Shenanigans abound when former rivals travel abroad

Posted on Jun 22, 2017 in Alumni News and News

An old rivalry was renewed as Jayhawks made the “Great Journey through Europe.”

Participants on the Flying Jayhawks tour found themselves traveling with some Nebraska Cornhuskers, who pranked the KU crew by holding Jayhawk decorations hostage.

But, our friendly neighbors to the north quickly returned the beloved birds.

Do the Jayhawks have plans to play any tricks of their own? The Huskers are anxiously awaiting any good-natured retaliation, and in the meantime, the groups are no doubt trading stories about the good old days when the two schools belonged to the same conference.

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Jayhawks in the News | June 16

Posted on Jun 16, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

#KSProud: Deaf Derby native defies odds with audiology doctorate from KU | KWCH.com

Derby native Casey Combs walked across the stage at KU earlier this month, as she earned her Doctorate in Audiology. Casey is profoundly, or totally for a more practical term, deaf.
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What a journey: Bryan Sperry is a former KU football player & World War II veteran | Four States Home Page

Bryan Sperry made national headlines two years ago at the KU football alumni game scoring a touchdown. The World War II veteran also spent 35 years at Pittsburg State as a math professor.
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A step toward greater diversity: New business school camp reaches out to under-represented populations | LJWorld.com

The Summer Venture in Business program is open to high-achieving 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade minority students or those who would be the first in their families to attend college. Former KU student body president Stephonn Alcorn and his Student Senate coalition had proposed such a camp last year as one way to help increase campus diversity.
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Devonté Graham and current Jayhawks edge KU alumni team 82-75 in scrimmage | Kansas City Star

The alumni team included Ben McLemore, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Perry Ellis and Keith Langford, to name a handful of former KU stars.
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Tom Eblen, mentor to a generation of KU journalists, remembered as ‘old-school teacher’ | LJWorld.com

Tom Eblen, who mentored a generation of journalists as general manager and news adviser for the University Daily Kansan, died Saturday at age 80 in Prairie Village. As general manager and adviser of the Daily Kansan, Eblen oversaw the newspaper’s business affairs and provided lasting advice to students on writing and editing.
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Scot Pollard tells Bill Self ‘my ’97 team would dominate any of your teams’ | Kansas City Star

Former KU big man Scot Pollard tells current Jayhawks coach Bill Self that his teams would beat Self’s more current teams at the KVC Hero Luncheon on Thursday, June 15, 2017.
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Rock Chalk Roundball Classic turns into ‘KU Day’ at Lawrence Free State High’s gym | Kansas City Star

Perry Ellis was one of the many fan favorites participating in an exhibition game that featured more than 40 former KU players and coaches including 12 members of Kansas’ 2008 national title squad.
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Former KU vice chancellor dies at 91 | University Daily Kansan

Robert Cobb, a University faculty member and administrator for over 30 years, passed away last week at the age of 91. In his time at the University, Cobb was an English professor, department head, dean, executive vice chancellor, professor emeritus and more.
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Kings host College Player of the Year Frank Mason for second pre-draft workout | ABC10.com

The Sacramento Kings hosted a second pre-draft workout on Wednesday with last season’s National College Player of the Year – Kansas’ point guard Frank Mason III. Upon arriving in Sacramento on Tuesday, Mason caught the attention of social media for inviting a Jayhawks fan to meet him at his downtown hotel.
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KU aerospace grad lands coveted spot in NASA astronaut class

Posted on Jun 7, 2017 in Alumni News and News

2017 Astronaut Class, courtesy of nasa.gov
Loral O'Hara, e'06, member of the 2017 astronaut class | courtesy of nasa.govJayhawk Loral O’Hara, a 2006 graduate of the KU School of Engineering’s aerospace engineering program, on Wednesday was introduced as one of 12 members of NASA’s 2017 astronaut candidate class. After her KU graduation, O’Hara earned a master’s degree at Purdue University. Until joining NASA for the arduous astronaut selection process, O’Hara most recently worked as a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

O’Hara, e’06, was born in Houston and reared in nearby Sugar Land, Texas. When her NASA class was introduced during a ceremony at Johnson Space Center, O’Hara was quick to note her joy in reaching a lifelong dream in her hometown.

“Growing up in Houston, I had Johnson Space Center right down the road and I was able to visit often,” O’Hara said. “My second-grade class even got to grow tomato plants that flew on the space shuttle, a program that I actually recently just found out is going on today with students flying seeds on the International Space Station. Those early experiences really hooked me and are a big part of what ignited the dream to be an astronaut.”

Among her diverse interests, O’Hara is a private pilot, scuba diver, surfer, sailor, spelunker, painter, certified EMT and wilderness first responder, and she noted that her unusual hobbies helped her join NASA’s latest astronaut candidate class.

“I’ve always been really curious and loved trying new things, learning new skills,” O’Hara said. “I’ve just been fortunate that the experiences that I have always gravitated toward are also those that helped me get up here today, things like fixing engines and flying and diving.”

She reports for duty in August to begin two years of astronaut training, after which she will be assigned technical duties in NASA’s astronaut office while awaiting her first flight assignment.

—Chris Lazzarino

WATCH:
Live video announcement of the 2017 astronaut class from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas

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Jayhawks explore ‘Timeless Treasures’ of the Mediterranean

Posted on Jun 6, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Scenery from the Timeless Treasures cruise in the Mediterranean Sea | Flying Jayhawks
A group of 30 Jayhawks from across the U.S. explored the Mediterranean on a seven-day cruise from April 28-May 6.

We began our journey in Athens, Greece– embarking on the ship headed to two of the Cyclades group of islands. First stop, Mykonos.

Travelers selected from a number of excursions this day. More than half the group explored the ruins on the small island of Delos, just off the island of Mykonos. The lions of Apollo guard this island, and a number of intricate mosaics are still intact.

The rest of the group explored Mykonos, famous for white homes with blue shutters and the iconic windmills. The maze-like streets, originally designed to ward of pirate attacks, offered a variety of shops and restaurants.

Mosaic in Delos, from the Timeless Treasures Flying Jayhawks cruise in the Mediterranean

Our next port of call was the island of Santorini, which offered picturesque views of the white cave homes and blue domes. We visited the quieter town of Oia before heading to the more well-known capital of Fira. Cobblestone streets wind between shops and cafes with stunning views.

After cruising a day at sea, we made it to our next destination. Malta is a small island nestled to the south of Sicily and north of Africa. The Dingli cliffs provided breath-taking views. Tours included visiting catacombs and the village of Rabat, and we spent our free time in the capital of Valletta, accessible by elevator from the harbor.

Sicily means “Land of the Godfather.” The largest island in Mediterranean is notable serving as the backdrop of a number of scenes in the “Godfather” movies. Sicily was its own country for centuries before the Italian unification in 1860. It is still home to a proud culture, and residents identify more strongly as Sicilian rather than Italian.

Scenery from the Timeless Treasures cruise in the Mediterranean | Flying Jayhawks

Our last stop was Sorrento, Italy. My high school Latin teacher, Mr. Wilson, would be so proud and excited I was able to visit Pompeii! It was fascinating to walk around a town that has been uncovered after being preserved by the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius. I found it so interesting to see how Roman life was frozen in time.

We disembarked in Rome. A number of our passengers stayed on in Rome, but it was time for me to travel home. It was a fantastic week with some amazing people. Some I have traveled with in the past, and others I hope travel with us again in the future.

Until next time, arrivederci!

—Tegan Thornberry, or “Traveling Tegs” as she’s affectionately known around the office, serves as director of membership and business development and hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Timeless Treasures.” She also brings cookies to the office every Tuesday. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the new 2018 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

PHOTOS:
Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the trip, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Photos may be downloaded for personal use.

Flying Jayhawks 2017: Timeless Treasures

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Jayhawks in the News | June 2

Posted on Jun 2, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Garden City Manager Matt Allen honored with Leadership Kansas alumni award | The Garden City Telegram

City Manager Matt Allen was presented with Leadership Kansas’ Jim Edwards Alumnus of the Year Award in recognition of what the organization viewed as his steady, innovative community leadership. Allen earned a master’s degree from KU in 1997.
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Utah Shakespeare Company hires new executive producer | The Salt Lake Tribune

Frank Mack, who teaches arts administration at the University of Connecticut and previously led Shakespeare theater companies in California and New Jersey, has been named executive producer at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Mack earned a bachelor’s degree from KU in 1985.
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Ph.D. takes USC grad from down South to Down Under | University of South Carolina

Henry Wear, g’14, received his Ph.D. in sport and entertainment management in May from South Carolina and earned his first postdoctoral position, as a lecturer in the sport management program at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.
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KU Medical Center leader Douglas Girod named 18th chancellor of KU | LJWorld.com

A 25-member chancellor search committee, chaired by KU alumnus and former Kroger CEO David Dillon, b’73, vetted candidates and presented finalists to the board.
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KU selects its next chancellor | Wichita Business Journal

The University of Kansas has selected Dr. Douglas Girod as its 18th chancellor. The search committee tasked with finding Gray-Miller’s successor has local ties. Greg Ek, b’76, was part of the 24-person search committee. He also serves as a board member for the KU Alumni Association and serves as the chairman of its audit committee.
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Thomas B. King Joins VIVUS’ Board of Directors | MarketWired.com

VIVUS, Inc., announced that Thomas B. King has been appointed to VIVUS’ board of directors. Mr. King’s nearly 40 years of pharmaceutical experience ranges from large to development-stage pharmaceutical companies. He received an MBA from the KU School of Business.
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Bernard Greenberg, forensic entomologist who helped solve murders, dies at 95 | Chicago Tribune

Bernard Greenberg, a retired professor of entomology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, would assist law enforcement agencies in murder investigations by helping to determine details of the death from the presence or absence of bugs on the body. He earned a doctorate in entomology from the University of Kansas in 1953.
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Sanford Health names new top executive in Fargo | West Central Tribune

Nate White, 39, was named chief operating officer of Sanford Health in 2012 and will become executive vice president, based in Fargo, beginning in August. he earned a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2004.
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Blank Rome Expands Tax Group with Two Additions in New York | Enhanced Online News

Jill E. Misener has joined Blank Rome LLC in the Tax, Benefits, and Private Client group in New York. She graduated from the KU School of Law in 2005.
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Goodbye, Kansas | The Players’ Tribune

Frank Mason, star point guard for the KU men’s basketball team, penned a goodbye letter to Jayhawk fans on the popular website.
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Frank Mason III honored as hometown hero

Posted on May 22, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Frank Mason received a warm welcome home celebration in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Ryan Smartt.
Frank Mason III got a warm welcome last weekend from family, friends and fans in his hometown of Petersburg, Virginia, during a series of festivities that celebrated the KU basketball star and national player of the year.

Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham on Friday declared May 19 “Frank Leo Mason III Day” and issued a proclamation of Mason’s achievements before presenting him a key to the city. KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, who discovered Mason in 2012 during a Las Vegas recruiting trip, and nearly 30 Richmond Jayhawks attended the celebration.

“Frank Mason III is beloved by fans for providing us four great years and helping our team reach the important 13-straight milestone,” says Kimberly Gulley Winn, l’95, g’03, executive director of Virginia Municipal League, who spoke at the event. “We were honored to be a part of the events highlighting the amazing career of this terrific young man, and we are looking forward to following his NBA career.”

On Saturday, locals packed William Lawson Gymnasium at Petersburg High School, where Mason attended and played, for an alumni basketball game. Mason’s No. 15 jersey was retired during a halftime ceremony.

“I just want to appreciate everybody that came out,” Mason, c’17, told the crowd. “I thank my family, friends, everybody that I love. Besides those people, I do it for Petersburg.”

Later that day, Mason threw out the first pitch at a Flying Squirrels minor-league baseball game in Richmond, Virginia.

—Heather Biele

Photo courtesy of Ryan Smartt

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Class of 1977’s legacy lives on in Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame

Posted on May 11, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Class of 1977 | www.kualumni.org
When Bill French ran for president during his junior year at KU, he pledged that the Class of 1977 would bestow a gift upon the University. “At that time, I had no idea what the gift was going to be or what kind of money we had,” he says with a laugh. “It was one of those platform promises you make and then you hope you’ll have some money to give a gift the size of a bouquet of flowers.”

Turns out, the Class of 1977 had more in its budget than expected. With the help of the other class officers and Jeff Millikan, gift chairman, French identified $1,000 that could be used toward a University gift. “We knew that the KU Athletics Hall of Fame was just getting started,” he says. “I suggested we look at a major assist for it.”

French, j’77, and Millikan, c’77, g’80, met with KU’s Athletic Director Clyde Walker to discuss a gift that would help the newly established hall of fame. “At that time, they just had some posters up,” French recalls. “I said, ‘We’ve only got $1,000, but I’ll get the right media involved with this. We’ll have a picture, we’ll run a story, we’ll have a big check made.’”

French put out the word, and several area newspapers picked up the story, including the Kansas City Star, the Lawrence Journal-World and the Wichita Eagle.

“Clyde Walker later told me that the Class of 1977’s gift and associated news stories really helped the KU Athletic Hall of Fame with their fundraising efforts,” says French.

The Hall of Fame has expanded over the years, and in 2006, the Booth Family Hall of Athletics opened on the east side of Allen Field House, thanks to more than $5 million in gifts from the children and grandchildren of the late Gilbert and Betty Booth. Following an expansion in 2009, the sprawling, 19,335-square-foot sports shrine now features interactive exhibits and a basketball championship trophy case—not to mention a plaque that recognizes the Class of 1977 for its generous gift 40 years ago.

“It’s really grown into a big deal,” says French. “I’m very glad that our class was able to be a part of kicking it off.”

—Heather Biele

Image courtesy Bill French. Pictured from left to right: Stephan Van Kepple, Dorothy Schloerb, Chancellor Archie Dykes, Clyde Walker, Randy Brown, Bill French, Jeff Millikan, Marianne Maurin, Carol Smith and Fred Knuth

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Jayhawks venture to world’s largest rainforest ecosystem

Posted on May 9, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Amazon River Expedition Flying Jayhawks group, photo courtesy of Steve Pennington

A group of Jayhawks cruised the Amazon River, the longest navigable river in the world, from Feb. 24-Mar. 5, 2017. The travelers sailed on the M.V. Zafiro, one of the newest small expedition river vessels specifically designed to navigate the upper Amazon and its tributaries. The vessel carries 36 guests.

The trip included two nights in Lima, Peru; one night in Iquitos; and a five-night cruise.

Steve Pennington, c’72, g’75, shared the above photo taken during the trip, his eighth Flying Jayhawks adventure.

Pictured left to right: a naturalist from the cruise ship, Rick Miller, Pat Louden, Pennington, John Louden, Susan Miller, and the Gohagan tour guide.

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Jayhawks in the News | May 5

Posted on May 5, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

March for Science aims to rally support for research, policy | University Daily Kansan

Jessie Blakeborough, a freelance reporter, college adviser and University alumna, created a Facebook page in January to plan a march to speak out in support of scientific research and science-based policy. Blakeborough, j’13, is one of four administrators for the march.
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How KU alumnus Dan Ryckert and his fiancee are preparing for their Taco Bell wedding | University Daily Kansan

Dan Ryckert, c’08, and his fiancee, Biana Monda, won the the Love and Tacos contest and will be the first couple married in the Taco Bell Chapel in La Vegas.
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Melanie Morgan elected to co-chair Defender Services Advisory Group | Kansas Federal Public Defender

Melanie Morgan, l’93, is the CJA Representative for the District of Kansas and was recently elected to co-chair the Defender Services Advisory Group.
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New short film by former University student digs into unforgiving world of addiction, theft, extortion | University Daily Kansan

“E 1200,” a new short crime drama written and directed by University alumnus Kalee Forsythe, will premiere at Liberty Hall. After going back and forth between getting her degree in film studies or architecture while at the University, Forsythe eventually decided to take a break from classes.
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SouthLaw Hires New Associate Bankruptcy Attorney | MortgageOrb

Lisa C. Billman has joined SouthLaw PC as an associate attorney for the bankruptcy department located in the firm’s corporate office in Overland Park, Kan. She earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2011.
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OZ Associate Dan Kalkman One of the Few WELL Accredited Professionals in Colorado | OzArch.com

Dan Kalkman, g’15, associate at OZ Architecture, earned his WELL AP credentials in January 2017. The WELL Building Standard comprises seven categories, or concepts, of wellness.
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New Englewood city attorney is on the job | Englewood Herald

Alison McKenney Brown, l’93, received official Colorado Supreme Court approval to practice law in Colorado and assumed the duties of Englewood’s city attorney on April 1.
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After working on ’22 Jump Street’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ a KU alumnus is coming back to Lawrence | University Daily Kansan

Grant Babbit, c’12, jumped straight out of the film and media studies program and into Los Angeles as a successful freelance cinematographer after graduating in 2011. He plans to come to the University next fall to talk to the current film students about his experiences.
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Corporate Finance Partner Scott Gootee Named to Ingram’s Magazine “40 Under Forty” List | Stinson Leonard Street

Scott Gootee, b’03, l’05, a corporate finance partner in the Kansas City office of Stinson Leonard Street LLP, was named to the 2017 40 Under Forty list by Ingram’s Magazine, the leading business publication covering Missouri and Kansas.
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Former Johnson County attorney named new district judge | News Channel Nebraska

Governor Pete Ricketts announced his appointment of Julie D. Smith to the First Judicial District Court of Nebraska. Smith earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law.
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Simpson University prepares for spring commencement | Daily News Lifestyle

The keynote speaker will be Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall, appointed to the court in 2014. Stegall is a graduate of Geneva College, Pennsylvania, and the University of Kansas School of Law.
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KU alumni on research team that ‘threatens to upend human history’ in North America

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU alumni on research team that ‘threatens to upend human history’ in North America
study published Wednesday in the prestigious journal Nature could obliterate all previous notions about the earliest human migration to North America, from the current consensus of about 15,000 years ago to a staggering 130,000 years ago.

This startling claim is made by a scientific team that features two KU doctoral alumni: lead author Steven Holen, PhD’02, director of the Center for American Paleolithic Research in South Dakota, and co-author Jared Beeton, PhD’07, professor of physical geography at Adams State University in Colorado.

Holen, Beeton and nine other colleagues from the U.S. and Australia have long studied mastodon bones unearthed during a 1992 highway construction project in San Diego County, California. The first scientists at the site, from the San Diego Museum of Natural History, began the arduous process of documenting the site, including a puzzling jigsaw of large rocks, which seemingly could not have been a naturally occurring part of the silt layer in which the bones were found, and crushed mastodon bones.

They eventually concluded that marks on the bones could only have been made by the rocks, perhaps in an attempt to extract bone marrow from leg bones, and that the rocks could not otherwise have been placed at the site by natural geological processes.

Their research then took a startling turn when scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey dated the mastodon bones to 130,000 years ago, give or take 9,400 years, and the San Diego site suddenly became perhaps the most important archaeological find in recent memory.

“If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet,” The New York Times reported April 26. “The earliest widely accepted evidence of people in the Americas is less than 15,000 years old. … If humans actually were in North America over 100,000 years earlier, they may not be related to any living group of people. Modern humans probably did not expand out of Africa until 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, recent genetic studies have shown.”

The 130,000-year-old mastodon, exclaimed Wired magazine, “threatens to upend human history.”

Beeton was the first graduate student in KU’s Odyssey Archaeological Research Program, which offers KU undergraduate and graduate students field experience in finding evidence of the earliest people to inhabit the central Great Plains.

The Odyssey program, directed by Rolfe Mandel, g’80, PhD’91, University Distinguished Professor of anthropology, was launched in 2003 with an endowment from Joseph and Ruth Cramer.

“I still remember Joe saying to me, ‘Rolfe, I’m not just putting this money up for you to go out and wander around looking for sites. I want you to train students to go out and look.’ And that’s exactly what happened,” says Mandel, also interim director of Kansas Geological Survey, which conducted blind testing of soil samples collected at the San Diego site. “It’s gratifying to see that it works. Joe Cramer would have loved to have heard that this is an example of where his investment produced a student who went out and pushed the envelope.

“If he were alive he’d be very gratified, but it’s also very gratifying to me, regardless of how this all shakes out. It may turn out this site’s a bust. That could happen. But regardless of that, I’ve got to give them credit for looking, and certainly for pushing the envelope. I do sort of feel like these are my children going out and doing what I told them to try to do.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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