting room

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.

DeBruce Center
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.

Memories

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.”

—Ryan Camenzind

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Ten KU students named finalists for 29th annual Ex.C.E.L. Awards

Posted on Oct 22, 2019 in Campus News

Far Above the Golden Valley | KU Homecoming 2019 | Oct. 19-26 | ExCEL Awards
Ten finalists have been selected for the 29th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. The finalists, nine seniors and one junior, will participate in the Homecoming parade at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, along Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. Two winners will be announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech Homecoming football game Oct. 26 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to two students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations. The selection committee included representatives from Student Union Activities, the Board of Class Officers, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Homecoming Steering Committee.

The award was first given in 1991 to recognize two students for achievement. Names of winners are listed on a plaque on the fifth level of the Kansas Union. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time undergraduate students with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Each finalist completed an application and participated in an interview. The finalists and their academic majors are listed below, along with highlights of their campus achievements.

FORD COUNTY

From Dodge City
Kenny Nguyen, a senior in community health and education, is a student ambassador and assists the Office of Admissions with the recruitment of multicultural, first-generation and low-income students. He has been a social justice peer educator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and an orientation assistant for the Office of First-Year Experience. He is building manager for the Kansas Union, and he served as president of the student-led Community Outreach Program. He participates in the Multicultural Education Scholars Program. He is a monitor technician and volunteer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and he also volunteered at Watkins Memorial Health Center and Skyline Urban Ministry. He was a research assistant in the department of health, sport and exercise science, and a communications and development intern at the Home Nursing Foundation in Singapore.

GEARY COUNTY

From Junction City
Tiara Floyd, a senior in African American studies with minors in Germanic language and literature and political science, is the 2019-’20 KU student body president. She served as chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee and director of policy and development for Student Senate, and she was a student representative in University Senate. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the Black Student Union, and she served as chair of diversity and inclusion at Douthart Scholarship Hall. She interned at the Kansas Legislature and worked as an administrative assistant at a law firm in Manhattan. She received the KU Black Alumni Network Impact Award in 2019.

HARVEY COUNTY

From Hesston
Jessica Guardiola, a senior in political science and history with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies, is president of the Student Alumni Leadership Board. She was a student senator and secretary of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. She interned at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in Washington, D.C. and at Axiom Strategies, a political consulting firm in Kansas City. She is an assistant in immigration law at Treviño Law Office in Lawrence, and she volunteered with the Human Rights Brigade in Panama in 2016.

JOHNSON COUNTY

From Olathe
Jasmine Moore, a senior in information systems with a minor in Spanish, is a student program assistant for diversity, equity and inclusion at the School of Business and has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2017. She is president of KU G.E.M.S., a campus organization that encourages female empowerment, and she has also served as the group’s vice president and treasurer. She participates in the Koch Scholars Program and the Multicultural Business Scholars Program, and she is a member of the Black Student Union. She was a business systems analyst intern at Flint Hills Resources in summer 2019, and she has volunteered at Hilltop Child Development Center, KU Campus Cupboard, Special Olympics Kansas and the Big Event at KU.

From Shawnee
Taylor Pullen, a senior in marketing, is president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and also has served as the organization’s secretary and treasurer. She was president and vice president of outreach for the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and she also served as the first president of KU G.E.M.S. She was a student development associate for KU Endowment, and she currently is a leasing professional at The Reserve student apartments. She was named Student Leader of the Year in 2018.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

From Coffeyville
Daphne Lin, a senior in humanities and pre-medicine, is president of Sigma Psi Zeta, a multicultural Greek organization for women. She also served as the sorority’s chair of community service, social media and academics. She is co-coordinator of the Center for Community Outreach’s Concerned, Active and Aware Students Program, and she has been a member of the Asian American Student Union since 2016, during which time she held several leadership roles. She participates in the University Honors Program, and she was a research assistant in the department of anthropology. She is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon medical fraternity and volunteers at KU Lutheran Campus Ministry. She received the 2017 SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital Value in Action Award for her volunteer services.

SEDGWICK COUNTY

From Wichita
Kasi Ross II, a senior in accounting with a minor in entrepreneurship, is a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions and a tutor and Options Program student leader for KU TRIO. He is treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and also served as the organization’s social media chair. He was president of the Black Student Union and chair of the Big XII Council on Black Student Government. He interned at Ernst & Young in Atlanta in summer 2019, and has volunteered at Billy Mills Middle School, the Lawrence Community Shelter and Wichita Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY

From Kansas City, Kansas
Adrian Cisneros, a junior in sociology and women, gender and sexuality studies with a minor in social justice and leadership studies, is vice president of programs for the Student Alumni Leadership Board and fine arts coordinator for Student Union Activities. They are an off-campus student senator and an information specialist for KU Info. They are an orientation coordinator for the Office of First-Year Experience and led orientation for International Support Services. They have coordinated programs for the Association of University Residence Halls, and they were a desk assistant for KU Student Housing.

CALIFORNIA

From Oak Park
Abbey Greenberg, a senior in business administration and international business, is president of Student Union Activities and serves as an executive committee member of the KU Memorial Unions Corporation Board. She participates in the University Honors Program and the Business Honors Program, and she is a student ambassador in the School of Business. She is an events assistant for the business school’s dean’s office and a student assistant for the Office of the Chancellor. She was a student coordinator in KU Global Business Studies in summer 2019, and she interned at Lean Venture Partners in Shanghai, China.

COLORADO

From Centennial
Jalynn Tann, a senior in business administration with a minor in Spanish, has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2017. She is vice president of KU G.E.M.S. and also served as treasurer for the female student organization. She was the freshman action team president and served as treasurer of the KU Resident Hall Government Association. She participated in a study abroad language and cultural immersion program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in summer 2018, and she has worked for the City of Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space in Colorado for several years. She has volunteered for the Big Event at KU and Harvesters’ BackSnack Program in Kansas City.

The theme for KU’s 107th Homecoming is “Far Above the Golden Valley.” The Alumni Association and its Student Alumni Network Homecoming Steering Committee oversee this year’s event, which is sponsored by Best Western Plus West Lawrence; Crown Toyota, Volkswagen; and the KU Bookstore. A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found at kualumni.org/homecoming.

Homecoming 2019 sponsors

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Lawrence community invited to KU’s 3rd annual Trunk or Treat

Posted on Oct 21, 2019 in Campus News

Trunk or Treat 2019The University of Kansas Student Involvement & Leadership Center, Student Alumni Network and Center for Community Outreach will host KU’s third annual Trunk or Treat from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Adams Alumni Center parking lot, 1266 Oread Ave. on the Lawrence campus. Admission is free.

The family-friendly event features decorated trunks and candy stations for community members and their children to trick-or-trick in a safe and fun environment. Other activities include pumpkin painting, photos with Baby Jay, games and a contest for Best Halloween Costume. Hot chocolate and refreshments will be provided by KU Dining.

Families are encouraged to bring a donation for the KU Fights Hunger food drive, which collects nonperishable food items for Campus Cupboard and Just Food of Douglas County. Items of greatest need include peanut butter, canned protein, beans, whole-grain cereals, pasta and nuts, and canned fruit and vegetables.

Trunk or Treat is held in conjunction with Halloween in the Halls, another community event that runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at KU’s Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin residence halls at 11th and Indiana streets. A shuttle bus will be available to take families between the Adams Alumni Center and residence halls parking lots.

For more information, contact Sarah Bowman, SILC assistant director of student development and engagement, at sarah.bowman@ku.edu or Ally Stanton, KUAA assistant vice president of student programs, at 785-864-3741 or allystanton@kualumni.org.

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KU student, professor’s tight-knit connection leads to award

Posted on Oct 10, 2019 in Campus News

Hailey Solomon

Since 1959, KU seniors have chosen a professor to receive the H.O.P.E. Award to Honor an Outstanding Progressive Educator. The award, established by the Class of 1959 and given each year through the Board of Class Officers, is the only teaching honor bestowed by the senior class.

Hailey Solomon, a senior from Oswego, nominated her civil engineering professor, Matt O’Reilly. When he was selected as a finalist, Solomon attended the Oct. 5 KU-OU football game to support her mentor. Uninterested in the game itself, Solomon brought her crocheting and presumed her presence had gone unnoticed.

Four million Twitter and Facebook views later, she had become a social media sensation.

“It was incredibly surprising to go to exactly one football game in my entire college career and leave it as a meme, but I’m thankful for the experience,” Solomon says. “If a 30-second video of me contentedly crocheting brings people joy, then I’m joyful too!”

O’Reilly, an associate professor, is one of the few people Solomon would attend a game for. She credits his guidance as an adviser during freshman orientation as the reason she had the confidence to pursue engineering. An excerpt from her nomination form shows O’Reilly’s investment in his students, even before they are in his classroom.

“You can absolutely be successful in engineering because engineering, like everything, is so much more than it appears,” O’Reilly told Solomon. “It’s not just math and science; it’s writing, communication, teamwork, design, and so much more. You can’t judge yourself based on what you’re not, otherwise you’ll never accomplish anything. You have to make decisions based on what you’re good at and get help with the rest.”

Standing on the field during the award presentation, O’Reilly presumed one of his fellow finalists already received word he or she had won, so when “Dr. O’Reilly” blared over the loudspeaker as the winner, it took a second to sink in. Then he jumped with surprise.

“Most of my students call me Dr. Matt, so it took me a bit longer to respond to ‘O’Reilly’ and realize ‘he’ was me,” he says. “Nothing like jumping in shock when you’re on the Jumbotron.”

O’Reilly’s care for his students led to the H.O.P.E. Award. He fills his lectures with humor, makes video tutorials for difficult lab procedures, and grades every assignment, including exams, the day they are turned in. His open-door policy extends beyond office hours: He has been known to drive to campus on a Saturday to help a student understand a topic that was better explained in person.

“I know my students like and appreciate what I do, and that’s always been a source of happiness for me,” O’Reilly says. “I couldn’t imagine having a better career than teaching.”

His style derives from his own favorite teachers, student feedback, and trial and error. He constantly adjusts to best suit the needs of his students.

“The common thread was always putting students first and treating them with respect, and I strive to always hold myself to that,” he says.

As for Solomon, her crocheting is more than a hobby. She co-founded Warm the World, a student organization that makes warm clothes and blankets to donate to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. The group meets every other Wednesday in the Union and is open to all students, regardless of skill level.

Solomon’s 15 minutes of fame made for a fun weekend, but the real story continues a cherished 60-year KU tradition: Matt O’Reilly’s teaching has earned him a place among the professors enshrined on the H.O.P.E Award plaque in the Kansas Union.

—Brianna Mears

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KU Chancellor Douglas Girod to serve as grand marshal for Homecoming parade

Posted on Oct 9, 2019 in Campus News

Chancellor Girod with Baby Jay on a motorcycle in front of Strong Hall | Grand Marshal
The 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas will be the grand marshal of the KU Homecoming Parade at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. The theme for the University’s 107th Homecoming is “Far Above the Golden Valley.”

Since beginning his tenure as chancellor in July 2017, Girod has focused on making KU a top destination for students and scholars by improving the student experience, strengthening KU’s outreach to the state and expanding University research. Under his leadership, student recruitment and success rates are at an all-time high, and the University launched Kansas Team Health, an innovative model of medical care and wellness for KU student-athletes.

A head-and-neck surgeon, Girod first joined the KU Medical Center faculty in 1994 and became chair of the otolaryngology department in 2002 before assuming the role of executive vice chancellor in 2013. He also served in the United States Navy Reserve from 1982 to 1997, retiring as lieutenant commander.

The parade is part of a weeklong celebration that begins Saturday, Oct. 19, and includes several student and alumni activities, including competitions, reunions and tailgates, all of which lead up to the KU-Texas Tech football game Saturday, Oct. 26, in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. This year’s event is sponsored by Best Western Plus West Lawrence; Crown Toyota, Volkswagen; and the KU Bookstore.

A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found here.

Homecoming 2019 sponsors

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