Jayhawks in the News | Apr. 19

Posted on Apr 19, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

New KCK Municipal Court judge named | Wyandotte Daily

Meaghan Shultz, l’04, was named a Kansas City, Kansas, Municipal Court judge at the Thursday, March 7, Unified Government Commission meeting. Shultz, currently in the UG prosecutor’s office, has worked at the UG for 13 years, and prior to that, worked at a private law firm. A majority of the UG Commission voted for Shultz after she and another finalist made presentations at the March 7 meeting.
Read full article.

 

School of Business Names 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients | The University of Kansas

The University of Kansas School of Business will honor Tom Bené, b’84, and Frank Friedman, b’79, with its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. Bené and Friedman will receive the award for their dedication to business excellence, community service and commitment to KU on Thursday, April 18, during a private reception at The Jayhawk Club.
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Tiger Woods’s victory was no personal redemption story. It didn’t need to be. | The Washington Post

Patricia E. Gaston, j’81, is a journalism professor at the University of Kansas and a former editor at The Post. I was in the car, scrolling through the radio for news Sunday, when I learned that the fist-pumping Tiger Woods of old had returned, winning his fifth Masters to wild applause from the crowd at Augusta National. I could envision him in his familiar red Nike shirt and black pants heading toward his family. Of course, a couple hours later, I was glued to my television and could see and feel the roar of the crowd, that warm embrace between him and his son, Charlie, the daps and hugs from other golfers in the gallery. My eyes moistened with tears.
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Dr. Leslie Doyle Named Inaugural Chief Inclusion Officer at Rockhurst University | Diverse Education

Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri has appointed Dr. Leslie Doyle, g’00, as the school’s inaugural chief inclusion officer where she will lead the newly established Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A Kansas City native who grew up across the street from Rockhurst, Doyle has more than two decades of experience working in higher education, most recently serving as the director of service, diversity and social justice at Fontbonne University, where she has worked for the past 13 years. Doyle received a bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University, a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in business and leadership from Fotbonne University and an Ed.D. from Maryville University.
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Dr. Nancy Damron Appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs | Mid-American Nazarene University

President David Spittal announced the appointment of Dr. Nancy L. Damron, PhD ’05, as Vice President of Academic Affairs effective immediately. Dr. Damron has served in this role in an interim capacity since February 1. Prior to that, she was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after serving as Dean of the School of Education. “Dr. Damron is an outstanding educator and leader who brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this new role,” Spittal said. “Her commitment to high standards of excellence, quality teaching and learning and innovative programs will support and enhance our university’s strategic goals.”
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | Apr. 12

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

Special Education Department Announces 2019 Dole Humanitarian Award Winner | The University of Kansas

Shelly London, j’74 g’81, the innovative leader behind Understood.org, was selected to receive the 2019 Dole Humanitarian Award, presented by the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. The Dole Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals with connections to the state of Kansas whose efforts have enhanced the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families.
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Bob Dole gets honorary promotion to colonel | ABC News

Retired Army Capt. Bob Dole, ’45, has been promoted to colonel. President Donald Trump signed into law Monday a bill authorizing Dole’s honorary appointment to the position. The former senator, now 95 years old, registered for the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps in 1942, when he was a student at the University of Kansas. The following year, he was called to active duty. Dole was severely wounded while deployed to Italy as an infantry lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division, and went on to receive two Purple Hearts and two awards of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his service.
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Marilynn Smith, an L.P.G.A. Founder and Tour Champion, Is Dead at 89 | The New York Times

Marilynn Smith, ’51, who help found the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1950, when the women’s game was barely a blip on the national sports scene, and went on to win 21 tour events, including two major championships, died on Tuesday in Goodyear, Ariz. She was 89. Her death, which was announced by the L.P.G.A. on its website, left Marlene Bauer Hagge and Shirley Spork as the last survivors among the 13 pioneers of the women’s tour.
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Firm Welcomes Stacey Janssen | Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard P.C.

Sandberg Phoenix welcomes Counsel Stacey Janssen, c’85 l’88, who brings more than 25 years of experience to the firm and its clients. As a member of the firm’s business practice group, Stacey will focus on elder law. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, Stacey is a member of the Missouri and Kansas Bars
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KU Announces Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees for Program’s 50th Anniversary | The University of Kansas

Since 1970, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has honored a select group of women to be inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame. For the 50th anniversary of this prestigious honor, the ETC will celebrate KU’s rich legacy of phenomenal women who have defied limiting stereotypes and barriers to pave the way for those who follow in their footsteps. Recipients include Nedra Patton Bonds, c’70, Stephanie Blackwood, j’74 g’83, Cynthia Hardin Milligan, c’67, and posthumously Dr. Esther Winkelman Overstreet, m’35.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Hawks Who Brew: KU Alumni in the Beer Industry

Posted on Apr 7, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Hawks who Brew: alumni working in the beer industry

Something special is brewing. Spring is in the air, downtown streets are bustling with business, and wherever you look people are flocking to fill patios and pints at their favorite breweries.

As if anyone needed more reason to be excited, April 7 is National Beer Day, and all across the country, alumni are applying their KU degrees in the most delicious and refreshingly thirst-quenching ways, working in the beer industry for operations both big and small.

With degrees in Microbiology, Geography and Latin American Studies, Chemistry, Art History, and Atmospheric Science, these alumni are using their diverse talents to create and innovate in their spaces, combining yeast, hops, and water with enthusiasm and a healthy dose of Jayhawk pride.

Meet Geoff Deman, head brewer and director of operations at Free State Brewing Company; Aaron Justus, brewer at Ballast Point; Matt Williams, president and co-founder of Lawrence Beer Company; Victoria Gunderson, brewer at 23rd Street Brewery; and Sean Flynn, associate pilot brewer at MillerCoors. Raise your glass for these alumni as they reflect on their KU memories, careers in beer, camaraderie, and community in the industry. Cheers, and Rock Chalk to our ’Hawks who brew!

Read the story from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

 

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Jayhawks in the News | Apr. 5

Posted on Apr 5, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

The Day the Dinosaurs Died | The New Yorker

One day sixty-six million years ago, life on Earth almost came to a shattering end. The world that emerged after the impact was a much simpler place. When sunlight finally broke through the haze, it illuminated a hellish landscape. The oceans were empty. The land was covered with drifting ash. The forests were charred stumps. The cold gave way to extreme heat as a greenhouse effect kicked in. Life mostly consisted of mats of algae and growths of fungus: for years after the impact, the Earth was covered with little other than ferns. Furtive, ratlike mammals lived in the gloomy understory. “We can trace our origins back to that event,” Robert DePalma, g’10, said. “To actually be there at this site, to see it, to be connected to that day, is a special thing. This is the last day of the Cretaceous. When you go one layer up—the very next day—that’s the Paleocene, that’s the age of mammals, that’s our age.”
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Kansas Senate approves controversial nominee to lead commerce department | The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas Senate voted Monday to confirm Gov. Laura Kelly’s nominee to lead the Kansas Department of Commerce amid skepticism about his economic development resume, personal attacks leveled by conservatives and criticism of health grants tied to an abortion doctor. David Toland, c’99 g’01, who prevailed 23-14 after a Senate committee rejected the nomination, survived an effort by the Kansas Republican Party, Kansans for Life, Americans for Prosperity and others to derail nomination of the former CEO of an Allen County nonprofit organization that worked on economic and quality-of-life projects in Iola. Kelly said Toland represented the “best and brightest this state has to offer. His energy, expertise and collaborative style will ensure that businesses have the partner they deserve.”
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E&P’s 25 Under 35 2019: The Next Generation of Newspaper Leaders Wants to Keep the Industry Moving | Editor & Publisher

As our industry continues to transform and shift, one thing remains the same: the amount of talent growing in our newsrooms. This year’s list of young newspaper professionals moving our industry forward showcases a wide range of skills. From technology and content to events and marketing, these 25 men and women aren’t afraid to try new things. They believe in the power of journalism, and they’re working hard to make sure it has a future. The list includes Hannah Wise, j’14 who is now the audience development editor for the Dallas Morning News.
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KC Fed announces promotion, retirement | Bank Beat

Tara Humston, b’96, has been promoted to senior vice president of the Supervision and Risk Management Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She was also named a member of its management committee, which is responsible for setting the Kansas City Fed’s strategic planning and policy direction, effective May 1.
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Your Neighborhood Breakfast Place Set to Crack its First Egg in Lawrence, KS | Franchising.com

Jimmy’s Egg® Franchise Group, JE WICHITA LLC, is set to open its first location at 945 Massachusetts Street, to the public on April 15, 2019. As the corporation’s largest franchise partner, JE Wichita, LLC owns and operates locations in Wichita & El Dorado and is currently working to open both the Massachusetts site as well as a location at Bob Billings Highway & Wakarusa within the coming months. Additionally, they have plans to expand into Topeka & Manhattan, KS over the next few years. The group is owned by KU graduate Morrie Sheets, c’82, & businessman, Wink Hartman Sr. and has been in operation for over a decade. This area will be overseen by Ashley Smith, the company’s Area Operations Manager.
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Master of Social Work Graduate Pursues Master of Public Administration to Maximize Public Service | KU Edwards Campus

We all are on a path, so to speak, to find our passion and purpose in life. Something truly magical occurs when one decision creates a spark and causes a chain of reactions, greatly impacting so many lives. In this case, Sheria Howard, s’18, a nontraditional student, wife and mother, chose to come to the KU Edwards Campus with the goal of earning a degree that would allow her to pursue her passion of serving others and extend a helping hand to communities in need. Howard achieved this goal and graduated in May 2018 with a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.).
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Polsinelli Shareholder Denise Drake Earns Litigation Practitioner Award as Part of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2019 Women’s Justice Awards | Polsinelli

Polsinelli is pleased to announce that Employment Disputes, Litigation and Arbitration Practice Chair Denise Drake, l’92, has been recognized with the Litigation Practitioner Award, as part of the elite Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2019 Women’s Justice Awards. Drake will be recognized on Thursday, April 25, during the annual Women’s Justice Awards dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis. The ceremony recognizes women in the legal profession, including judges, legal scholars and private practitioners.
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Kansan brings new Sesame Street character to life, promotes autism awareness | WIBW

New characters on Sesame Street are making quite a splash – and a Kansas man is bringing one of them to life. Julia’s family debuted this week, in conjunction with April’s Autism Awareness Month. Julia is a little girl with autism who arrived on Sesame Street four years ago. The puppeteer behind her brother Samuel is University of Kansas and Lawrence Free State alum Spencer Lott. “It’s a dream come true,” Lott told 13 NEWS by telephone from New York City, where he now lives. “I grew up a kid in Kansas watching Sesame Street, and to be a small part of that legacy is exciting.”
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Sheila Bair: Is college really worth it? | CNBC

Sheila Bair, c’75 l’78, former Chair of the FDIC, shares key points for deciding if the financial burden of college is worth the cost. It is commonly said that a college degree will generate more than $1 million in additional income during a graduate’s lifetime. Indeed, that seductive statistic can even be found on the Department of Education’s website. Unfortunately, I fear many students and their families have borrowed heavily, lured by this seven-figure “college premium.” Yet this premium is an average and varies widely by the choice of major.
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Law school to honor 3 distinguished alumni with award | The University of Kansas

Three University of Kansas School of Law alumni will receive the law school’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, this year. Recipients include Myron Frans, l’83, Linda Legg, d’72 l’75, and Clyde “Butch” Tate, c’79 l’82.
Read full article.

 

Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | Mar. 29

Posted on Mar 29, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

University alumna’s journey from hiding $1 eyeliner to Instagram makeup guru | The University Daily Kansan

For Mercedes Bounthapanya, c’18, being a makeup artist didn’t come naturally. “Growing up in a semi-strict Asian family, my mother actually never let me wear makeup,” Bounthapanya said. The Emporia native said her mom gradually allowed her to wear makeup in high school. Receiving a makeup palette as a graduation gift during her senior year was the impetus for her exploring and practicing doing makeup as a hobby in college. The rest is history.
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Playwrights Let Their Hair Down for BRUSHES | Broadway World

Brushes, by co-playwrights Cathy Hamilton, ’78, and Carol Starr Schneider, is set to open at the Whitefire March 30. Cathy and Carol met in 1997 when Carol read about Boyfriend in-a-Box in the Los Angeles Times and wound up optioning the movie rights. The movie didn’t happen, but a wonderful friendship did. They bonded over a warped sense of humor and their life.
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City of Lawrence announces two finalists for city manager position | Lawrence Journal-World

The City of Lawrence has announced final candidates for the position of city manager. The two finalists are Susan Sherman, g’90, and Craig Owens, g’93, according to a news release from the city Wednesday. Sherman is currently the assistant city manager for Olathe. Owens is the city manager of Clayton, Mo. Mayor Lisa Larsen said that all the candidates selected for interviews were strong candidates, but that Sherman and Owens stood out due to the depth of their city management service.
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Alumni Spotlight: March 2019 – Jay Bohanon, M.A. | KU College Office of Graduate Affairs

Jay Bohanon, g’18, is the Program Coordinator for the Office LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt University. He explains how his time in the Department of Religious Studies prepared him for his current role and gives advice to current graduate students. “Jayhawks are everywhere! No matter where you go or end up doing; if you find yourself in a new city with no contacts, reach out to the local alumni association reps or attend basketball watch parties. My first connections and friends in Nashville were fellow KU alumni.”
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | Mar. 22

Posted on Mar 22, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

Artist who won rare Jayhawk licensing deal — scoring a $150K payday — set to rebound | Startland

Seemingly routine for many Kansas fans, crimson and blue are once again among the colors flooding the canvas of the 2019 NCAA tournament. But for artist Megh Knappenberger, f’04, the Jayhawks’ familiar palate has painted an entrepreneurial journey with as thrilling ups and downs as Big 12 basketball, she said. “It’s a pretty special and unique thing that I was able to do this,” Knappenberger, owner of Megh Makes Art, said of the way she obtained an official license to reproduce Jayhawk-related work — a rare and exciting achievement, she added.
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KU alumnus dives into aerial videography business Drone Lawrence | The University Daily Kansan

After watching famous YouTuber Casey Neistat’s videos in high school, University of Kansas alumnus and former University Daily Kansan social media coordinator Nathan Mize, j’19, was inspired. Neistat has created various films and vlogs, but Mize was mostly impressed with his aerial videography. “I figured if he could get these type of shots while riding a skateboard around downtown New York City, I could easily do the same with all this open space in Kansas,” Mize said.
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Loyola University Medical Center Names New President | Loyola University Medical Center

Tad A. Gomez, RPh, MS, FASHP, has been named president of Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, effective February 25, 2019.
Gomez, p’96, joins Loyola from Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) in Gainesville, Georgia, where he was the vice president for professional and support services overseeing lab, pharmacy, radiology and imaging, facilities operations, biomedical engineering, and several other ancillary departments. Prior to joining NGHS, Gomez served as the vice president for professional services at Augusta University Medical Center (AUMC) in Augusta, Georgia. Earlier in his career, he held various pharmacy management positions at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and Harris Health in Houston, Texas.
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Iowa native and NBA veteran Nick Collison makes basketball history after a career of playing the right way | Des Moines Register

Nick Collison was a basketball star in high school at Iowa Falls and led the Cadets to back-to-back state championships in 1998 and 1999. He was an All-American and the 2003 Big 12 Conference player of the year at the University of Kansas and played in two Final Fours. It was expected that Iowa Falls retire his No. 44 and for KU to hang his No. 4 in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse. Having his No. 4 retired by the only NBA franchise he played for over a 15-year career was much more unlikely. But Oklahoma City did just that Wednesday tonight. So, how does a player with career averages of 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game become the first player to have his number retired by the Thunder? By playing basketball the right way. By being a great teammate. By offering consistency to a franchise that moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City after his fourth season.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | Mar. 15

Posted on Mar 15, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

Alumnus joins KU Law development team | KU Law Blog

Matthew Richards — a KU Law graduate (l’99), former transactional attorney and business owner — recently joined KU Endowment as a development professional for the University of Kansas School of Law. Under the direction of Assistant Vice President of Development, Kristen Toner, l’06, Matt will work alongside Lauren Luhrs, l’13, in meeting with KU Law alumni and friends across the country.
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Disability Rights Oregon Names New Executive Director | Willamette Week

Disability Rights Oregon, the watchdog group that has won landmark settlements for disabled Oregonians, has named Jake Cornett, g’10, to be its new executive director. Cornett, who currently advises U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on policies relating to disabilities, will replace Bob Joondeph, who is retiring after 33 years at DRO.
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Lawrence attorney, nonprofit board member Brad Finkeldei files for City Commission | Lawrence Journal-World

Attorney and nonprofit board member Brad Finkeldei, l’99, has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission. Finkeldei graduated from the University of Kansas law school and has lived in Lawrence permanently since 2000. He has served on the boards of various local organizations and the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Commission.
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Hawks to Watch: Marlon Marshall, Grassroots Campaign Organizer | KU College Stories

It’s no secret that politics, campaigns, and social movements can be contentious subjects, to say the least. So much so that it often feels as if there’s an ocean of ideological difference separating communities. Marlon Marshall, c’13, wants to help build bridges to mend those widening gaps, and his career is a testament to the power of authenticity, collective action, and connecting with the public on a personal level by running campaigns with both strategy and heart. And it’s clear to him where that vital, immensely challenging work must begin in order to catch fire and create visible change for the better: at the grassroots level.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | Mar. 8

Posted on Mar 8, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawks in the News

Find out what University of Kansas alumni are up to in our weekly edition of “Jayhawks in the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

‘Goodnight everybody’: 50-year voice of Salthawk sports signs off | The Hutchinson News

The 50-year voice of the Hutchinson Salthawks, often interrupted by former students embracing their calculus teacher with a hug, has said his last “goodnight everybody.” Rusty Hilst, g’66, dabbled in radio for the first time in 1969 after a friend and then-Hutchinson High School basketball coach Dan Justice recommended Hilst to fill in for a sick broadcaster. “Some people would say I haven’t shut up since,” Hilst said.
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New novel sends powerful message to divorced people | Chicago Tribune

“The death of a dream” might be the hardest part about going through a divorce, according to Beth Bear Shields, c’92. “When my boys were 1 and 3, I was walking on the beach, and I saw a couple walking with a toddler on the husband’s shoulders and I thought to myself, ‘This is something I will never have.’ I was right,” said Shields, a North Shore-based mom, who went through a divorce in 2003.
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New Kansas Governor Picks Federal Prosecutor as Chief Lawyer | U.S. News & World Report

Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly has picked a federal prosecutor to serve as her office’s top attorney and filled other key staff positions. The incoming Democratic governor announced Tuesday that Clay Britton, c’04 l’09, will be her chief counsel. He has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Kansas since October 2016 and previously was an assistant Kansas attorney general and attorney in private practice. Cory Sheedy, c’03, will serve be Kelly’s legislative director after working as the Kansas House minority leader’s chief of staff.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Part-time beauty blogger blossoms into full-time social-media influencer

Posted on Mar 5, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Sarah James of Whoorl.com

When Sarah James started blogging in 2005, she was searching for no more than a creative outlet to offset the somewhat draining days as a pharmaceutical sales representative, a role she held through most of her 30s.

“I wasn’t looking to completely sidetrack my career,” says James, c’97, “but sure enough, that’s what happened.”

“Hair Thursday”

Soon after launching Whoorl.com, a site dedicated to beauty recommendations and tips for healthy living, James started a weekly series called Hair Thursday, in which readers submitted photos and asked for hairstyle advice. The regular feature, which ran from 2007 to ’10, stemmed from the overwhelming success of James’ own bangs-debate post, which revealed that more than 700 of her followers were eager to weigh in and participate in a web-based poll. The series became so popular that in 2008 The New York Times published a story on James and the growing trend of online reader engagement.

“That feature definitely led to a huge amount of exposure, including televised appearances, so my brand essentially blossomed that year” says James, who was a guest on the Rachael Ray Show and ABC’s Nightline. She also became a national commercial spokesperson for Pantene and was featured in a Levi’s campaign.

Rise to influencer fame

Nearly a decade after her unexpected rise to beauty-blogger fame, James continues to churn out engaging web content and connect with her readers, though she now uses popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where she has amassed almost 35,000 followers across all three platforms. “When I started blogging, social media was in its infancy,” she says. “No Twitter, no Instagram, and Facebook was only a year old. … To say the day-to-day operations involving my brand have changed over the past decade is an understatement.”

James’ beauty recommendations also have evolved. Since transitioning to natural, nontoxic products five years ago, James focuses her research on clean-beauty brands, which she reviews regularly, sharing her results with readers. Popular posts like “Best in Green Beauty” showcase James’ favorite cosmetic and skincare finds, and feature candid pro-tips and relatable, often humorous videos that take viewers through the blogger’s skincare and makeup routines.

Now in her 40s, James is shifting her attention to women just like her—those who are celebrating the effects of aging rather than trying to disguise it. She recently launched a new #CleanOver40 series, which addresses the challenges women face as they age and highlights effective skincare, makeup and lifestyle products for 40-somethings. She also plans to develop a one-on-one consulting service in the near future.

Although maintaining Whoorl.com and its social media presence—not to mention finding new ways to stay fresh as a bona fide influencer—is a full-time job, it doesn’t really feel like work to James. “I am so grateful to have made a career out of doing what I truly love,” she says.

—Heather Biele

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Jayhawks visit Galápagos Islands

Posted on Mar 1, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Trust me, the Galápagos Islands need to be on your bucket list. They offer an experience unlike any other. During the Flying Jayhawks trip to the islands, we were told by our naturalist before leaving Quito, Ecuador: “No place on earth is like any other place. But the Galápagos are less like all the others.” She was absolutely right. Let me start at the beginning…

Day 1-2: Quito, Ecuador

Driving from the airport to Quito, Ecuador, I could tell from the lights across the hillsides that this was going to be a beautiful start to the trip. After a short night, we began our morning meeting and mingled with the rest of our group.

This Flying Jayhawks trip included 13 great folks from across the country—all on their first excursion to the Galápagos. Our first day was spent learning about the history and culture of Quito and South America. We explored historical sites and gorgeous downtown Quito, walking along the colorful paved streets and enjoying the sun.

We ventured to the official Quito market, tasting some of the fresh fruits and vegetables local to the area. Next we visited a local hat maker and learned about the origin of the Panama Hat—which was indeed Ecuador!

We had delicious meals, some free time to shop and then returned to our hotel for a gorgeous sunset and a reception.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos      Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Day 3: Baltra/Santa Cruz

Despite the wakeup call in the wee hours of the morning, the first day in the islands was worth it! First we flew from Quito to Baltra. Then we ventured by boat to Santa Cruz to see the infamous giant tortoises for which the islands are named: Galápagos.

We visited the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz and hiked through the island among hundreds of slow-moving, but fascinating, creatures! Hiking down the cool lava caves and tunnels we learned more about the climate and history of this island.

Lunch was at the home of a local family with food directly from their farm. After another bus ride and free time, it was time to embark our home for the bulk of the trip: the Yacht Isabella II. We met for a Captain’s welcome reception followed with delicious dinner on board.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos     Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Day 4: Floreana and Post Office Bay

Overnight we sailed away from Santa Cruz and the civilized islands while also sailing away from our connection to WiFi, email and the connection back home. Instead we moved into the most gorgeous, uninhabited, natural beauty among the South Pacific.

We woke up on Floreana Island and set out early on a panga ride to see the creatures of this area. Immediately, among the crystal clear waters (so magnificently colored in turquoise and sapphire), we saw hundreds of sea lions in the distance.

As we got closer to shore, the sea lions danced for us, and we saw the bright red crabs showing off on the dark rocks. We saw beautiful blue-footed boobies and bright red and green “Christmas Iguanas” sunning themselves. Our exploring continued when in the (not too far) distance, we saw a magnificent creature come out of the water and quickly back down—an Orca whale!

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Our naturalists (also shocked and excited), chased down the whale and followed him around the ocean, watching him crest and return dozens of times—just yards from our panga! It was absolutely breathtaking and an experience of a lifetime. If the trip had ended right there, I think most of us would have said we got more than we bargained for!

And there was more!

We continued on to land to see the historic Old Post Office Bay, the site where ships would leave postcards and mail for the next ship to stop, pick up the mail, and deliver it to its destination if possible. That tradition continues now with thousands of visitors coming to leave their postcards, hoping that the next wave of tourists collects the mail and delivers it (ideally face to face) to its destination.

After the mail barrel, we snorkeled off the beach to swim with the sea turtles! They were beautiful creatures, and it was amazing to be floating above them.

We returned to ship for an incredible lunch al fresco on the top deck while the ship moved a bit around the island. The afternoon consisted of more snorkeling with unbelievable aquatic wildlife in Technicolor and face-to-face swimming with the sea lions! These playful creatures had no problem coming over to say hello to their new human friends!

After snorkeling, we had the evening to take a guided hike on the island, seeing sea turtles mating and the females coming to land to lay their eggs. We also ended the evening seeing the gorgeous pink flamingos glisten in the sunset.

An Orca whale, sea turtles, crabs, iguanas, blue footed boobies, sea lions nibbling at my fins while snorkeling, flamingos … you would think that is enough for the day, right? Oh no—there was more!

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Sharks!

After an incredible dinner and debrief, the captain announced that sharks were behind the boat. As I walked up the stairs, I wondered, “Will I be able to see through the darkness? Will I look in the right direction? What if I miss the sharks?”

The moment I reached the top, I looked down to see hundreds of sharks, so crystal clear they seem to be glowing. It gave me goosebumps (and nearly brought me to tears wishing I could photograph and share this moment!). The naturalists explained that the sharks are following the wake and eating the fish off the back of the boat.

We watched for what seemed like hours as a “flying fish” scurried across the water while a group of sharks dashed to get it. A brave sea lion was willing to get in the fray and steal dinner from the sharks a few times. (Thankfully, the sea lions are so fast, they’re not in danger of becoming the sharks meal. Whew!)

Since we were on the top deck, our naturalists volunteered to lead a conversation on the stars with the clear night’s sky. They turned out the lights and millions of bright stars covered every inch of the sky. The naturalists pointed out constellations and told the stories of the astrological signs. It was a day for the ages.

Day 5:  Espanola

We embarked on a hike through Espaneola, on the lava and boulder terrain, where we connected with the blue footed boobies and many other birds at all stages of life.

The beautiful terrain led us to the natural “blowholes” in the lava formations on the other side of the island. It was an incredible sight! We hiked among iguanas and stepped over baby seals sunning themselves. After lunch, more snorkeling (or an optional glass-bottom boat ride). I have to admit, I was a little more skittish to snorkel after last night’s display of sharks! I was so glad I went with another gorgeous display of wildlife and a sea lion playing with an octopus!

The evening consisted of kayaking and a white, sandy beach walk among the Gardner Bay sea lions. We also saw the humpback whale skeleton on the shore. It was an incredibly relaxing and peaceful way to end the day on this gorgeous island.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos     Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Day 6:  San Cristobal

Our final full day on the island started out with another gorgeous hike. This one took us to new heights, and I felt like we were flying with the island birds! Although the hike was a bit more difficult, the views made it worth every step.

We saw new vegetation and more wildlife up-close and in-person. This is the only island where all of the three types of boobies are found together: red-footed boobies, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies. We saw them dancing together in their mating rituals and learned more about the evolution of wildlife on the island.

After the hike, we had an opportunity to snorkel off the beach one final time. We returned to the ship for lunch followed by another adventure through rock formations and lava cutouts. This was the only day we experienced any real rain, and it was very light and manageable. In fact, it seemed fitting learning about Darwin’s exploration and seeing a glimpse of his view of the islands nearly a century before.

We hiked on the beach—this time barefoot in the rain—and the colors seemed to come alive through the drizzle.

As we got back on board, we witnessed the most magnificent sunset. We watched the sun drop near the blue water as we circled around key hole rock. The captain perfectly lined up the rock, the sun and the opening in the formation to give us a work of art. It was the perfect conclusion to this breathtaking excursion.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

Day 7: San Cristobal and Guayaquil

It was finally time to disembark. It was bittersweet to be back on land, and we were welcomed there by the capital city of the islands. We learned a little more history but also had some by free time to purchase our Galápagos souvenirs before heading home.

After flying back to mainland Ecuador, we had a final night to explore Guayaquil, say our farewells and enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian meal.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

What are you waiting for?

The trip was an incredible experience. The ship was quaint, 36-passenger boat, allowing us to make new friends of all ages. The food was incredible with many options at each meal. We had buffet style  breakfast and lunch and a plated dinner each night. All of the meals and attire were casual and made you feel at home. The staff on the ship could not have been more friendly and personable.

And the naturalists! We had three on our trip, and they exceeded expectations in every way. The weather was as picture-perfect as you would imagine. Even for the “rainy season,” we had sunshine and mild temperatures every day with only an occasional, very light shower.

If the Galápagos Islands are not on your bucket list yet, you are missing out! It was an escape and an intimate look at nature like I’ve never had before. I came back feeling refreshed, amazed and wanting to do it all again.

Flying Jayhawks | Galapagos Islands 2019 |Jayhawks visit Galápagos

The Flying Jayhawks trip “The Galápagos Islands” took place Jan. 23-30, 2018. The trip was hosted by Angie Storey, vice president of donor relations. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

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