News Items In Category XCampus News

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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Jayhawk artist brings Watson Library to life

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Campus News

Mike Savage Watson Library

One of KU’s most beloved artists is partnering with the University again.

Mike Savage’s latest work is historic Watson Library, which alumni can buy a print or ornaments of as a fundraiser for KU Libraries. The art is available for purchase through Savage’s website and is available through April 20.

Savage, f’80, is a longtime supporter of all things KU, often donating paintings for auction at the Alumni Association’s Rock Chalk Ball.


For more on Mike Savage, read a profile by Chris Lazzarino from Issue 3, 2012, of Kansas Alumni.

Savage colors his world with flair and passion

Now long established as one of Kansas City’s iconic painters, Mike Savage says it was a KU photography class that provided his pivotal insight. As Professor Pok-Chi Lau examined a selection of Savage’s images, he first praised—“I really like what you’re doing”—then added the comment that has since made all the difference: “But get rid of your ego.”

“That was a turning point in my life,” Savage says in his airy, book-lined studio above the garage behind his Westwood home. “He thought I wasn’t delving in far enough. I was trying to make it look good instead of doing what was coming out of me. You’re good at what you do; believe in that. Go find out. Make mistakes.”

Savage, f ’80, has been ridding himself of artistic ego ever since. He describes himself as a contemporary Impressionist, but that’s as far as he’ll go in attaching himself to the slightest scent of a high-minded, difficult artist. (“ARTSY-FARTSY” is a 20-point word in the novelty Scrabble blocks arranged near his desk.)

Savage’s work is accessible both literally and figuratively. His colorful acrylic-on-canvas paintings are prized by collectors and displayed across Kansas City, including his own gallery, Sav-Art, and yet he donates original works for numerous causes (his KU images have become a Rock Chalk Ball tradition) and he accepts commission work, even if the commission ends up being zero and the subjects are beloved pets or the four children of a woman whom a buddy hoped to marry.

“I’m a happy-go-lucky guy about the art,” he says. “I don’t have any angst about it. I like the beauty of painting.”

Savage embraces technology—he has 58,000 songs in iTunes and music is his constant companion while working—and, after photographing his paintings, he generates prints from a high-end digital printer; when galleries call in their orders, he not only makes the prints, but he’ll often deliver them, too.

“It’s kind of magic stuff,” Dave Seal, owner of Framewoods Gallery in downtown Lawrence, says of Savage’s KU prints, “and it’s affordable. Yes, he’s contemporary and Impressionistic, but he makes it a little more modern, and local.”

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KU Mini College returns to campus this summer

Posted on Mar 28, 2019 in Alumni News

KU Mini College

KU Mini College, the popular educational program that brings alumni and other lifelong learners back to Mount Oread each year, will be June 3-5 at Spooner Hall. Mini College is open to all alumni as well as adults with no KU affiliation, and there is a modest charge of $30 to participate.

The program was created in 2009 by Jessica Proctor Beeson, c’05, who then worked in the dean’s office for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as a brief summer retreat for alumni and community members to take classes on the Lawrence campus. After budget cuts forced the University to withdraw support of Mini College in 2016, several alumni volunteers stepped in to keep the tradition alive.

“KU Mini College has been an important part of enriching my life over the last 11 years,” says Meg Buckley, c’97, a longtime participant from Portland, Oregon, who helps organize the event. “I have the chance to not only reconnect with campus and soak in Kansas sunshine in June, but I get to relive the thrill of a liberal arts experience.”

This summer’s courses span a wide range of topics taught by University faculty, staff and alumni from several campus units, including the School of Journalism, the School of Engineering, KU Libraries and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Other activities include tours of the bird and fish collections at the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, led by collection managers Mark Robbins and Andy Bentley, and a discussion of the University’s 2019 Common Book.

For more information and to register for the event, visit

—Heather Biele

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Spencer’s lively exhibition of alumni art explores ‘The Power of Place’

Posted on Mar 22, 2019 in Alumni News

Kansas Alumni, issue No. 2, 2019 | The Power of PlaceSpencer Museum of Art’s featured spring exhibition, which runs through June 30, radiates throughout the sparkling central court and first-floor galleries, offering visitors an eclectic array of styles, techniques and ideas, all exploring the topic of place.

As is to be expected with the Spencer’s original exhibitions, “The Power of Place” is both challenging and rewarding, yet also offers plenty of opportunity to pause and ponder the people and places that shape us as Jayhawks and Kansans.

Read more on the alumni artists behind “The Power of Place” exhibition.

Watch the video below to hear the artists discuss the inspirations for their work featured in the Spencer Museum of Art. Read additional coverage in issue No. 2, 2019, of Kansas Alumni magazine.


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Call for honorary degree nominations

Posted on Mar 4, 2019 in Campus News

Strong Hall | honorary degree nomination

The Chancellor’s Committee on Honorary Degrees invites alumni and friends to nominate individuals of notable intellectual, scholarly, professional or creative achievement, or service to humanity, to be awarded an honorary degree from the University of Kansas.

An honorary degree is the highest honor bestowed by the university and as such is a reflection of KU’s mission, aspirations and values.

Past honorary degree recipients include notable leaders such as Nobel Peace Prize winner and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Google Earth creator Brian McClendon, novelist Sara Paretsky, and Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally.

To nominate an outstanding individual for an honorary degree, or to learn about past recipients, visit KU’s honorary degrees website.

Nominations should be submitted electronically by April 1, 2019.

Additional details

Faculty, staff, students, alumni or friends of KU may nominate a candidate.

All nominations are confidential, and no announcement will be made concerning individuals nominated.

Previously nominated individuals must be re-nominated to be considered for the 2020 awards.

KU bestows honorary degrees in accordance with the Kansas Board of Regents policy on degrees.

Questions may be addressed to:

Committee on Honorary Degrees
Chancellor’s Office, 230 Strong Hall
University of Kansas