Top 18 Stories of 2018

Posted on Dec 21, 2018 in News

Fraser | Top 18 Stories of 2018

As 2019 approaches, it’s time to take a look back at our year with our top 18 stories of 2018. These are the stories most liked and shared by the Jayhawk community. Thanks for a great year!

Top 18 Stories of 201818. KU Mentoring connects neuroscience student with surgeon

Thomas Angel took the long road to the University of Kansas, but he’s making sure his time here counts. Thanks to the power of the KU Mentoring platform, Angel connected with a practicing surgeon who he will shadow over winter break.

17. Remembering Chancellor Shankel

The University family lost an extraordinary Jayhawk and truly dedicated leader in Chancellor Emeritus Del Shankel. Shankel twice led KU through pivotal transitions as interim chancellor, from 1980 to ’81 and 1994 to ’95. The Kansas Board of Regents officially designated him KU’s 15th chancellor in 1995.

16. Giving Thanks to KU Mentors

In honor of the season, the KU Alumni Association thanks the thousands of Jayhawk students and alumni who have joined KU Mentoring. More than 3,500 users have registered on the platform, and we’re excited to help the next 3,500 make a connection with the Jayhawk Career Network.

15. He’s got it if he can find it

Rod Ernst, third-generation owner of the iconic downtown Lawrence hardware store Ernst & Son, died Jan. 23, the store announced on its Facebook page. Ernst is the subject of a feature story in issue No. 1, 2018, of Kansas Alumni.

14. Simply the Best

2018 Debate championship team | Top 18 Stories of 2018

At the beginning of the fall semester, University of Kansas debater Quaram Robinson refused to set her sights on winning the National Debate Tournament, the annual four-day showdown of the best competitors in college debate. She feared she would only set herself up to fail. But here she was, eight months later, in the championship round of the NDT in Wichita. Robinson and her teammmate, Will Katz, had just delivered their final rebuttals late in the evening of March 26, the last day of the tournament.

13. KU to honor Rob Riggle with Distinguished Alumni award

Rob Riggle, one of the most recognizable Jayhawk alumni, was honored this year with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas. He visited Lawrence in November to accept the award.

12. KU Alumni Conversation: 120 Years of KU Basketball

KU alumni Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Creighton Coover, b’98, g’01, sat down to talk KU hoops and recall their all-time favorite Jayhawk players and memorable moments on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of basketball at the University of Kansas.

11. Les Miles announced as Head Football Coach

Les Miles, a national championship-winning former coach at Louisiana State and Oklahoma State, has been named the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Sunday.

10. University of Kansas names Jeff Long director of athletics

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod today named Jeff Long as the university’s new director of athletics. Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at the University of Arkansas. During that time, he transformed Arkansas’ athletics department into one of the most successful in the country and established himself as a national leader within intercollegiate athletics.

9. Bawk Chalk: Alumni construct creative hen house for their brood

Top 18 Stories of 2018

What started as a means to pass time between NCAA tournament games turned into much more for Jarrod, f’95, g’03, and Kate Neely Williams, ’97, who this spring masterminded the construction of Alhen Field House, a wildly creative chicken coop built in the likeness of KU’s legendary basketball arena.

8. Holiday Vespers

At a university brimming with history, the story of a monthly concert in the early 1920s turning into one of KU’s longest-running traditions is filled with twists and turns. For 94 years, Jayhawks have celebrated the holiday season with Vespers. Our annual holiday greeting for alumni featured a look back at this storied tradition.

7. Pay Heed: ‘Beware of the Phog’ banner turns 30

In 1988, a couple of KU students hatched an idea, created a banner and left a legacy that has come to define KU’s storied Allen Fieldhouse, known to many simply as “the Phog.” Thirty years later, the friends and KU alumni reunited to reminisce about the banner and how it all came to be.

Top 18 Stories of 2018

6. Front and Center

A finger-snap ago, Central District was nothing more robust than an artist’s rendering, a wish list, part of a master plan for what our beloved campus could one day be, how it should live and breathe and teach and embrace, for the next half-century or more. Less than two years later—“We tried to build it as fast as we could,” said one project architect—and this thing is done.

5. Traditions Night

At the start of every fall semester, anxious KU freshmen fill the stadium for Traditions Night, a rite of passage where they learn about the cherished traditions of old KU. Year after year, KU puts on a show. And there’s always a showstopper.

4. Sign of the times: KU student goes viral at College GameDay

Whenever ESPN’s College GameDay comes to Lawrence, students know to bring their A-game when it comes to signs. In between the signs cheering the Jayhawks and jeering the West Virginia Mountaineers, one student took a jab at the channel broadcasting the whole event.

3. Hard Stories

Drawing on her background as a daughter of rural Kansas, one writer is challenging America to face up to its class divide. Sarah Smarsh, c’03, j’03, published her first book, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, and took aim at stereotypes and assumptions. Smarsh was featured on the cover of issue No. 5, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

2. Campus icon ‘Tan Man’ to celebrate 75th birthday, and you’re all invited

Thousands of students have spent time soaking up the sun in front of Wescoe. But KU students from the late 1960s through the 1980s remember one particular man’s legacy of relaxing on the beach. John Schneider, more commonly known as “Tan Man,” spent the better part of three decades as a campus icon, sharing his charm and kindness with Jayhawks.

1. The Walk

Commencement | Top 18 Stories of 2018

Students gather on Memorial Drive on a Sunday morning, grouped up by their schools. Friends, siblings, parents and grandparents line the sidewalks on the way to Memorial Stadium. As they cross through the World War II Memorial Campanile and begin their descent down the Hill, graduates take their final steps as students into their future as KU alumni. Our Commencement feature reviews the history of this beloved Jayhawk tradition.

And there you have it — our most popular articles and features of 2018! Perhaps not surprisingly, stories that feature KU traditions or nostalgic memories of time on campus resonate strongly with Jayhawks, and we hope to bring you more of these pieces in 2019. Rock Chalk! 

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