Changing a space into a place

Posted on Oct 14, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Spencer Museum of ArtThe Spencer Museum of Art will reopen to the public Saturday, Oct. 15, after an 18-month renovation that has transformed exhibition and educational spaces. A weekend-long celebration featuring music and dance performances, art activities and new gallery installations will usher in a new era for the Spencer Museum.

Kansas Alumni magazine featured the Spencer renovation as the cover story of issue No. 5, 2016. The article is available online.

Click here to learn more about the renovation and to see a schedule of events for the grand opening celebration.

Saralyn Reece Hardy, c’76, g’94, director of the Spencer Museum, shares more in our new video below.


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Jayhawks in the News | October 7

Posted on Oct 7, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

KU campus graphics |


Education is a family affair: Mother and daughter graduate together | Indian Country Today Media Network

It’s the first time in KU history that a mother and daughter graduated together from the KU School of Social Welfare. Carole Painte Walker walked down the Hill last May with her daughter, Kelly. The pair earned Master of Science in Social Work degrees.
Read full article.


Blue Valley Northwest journalism teacher earns major national award | Blue Valley Post

Jim McCrossen is one of eight journalism teachers from across the country who will receive the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) Pioneer Award this year. McCrossen, j’84, has taught at the school for the past 24 years.
Read full article.


Investigation points to Russian role in downed Malaysia Airlines jet | NPR

KU alumnus Aric Toler was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered, where he discussed his work for Bellingcat.
KU Alum Aric Toler was on NPR’s All Things Considered today, discussing his work for Bellingcat. Toler, c’11, g’13, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Slavic languages and literatures.
Read interview transcript.


My Final Season | The Players’ Tribune

Former KU basketball star Paul Pierce announced that this season will be his last in a piece he wrote for the popular blog.
Read full article.


Kansas City Chiefs award Mayra Aguirre the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award | Kansas City Chiefs

The professional football team announced Mayra Aguirre, Executive Director, Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund, as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. Aguirre, l’07, was honored during a pregame ceremony on the field at the team’s Sept. 25 game against the New York Jets.
Read full article.


Topeka West inducts four into 2016 Graduate Hall of Fame | Topeka Capitol-Journal

Alice Craig, b’90, l’95, was one of four graduates of Topeka West high school inducted into the hall of fame. Craig is currently a law professor at the KU School of Law.
Read full article.


KU alumnus’ podcast explores culture of Lawrence | University Daily Kansan

Jason Barr created the Lawrence-based podcast A.D.D., which started out as an art podcast but morphed into a culture show with a real cast. Barr, c’10, ran an indie rock show at KJHK while he was a student at KU.
Read full article.


KU alumnus’ documentary celebrates national prairie reserve in Flint Hills | University Daily Kansan

After learning that the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Dave Kendall started work on a film that explores the history of the eastern Kansas preserve. Kendall graduated with an undergraduate degree in cultural geography in 1975 and received master’s degrees in journalism and anthropology in 1983.
Read full article.


Zika in the crosshairs: Hutch native on the front line in fight against virus | The Hutchinson News

Hutchinson native Rick Bright became intrigued with the devastating 1918 flu pandemic that started at the U.S. Army base at Fort Riley and spread globally. He spent a couple of years studying at the University of Kansas, and finished his bachelor’s degree in biology – medical technology – and physical sciences from Auburn University.
Read full article.

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Jayhawks in the News | September 23

Posted on Sep 23, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

KU campus graphics |


University graduate achieves success through body painting | University Daily Kansan

For Elsa Rhae, body painter and 2013 University graduate in film and media studies, her senior year involved one fateful decision: which elective to take in order to fulfill her degree. Rhae, c’13, was featured on the cover of issue No. 5, 2014, of Kansas Alumni magazine.
Read full article

Good news liberal-arts majors: Your peers probably won’t outearn you forever | The Wall Street Journal

Andy Anderegg, g’10, is featured in this article as a liberal arts success story. After receiving a master’s degree in fine arts from KU, Anderegg landed a job as a writer at Groupon and quickly climbed her way up the ladder.
Read full article

Kevin Harlan made a call for the ages Monday of a fan running on the field | Kansas City Star

Kevin Harlan, a KU School of Journalism alumnus, was a trending topic on Twitter and in sports blogs after his memorable call during the Rams-49ers game Monday, Sept. 12.
Read full article and watch video.

University alumnae show off design work in Iowa State exhibition | University Daily Kansan

An interactive exhibit created by Allison Metzger and Catherine Reinhart will be shown at the Iowa State University Design on Main Gallery in Ames from Oct. 1 to 31. The exhibit was funded through an Indiegogo campaign.
Read full article

Governer Sam Brownback Makes Judicial Appointment to the 21st District Court | Public

Grant Bannister, l’97, of Manhattan was appointed as a district judge in the 21st district court. He is currently in private practice as a partner with Knopp & Bannister PA.
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Scot Pollard has ties to his character in feature film “The Profit” | University Daily Kansan

Former Kansas basketball player and ex-NBA star Scot Pollard, d’97, has been teammates with many people, but now he has teamed up with filmmaker and University film professor Kevin Willmott for a feature film titled “The Profit,” which premieres at Liberty Hall Sept. 24.
Read full article

Stephanie Quincy wll chair Quarles & Brady Labor & Employment Group | AZBigMedia

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP named Phoenix partner Stephanie Quincy, l’91, as chair of the Phoenix office’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. Quincy was named to the 2014 list of “Top 25 Women” in Arizona by Southwest Super Lawyers.
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Throwback Thursday Podcast: Micah Brown | Kansas Athletics

Take a stroll down memory lane with Brian Hanni, the voice of the Kansas Jayhawks, as he catches up with former football player Micah Brown, c’09, as part of his Throwback Thursday podcast.
Read transcript or listen to podcast

Becky Mandelbaum wins the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction | University of Georgia Press

Becky Mandelbaum, c’13, has been named this year’s winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and her collection of short stories will be published by the University of Georgia Press. Mandelbaum’s Bad Kansas will be available from the UGA Press in fall 2017.
Read full article

T-Rob goes to Hollywood: Former Jayhawk signs with Lakers |

The Los Angeles Lakers and former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, ’13, agreed to a one-year deal; Robinson joins a full roster that includes fellow Jayhawk Tarik Black, who, in July, signed a two-year, $13 million deal to stay in Los Angeles.
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College basketball: New assistant, former Jayhawk Aaron Miles likes FGCU atmosphere | Naples Daily News

Former KU point guard Aaron Miles, c’05, is settling in as an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he’s working under former KU men’s basketball assistant coach Joe Dooley.
Read full article

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Jayhawks in the News | September 9

Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

KU campus graphics |


Johnson County District Judge Gerald Elliott to retire in January | Kansas City Star

Johnson County District Court Judge Gerald T. Elliott, who was appointed to the bench in late 1990, will retire when his current term ends in January 2017. Elliott graduated from the KU School of Law in 1964.
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Married alumni continue 40-year involvement in Lawrence’s art community with ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

Ric, f’72, g’85, and Jeanne Averill, d’73, g’80, have been part of Lawrence’s art community for over 40 years. Both earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University, and credit the local community for their success over the years.
Read full article

Garvey Schubert Barer names Jeffrey Li Owner in its China practice | Garvey Schubert Barer

Jeffrey Quong Li has joined the firm as an Owner, focusing on its China practice. Li, l’04, will be based in Washington, D.C., and will advice Chinese companies in strategic business activities in the United States.
Read full article.

Molded by Baltimore upbringing, Kansas safety Fish Smithson gives back ‘as much as I can’ | The Baltimore Sun

From his childhood in East Baltimore to his days playing safety for the University of Kansas football team, Smithson has witnessed the plight of men, women and children facing hardship. Smithson has tried to give back to the Lawrence community as much as he can — reading to students at elementary schools, visiting patients in the hospital, even ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.
Read full article.

Douglas County chief judge looks back over his career, prepares for retirement | Lawrence Journal-World

On Sept. 9, Robert Fairchild will step down from his position as the district’s chief judge, one he has held for about 14 years, and into the position of senior judge. Fairchild, l’73, worked as an attorney for 23 years and was appointed Division One judge in Douglas County in 1996.
Read full article.

Keary named chief of KU Police | KU Office of the Provost

Chris Keary, who has been serving since Jan. 1 as interim director of the Public Safety Office and chief of KU Police, will assume the role in an ongoing capacity. Keary, c’83, holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from KU and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Washburn University.
Read full article.

KU alumni continues to serve cross country and track teams | KUJH-TV

University of Kansas alumna Jean Kerich has been retired for over nine years, but that doesn’t mean she has retired from her passions. Kerich, ’60, still serves as a bus driver for the University of Kansas’s track and cross country teams.
Read full article and watch interview.
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Jayhawks in the News | July 29

Posted on Jul 29, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

KU campus graphics |

Citizen attorney involved in Dollar General v. Choctaw case |

Sarah Deer, a graduate of the KU School of Law, represented over 100 women’s organizations as interested parties in the Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw INdians U.S. Supreme Court case. Deer, c’96, l’99, co-authored an amicus brief on the proceedings.
Read full article

KU graduate recovering after being injured in terrorist attack in Nice |

Greg Krentzman, who was visiting Nice with his wife and daughter, was injured in the terrorist attack on Bastille Day. Krentzman, c’87, shared his story from the hospital where he is recovering. He currently lives in California.
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Plainville native elected as president of district judges’ association | The Hays Daily News

Judge Patricia Macke Dick, l’81, was elected president of the Kansas District Judges’ Association, an organization open to all state district court judges. She is the chief judge of the 27th judicial district, a one-county district made up of Reno County where she has served as judge since 1989.
Read full article

Former Jayhawk Kaun reveals retirement |

Sasha Kaun, e’08, is one of only two KU basketball players to win an NCAA title (2008), NBA title (2016) and medal in the Olympic games (2012). He recently decided to retire from professional basketball at the age of 31.
Read full article

Alumni Spotlight: Tommy Bobo | KU Undergraduate Research

Tommy Bobo, f’06, is an artist, non-profit IT consultant and adjunct professor. He graduated from KU with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Expanded Media. In this post, Bobo shares about his research and creative experience at KU and the most important thing he learned in school.
Read full article

Former KU baseball standout Bay returns to lead Williams Education Fund, Marketing and Sales | KU Athletics

Matt Baty was named Associate Athletics Director for Williams Education Fund, Marketing & Sales on Thursday. Baty, d’07, was an All-Big 12 Conference centerfielder, and he returns to the Hill after serving as the general manager of the Wichita Sports Forum.
Read full article

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Women’s Alumni Network launches with May social event

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

1912 Jayhawk at Painted KanvasThe Lawrence Women’s Network is a new effort by the KU Alumni Association that enables members to meet for friendship, professional networking and service to the university and the association. As a division of the Lawrence Alumni Network, the group will sponsor educational, cultural and social events to further engage local Jayhawks and help us provide relevant and interesting programs.

The kickoff event is purely social: join fellow Jayhawks at Painted Kanvas, a local family-owned and operated paint and wine studio. The event will featured guided instruction to create your very own painting of the 1912 Jayhawk.

Light appetizers will be provided, and full bar service including beer, wine and cocktails will be available. Space is limited, so register online today! The cost is $35 for alumni association members and $45 for nonmembers. And, although this event is hosted by the new Women’s Alumni Network, all friends of KU are welcome to attend.

Do you have suggestions for future events or programs? Contact Tyler Rockers, assistant director of national and Kansas networks, at, or reach out to one of our local network volunteers—a list of volunteers is available here. Be sure to also join our Lawrence Jayhawks Facebook group!

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Jazz Ensemble plays Lincoln Center

Posted on Apr 18, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

School of Music | KU Jazz Ensemble I at Jazz at Lincoln Center, April 12, 2016 | Photo by Dan Storey

The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dan Gailey, performed April 12 at the Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The program included selections from Charlie Parker, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington, along with compositions by a KU alumnus and a current student.

The ensemble performed the world premiere of “Bright Day Moon” composed by Andrew Linn, u’10, who attended the concert. The group also played “Everybody is with Everybody Else,” by Kai Ono, a junior piano major from Irvine, California. Ono won the 2016 Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Original Composition.

KU Jazz Ensemble I has received 23 Downbeat Student Music Awards, including Best Large Jazz Ensemble 2015 in the Graduate Division.

Joining the ensemble in New York was acclaimed jazz vocalist Deborah Brown, a Kansas City, Missouri, native who has performed in more than 50 countries and recorded 11 albums.

Playing on one of jazz’s most celebrated stages with Brown was “a really great feeling,” says trombonist Fern Stevermer, a junior from Fulton, Missouri. “The School of Music gives us so many opportunities, great faculty and great experiences. It gets us ready to go out in the world as prepared musicians.”

Alumni support helped make the students’ trip possible. Lead sponsors of the performance were James Zakoura, c’70, l’72; Reach Out Kansas Inc.; the Law Offices of Smithyman & Zakoura; and the Zakoura Family Foundation.

Watch our video below for highlights from the performance and comments from students. A slideshow of additional photos from the rehearsal, reception and performance is below the video. Photos and video by Dan Storey.



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Creede connections still strong after fifty years

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre, in front of the Creede Repertory Theatre
In 1966, 12 KU Theatre students left Lawrence and drove to Creede, Colorado, a flailing mining town in the San Juan Mountains, never dreaming that their trip would become one of a lifetime for themselves and the town.

Steve Grossman was a junior at KU when a flier posted on a Murphy Hall bulletin board titled “Operation Summer Theatre” caught his eye. He made the call, took an initial visit to Creede and shook hands to commit to return for the summer with friends in tow.

Upon returning to Lawrence, Grossman, c’67, g’97, recruited 11 fellow theatre students to found the now “legendary” Creede Repertory Theatre. Founding members include: Shari Morey Lacey, ’69; Pat Royse Moynihan,c’67; Steve Reed, c’70, c’70; Kay Lancaster, c’66, g’70; Gary Mitchell, c’66, g’72; David Miller, c’69; B.J. Myers, c’69, g’71; Connie Bohannon-Roberts, d’66; Earl Trussell, c’70; Joe Roach, c’69; Lance Hewett, c’70; and Grossman.

“Creede Repertory Theatre is a shining example of how the arts can invigorate and sustain a community,” said Henry Bial, director of KU School of the Arts. “We are proud of CRT’s KU roots and were honored to participate in the celebration of its Jayhawk founders.”

Lawrence and the University of Kansas are still legendary in Creede, and the Department of Theatre was honored to be a part of the celebration. Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre; Kathy Pryor, managing director of University Theatre; and Bial attended the anniversary festivities, which included a KU alumni event, a talk back with the KU founders and a dedication of the Founders Lobby.

The Department of Theatre’s connections to Creede are far from over. Lily Lancaster, a KU theatre student, is finishing up a summer internship, and KU theatre alumni return each year to see and star in productions—not to mention the many alumni who have set up permanent roots and careers in Creede as well.

“It is clear to me that Creede Repertory Theatre and KU Theatre share a legacy founded on a devotion to making great theatre, developing and supporting theatre artists, and celebrating the communities that support us,” Leon said.

—Heather Anderson, marketing & communications coordinator, KU School of the Arts

The KU connection to Creede was chronicled by Jennifer Jackson Sanner in Issue 5, 2005, of Kansas Alumni magazine during the theatre’s fortieth anniversary year. Click here to read the feature from our archives. We hope you enjoy the nostalgic look back at a piece of Jayhawk history!

The 12 founding members and KU theatre alumni the first summer in Creede.
Above: The twelve founding members and KU theatre alumni the first summer in Creede, Colorado.

Seven of the founding members of the Creede Repertory Theatre at the dedication of the Founders Lobby during the 50th anniversary celebration.

Above: Seven of the founding members of the Creede Repertory Theatre at the dedication of the Founders Lobby during the 50th anniversary celebration this summer.

Top photo: Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre, in front of the Creede Repertory Theatre.

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KU alumnus and urban streetwear designer hosts pop-up shop event

Posted on Aug 7, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

James “Jay” William Byrnes IV, f’03, founder and creative director of Chicago-based streetwear brand Fourth is King, will host a pop-up shop event from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Vertical Gallery in Chicago.

Streetwear enthusiasts and art lovers alike are invited to celebrate the brand’s new collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Dan Funderburgh, f’01, and check out the gallery’s latest exhibition, The Great Western, a three-artist show featuring international street-contemporary artists EINE, Sickboy and Word to Mother.

The Fourth is King and Dan Funderburgh artist series collection includes short- and long-sleeve T-shirts and jackets, which range from $40 to $75 and will be available for purchase at the event. Complimentary beverages from Penrose Brewing Company and Solemn Oath Brewery will be provided.

Vertical Gallery is located at 1016 N. Western Ave. For more information about the event, visit

Fourth is King pop up event

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New pop-up book features the world’s most famous residence

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Chuck Fischer's White House pop up book
Artist and author Chuck Fischer, famous for his beautifully designed Christmas-themed pop-up books, recently released The White House Pop-Up Book in honor of the most famous residence in the world. The book features eight hand-painted rooms and their treasures, and the format encourages learning and interaction.

Fischer, f’77, will be in Washington, D.C., later this week to sign copies of the new book. On Thursday, July 23, he’ll be at the White House Visitor Center (1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and at the Newseum Store (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) from 2:30-4 p.m.

On Friday, meet Fischer at the Library of Congress Store (101 Independence Ave SE) from 10-11:30 a.m. Later that day, he’ll be at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Store (14th Street and Constitution Ave. NW) from 1-3 p.m.

Take a tour of the book in this short video:

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