News Items In Category XCampus News

Dyche Hall’s beasts descend from their perches

Posted on Dec 7, 2017 in Campus News

Kansas Alumni magazine | Dyche Hall

The KU Alumni Association recently mailed the latest issue of Kansas Alumni magazine to association members.

Issue six includes features about the grotesques of Dyche Hall; a hundred-year-old murder mystery solved by alumnus Bill James; and the popular sunflower fields of Grinter Farms.

Monsters of the Mind

A top-floor renovation of Dyche Hall reveals pressing needs for KU’s other mythical beasts: the grotesques that for a century have kept watch on Jayhawk Boulevard from their Natural History Museum perch.

Eroded to near-extinction, the iconic grotesques have found refuge in the Panorama as plans are pondered for their replacement.

Read Chris Lazzarino’s cover story below.


Recognized for overall excellence by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the award-winning Kansas Alumni magazine is mailed bi-monthly to members of the KU Alumni Association. Members can log in to read the full issue online or through the KU Alumni app. Nonmembers can access a free preview article from each issue.

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Old bones raised in new KU building

Posted on Dec 1, 2017 in Campus News

Mosasaur and sea turtle installation at the Earth, Energy & Environment building at the University of Kansas.

The new Earth, Energy & Environment Center will include some old bones.

Triebold Paleontology recently cast and installed a replica of a mosasaur fossil known as tylosaurus proriger.  C.D. Bunker, curator at KU’s Natural History Museum, and his associates collected the fossil in Wallace County in 1911.

An intimidating predator, the mosasaur will take your breath away. The size and length are imposing enough. But its teeth seal the deal—or in this case, the fate of an 84-million-year-old sea turtle the tylosaurus is chasing in the display

“This is the Earth Energy and Environment Center; it’s all about the earth sciences,” said Bob Goldstein, Haas Distinguished professor of geology and special advisor for campus development in the provost’s office. “What better specimen to bring the public in than a spectacular 45-foot-long sea monster from the cretaceous of Kansas.”

Ancient fossils and KU connections

Sea turtles were likely prey for mosasaurs, and this particular fossil shows nearly 100 bite marks from a mosasaur similar in size to tylosaurus proriger. Anthony Maltese, c’04, was part of the team that collected the sea turtle fossil south of Quinter in October, 2011.

Bunker’s original tylosaurus specimen resides at the KU Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall. It is believed to be the largest complete mosasaur fossil in existence.

About the Earth, Energy & Environment Center

The Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC) sits next to Lindley Hall and will open for classes in spring 2018. The two buildings of the EEEC—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall— will feature bridges to Lindley Hall and Learned Hall.

The multidisciplinary center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. It will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to tackle energy and environmental research.

—Dan Storey

Watch the slideshow below to see more pictures of the installation, or view the photos on Flickr. Read more about the installation from the Lawrence Journal-World.


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The Protein in the Freezer

Posted on Nov 22, 2017 in Campus News

Joanna Slusky | Kansas Alumni magazine issue no. 5, 2017

Can a professor’s invention turn the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria?

As a bioscience researcher at the University of Kansas, Joanna Slusky tackles one of public health’s most pressing problems: how to defeat drug-resistant bacteria and restore the healing power of antibiotics.

Slusky was awarded one of five Moore Inventor Fellowships, a three-year grant worth more than 800,000. In October, she was named the recipient of a $2.3 million New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Learn more about Slusky’s research in the cover story from Kansas Alumni magazine, issue No. 5, 2017.

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KU Alumni Association sets dates for Homecoming 2018

Posted on Nov 22, 2017 in Campus News

Save the date for Homecoming 2018 at the University of Kansas: Sept. 23-29
The University of Kansas will celebrate its 106th Homecoming Sept. 23-29, 2018, culminating in the KU football game against Oklahoma State University Sept. 29 in 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, director of student programs, and Keon Stowers, 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, various reunions, the Homecoming parade and pep rally, 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 Sept. 29.

The Alumni Association will continue to update as information becomes available.


Fall on the Hill

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 in Campus News

As the leaves begin to turn during autumn months, the Hill comes alive with color.

Watch our video below to see photos of the University of Kansas campus from this fall season.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support of our beloved alma mater!


Want more? Check out our video from 2015 featuring favorite fall scenes on campus.

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Masten honored for service, impact at KU

Posted on Oct 18, 2017 in Alumni News

Randy Masten family at Sporting KC match
Randy Masten, assistant director of KU’s Office of Graduate Military Programs and retired Lieutenant Colonel, was honored for his service at a Sporting KC match on October 15. Masten’s career includes 22 years with the US Army, after which he returned to KU. He works with the Department of Defense to develop academic programs for military service members.

After arranging recognitions for nearly all military and veteran honorees at Sporting KC matches throughout the season, including KU alumnus Warren Corman, it was only appropriate for Colonel Masten, g’03, himself to be honored at the last game.

“The recognition itself was humbling and somewhat surreal to see my family on the big screens at SKC,” said Masten. “It was great to have my wife, Kathi, recognized as well for her service to our country as a military spouse. When I deployed, she took care of our home and the families of my soldiers. It is a very important and demanding volunteer job that often goes over looked. The recognition also gave us an opportunity to discuss our lives in the Army with our son, Kanak. I only served for three years after he joined our family, so he has limited memories of my military service.”

Masten also serves as secretary of the KU Veteran’s Alumni Network.

Watch the video that Sporting KC showed at the game below:


KU Cares Month of ServiceThe first KU Cares Month of Service initiative will take place throughout the month of November. A portion of all KU Alumni Association dues will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative! Jayhawks everywhere can also organize service projects and recruit volunteers to serve meals, help with yard work, build homes and more to help improve their communities.

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Another strong class of Jayhawks

Posted on Oct 16, 2017 in Campus News

Strong Hall

The following messages was sent to University of Kansas faculty, staff, and affiliates on Monday, Oct. 16.

Dear Colleagues,

Last month, we were delighted to announce that enrollment at the University of Kansas has grown for the fourth straight year to its highest level since 2011. Additionally, this year’s freshmen have the highest average high school GPA and are the most diverse of any class in KU history. Retention and graduation rates are also higher than ever.

This is terrific news and a clear indication that we are progressing on key institutional goals. Moreover, this progress is the result of strategic choices we’ve made and the efforts of faculty and staff like you. So today, I want to thank you for your part in bringing talented Jayhawks to KU and helping them succeed here. In addition to providing these students a life-changing opportunity, your efforts elevate the university as a whole.

It’s worth reflecting on the improvements we’ve made in how we identify and attract new Jayhawks. In recent years, this has included new renewable scholarships, new admissions standards and an evolution in our recruitment focus from a regional model to a national/international model.

Of course, we can only recruit new students if we have an outstanding product to offer — and because of you, we do! We have nationally ranked academic programs and transformative opportunities across our departments. We have beautiful and well-run campuses. And we have talented marketing practitioners who present KU in a smart and friendly way.

This year’s record-setting retention and graduation rates speak to the ways you support students once they arrive here. This support happens in the classroom when instructors go the extra mile for their students. It includes programs that help Jayhawks in times of crisis. And it includes the work being done to improve the student experience by redesigning courses, using predictive analytics, strengthening academic advising and streamlining processes.

I also want to highlight the vital role of private giving in recruiting and retaining top scholars, as well as our incredible alumni, who are the best Jayhawk ambassadors you can find anywhere.

The truth is, each of you plays a crucial role in recruiting new Jayhawks and ensuring they earn their degree. Again, thank you for the work you do.

If you know any prospective students who want to become Jayhawks, encourage them to apply by November 1 to be eligible for scholarships.



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Eight KU students named recipients of Wounded Warrior Scholarship

Posted on Oct 13, 2017 in Campus News

KU Wounded Warrior scholarship recipients 2017-2018

The University of Kansas’ Office of Graduate Military Programs has announced that eight students have received the university’s Wounded Warrior Scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year. Recipients of the scholarships receive up to $10,000 per year and are renewable for up to four academic years.

The scholarships assist injured veterans and affected family members in meeting the financial challenges associated with pursuing a college degree. The many donations made to the KU Endowment to benefit the KU Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund make these scholarships possible.

This year’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship (WWS) recipients:

Joshua Blake received the KU Keener Foundation WWS. Blake is a native of Larned and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps days after the 9/11 attacks. He served four years as an infantryman, including two deployments to Iraq. In 2004, while serving on his second combat tour, Blake was wounded by an IED while on a dismounted patrol in Ramadi, for which he received the Purple Heart. Josh Blake and his wife, Lacey live in Baldwin City and have five children. He is currently a junior in architectural studies.

Luke Dercher is a KU WWS recipient. Dercher is a native of Bonner Springs and served in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee for five years, attaining the rank of E-5, second class petty officer. While in training as a Navy diver candidate, Dercher received injuries that resulted in him being medically discharged from the Navy. He subsequently returned to the Lawrence area to be close to family, rehabilitate from his injuries and attend KU. Dercher is a currently a junior in computer science and has already worked for the Navy, Garmin and NASA as a software engineer.

Arnold Dinh is a Vietnamese-American who grew up in Liberal. Dinh is the recipient of the Heart of America Patriot Foundation WWS and the Delbert Moore Family WWS.  He served two combat tours of duty with the 1st Division, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in Afghanistan as an infantryman and sniper team member. Following his second tour, Dinh was honorably discharged from the USMC but still suffers the physical and psychological injuries he sustained in war. Dinh is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology and following graduation plans to attend dental school.

Jimmy Gentile is a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and the recipient of a KU WWS. Gentile served with the 2ndBattalion, 4th Marines in Ramadi, Iraq, as part of the 31stMarine Expeditionary Unit. On April 6, 2004, during the Battle of Ramadi, Gentile was shot in the face by an AK-47 round that severed a carotid artery. He evacuated off the battlefield for lifesaving surgery in Iraq, then to Germany and eventually to Bethesda Naval Hospital. The combat wounds have resulted in 41 surgeries and caused him to speak openly about his injury and his faith. Gentile is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in information technology. He and his wife, Megan, have four children and currently live in Lee’s Summit.

Timothy Hornik is the recipient of the Bill and Shanthi Eckert WWS at KU. Hornik is a native of Chicago, a retired U.S. Army captain and the CEO of Blind Not Alone LLC.  In 2004, while serving in Iraq as an Air Defense Artillery platoon leader, he was shot in the head and consequently blinded. Despite his injuries, Hornik obtained a master’s degree in social work from KU in 2010 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in therapeutic science at the KU Medical Center. He plans to use his degree, along with his considerable social work case management experience, to assist and advocate for disabled veterans. Hornik, his wife, Cate, and their two daughters live in Lawrence.

Mackenzie Istook received the Heart of America Patriot Foundation WWS at KU. Istook is a third-generation Jayhawk, with her mother and two grandparents attending KU before her. She is a self-described “Army brat” and has lived in seven different states, three foreign countries and attended nine different K-12 schools. Istook’s stepfather, Sgt. First Class Jonathan Tessar, a Green Beret, was killed Oct. 31, 2005, by an IED, along with three other soldiers, on a mission southwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Her mother has since remarried, and her stepfather and two older siblings currently serve in the military. Istook is a junior at KU majoring in visual arts with a minor in business. She remains active in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and with her coursework.

Corey Leach is the recipient of the KAMO Adventures WWS and the Paul & Donna Peters WWS. Leach grew up in Olathe and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2011. While on a foot patrol in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, he stepped into an IED blast zone and suffered severe injuries to his neck, vocal cords, left eye, shoulders and left leg. After completing extensive rehabilitation, Leach was medically retired from the Army in 2014 and entered KU. He is majoring in exercise science and is determined to reach his goal of becoming a physical therapist and working with veterans and athletes.

Maria Santiago is originally from Puerto Rico and the recipient of a KU WWS, the Kansas Military Scholarship and KU Nontraditional Student Scholarship. Santiago served as a Marine in 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. In June of 2008, Santiago deployed to Iraq when her daughter was 9 months old. Santiago served as a member of a female search team based out of Al-Taqaddum, Iraq. During her deployment, she witnessed and experienced the tragedies of the war across Iraq, and they left lasting scars. Following her honorable discharge from the USMC, Maria decided to attend KU where she is currently a pre-aerospace engineering student with a minor in Spanish. Santiago and her daughter Ashley, age 9, currently reside in Shawnee.

The Office of Graduate Military Programs established the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund in 2012 through KU Endowment. The first two scholarships were awarded for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“The ability to offer eight scholarships this year clearly demonstrates the dedication the university, its alumni and our local community to our military veterans,” said Randy Masten, the assistant director of Graduate Military Programs.

The scholarships honor the unique sacrifices that service members and their families make while securing our freedoms, according to Mike Denning, director of the Office of Graduate Military Programs.

“We are grateful to our donors who continue to invest in these extraordinary young men and women,” he said. “And we are proud of a university that continues to distinguish itself by its unparalleled support to our service members, veterans and their families.”

Donations can be made online here.

Photo, from left: Josh Blake, Mackenzie Istook, Corey Leach, Arnold Dinh, Jimmy Gentile, Tim Hornik, Maria Santiago and Luke Dercher. 

KU CaresThe first KU Cares Month of Service initiative will take place throughout the month of November. Jayhawks everywhere can organize service projects and recruit volunteers to serve meals, help with yard work, build homes and more to help improve their communities. In addition, a portion of all KU Alumni Association dues paid in November will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative!


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Jayhawks, help welcome prospective students during Crimson & Blue Day

Posted on Oct 12, 2017 in Campus News

Kansas sign in Allen Fieldhouse | Jayhawks, help welcome prospective students at Crimson & Blue Day

Sarah Heitmeyer, vice president of legacy recruitment for the Student Alumni Network, sent the following message to all Student Alumni Network members about Crimson & Blue Day. The event for prospective students and their family members will be held Friday, Oct. 13.

Dear Jayhawks,

As we prepare for our fall break on Friday, something big is happening on campus. This Friday is Crimson & Blue Day, which is our chance to show prospective students all the incredible things the University of Kansas has to offer. I want to echo Provost Neeli’s statements about the opportunity to host prospective Jayhawks and their families from across the state, nation, and world.

On Friday, a thousand prospective students will be on the Hill with their family members, and I am sure we’ll see them exploring campus as we go to our classes. We were all prospective students once. Whether you toured many universities or only a few, you remember the overwhelming feeling of making a college decision. Let’s make this decision easy for these prospective students by showing them our caring and compassionate Jayhawk community.

I hope that you will join me in being a welcoming face for these future Jayhawks on Friday. Stop and take a moment to talk with students and their families as you walk around campus. Share with them your KU story and the opportunities and experiences you’ve had here as a student. Ask them if they have questions about campus and KU. They may need help navigating campus or may want to hear about some of your favorite things about KU or Lawrence.

If you are especially interested in connecting with prospective Jayhawks, join me at the Adams Alumni Center from 9-11 a.m. to mingle with students and families. We’ll have breakfast burritos from Salty Iguana as well as Hot Box Cookies available. This will be a great opportunity to share your KU experiences with these future students.

Sarah Heitmeyer, vice president of legacy recruitment, Student Alumni Leadership BoardPlease join me in welcoming future Jayhawks and their families to campus on Friday. I know together we can show them the best of KU!

Rock Chalk,

Sarah Heitmeyer
VP of Legacy Recruitment
Student Alumni Leadership Board
Class of 2019

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University of Kansas announces Ex.C.E.L. Award winners, concludes 105th Homecoming celebration

Posted on Oct 9, 2017 in Campus News

KU Homecoming Parade 2017 and award winners | Photo courtesy of Steve Puppe

Ex.C.E.L. Award recipients named

Two University of Kansas students, Sana Cheema of Hays and Zoya Khan of Overland Park, are winners of the 27th-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. 7 in Memorial Stadium concluded KU’s 105th Homecoming celebration.

Cheema, a senior who is majoring in biology, is vice president of the Pre-Medical Society and founder and president of KU Friends of Pakistan. She is a University Honors Scholar and serves as the historian for Mortar Board honor society. She is a member of Student Senate and vice president of membership for the Student Alumni Leadership Board.

Khan, a senior who is majoring in political science and global and international studies with a minor in Middle Eastern studies, has served as president of the Muslim Student Association. She chaired the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs Committee, and she has been a member of KU Students for Refugees, the Dole Institute Student Advisory Board and International Student Services.

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to two students. The winners will present at the Blueprints Leadership Conference next spring in conjunction with KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

Community service activities

The theme for this year’s Homecoming was “Jayhawks of the Galaxy.” Students and alumni participated in several activities throughout the week, including competitions, community service opportunities and reunions. Members of the KU and Lawrence communities collected more than 3,300 cans of non-perishable food for Just Food of Douglas County during the CANstellation competition. They also donated more than 1,500 office supplies for Community Village Lawrence, which was sponsored by the Homecoming steering committee and the United Way of Douglas County.

The annual event was organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led Homecoming steering committee, which was directed by Nellie Kassebaum, a Burdick junior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She worked with Alumni Association adviser Jacey Krehbiel, assistant director of membership and business development. Homecoming sponsors were Crown Toyota Volkswagen, PepsiCo and Kansas Athletics.

Homecoming parade

The Homecoming parade was Friday, Oct. 6, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence and featured retired NASA astronauts and KU alumni Joe Engle and Steven Hawley as grand marshals. A meet and greet with Kansas Athletics preceded the parade from 4 to 5 p.m. at South Park.

Other 2017 Homecoming event and award winners:

Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award

Anna Perrone, a junior from Modesto, California, majoring in strategic communications and business

Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award

Larry Stoppel, 1973 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences alumnus, and his wife, Nancy Tade Stoppel, a 1973 School of Education alumna, from Washington, Kansas

Overall Winners
Greek Life
1st place: Alpha Delta Pi and Triangle
2nd place: Sigma Delta Tau, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Sigma Psi
3rd place: Delta Gamma, Delta Tau Delta, Pi Kapa Phi, Alpha Kappa Lambda

Student Life
1st place: Engineering Student Council
2nd place: Beta Upsilon Chi
3rd place: Sellards Scholarship Hall

For more information and a complete list of competition winners, visit

Chalk 'n' Rock | Homecoming 2017KU’s 105th Homecoming celebration, Jayhawks of the Galaxy, took place Oct. 1-7, 2017. For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, fun facts and historical information, visit the Homecoming website. Share your photos with us by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #kuhomecoming, and follow the hashtag to see more pictures of the celebration. Homecoming is sponsored by Crown Toyota Volkswagen.

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